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13 Feb 2020

The first results of the GSOM SPbU strategy commission: what does business expect from the school

On January 31, in Moscow, members of the Strategy Commissionunder the GSOM SPbU Advisory Board, together with invited experts, consultants from BCG, faculty and staff of the School, held their first meeting to discuss prospects for the development of GSOM SPbU. Working in teams, the participants identified priorities for the main intellectual products of the business school: Bachelor and Master programs, Executive education, and research programs. 

Business representatives noted a high demand for specialists to transform the Russian economy. The School is expected to further expand cooperation with industry: introducing the industrial component in the educational programs of Bachelor and Master programs, increasing the number of professors with business experience, expanding the curriculum with courses on the development of relevant competencies, and designing diplomas for experience gained in partnership with corporations.

According to experts, the alumni of GSOM SPbU Bachelor programs possess skills that are important for professional work: the ability to work in a team, a high degree of stress tolerance, and a broad view on the world that is formed during education in a multicultural environment. However, representatives of HR services noted that alumni often have unrealistically high expectations when going to work and are not well informed about the realities of corporate life or the functionality of various structural divisions of companies. At the same time, GSOM alumni are distinguished by “excellent student syndrome” and the fear of making mistakes. Therefore, employers consider it is necessary in the training process to pay more attention to the development of such skills as critical thinking, the ability to defend one's point of view and accept constructive criticism, as well as the ability to take responsibility and to learn from mistakes.

“The value of a GSOM alumni is that they grow in a unique context of diversity. In their learning process, they meet different socio-demographic and cultural manifestations, which forms their broad view of the world. Their other strong quality is the ability to cooperate. The experience of building student communities and projects gives them the skill to unite to solve a difficult task,” said Anna Morozova, head of the organizational development group at P&G, and a GSOM SPbU alumni.

According to experts, Master program alumni should be distinguished by intellectual curiosity, the desire for self-development and self-education —  qualities that together form an integral personality. High working capacity, willingness to change the place of residence and awareness of the need to comply with safety requirements, taking into account the specifics of an industry, from the point of view of employers, are the most important indicators of the professional maturity of young professionals. At the same time, specialists that have strong digital skills and are able to work in cross-functional teams are most in demand today. A successful example of developing skills in such a team is the joint project of GSOM and MegaFon —  <5G_Dream_Lab>.

“GSOM SPbU should train high-level specialists and should remain a transformer and create a connection of this potential with real sectors of the economy, for example, through production management programs. This is important because there is a demand for educated alumni who can work in 4.0 industry,” said Natalia Yamshchikova, Director of Sibur Corporate University.

In terms of the postgraduate professional education at GSOM offered by the Executive MBA, MBA Challenges for the Digital World programs, a joint GSM and the AlmaU program, as well as a number of corporate programs, business is interested in teaching modern management methods while taking into account industry specifics and differentiated requirements for managers of different levels. Main topics included soft skills, digital skills, decision-making based on data analysis, managing cross-functional teams, as well as the ability to predict the future and act in the face of uncertainty.

The Representatives of the Strategy Commission and invited experts discussed the academic activities of GSOM and agreed that research in the managerial sphere should have potential applied value. Among the priority areas for academic expansion, topics such as digital transformation, new ways of working, and sustainable development were noted. Analysis of global trends in management, applied research for companies, as well as case studies — these are the intellectual GSOM SPbU products that can already be in demand on the market today.  

It is assumed that at the next meetings of the Commission ideas for the development of the MVP (minimum viable product) will be selected, taking into account the priorities related to the updating the Strategy of the School. GSOM SPbU, with the active participation of the Advisory Board companies, will launch a number of projects that meet the needs of the business along with the global challenges currently facing educational institutions.