вторник, 29 марта 2011 г.

Overview of SKOLKOVO students' project work in Cherepovets

Continuing to cover to our MBA students’ project work in public and social spheres we are now presenting the project of creating the Thematic park for Cherepovets.

Cherepovets: the first date

With their suitcases not being unpacked after Christmas holidays the SKOLKOVO students’ regional teams were already on their way to the clients. Being situated in the Vologda region Cherepovets city is the most northerly point on the project map this year.

It’s curious that the more times our students visit this city (last year the Investment agency project was launched here) the more merciful its cold northern heart becomes to them: last year the frost degree here was around -40 C, and now the thermometer stem was at only -15! The students were lucky enough, as they were to walk many kilometers all around the region exploring the opportunities to develop an exhaustive reclamation of the Galsky Barton museum complex (the 19th century monument of architecture) as well as its vision as a tourist object with worldwide potential.

The Magnificent Six (Oleg Pegushin, Maria Fomina, Andery Agafonov, Stanislav Bessmertniy, Alexander Parfilov, and Manuel Ponce) works under the personal counceling by Sergey Riabokobylko – CEO and Partner, Cushman & Wakefield/Stiles & Riabokobylko Company, specialzsing in corporate consulting in real estate. Furthermore, in order to receive additional consulting and study the best practices for the project’s particular parts the group has already met with such reputable expert companies as Deloitte, Vegas Lex, CMS, Swiss Appraisal, Vnesheconombank, and the representatives from the Ministry of Economic Development.

An interview with Yuri Kovalev, SKOLKOVO MBA graduate

Today we are happy to present you the translation of the interview with Yuri Kovalev, SKOLKOVO MBA graduate, published at www.mbaconsult.ru

Yuri Kovalev
Education: Moscow State University, Faculty of Computational Mathematics and Cybernetics; Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, MBA.
Experience: own business – Internet sites and systems
Age: 28

MBA Consult: What brought you to the decision of acquiring an MBA degree?
Yuri: This decision was defined by many reasons. The diploma itself never was a goal. I just realized some time ago that the knowledge and skills I had were not enough to gain real success in business. Also, negative economic situation surely was one of the determing factors. I have my own business and when it was seriously hit the global crisis, I must say, I was lost. To keep moving forward in that situation one needed to come up with something new, to find more points of reference, to know and understand the world’s experience and international business. Thus I decided to enter SKOLKOVO business school in order to acquire confidence in my future and develop my business. It may sound smugly but that’s true.

MBA Consult: You were among the first graduates of the school. Why did you choose the Russian school that just started its operations then?
Yuri: I always planned to work in Russia, and still do – this was the main reason to choose SKOLKOVO. Of course I had some concerns regarding the fact that the project was just started up, but at the same time I saw that it involved serious resources – as it is supported not only by the Russian government headed by President Medvedev but also by the most influental Russian businessmen.
First enrollments’ students knew that many of the operations were not set up yet. In our group we had a special committee that helped us bring all our complaints and proposals together with all the factual validations to the relevant stakeholders. We discussed the pluses and minuses of the education process and tried to find appropriate solutions. Actually this process is still going on and we, the first graduates, do take part in similar discussions with the current students. It turns out to be a very interactive cooperation.

понедельник, 28 марта 2011 г.

Brazil, Final

Our Executive MBA students’ journey came to its end and the last stop of their Brazilian module logically was Rio Janeiro. There the group continued their visits to the leading Brazilian corporations and visited the TV Globo film studio – one of the most famous world studio (the third place worldwide). It was here where Escrava Izaura was shot – the soap opera that was extremely popular in Russia some time ago.

TV Globo representatives gave some hints on the Brazilian media market; it turned out that Brazilia is the second country in the world on consuming media products – after Japan. And of course the students were toured of the studio pavilions.

And now they are back to Russia, and back to their classes! Welcome home!

пятница, 25 марта 2011 г.

Brazil, Day 4-5

And here comes Andrei Sidorin with his fresh report from Brazil. Two days were spent in Sao Paulo where the group of Executive MBA students went on studying the Brazilian corporations from within. The schedule was really tight!

