01 Oct 2020


On September 26, 2020, for the first time, a traditional meeting of alumni, students, faculty and partners of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg State University (GSOM SPbU) GSOM Family was held in an online format and transformed in GSOM Family Global. The GSOM Family meeting became the largest friendly event of this year: 430 participants from Russia, the Netherlands, Hungary, Poland, Germany, Ireland, Denmark, England, Spain, Belarus, Indonesia, Canada, Norway, France, USA, Czech Republic, Australia, Israel, China and Estonia united on the PINE Tool online platform and gave each other new knowledge, invaluable minutes of communication and five hours of useful networking.


The Central Panel Session "Anti-crisis Management: the Virus as a Trigger for Big Change"

The event began with welcoming words about the School's mission and the importance of the GSOM Family community from Olga Dergunova, Deputy President and Chairman of the Board of VTB Bank (PJSC), Director of GSOM SPbU:

“This year, thanks to the online format, we, who live in different countries and time zones, despite closed borders, were able to get together. Previously, this was impossible to imagine! In 2019, we started discussing the development strategy of the Business School for the next five years, and many of you took an active part in it. And today we are together implementing the new mission of GSOM — we create knowledge, develop leaders and change the world for the better. Thanks to everyone who participates in the development of GSOM SPbU: only together can we achieve the most ambitious goals."


“Anti-crisis management: the virus as a trigger for big changes” is much more than the topic of the last session. These are the circumstances in which business is forced to develop today. The speakers discussed changes within the organization and in the market, key innovations, anti-crisis strategies, as well as new approaches to work with clients.


Leonid Cherny, Big Data Director, MegaFon: “The crisis is forcing businesses to change, rebuild their work, look for new directions of development and non-trivial solutions. It is important to remember that along with losses, this period brings opportunities. The main thing is to see, evaluate and use them in time”.


After the completion of the Central Panel Session, communication continued in the unusual online format of Random Coffee, where everyone could find like-minded people and make new acquaintances.


The Panel Session "FinTech in Banking: How Innovations Are Changing the Financial Sphere"

Representatives of financial companies explained what stands behind the term FinTech today: they identified differences in the banking sector in different countries, noted the increased importance of online transactions due to the pandemic, discussed the main trends in the FinTech world and the further development of the industry. The main insight is to pay close attention to technology and remember that new ideas came from the intersection of industries.


Mikhail Gavrilov, Vice President, Bank Saint Petersburg: “Technologies in the financial industry are helping to change people's behavioral habits. We at the bank use a large number of machine learning algorithms so that in one operation there is a minimum of human labor and maximum benefit through automation."


The Panel session "Entrepreneurship Without Borders: How to Do Business in Russia and the World?"

GSOM SPbU alumni — founders of their own companies in different parts of the world discussed what it means to “be an entrepreneur” today, what is characteristic of doing business in Russia and what kind of partner is necessary to find for success.


Elizaveta Roshchina, co-founder of ERA81: “Do not doubt your abilities, start! If you want support, then look for people like you and go where there is access. Try to make the future out of what you have."


The Panel session "The future of marketing in the context of new technologies"

Professionals interacting with consumers at different levels discussed the trends and prospects of innovative technologies in marketing, shared their views on what drives the spread of digital tools on the market — product or marketing.


Alexey Poltavsky, Director of Internet Advertising Department, Veeam Software (Russia), an alumnus of GSOM SPbU'09: “The classical marketing tasks remain, but the means for their solution have undergone significant changes. Over the past 10 years, new tools have entered our profession: for example, digital marketing, access to big data. Now we can anticipate consumer behavior and stay ahead of the curve. Modern technologies allow to check the efficiency of advertising campaigns online, make adjustments and watch its effectiveness ...".


Online Debate "Founder or Employee: Which Way to Choose?"


During online debates GSOM SPbU alumni presented different views on building a career in a corporation and creating their own business, compared risks and growth opportunities. The debate was moderated by Madi Shakhrur, co-founder of the Federation of Debates and the BeSmart communication studio, an alumnus of GSOM SPbU'11. At the end of debates the audience chose one side — founder or employee and the side of the founders won.


Arina Faul, Marketing Analyst, Managing Partner of Eclare Agency: “The path of a founder is the path of freedom and creativity. In business, you create your own realities".


Alexandra Bayakina, Head of Business Analytics, Tesla: “An employee is about how the relationship between a company and a specialist is built. In a corporation, you receive a stable income, social guarantees and confidence in the future".


Workshop "A practical guide on the path to dreams"

Anton Luzhkovsky, GSOM SPbU'04 alumnus, coach-consultant and business coach, shared universal approaches to conscious movement towards a better life: how and why to clear your head from countless information flows, what supportive practices exist and how to use them effectively. The path to a dream is the theme of his podcast "Easy and Not So".


Workshop "Internal resilience of a leader in an era of change"

Olga (Shteidl) Skipper, GSOM SPbU'07 alumna, coach-consultant and business coach shared one of the most effective tools for personal development and talked about the types of leaders who are most confident in moving forward in conditions of uncertainty.


Workshop "Everything you need to know about building management teams: a guide for the leader"

Peter Zashev, visiting professor of MBA programs at GSOM SPbU, Doctor of Economics, associate professor at Stockholm School of Economics, business coach, member of the board of directors and co-owner of several successful companies, explained in his blitz workshop why people are one of the most important intangible assets of a company. and shared practical tools for building high-performing teams.


Feedback from GSOM Family Global members

Ivan Protasov, an alumnus of GSOM SPbU'19, Product Manager, Astron: “If there was a goldfish in the chat, I would ask it to organize GFG four times a year. I liked it very much! "


Yulia Zhidkova, GSOM SPbU'11 MBA program alumna, Senior PR Specialist, Netwrix: “The team managed to make a really interesting online event, despite the fact that there were a lot of them over the past six months”.


Evgeny Kuzmin, GSOM SPbU'07 EMBA program alumna, business owner: “Thank you for the excellent GSOM Family Global conference. It was really interesting and helpful. You are great! Everything was technologically advanced and modern ”.


Victoria Kekua, GSOM SPbU third-year student: “My opinion about such online events has changed dramatically. I saw many advantages, ranging from the ability to record a lecture, to the opportunity to find new useful contacts. "


GSOM Family can overcome any obstacle. As a real family, we will always find a way to get together. See you again, GSOM Family!