During the 24th St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, the participants of the session "Everything you need to know about career development: corporate DNA vs your own project", organized with the support of the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) and ANO "Business Russia", agreed in opinion: today there are more similarities between the mentioned career scenarios than contradictions.
The discussion was dedicated to the problem of trajectory choice. The problem is relevant not only for alumni but also for experienced specialists: being an employee of a corporation or own business? The session participants have started with the constatation: in modern reality, working in a corporation requires entrepreneurial inclinations, and in your own business project you cannot do without managerial skills. It is difficult to oppose these two activities.
Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board, GSOM SPbU Director Olga Dergunova has noted the positive conformism that is typical for large corporations.
“Corporate culture of large organizations is a comfortable zone of discomfort. In a large company, even if one project fails, the company gives a chance to the employee once more in order to let him/her try once more, because the company shares all the risk with its employees. But if you are an entrepreneur and you have a start-up, you have nobody to share the risks. But in this case, all the success belongs to the entrepreneur. We at GSOM SPbU have found a solution to what to teach students: it is necessary to include business in the educational process: but according to all academic rules - we transform guest lectures by invited experts from companies into full-fledged courses that practical teachers read together with academic directors and university teachers. We are creating new formats of education, which has become for us the laboratory <5G_Dream_Lab>, joint with MegaFon, where students go through the full cycle of an entrepreneurial project, but with the help supervisor from a business. There is a chance that it will be possible not to discourage young people from entering the market on their own”.
Karina Bogatyreva, Director of the Center for Entrepreneurship at GSOM SPbU, in turn, emphasized the importance of fundamental education for any type of career.
“It is a business process accelerator and optimizer. Both a person without higher education and a person who has received this education can achieve high results in entrepreneurship. However, those who have received an education will do it faster, with fewer resources and fewer losses”.
As an example, Karina Bogatyreva mentioned a joint program of GSOM SPbU and Coca-Cola in Russia. “Youth empowered - your success path” - entrepreneurship training program aimed at helping young people to get to know which skills they need to launch a business successfuly and how to optimize it with minimal efforts. At the same time, the director of the Center for Entrepreneurship of the Business School emphasized: “Education is a two-way road. We expect active perception from the student. Even a brilliant teacher will not be able to give skills to those who are busy with something else".
Irina Petrova, HR Director of Coca-Cola HBC in Russia, noted that a characteristic feature of Russia is a certain timidity of potential job seekers and entrepreneurs. According to her, there is still an opinion that it is difficult to hire a large international company. This opinion is especially widespread among regional youth, who do not even give themselves the opportunity to try. I. Petrova is convinced that it is necessary to knock on all doors, to participate in public activities of the company; in the West, job seekers do not give up in response to a refusal, she notes. Another aspect: even working in a corporation and being productive employees, domestic specialists do not know how to present their achievements and present themselves. This is the direction in which we still have to grow.
Denis Didkovsky, General Director of "Center for Entrepreneurship" LCC, agreed: very few people have the ability to present themselves; hence, for example, difficulties in presenting their projects to investors. But there is also positive news: Russia is seeing an increase in the acceptance of entrepreneurship as a career option. From generation to generation, compatriots evaluate this type of employment with increasing respect: according to the latest data from the All-Russian Public Opinion Research Center, up to 90% of young people aged 18 to 24 have a positive attitude towards entrepreneurship. Denis Didkovsky sees the relationship between the trajectories of hired careerists and aspiring businessmen. According to his observations, many university graduates enter the service of large corporations precisely in order to acquire the skills necessary for building an independent business under the supervision of experienced specialists in relatively safe conditions - as well as to accumulate funds to launch a startup.
Hunter Cawood, Founder of The Russian Public Affairs Committee (Ru-PAC), an alumnus of GSOM SPbU in 2018, noted that hiring a specialist in a company is treated as an investment in Russia, striving to select candidates with experience and knowledge in order to be sure that investing in this person will pay off. Particularly noteworthy is the desire to make sure that the involved manager can be trusted. At the same time, according to him, a good manager is able to take care of the development of both corporate and personal brands - he does not see any contradictions between these processes.
Alexey Mostovshchikov, Chairman of the Expert Council on Economics and Entrepreneurship of the Youth Parliament under the State Duma of the Russian Federation, spoke about his own experience: when he started his career, he heard a lot about the difficulties facing businessmen - but it was this challenge that pushed him into entrepreneurship. Therefore, he is confused by the constant talk about measures to support business. Mostovshchikov is convinced that it is harmful to a novice entrepreneur to create greenhouse conditions. With interest and sparkle in his eyes, nothing can stop him - neither overregulated legislation nor competitors.
Natalya Yutanova, Founder and CEO of Exec4.0, a company focused on the development and search for senior executives, noted that investors in large corporations are entrepreneurs themselves, and talented at that; in our country - even brilliant. Therefore, they want to see their employees with entrepreneurial activity, but not spirit; this is the prerogative of the owners. N. Yutanova advised the youth audience to think about who they want to see themselves at 40 years old - and to understand that on any path they will have to give up something. So, in a corporation, a good managerial fate may await you, but you will not become the owner of a private jet. It can be bought by a successful entrepreneur - but you need to understand the corresponding risks.
Summing up the results of the discussion, Olga Dergunova emphasized: “Any development scenario should be based on fundamental knowledge - have it at least a natural science, at least deeply economic specification. They should be absorbed as much as possible between 18 and 25 years. All methods can evolve, and soft skills can be transformed, but mathematics and literature will always remain mathematics and literature - even if you have to overcome yourself in order to master them".
The session moderator, First Deputy Executive Director of the International Public Organization "Association of Managers" Vadim Kovalev, finalized the conversation by reminding about such a sociological phenomenon as the Norwegian pike syndrome. During the experiment, pike and crucian carp were placed in a glass cube, separated by a glass partition. After a day of attempts to overcome it, the pike developed a reflex - when the invisible wall disappeared, it remained in the place where it used to be. Vadim Kovalev wished everyone not to find themselves in a similar situation - and to try to solve their problem, no matter what the circumstances.