CRISIS IS THE TIME TO INVEST IN YOURSELF, Anna Bebekina

Tell us, what is the difference between participants of the Russian representative office of Stockholm School of Economics and the European ones?
As a rule, adult and already successful people come to our Executive MBA programs in Russia. On the one hand, it is interesting to deal with them but there are also certain difficulties.
Russian participants are curious about such topics as HR management and corporate social responsibility and programs of personal development only start coming to fashion. This is an interesting peculiarity and it is possible that not everyone is ready to discuss his problems in presence of outside people yet.
In Sweden these are mostly employers who pay for education. In Russia this practice is less widespread. Whereas we have formerly estimated that in Sweden in 70% of cases EMBA course is financed by companies and in Russia 70% of EMBA students pay for their education on their own, now the proportion is changing. This is possibly associated with the fact that employees have started working in companies longer. Personnel turnover in Russian companies was much bigger than in Western companies before and employer did not hurry to pay for education fearing of los of an employee after he would receive the certificate.
You have been on the Russian market for a long time, tell us about its specific. Did you have to change something in the approach?
When we entered the Russian market in 1997 this was not the most obvious direction for development. Many people told us that working in Russia was "unrealistic and dangerous." By that time Stockholm School of Economics was already working successfully in Riga since 1994. We have always understood that Baltic republics and Russia and our neighbors and that is why contributing to establishment of developing economies is beneficial not only for Sweden and Swedish business but also for citizens of our countries and finally for the global business community. We call this capitalism with human face.
In comparison to 2000, Russian market definitely grew more mature, started approaching the Western model more and approach among our students changed noticeably. There are many companies in Russia that I can call perfect and they work successfully in harsh and difficult conditions of Russian business environment. And the quantity of such good examples is growing because Russia is approaching other markets.
In all our programs taught in Stockholm, Riga and Russia we are guided by the same vision of global business. But it is definitely necessary to combine the common international academic concept of business with private cases relevant only for the Russian market. For this purpose we regularly arrange consulting sessions where participants fulfill real tasks of Russian companies.
Tell us about peculiarities of approach and methods of studying in Stockholm School of Economics?
Stockholm School of Economics in Russia offers EMBA General Management and EMBA General Management programs with simultaneous translation into the Russian language. Educations lasts for two years and takes place in the modular format and thus it is possible to combine it with work.
The program is divided into 15 modules of five days each (from Wednesday until Sunday). The frequency of the modules is one in four to six weeks. In summer and winter we have vacations. Territorially, the classes take place in Moscow and St. Petersburg. We also organize extramural modules (Sweden, Latvia, sometimes Italy, Holland, China etc).
Business education for managers has an important peculiarity: a half of practical benefit from education is provided by the academic part in the form of lecturers and educational materials and the second half is provided by communication with fellow-students, exchange of ideas and life experience from various areas of professional activity.
The programs are oriented at managers of top and medium level and at business owners. Participants wish not simply to receive new academic knowledge, they set certain goals for themselves: to systematize the available knowledge, to establish business relations, to broaden horizons and to develop themselves and, as a consequence, to improve efficiency of their business. During classes they analyze cases and modern models of management and coaching sessions are conducted. Successful representatives of the business community and Western lecturers are attracted to teaching. At present, 90% of the teaching staff consists of specialists of international level.
Tells us, please, about the main trends of the business education in Russia and in Europe.
According to its essence, EMBA format changes slowly because this is a classic program of business education that implies a set of certain disciplines and skills of participants after graduation. Existing changes consist mostly of broadening of the practical component and interactive methods in teaching.
For example, such processes were implemented into the programs of Stockholm School of Economics as Leadership Intelligence and In-Company Project. The first of them helps students to developer leadership qualities and the second of them enables them to take part in a real consulting project and to use theoretical knowledge in business.
Remote learning and online courses can be called a global trend. In my opinion, such format is efficient in combination with full-time education that provides systemic understanding of business, valuable business relations and possibility to solve problems of your company in the process of learning.
A distinctive peculiarity of Stockholm School of Economics is SSE Alumni Network, a global community that consists of 900 graduates of EMBA program in Russia and more than 15,000 worldwide. The value of the network for the graduates is its closeness and high quality of composition of participants who speak the same language and can always receive answers to their questions, find business partners and new lines for development of business.
Did the crisis influence these trends?
We cannot speak about decrease in demand for the programs because of the crisis, competition for a place remains fairly big. For a manager of a company crisis is a possibility to invest in his education.
First, this is long-term investment without any risks because Executive MBA format implies high quality. Second, this is an indisputable competitive advantage that will help you to stand in difficult time. Crisis is also a litmus paper that reveals all problematic places of business. In this sense education is useful because it helps solving these problems in the process of learning.
Is it possible to teach being a leader?
A leader should definitely have some in-bone qualities. And we look at leadership qualities of a candidate during selection for the school. But in the process of education we pay much attention to formation of leadership qualities and enable participants to develop them significantly.
What is the difference of corporate programs from open Executive МВА?
Corporate programs are developed proceeding from certain tasks and goals set for a company. These programs are developed in such way that employees of a company receive theoretical training and learn using the studied models for fulfillment of practical business tasks. As a result, a company receives an efficient and close-knot team of managers that can provide successful achievement of strategic goals of a company.
For example, we have been developing corporate program for RZD since 2008. It is aimed at development of HR potential of the holding. The program is intended for training of top managers who strive for further development, acquisition of new knowledge, improvement of competences, broadening of the horizons of thinking.
What is necessary to enter an open Executive МВА program?
The system of entrance into Executive MBA program consists of several stages: a candidate needs to fill in a detailed questionnaire, to write several essays, to pass through interview and testing. An important requirement is at least five years of managerial experience.
Quality of the group is a guarantee of success. It is important that people speak the same language, solve problems, fulfill tasks and resolve cases proceeding from their experience and knowledge that correspond to the general high level of other participants. Many candidates ask with whom they will study and level of other participants is important for them.
How much will the education cost?
EMBA General Management program costs 48,000 euros and program with translation into Russian costs about 55,000 euros. The fixed euro exchange rate that we have set two months ago is an important aspect. This circumstance provides a possibility of certain stability in payment.
Can business education change the life? Tell us, please, if you have met such cases?
Of course. People who are already successful come to us and business education helps them to take a new step for which they have strived for many years. Alumni are our business card. We are proud that such people as Vice President of RZD Victor Stepov, head of Reksoft in Russia Alexander Yegorov and other talented managers of big Russian and foreign companies have graduated from Stockholm School of Economics in Russia.

 

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