понедельник, 28 февраля 2011 г.

ChineseOnline.ru - SKOLKOVO alumni’s project

Today we would like to offer you a further acquaintance with Anton Saraykin – the SKOLKOVO MBA 2010 Alumni. We have earlier published his articles on the four-week module in the USA and his impressions about the Chinese project module. Recently you might have read his section upon the overall outcomes from his studies at SKOLKOVO.

Today’s post is devoted to one of the most interesting start-up projects of the 2010 MBA class Alumni – e-learning service “ChineseOnline.ru” developed by Anton and his classmate Waseem Kawaf.

The project was established during the final module of the MBA programme when the students were to work on their own business ideas. Now it is growing fast and gaining prominence. Anton speaks about their enterprise.

- Anton, please tell us more about your start-up.
- ChineseOnline.ru is a service for learning the Chinese language in an efficient way with a teacher from China. All you need for studies is Internet access, a camera and a microphone. You are having individual lessons with an experienced teacher and learning to speak Chinese in the way the Chinese themselves do. You can see and hear your teacher as if you were sitting at a table with him or her.

Another great thing about the service is that now you can study at home, office or any place convenient for you, so you don’t need to spend hours in traffic while getting to the school or your private teacher. And what is even more important, you pay for the lessons 2-3 times less than most of the schools and privite teachers in Moscow charge.

According to our marketing survey Russia has a huge lack of professional Chinese teachers. Lessons with Chinese native speaker in Moscow will cost you up to $50-70 per academic hour, whereas our fees start at $9.99. This is not to mention the small cities where you normally don’t have another opportunity to study Chinese with qualified native speaker except for our service.

- Who did you aim for when creating the project?
- Most of our clients are people who have previously learned Chinese and now are willing to upgrade their level by studying with the native speaker. Plus now we are having more and more clients who start learning the language with us. That is why many of our trainers can fluently speak Russian. We find this important especially for children, as most of them can’t speak English well enough yet to understand the teacher if the lesson is going on in English.

We have students from all over Russia and abroad. Some of them wish to study Chinese with us for work perposes, some – as a support to their school classes, some – for their personal reasons. All of our clients are united by strong willing to learn communicating to the Chinese people without any difficulty. For even those who have been studying the languege here for years (with teachers and study books) usually feel uncomfortable when coming to China – the Chinese often can’t understand them at all because they lack speaking practice, even despite the seriousness of their academic training.

- How long can it take to start speaking Chinese?
- Of course it strongly depends on your personal abilities and time you can afford to invest in learning. But in general it takes a year to become able to support a conversation on common topics. Surely it takes longer to start reading and writing well in Chinese. Again, the timing is fully dependant upon yourself and your commitmemt to studies.

пятница, 25 февраля 2011 г.

SKOLKOVO first enrolment graduate Anton Saraykin speaks about the most memorable aspects of his education

Only two years ago the very idea of becoming a full-time MBA first-class student at not a very well-known brand new school in Moscow was considered absurd by many people. Indeed, one can learn MBA only once. So, do you really have to take risks when you can invest the same amount of money in a guaranteed high-quality education and get a prestigious diploma from a world's well-established school, whether Harvard, INSEAD or MIT Sloan? And even though I was lucky to qualify for the scholarship, I still did not want to waste one and a half year of my life.

It is probably the readiness to take risks that essentially distinguishes SKOLKOVO first enrolment from the students of other business schools. And now that we are through with our training, many people ask me ’Was it really worth doing it?’

One Can Find an Individual Approach to Each Person
While attending SKOLKOVO we (there were 43 students in our class) were lucky to work with hundreds of people from various countries, representing various walks of life and cultures: from peasants in an Indian village to the Transport Minister of the Russian Federation, from Chinese monks to twenty-year-old millionaire entrepreneurs from MIT, from circus performers and art critics to bankers and engineers. In addition to knowledge, experience and useful acquaintances acquired, one of the major lessons learnt by me was that all people are different and each person needs an individual approach. This is important at all times—during talks, management procedures, and daily life.

My idea of how to select the correct approach to everyone was shaped, among others, through teamwork where all of the participants were equal and ambitious individuals, while the role of the leader was a mere formality. The success of the team largely depended on how well all of the participants managed to reach mutual agreement. The leader's role, however, is to understand motivation of each team member. This understanding can only be shaped in the course of real, practical work rather than by reading a textbook. This kind of experience could hardly be acquired in any other school.

четверг, 24 февраля 2011 г.

Aldemir Drummond, Strategy Professor: “Strategy is about asking the right questions”

The second Executive MBA class is already preparing for the international module - In March the group is going to spend a busy week in Brazil. How will the trip turn out? What interesting people will the students have a chance to meet? What new projects and ideas will they come back with? Stay tuned to SKOLKOVO official blog!

Today we’d like to begin with an interesting interview: last week we had an opportunity to meet with Professor Aldemir Drummond, Strategy Professor of Brazilian Business School Fundação Dom Cabral, who has given the students an introductory course on the Brazilia, its cultural and historical peculiarities and other features.

- What is your impression of Russia as a visitor and as a strategy professor?
- It’s very cold outside (laughing). To be serious I haven’t seen much yet. We have a project together with SKOLKOVO, it’s called «BRICs on BRICs: Capturing growth in new realities».  I am one of the directors of that programme, so I’ll be back here in May. And in spring I plan not only to spend one week with the participants but also enjoy the country. I’ve lot of curiosity about Russia, this really important country for the world, very big, very strong politically and economically. So I think this is something that draws attention.

