пятница, 24 февраля 2012 г.

MBA-3 students' first advancements in India

On February, 20th the pre-presentation of the MBA-3 student corporate projects in front of clients took place in Delhi and Mumbai. The client themselves and Andrei Volkov, Dean of the school, who was present at the pre-presentation say that the students have made a thorough analysis of projects in different spheres. Project teams have been working on research of the market of motor items, banking industry and medical sector.


The students got first recommendations for further improvements and some suppositions that are to be proved during the final presentation as well. Two Presidents of high-ranked corporations participated in the event as well. “Looking at the results of their work I see how much progress they have made during those 1,5 months”, says Stephan Dertnig, SKOLKOVO Projects Office Director and head of the Indian module. “They have learnt how information should be presented, how the spheres that need to be changed should be highlighted, what exactly should be offered to clients. I’m really pleased with them.”
We congratulate our students on their first advancements in their corporate projects and wish them futher patience and persistence while studying.

среда, 22 февраля 2012 г.

Open lecture by Andreas Heinecke “Myths and reality of social enterprise”

Recently the open lecture “Myths and reality of social enterprise” by Andreas Heinecke, author of the project “Dialogue in the dark”, was held on the SKOLKOVO Campus. Among listeners there were representatives of different social foundations and organizations, students and graduates SKOLKOVO, representatives of the SKOLKOVO Volunteer Club; everybody present wasn’t indifferent to the problems the modern society is facing.

Professor Heinecke started his lecture with featuring core social problems: hunger, lack of fresh water, etc. Namely, one of the most significant problems that the lecturer is trying to fight is the status of disabled people. Now it’s time to describe in details what the project "Dialogue in the dark" actually is. It’s a kind of a tour in the world of the blind: able to see people are led to an absolutely dark room by blind tour-guides. In that space without light and any conventions a person stays alone with himself - with his thoughts and perceptions, his feelings become strained and all that brings him out of his comfort zone. Why do people need it? As it the most unusual experience that one could get!

Andreas Heinecke told listeners what has driven him to the creation of "Dialogue in the dark". As the professor was not engaged in the social enterprise yet, he was asked to help a blind person to adjust to work – to explain and show everything. Andreas was totally surprised when that blind person didn’t match the image of the blinded that he had in mind at all. His mentee appeared to be a high guy with long hair who could perfectly play guitar and looked like a confident and happy person. Back then Andreas felt guilty for his prejudices and decided to show the world that disabled people are actually people with unlimited potential. That is why he decided just to turn off the light so that others could see talents and abilities of the blind.

воскресенье, 19 февраля 2012 г.

SKOLKOVO Entrepreneurs’ Club meeting: the new format

Recently the first and surely not the last Entrepreneurs’ Club meeting of this year took place. That time the participants tried to hold the meeting in another format. Namely, they were the projects applied what became the highlight of the evening not speakers’ performances as usual.


Obviously, it was worth participating! Lots of opportunities were presented, look: to get an opinion of one of the best world experts Noubar Afeyan, PhD, Parter and CEO of Flagship Ventures; to get audience’s and, perhaps, future business partners’ feedback and to master your pitch in English.
How did it go? As soon as all participants had gathered, each got an opportunity to speak out – to tell briefly why he or she was there and what his or her occupation was. After that Noubar Afeyan took the floor; he shared his experience and a piece of advice for entrepreneurs. And then project presentations started and lynch as well.

The jury selected three winners in accordance with two criteria - business value and presentation skills. And the best pitch was picked via joint voting. Loud applause brake out as Artem Zakharchenko with his project CARDIOWAVE was announced the winner.
As always the evening ended up with a cup of coffee at the bar and networking.

We’d like to remind that meetings are held regularly in the open format; it means that everybody is welcome to speak out and to present a project. Everybody who is interested can come; just don’t forget to sign in beforehand! Why should you come? - It’s easy: to share ideas, to get new acquaintances and to find potential partners. Our next meeting will be held on February, 28th, follow up our news here!

понедельник, 13 февраля 2012 г.

Advice on business literature from Helen Edwards

A new selection of business literature from SKOLKOVO Library Project Manager Helen Edwards that includes some of best books from 2011:  Management consultancies and newspapers.

Richard P. Rumelt
Profile, 2011.
xii, 322 pages
ISBN: 9781846684807

Shortlisted for the Financial Times Business Book of the Year 2011 this book pinpoints common kinds of bad strategy: the meaningless mission statement, the objectives with no plans for achieving them, an assortment of ideas with no connections between them. Rumelt shows how, for a strategy to work, it has to contain a diagnosis which defines the challenge, a guiding policy for how the challenge is to be addressed and a set of coherent actions. This is often far from straightforward and the book illustrates the cleverness of really effective strategies. Rumelt's ideas are also discussed in one of the McKinsey Quarterly's top 10 articles of 2011: The perils of bad strategy (free registration required).

Bob Lutz
Portfolio Penguin, 2011.
256 pages
ISBN: 978-1591844006

Also singled out by strategy + business, US car executive Bob Lutz describes his frustration with the domination of accounting and management fads in his industry. He associates the decline of US auto industry with the move in focus away from design and what customers want in favour of financial models of profitability. Spreadsheets and predictions replaced a passion for cars. Lutz is loud against the unnecessary intellectualisation of any industry where formulas and bureaucratic requirements take away the soul.

