Doing Business in Russia



  • Olga Makarova, Can.Sc., MBA, Sr.Lecturer, Department of Strategic and International Management, Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University
  • Karina Bogatyreva, Can.Sc., Assistant professor, Department of Strategic and International Management, Graduate School of Management, St.Petersburg University



45 contact hours


Basic knowledge in Marketing, Accounting and business-planning

Course Description:

The course is focusing on two objectives: to give students and overview of Russian business environment, introduce them to specificity of doing business in Russia as an emerging country and teach them to apply this knowledge into practice through business-plan preparation and defense. Lectures are delivered by GSOM professors, as well as by top-managers of Russian and international companies. Big emphasis is put on guest lectures oriented on providing practical insights on doing business in unstable Russian environment. Additionally, students will be given an opportunity of company visit to the facilities of wel-known local or international company with strong presence in local market.

The guest lectures, visits and entrepreneurial feedback sessions will be given in cooperation with top-managers of Russian and international companies. Guests speakers are different in each turn of this course, but the following companies participate almost all the turns: PriceWaterhouseCoopers, Baltic Brewery, Capital Legal Services, Ingria Business Incubator, Hyundai and other companies.

Guided and consulted by GSOM professors, students will develop a detailed and feasible business plan for a start-up in Russia. They will work intensively in mixed international groups, with at least one Russian-speaking student in each group. The business idea validation round table will be held on the second week of the course where 2-3 initial business ideas will be brought by the students groups for open discussion with GSOM professors, business practitioners and other participants. As final evaluation, groups of students are expected to write a paper containing all the business plan essential parts including financials as well as to deliver a convincing group presentation at the end of the course. Approximate time for the intensive project work in groups is 5-6 weeks starting from the very first days.

Though course has its pre-requisites, international students without pre-requisites are also invited for participation but should consider putting more efforts to contribute to the group work successfully.

Course Content:

Learning the business context:

  • Facts and figures about Russia, macroeconomic summary;
  • History of business, demographic challenges;
  • Russian financial system and investment climate;
  • Marketing landscape;
  • Legal and tax system: Opportunities and risks;
  • Russia’s potential in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Practical insights in the following areas:

  • FMCG and production
  • Investment Projects & Banking
  • Entrepreneurship incl. Social entrepreneurship
  • Technology and Innovations

Group work: detailed business plan development (paper + group presentation)

Course Organization:

preparatory readings, lectures, in-class discussions, company visits, group project.

Course Reading:

Core reading:

Supplementary reading:

Exam format:

Exam in-class: group presentation (business-plan defense) based on group final report (group business-plan), peer-to-peer evaluation applies
Timing: 30 minutes for each group, students should also attend and evaluate presentations of the other groups

Grading Policy (% or points):

Course progress – 70%: individual assessments – 30%, group assessments (report) – 30%, peer-to-peer evaluation applies. Exam (group assessment) – 40 %.

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