- Talking about Brazil: what can you say about advantages and disadvantages that Brazil has in comparison with the other BRIC countries?
- First of all, I think, we are a kind of very peaceful country. We have no problems with neighbours; we haven’t fought a war for 200 years. The situation with all other BRIC countries is more complicated. And it’s absolutely one of advantages. 

Secondly, I think it’s natural resources. Both countries, Russia and Brazil, have a lot of natural resources, this can be, on the one hand, a kind of blessing, because you don’t depend too much on other countries, but, on the other hand, it can be a kind of trap - you may be condemned to sell resources instead of developing your own technology or innovation, those kind of thing. I think this is something that links Brazil to Russia, this thing of having lots of natural resources, but you should use those wisely, and you should also make sure that you use natural resources to finance your own growth in the future.

The climate in Brazil is very good. It’s not only because of the weather being or not being cold: you can plant the whole year, so you can actually have three harvests. 30 years ago people would think that technology would solve the problem of food for everybody. But when you see the reports today, it seems to become a real issue now - 1 billion people now starve, too much around the world.

One thing that I think Brazil has more than India and China, but not much more than Russia is that Brazil is closer in terms of culture to Europe and US. The reason is we were colonized by the Portuguese. I don’t believe that is an advantage, because if economics really shifts to Asia, then it will become a disadvantage. What I mean is that for foreign companies operating in the country it’s easier to operate with Brazil, at least in terms of culture.

вторник, 22 февраля 2011 г.

Finding business information: management consultants reports

Today we present a new column led by Helen Edwards, SKOLKOVO Library project manager, where she plans to share with the readers useful business information. The topic of today’s section - Management consultants reports

The big management consultancies have multimedia websites and e-newsletters with articles on current business topics, surveys, rankings and predicitions. Sign up for free to receive e-newsletters and access to articles or search the sites for reports to download or videos to watch. Note that this research often does not show up on Google so it is always worth checking out the key sites.

1. Booz and company: strategy+business
The latest article "Strategic bets" by Ram Charan and Michael Sisk describes the circumstances in which companies put their entire enterprise at risk. Key drivers include the desire to gain a controlling interest in critical resources or competencies, to escape a declining industry or to practice large scale entrepreneurship in an emerging form of enterprise. Other recent articles include "Stop blaming your culture" and "Hotbeds of innovation". There is a business literature topic which reviews new books and has rankings of the best books on leadership, innovation and China amongst other subjects.
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2. McKinsey: MacKinsey Quarterly
This month's edition leads with "Three steps to building a better top team", tips for the CEO. There is also the results of the global survey "Creating more value with corporate strategy" which identifies those few companies and few circumstances in which the corporate strategy adds up to more than the sum of its parts. There are sections on the site for key business functions, industries and regions including dedicated topics for India and China.
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3. Deloitte Research
Deloitte's analysts discuss major issues facing business today. Just published the Global Economic Outlook Q1 2011 looks at the "new realities", how the emerging markets are catching up and with an in depth look at the economies of USA, the Eurozone, Japan, Brazil, Russia, India, China and Sub-Saharan Africa. Also available a new edition of "Manufacturing Competitiveness Index TMT Technology, Media and Telecomms", predictions for the ICT sector and "Global Manufacturing Competitiveness Index 2010", the results of a survey of 400 CEOs and manufacturing executives worldwide.
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понедельник, 21 февраля 2011 г.

A review of SKOLKOVO students' project work in Volgograd

We are starting to inform you on the progress within the FT MBA Public projects (an interview with Alexey Germanovich, Public Projects Director, you can read here). Today we would like to tell about a project in Volgograd - a creation of Thematic park in the city.

A city of Volgograd (former Stalingrad) has a population of over a million people, beautiful architecture and a long history. Memorial complexes situated in Volgograd are of great value, but not so popular with the Volgograd young people or people from other regions.

The problem is that there are few tourist sites. The key ones, famous throughout the former USSR, are the Mamayev Kurgan and the Panorama Museum, which can be seen in one day. It is necessary to create some other points of attraction, highlight a unique cultural and historical heritage of the city and make it a basis to form a bright brand of the Volgograd Region at the federal and international level.

пятница, 18 февраля 2011 г.

Grigory Yavlinsky Presentation in SKOLKOVO

Grigory Yavlinsky, famous Russian politician and economist, met with SKOLKOVO’s students.

Mr Yavlinsky was as a guest speaker at the MBA practical module, devoted to the projects in social and government sectors. The key topic of his presentation was "Russia. Reforms. Modernization"

вторник, 15 февраля 2011 г.

Can the Developing World Live with $100 Plus Oil? - is a new research of SKOLKOVO

The US Department of Energy calls oil “the lifeblood of modern civilization.” Approximately 85 million barrels are consumed each day. Oil currently supplies 37 percent of the world’s energy demand. It powers nearly all of the world’s transportation, without which production and trade would grind to a halt.

At $60 - $80 per barrel, oil prices are probably somewhere in their “sweet spot”. That is, at a level that is neither too high to depress global economic activity but neither too low in discouraging the movement toward alternative energy resources.

How might $100 plus oil per barrel impact the global economy? If the higher petroleum prices are largely a consequence of faster global economic activity (i.e. – a demand shock), as they were last decade, then higher prices are unlikely to significantly dampen the level of quantity demanded, particularly over the short-run.

However, a distinctly new paradigm in the global crude oil markets has been unfolding in recent years. Stagnant demand among the rich, developed economies, who historically have been the largest consumers of crude oil, is being more than offset by increased demand from the emerging market economies. Oil use in the developing world has been rising robustly, even during the most recent global recession. This is the first time oil prices have rallied while the developed economies have been growing so sluggishly.