Tom Devine and Tarek F. Maassarani
Berrett-Koehler, 2011
288 pages
ISBN: 978-1605099866

Winner of the get Abstract international book award 2011, this book tells the stories of those employees who often risk a great deal to expose serious wrongdoings in their companies. The book is a practical guide to how to report corporate crime and how to protect oneself while doing so. Its focus is "the person of conscience" in the US and the references are to US law but the issues it touches are international. As one of the most famous whistleblowers who took on Big Tobacco comments " whistle blowing is the highest-risk, highest-stakes, most inspiring and most disillusioning experience."

четверг, 9 февраля 2012 г.

The way to understand that a new strategy is fatal for the company - an article by Helen Edwards

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

The way to understand that a new strategy is fatal for the company
Experts have studied mistakes of others

A company announces a new strategy. And really often that strategy sounds as follows: “We’ll provide our clients with one-of-a-kind service”, “Our income will rise at N% a year”, “Our market share will annually expand that fast, and our earnings will be increased that much”, “Fairly soon we’ll become a global company, and our expenses will be annually reduced that much”… Richard Rummelt, author of the well-known best-seller “Good Strategy, Bad Strategy”, is concerned that none of the statements mentioned above can be described as strategy. Such statements themselves are a really bad strategy.

How can a bad and a good strategy be told apart

Having researched a lot of companies Rummelt highlighted moments that’d better been avoided. Among them are: high-sounding announcements having nothing real behind them; ambitious targets without mentioning the way they will be reached; lots of discordant goals without any priorities. At that Rummelt warns that all that may be covered with lots of charming words and figures. Reports of sadly known Enron were always full of convincing figures and facts confirming all plans and so called strategies. Herewith the fact that the market outlet for the company’s products seriously differs from the gas and electric power market outlet was left out or concealed on purpose.
The skill to ban a strategy is not enough; the skill to identify a good one is desired as well. According to Mr. Rummelt, each real strategy must comprise three components: a problem that a company is facing, a set of solution ways and a set of exact actions the company is going to undertake. The essence of the first component is clear – the range of possible and real difficulties has to be narrowed in order to understand what aspects are crucial for the company. However to get what exactly defines a winning strategy is challenging not only for outsiders but for the company’s top-managers as well. That is why on MBA-programmes students are always provided with cases comprising all possible information – from the financial state of the company itself and CEO’s personal background to the current market situation. Students are to find and determine possible success factors and pitfalls themselves. At the end of the day neither the mission nor the strategy may contain what is that the company is banking on.
For instance, let’s consider the Wal-Mart slogan “Save money, live better”. The company opens its stores outside cities and in places that never had discounters. The key to the company’s strategy is not hidden in the location of single stores. Even a reader far from retail would get that if there were few people in a village the demand on products in the store would also be low. However the company’s true strategy is in the way the network functions; due to the great number of stores it’s easier to distribute goods among them and overcome competitors. It’s essential that it’s really difficult to repeat that strategy as it is more challenging to create a store network that a single shop.

понедельник, 6 февраля 2012 г.

SKOLKOVO MBA students in the country of contrasts

Our FT MBA students of 3rd intake are in India now where they study corporate projects. They were divided into 5 groups to carry on differents projects (healthcare industry, motorbike producer, retail bank etc.) in Mumbai and Delhi.
Alisa Kholmovskaya, project office coordinator, talks about how students' adapt to Indian culture and gain experience in the country of contrasts.

The past week has been difficult period. Seven days of intense training programme specially designed for our MBA students in accordance with their interests and likes by a well-respected coach in the field Dr. Pierre K. Yogeshwar. No weekends, no free time, working hours 9am to 7pm. Welcome back to school.

I was there during the first day when Pierre gave everyone another chance to get to know each other. One of the exercises was fairly simply: to come up with an anonymous advert for yourself and others would have to guess which one belongs to who. Interestingly enough, only 4 ads found their true owners, which made the guys think – do they Really know each other that well?


The training continued the next day, with lectures and exercises on Team Management, Team Contract and Leadership.  The theoretical part covered a wide variety of topics, ranging from Self Organization and Basic Communication to Leadership and Change. The highlight of the third day was the Rope exercise, where the group was split into two teams and each team had to come up with a strategy and then implement this strategy of laying out a 30-meter rope in the form of two concentric squares while minimizing the lay out time and maximizing the quality of the shape. The last few days of the training week consisted mostly of pitching by teams and interviewing, followed by debriefing. We then took off to Mumbai.


There were a few very interesting guest-lectures during the training week which gave some insight into Indian economics and labour market. Dr. Soumya Ghosh, the Head of Research and Economics Department at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), spoke about the Economic specifics and the changes India has undergone in the last decade. Ms. Joyeeta Chatterjee, Vice President of Organization Development at Jubilant Life Sciences, has addressed the students on the topic of Employee Engagement covering two models in particular: Gallup and Hewitt.

In Mumbai we had an opportunity to listen to Nilesh Chaterjee, the Head of Research and Evaluation at John Hopkins University Centre for Communication Programs in India, speak about Doing Business in India; he showed us how wrong perception may often lead to erroneous actions. Dr. Nandu Rajadhax, Head of Corporate Marketing at Eureka Forbes Limited, spoke about India’s history and national peculiarities.