The students visited such companies as Unilever, Amcham, Itau Unibanco, Bovespa (the stock exchange), and Natura. Here are some of the most curious aspects: at Unilever the students learned that for the low income Brazilians the real cleanliness is usually far less important than nice and pleasant smell, and thus the detergents here are made more fragrant than those in the other countries though less disinfectant so that the underprivileged residents could afford them. In Amcham the students received some significant advice for entering the Brazilian market including some tips for intellectual property protection and more.

The next destination point is Rio de Janeiro. And our reports are to be continued!

четверг, 24 марта 2011 г.

Overview of the SKOLKOVO Students’ Accountability Project

In continuation to our publication series on the students’ project work in public sector today we will touch upon the project on the development of the social (non-financial) accountability of Russian organization.

Non-financial accountability plays crusial role in the sustainable development concept definition and realization. The sustainable development concept was conceived in 1970-s and represents the development process corresponding with the present and not putting risks to the next generation needs. It involves social, economic and environmental spheres that mutually provide the required quality of people’s life if managed properly.

The project goal is to promote non-financial accountability (NFA) among Russian companies without introducing any changes into the law. That means to come up with such a tool that could prevail Russian business upon bringing non-financial reporting (which reflects the real company’s contribution to the development of the society and preservation of the environment) in their practice.

This challenging task was set to the students by the Ministry of Health and Social Development of the Russian Federation represented by the Minister, Tatiana Alexeevna Golikova – the project’s client. They had only two months to get to know the current status of the NFA system in our country, review the world’s best practices, feel and understand the positions of all the stakeholders and based on these factors to propose their recommendations of NFA development and promotion to the Ministry.

The project team consists of 5 SKOLKOVO students (from L to R in the picture):
Anna Shaykhutdinova (team leader), Anssi Jokinen, Ekaterina Dolgosheeva, Alexey Kushner and Marcus Alves

среда, 23 марта 2011 г.

Brazil, Day 3.

Executive MBA students continue exploring Brazil! After some healthful gymnastics in the morning the group devoted several fruitful hours to studying the nuances of business communication with Brazilian businessmen at the seminar by Professor Virginia Drummond.

Professor Drummond spoke about the peculiarities of Brazilian mindset, about the actions entrepreneurs should and should not undertake here, about the image of the Russians for local people and much more.

In the afternoon the group visited one of the oldest towns in the country - Ouro Preto – the capital of so-called “Golden Route”, a chain of the main deposits of gold in this area in the 18th century. This town was the first in Brazil to be announced as a world cultural heritage by UNESCO. Ouro Preto’s main cathedral is one of the world’s most luxurious churches in terms of its interior decoration.

And now the group of our inspired students awaits for their early wake-up and a flight to Sao Paulo for business meetings with Unilever, Amcham, Itau Unibanco. Tomorrow we will give you a detailed report on that part of the trip!

вторник, 22 марта 2011 г.

Brazil, Day 2.

We continue our Brazilian travel notes. Yesterday the students spent half-day at the FDC campus studying advantageous competitive strategies for the Brazilian market with Professor Carlos Aruda. Some fresh impressions: the Nestle Corporation in Brazil turned out to work on the MLM principle, as Avon does in Russia.

The second half of the day was spent at the FIAT concern – the largest automotive manufacturing site in the world. 3000 cars roll off the assembly line here daily – i.e. a car per 20 seconds. It is no surprise then that every fourth car in Brazil is FIAT.

After the intriguing presentation and site tour the students were already awaited for dinner in the traditional Brazilian restaurant – Rogsao – which name can be translated as “a pig”. It is famous all over the city for its meat dishes.

Brazil, Day 1.

Andrey Sidorin, SKOLKOVO Executive MBA Programme Operations Director, is today reporting for us from Belo Horizonte. It is there where the second EMBA class began their one-week trip that promises to become a really thrilling experience.

The real Brazilian heat (around 30' C) welcomed us here from the very first day. I'd like to point out that choosing the Belo Horizonte city for the start of our assignment trip was far not arbitrary. The famous Fundação Dom Cabral Business School is situated right here and it was the place where the first meetings for our students were held not to say about the introductory course on the Brazilian cultural characteristics.

Acquaintance with the Brazilian culture began with the fascinating Capoeira show - traditional Brazilian martial art. And with no doubt the best support in learning and understanding the country's specifics came from the local colleagues - Brazilian EMBA students.

Private banking and wealth management

How do the very rich manage and grow their wealth? In this article in our Business Information series SKOLKOVO library project manager Helen Edwards describes some books and resources on private banking and wealth management.

