пятница, 23 сентября 2011 г.

Anna Puzey, SKOLKOVO: “If the school believes in you, you want to believe in the school”

A former Marketing Director for “Arbat Capital” and now a student of the third intake of SKOLKOVO MBA programme, Anna Puzey, dispels the myths surrounding the business school.

My life has slightly changed a month ago. I put my work on hold and moved from my appartment in the city centre to the suburbs. But no, that is not because of financial crisis hit; I just entered the SKOLKOVO business school.

And there it came from everybody around:
- Where have you been enrolled? Is that the “nano-banano” thing?
- How much is the tuition fee? Are you crazy?
- Give me that money now! You’re never going to work them back. I would understand if it was Harvard or Stanford, but this…

Well, in this column (which is going to be a regular one) I am trying to figure out what is true and what is false about SKOLKOVO.


So here are the five myths about SKOLKOVO:

Myth №1. Everybody can get in; you just need to have enough money. (You don’t need to pass the GMAT.)

Here are the facts only: in order to be admitted you need to pass 5 steps. I don’t know haw many people were in my round on the first stage, but only six of them got to the fourth one. There were five of us from Russia: an employee of a large bank, an entrepreneur, a venture investor, a graduate from one of the European schools and myself, plus a Peru citizen (an engineer, start-upper and business owner of 30 or so). As a result only I and this Peru guy were accepted (though I really don’t look like a millioner’s daughter).

понедельник, 19 сентября 2011 г.

Review of SKOLKOVO's 5th Anniversary - 5 years is just the beginning!

On September 17, SKOLKOVO Business School Celebrated its 5th Anniversary.

The celebration event was divided into two parts: an official part (more interesting to the press) and an open programme (Open Doors Day) for all comers.


Traditionally the International Advisory Board of SKOLKOVO business school held a meeting on that day. At the end of the meeting the third group of SKOLKOVO MBA students received student ID cards.

Once the meeting was over, Ruben Vardanian met journalists to make an important statement: he handed the post of SKOLKOVO President to another founding partner - Andrey Rappoport.

Ruben Vardanian, who has been President of SKOLKOVO since its inception, will remain on the Coordination Council and head its Committee on International Cooperation and Strategic Partnerships.


среда, 14 сентября 2011 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards


A new selection of business literature by Helen Edwards. Which book is of most interest to you? We'll be glad to know your opinion. You have something to advise? Leave it below in the comments.

Steve Blank
Cafepress, 2010.
288 pages
ISBN: 0976470748

Silicon Valley technology entrepreneur and university professor, Steve Blank collects up his blog posts in this book.  With entries like "I've just met four great startups in the last three days" Steve shares his ideas about what it take to succeed as an entrepreneur.  He describes his rough induction into marketing - being thrown out of the building by the CEO until he got some facts and understood the market; his success at getting his companies benchmarks accepted as the industry standard and the importance of admitting  mistakes and ask for help.  The blogs also discuss start up culture, raising money, customer development, team building and of course his "secret history of Silicon Valley" presented to the CIA.

Harrison Monarth
McGraw Hill, 2010.
256 pages
ISBN: 9780071632874

Executive presence is a personal image which inspires respect.  It is cultivated by self awareness, communication skills and managing perceptions. Everyone has a brand created by an amalgamation of the impressions they make on others but it is desirable to replace this "random" brand with a crafted one.  This book describes how to pitch ideas, read people, manage conflict, convince others and increase one's reputation, in person and online.  Practical suggestions include a seven day plan for improving one's Social IQ by focusing on a key aspect each day.  Awareness of how people filter information, by their biases and previous experiences and of basic neurolinguistic techniques is critical for effective communication and obtaining buy-in. 

Gary Vaynerchuk
Harper Business, 2011.
xvi, 240 pages
ISBN: 9780061914188

Customer service provides a key way for any company, large or small, established or a start-up to stand apart from the competition.  Gary Vaynerchuk describes how to use social media to interact with customers and build brand loyalty.  The book contains examples of companies who use social media well but also of missed opportunities, for example failing to follow up an expensive TV campaign with social media initiatives, so losing the opportunity to "extend the conversation" and keep hold of customer interest.  


четверг, 8 сентября 2011 г.

SKOLKOVO prize contest

SKOLKOVO 5th Anniversary is coming; on September 17th we are opening our Campus doors for everyone to join the celebration. During upcoming week we will have an online contest devoted to the event. Anyone can take part in the contest and win the prize – regardless of your region.

If you follow our blog and other web platforms’ updates, you probably know well that we have many prominent experts and guests from all over the world speaking at our programmes. Well, if you are attentive enough, you may remember some of the speakers’ quotes that we publish for you. Do you remember who talked about business modeling; negotiations; team work? This is what our contest questions will be about.

During the week we are going to give you the quotes of the speakers, experts and professors who visited SKOLKOVO business school this year, and you will have to guess who the author is. By the way, all these quotes can be found at our web platforms – as parts of interviews or videos or as separate citations.

The contest will be held independently on all our web platforms: Facebook, Twitter, our main blog - blog.skolkovo.ru, VKontakte, and on the page of our library. Subscribe to them in order to see the questions first.

