SSE Russia educational mission FREE

“For the sake of knowledge." This is the most common answer given by applicants to our EMBA program to the question “Why are you going to study?” Further conversation shows that our students have a lot of knowledge, and the gaps are in other spheres: there is not enough communication with like-minded people, there is not enough structure of the knowledge they already have, there is not enough time for comprehension of what is going on around them.

That's why business schools that are keeping up with the times do not simply load their students with knowledge. The information revolution of recent decades has provided us with unprecedented access to data in any field imaginable. The amount of information available for consumption is growing at such a rate that no scientist can follow everything that happens. It's no coincidence that the individual Nobel Prizes winners have become the thing of the past. In recent years, these Prizes have only been awarded to groups of researchers.

All business schools try to form unique niche for themselves in such conditions. The Stockholm School of Economics in Russia is primarily an island of Swedish culture, where everything is built on consensus and identical opportunities for all, where everyone is equal and no excuses, such as overwhelming workload, are accepted as a valid reason for absence and non-participation. This creates a special atmosphere of productive conversation in itself where both the faculty and the students are being equal and in constant dialogue.

However, understanding that culture alone is not enough, we have developed our own educational mission concept called FREE designed to make the learning process as comprehensive and applicable as possible. It aims to make our graduates truly FREE at the end of the program. In other words, we think it has a number of important qualities.

First of all, we assume that business education is still about knowledge. In other words, it has plenty to do with the acquisition of facts previously unknown to the student. Today, the knowledge that distinguishes a business leader is of the kind that can't be found in a book or simply Googled. That's why our concept starts with the letter F for Facts- and science minded, by which we understand a habit for critical thinking that helps graduates cut through the growing complexity of the world and information overload, focusing on the separation of real facts from the torrents of fake news to make all the right decisions. As a result, our EMBA program welcomes discussions in the classroom, challenging participants to critically assess each other’s arguments as they go through business cases and situations.

The second letter R is for Reflective and self-aware. The practice of reflection, a deep understanding of one's own inner motives and preferences, the development of self-consciousness able to analyze one's own values and feelings, contributes to the formation of the progressive leadership style. This is a complex process, that’s why, apart from standard courses such as finance, strategy, marketing, we have added a separate course on leadership capacity development. In addition to individual support for each participant throughout the program, it includes coaching and leadership development training.

The first of two Es relates to Empathetic and Culturally, literate andis about the possession of empathy and cultural literacy. Such capabilities as presence of feelings and emotions and ability to empathize set humans apart from simple machines and various forms of artificial intelligence. One of the most important competencies of a leader is the ability to see the world around us from a different perspective. In any case, business is largely built on human relationships and understanding of national and religious characteristics is crucial for those. A successful businessperson these days time and time again needs interdisciplinary knowledge, not directly related to their business acumen. Our program includes, for example, visiting the Hermitage, lectures about the influence of economic factors on literature and art, as well as joint modules with students of the Stockholm School of Economics campuses from Sweden, Latvia and Russia.

Finally, entrepreneurship imposes certain obligations on a person. These two elements – business acumen and social responsibility - are inseparable and essential, so we have combined them under the last letter of the word FREE - Entrepreneurial and responsible. These are the lens we want to see our graduates through. Our modules contain practicing of design thinking and developing of fresh ideas, and in real life projects, where new opportunities need to be identified and concrete changes implemented in their respective organizations, participants form that special entrepreneurial approach with a conscious understanding of their role and responsibility to society as a whole, which eventually becomes part of their leadership DNA.

How potent our concept is? Only time will tell but those, who have just started tasting of the new format, are already giving their first feedback. Maxim Ilyushin (Krasnodar, "Airport Development" LLC, General Director) says: "I think it's very important that what you already knew can be used in a different way, and give the short term results". 

Source: MBA.SU 

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Vsevolod Krylov,<br/>Head of Corporate Programs
Vsevolod Krylov,
Head of Corporate Programs