1. The ultra high net worth banker's handbook
Heinrich Weber and Stephan Meier
Harriman House, 2009
xxiii, 269 pages; ISBN: 978905641758
Written by two leading private bankers this book discusses services for ultra high net worth clients from the perspectives of the client and the banker. Key concepts are the importance of client confidentiality and the need to understand the client's complex issues and to relate them to the financial opportunities available. Accessible and easy to read, this book contains several case studies based on the authors' experiences with clients to cover key issues: family governance, wealth structuring, risk advisory, asset management and corporate finance and asset monetising.

2. Advising ultra-affluent clients and family offices
Michael M Pompian
Wiley, 2009.
xviii, 392 pages; ISBN: 9780470282311
This author identifies as a key trend a reevaluation of trust and a desire on the part of clients to understand the services of their financial advisors: their core competencies and how they fit into the client's overall wealth management programme. The wealthiest clients are now separating advice from record keeping and investment products and looking for independent consultants to help assemble best-in-class investment products from a global spectrum of providers and then aggregate and track the results through dedicated master custodians. This is a comprehensive guidebook which lays out the separate building blocks for structuring a sophisticated wealth management solution.

3. Wealth: how the world's high-net-worth grow, sustain and manage their fortunes
Associates of Merrill Lynch and Capgemini
Wiley 2008
xxxv, 236 pages; ISBN: 9780470153031
What wealth creation opportunities now available and how can investors take advantage of them? Key trends include globalisation and advances in technology favoring a strategy of diversification of investments across different investment vehicles, asset classes and geographies. Increased sophistication of investment products and of the investors themselves present different challenges to an industry which in its essentials has been around for a long time. Additionally for the ultra high net worth client there are the important issues of family, intergenerational wealth transfer and, increasingly, philanthropic goals.

понедельник, 21 марта 2011 г.

Head for Brazil!

When talking about Brazil we usually think of an exotic country – a country of football, coffee, soap operas and wild monkeys. Although if you look deeper you’d see one of most rapidly developing markets, a country of entrepreneurs and great leaders. And it’s not for nothing that this year’s Executive MBA international assignment will take place in Brazil where the group of students had already left for this weekend. The students will see Brazil of all kinds: first of all they will have an opportunity to get acquainted with the Brazilian business environment and make a deep dive into the country’s culture and every day life.

One of the EMBA students, Dmitry Rubanenko, shared his thoughts about the trip with us.

What is Brazil assosiated with for you?
Brazil for me is about Amazon River and its selva jungle; about Sao Paulo with its skyscrappers, smog and Moscow-like intense life; about the postcard view over the Rio harbor from the Cristo Redentor hill; about the blocks of Rio de Janeiro I can remember from the Cidade de Deus movie…

What are your goals for the trip? What would you like to learn, try, and feel?
I have a feeling that Brazil and Russia should be similar in some respect, and I would like to figure out my own answer to the question, is Brazil the same as Russia but with the palm trees, or not. It will be very interesting to meet people who represent the Brazilian business community. Brazil and Russia have a lot in common regarding key industries for our economies: extractive industries, oil&gas, timber, and agriculture. Having some comparable industry expertise can become a prerequisite for creating industry alliances and stimulate mutual portfolio investments in a medium and long run.

We are happy also to present you the interview with Brazilian professor Aldemir Drummond who gave an introductory course on the Brazilian business environment and other specifics of the country to our students.

среда, 16 марта 2011 г.

Beyond Business, Not Beyond Government - is a new research of SKOLKOVO

The government initiative on corporate social responsibility (CSR) and the number of CSR-related reports in China and Russia have increased dramatically in the last decade. It is important to specify the government’s role when people try to understand CSR dynamics and even answer a fundamental question of “what is CSR” in these countries. The report reveals how the government in China and Russia is not only guiding CSR efforts in general, but also shaping the specific way for companies to talk about government in CSR reports and actually do philanthropy.

This work is of significance to: 1) readers who want to have an updated picture of the CSR leaders’ philanthropy activities in China and Russia; 2) readers who are interested in how CSR in emerging markets is taking shape under the government influence; 3) readers who are interested in the variation of CSR development modes in China and Russia.