We’ll define the winners by the speed of their right answers. Also, we will definitely reward those who are the most active participants.

SKOLKOVO prizes – our limited edition souvenirs and books – will be held out at our Campus on September 17th. If the winner can’t come to receive he prize, we will send it by mail.






High Five! SKOLKOVO Fifth Anniversary.

This year we celebrate the 5th Anniversary of the SKOLKOVO business school. We are happy to invite you to visit our Campus on September 17th and take part in celebrations. We will do our best to make this day interesting and special for all our guests. At the Open Doors Day you will enjoy lectures and roundtables led by SKOLKOVO professors, captivating master classes, noteworthy campus tour, an unforgettable floral performance, aerostat flight, and much more! Please find all the details and register at our web-site.

During upcoming week we will have an online contest devoted to the event. Anyone can take part in the contest and win the prize – regardless of your region. Please, join!

вторник, 6 сентября 2011 г.

Handling constant pressure in business - an article by Helen Edwards

Here is the translation of the article by Helen Edwards, SKOLKOVO Library Project Manager, published on Slon.ru. The original text in Russian is available here.

Handling constant pressure in business
And why champion sportsmen spend time watching and analyzing their past performances

Constant pressure is a fact of business life. New technologies, changing regulations, environmental issues, uncertainty of supply, unpredictable consumer preferences, economic instability – and ever faster business cycles mean that few businesses can ever feel secure. US statistics show that while between 1955 and 1990 over half the industry leading companies retained their position, more than two thirds of market leaders in 1990 no longer existed in 2004.

Business leaders and their teams are in the position of working continually under duress. Crucial decisions with serious consequences have to be made quickly, often with incomplete information and in ever changing circumstances. Can we get used to this rhythm? And how can we stay successful under pressure?

While some people believe that they do their best work under pressure, research shows that this is true for very few. Most people “choke” and fail to rise to the occasion they tend to think less effectively and are highjacked by their adrenaline fueled “fight or flight” emotions. Anxiety aggressively interferes with people’s ability to think clearly, to prioritize tasks and solve problems. A study on the problem solving skills of normally capable senior corporate managers under severe pressure showed that 20% became so incoherent that they were not able to answer more than a third of the questions.

пятница, 2 сентября 2011 г.

Secrets of Super-sales - an article by Helen Edwards

Here is the translation of the article by Helen Edwards, SKOLKOVO Library Project Manager, published on Slon.ru. The original text in Russian is available here.

Secrets of Super-sales
Methods of manipulating the customers’ will power; affect of depression to the customers’ behavior; and why little choice is a good thing

Have you ever seen people who carefully weigh up all pros and cons when making a decision and act only on the basis of such analysis? You are very lucky if you did. Judging by the latest marketing studies, our decisions are mostly influenced by the subconscious and rarely by the rational. What can it give to us? That’s easy: if we can learn to control the subconscious, we can rule the world.

Successful salespeople usually act intuitively. Others may consult with marketing researches on the choice architecture – i.e. methods of manipulating the subconscious so that the customers don’t feel it.
  1. A good example of using the concept of “choice architecture” can be seen in any supermarket. Did you know that a person is likely to buy more if they have less choice? For instance, a merchant providing, say, 24 sorts of jam would sell fewer products than the one who provides 6. The explanation is simple: when your brain is overloaded with information, it may fail to function.
  2. Scientists have tested customers’ will power. It turned out that you need just to give them an opportunity at first to do something they think to be “right”, and afterwards they are likely to start violating their own boundaries. That is why you see fruits and vegetables right at the entrance of the supermarket: the more is spent for healthy food, the more junk food like chips and beer would be bought. 
  3. Another productive way to get the money from your customer is to put the most expensive goods right in front of them. This method works well with alcoholic beverages: when customers see expensive and exclusive wines first, they are encouraged to buy more bottles of cheap wine than they planned. Also, it was shown by another research that people prefer to take products from the right-hand shelves: those products were thought to be “of the highest quality” when presented to the testees together with absolutely the same products put on the shelves on their both hands.
  4. Customer behavior is very much linked to their age. For instance, elderly people tend to focus on positive messages, and give no attention to negative ones. That’s why advertising campaigns that demonstrate negative effects of something usually don’t work for this group, but do work for young people.
  5. Attitude to risk is generally the same with people of different age. Researches show that the majority of people would not risk their money even if they have an opportunity to earn much more. Also, people tend to act like others do, in any age. Advertising studies in the US indicated that for the tax-paying campaign the most effective message was not with threats or persuasions but saying that “90% Americans fill out their tax return forms on time”.
  6. The neurology science has also added some knowledge to the understanding of customer behavior. No matter how you advertise or lay out the goods – if your customer is heavily depressed. One of the key conditions for any decision making is emotion. If a person doesn’t have any energy for emotions and feelings – usually they are not able to decide anything but instead playing with the options forever with no outcome.
Based on: Nudge (by Richard H . Thaler & Cass R. Sunstein), Switch (by Chip & Dan Heath), Flourish (by Martin E. P. Seligman), The Social Animal (by David Brooks).