THE OPENING YEARS
The Stockholm School of Economics Russia was founded in 1997 and it was named the Stockholm School of Economics in Saint-Petersburg. The opening was the outcome of the endeavour by the then SSE President Professor Staffan Burenstam Linder, the SSE Riga President Associate professor Jan Eklöf and the generous donations made by the Rausing and Af Jochnick families paired by support from the Prince Bertil Research Foundation of Sweden. The idea behind the SSE Russia launch was to contribute to the development of sustainable business in Russia by promoting the pursuit of sound, long-term, fair, and socially responsible business practices, which later became known as the development of capitalism with a human face in Russia.
The initial product portfolio coined programs, such as the Hans Rausing program on entrepreneurship, and a variety of activities within the sphere of quality management. A small but important research centre was also set up. In order to promote the school brand, SSE Russia also initiated its own book publishing activity, the most well-known offspring of which is Funky Business, or Biznjes v stilje fank as called in Russian. At the time the school rented an office space at Nevsky prospekt 1 and classes were held outside the city, for examples in Hotel Baltiets in Repino. In 2001 SSE Russia moved into new premises also hosting class rooms located at Shvedsky pereulok 1, in the heart of the Swedish early 20th century colony in Saint-Petersburg. The Moscow office opened its doors in 2003.
As the school further penetrated the Russian market for higher business education, a number of new programs were launched, most notably the first Executive General Management MBA program in 2000, a true offspring from the Hans Rausing Entrepreneurship program. This program was the first to issue an SSE academic diploma signed by the SSE President and from 2006 and onwards it was ranked by the Financial Times together with its sister programs in Stockholm and Riga. A number of other open programs such as Entrepreneurship Essentials, Living Company, Finance is beautiful and Branding..., as well as a number of customized corporate programs were also launched.
THE PHASE OF CONSOLIDATION
In the mid-2000s the Executive MBA program portfolio was enlarged, thus adding an Executive MBA Oil & Gas and an Executive MBA in Strategic Market Development. The former one, the outcome of a corporate program with the Yukos company, was the first degree program delivered to a Russian-speaking audience with simultaneous translation from English. The introduction of these new programs also meant the gradual substantial increase of the SSE Russia alumni community. Although Executive MBA programs were enlarged, a number of other activities were discontinued, such as the quality centre, the own academic research and the book publishing. Instead, further efforts were put into focusing on larger corporate programs customers with an inherent ability to order programs for a number of successive years. Such a move in this period promoted the coming into being of major corporate programs customers such as Novartis, Russian Railways (RZD) and Sibur. In this period SSE Russia changed guises in terms of financial viability as to become fully self-sufficient/auto-financed from 2008 and onwards. And this is amidst the global financial crisis deeply affecting Russia. This is obviously a key dimension in to enable a sustainable long-term development of the school. A prerequisite for such a development is furthermore a well-working governance structure. In the case of SSE Russia this is most notably seen through the active board chairmanship by the then SSE President Professor Lars Bergman as well as the active engagement of board members Rolf Eidem, Fredrik Ekman and Anders Rydin. In 2009 SSE Russia celebrated the centennial birthday of the Stockholm School of Economics by hosting a record number of some 500 alumni at place in Saint-Petersburg.
In the recent years there is a higher concentration of Executive MBA programs taught in the English language or in English with simultaneous interpretation into Russian. In March 2019 the 20th Executive MBA General Management (Executive Master of Business Administration, General Management) in English was launched. And December, 2018 marked the beginning of the 11th group with the same program taught with translation into Russian.
The special pride of the School and the main indicator of its longstanding successful work is the alumni community consisting of over 2,000 graduates, half of them graduates of Executive MBA programs.
On June 8, 2017 Stockholm School of Economics celebrated its 20-year anniversary in Russia. Among graduates who attended the celebration there were the founder and General Director of Splat Evgeny Demin, the Novgorod Region Governor Andrey Nikitin, Vice-President on Human Resources and Education Projects of Mail.ru Plga Filatova, and many other Russian entrepreneurs and top managers. The event to mark the 20th anniversary in St. Petersburg brought together graduates, faculty from different years, management and partners of the School.
In addition to corporate programs for Astra Zeneca, Novartis, Russian Rail, etc., in October 2017 SSE Russia launched the six-module program Business Zoom aimed at executives and owners of companies, as well as functional managers of the senior and middle levels.
Every year SSE Russia is becoming more and more popular among international students. Among participants of EMBA programs there are executives from Armenia, Georgia, Belarus, and other CIS countries.
In 2016 SSE Russia made efforts to launch a bachelor’s degree program in Business and Economics. These plans received official support from the governments of Sweden and Russia. Currently the baccalaureate plans have been postponed, but they clearly illustrate the future potential of the Stockholm School of Economics in Russia.