This report targets on a group of Chinese and Russian multinational corporations (MNCs) who leads corporate social responsibility (CSR) in their countries. These companies take on three overlapped roles:
  1. Easy targets of the government intervention;
  2. Global actors heavily exposed to international demands on CSR
  3. Most visible and recognized domestic CSR players.

понедельник, 14 марта 2011 г.

Noubar Afeyan Presentation

At the beginning of February Noubar Afeyan, MIT Professor and venture investor, Managing Partner at Flagship Ventures gave an open lecture «Maximizing Returns from Entrepreneurship and Innovation» at SKOLKOVO. Today we offer you a short video with some entrepreneurial advice from Dr.Afeyan.

пятница, 11 марта 2011 г.

SKOLKOVO students are working on the Kazan brand

Today we are telling you about another regional project being implemented by SKOLKOVO students as a part of their Public Module. A team of SKOLKOVO students will work developing of the brand of Kazan city.

Kazan is proud to be called the third Russian capital: located in the geographical heart of Russia it is the city where Europe meets Asia. Modern Kazan is on the scale with the largest world cities in terms of beauty and the level of inrustructure development. At the same time it carefully preserves its distinctiveness and culture traditions.

The city administration tries to not only to maintain the domestic order but also to be up-to-date with innovative world’s trends and practices. So now they started to work on the place branding by creating a rich and competitive city brand. That very challenging task was set in front of the SKOLKOVO students by the Kazan mayor.

The project team consists of 5 SKOLKOVO students:
Eliza Fisherman – a writer and exhibitions organizer;
Elina Mannurova – a marketing specialist in sport outfits industry;
Levan Nazarov – a PR specialist in automotive industry;
Dheeraj Verma – a consultant, expert in finance and intellectual property rights advocacy;
George Bellow – an entrepreneur with experience in air transit and IT industries.

“Our team is really international – Levan Nazarov speaks. – We have counted that all in all we can speak 8 languages and have lived in 12 countries. Such a various ecperience helped us a lot with this project”.

Ivan Kuznetsov, an advisor to the Mayor of Kazan and SKOLKOVO 2010 alumnai, is the manager of this project.
“Progressive and forward looking young men and women do work in the city administration, so we are expected to produce some fresh, unconventional and courageous decisions – Levan says”.

вторник, 1 марта 2011 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

We congratulate you on the first day of spring and offer you a new set of books selected by SKOLKOVO Library project manager Helen Edwards

1. Obliquity: why our goals are best achieved indirectly
John Kay
Profile Books, 2011
x111, 210 pages; ISBN: 9781846682896

John Kay, economist, business school professor and Financial Times writer, presents his new approach to problem solving - obliquity. Obliquity is the best approach whenever complex systems evolve in an uncertain environment and whenever the effects of our actions depend on the ways in which others respond to them. Instead of approaching a solution head on, Kay recommends a process of iteration and adaptation, choosing from a limited set of options and then reviewing the impact. The book is full of anecdotes pointing out the failures of the direct approach and the wide use of "Franklin's Gambit", the presentation of a logical rationale for a decision after the solution has already been made using the oblique approach.

2. Don't be fooled again: lessons in the good, bad and unpredictable behaviour of global finance
Meyrick Chapman
Financial Times / Prentice Hall, 2010
xiv, 282 pages. ISBN: 9780273727897

Why did the global financial crisis happen and what can we learn from it? This book, written from within the financial industry, shows how financial markets really work. Chapman describes the flight of capital from the west, with its roots in the earlier Asian crisis. The very benefits of easy credit for short term social improvements blinded people to the underlying risks once questioning began, leading to the world wide disappearance of liquidity. The book discusses the rise of derivatives, the role of technology in their creation, the dark side of securitization and the challenge of regulation.

3. Rework: change the way you work forever
Jason Fried and David Heinemeier Hansson
Vermilion, 2010
279 pages, 9780091929787

Fried and Hansson, creators of Basecamp, describe the approach to building and running a business used by their company 37signals. Informal and practical, the authors advise a relentless focus on the core business, the fundamental needs of a type of customer. The product should meet these basic needs and not be caught up in a cycle of enhancements which both adds costs and detracts from the original value proposition. Minimize external funding, no five year plans (bound to be only guesses), cut back on meetings, and market by building an audience using social media rather than expensive campaigns. This has worked well for 37signals themselves - see their blog Signal v Noise