‘Our Graduates Will Be Prepared for Several Promising Career Paths’
In 2021, the Master of Business Analytics Programme of the Faculty of Economic Sciences will hold its first intake. The programme will be fully implemented online: students will study in English on the Coursera platform. Irina Ivashkovskaya, Tenured Professor at HSE University, Head of the School of Finance and Academic Supervisor of the new Master’s Programme, told the News Service about other features of the Programme, what competencies students will gain, what ‘stakeholder capitalism’ means, and why it is important for a future financier.
The Master of Business Analytics is an online Master's programme that is anchored in the mainstream view of business on the challenges and ways of turning business models around to achieve UN Sustainable Development Goals; challenges that business itself has articulated in global economic forums and high-level discussion platforms as stakeholder capitalism. This is called a set of radically new concepts, first because they require new layers of data focusing on the non-financial resources of companies that depend on non-financial stakeholders (human, customer, structural, digital and natural capital). Second, new analytical developments on the inclusion of non-financial capital in the assessment and projection of future financial performance. Therefore, financial education now faces the challenges of anticipatory training for new professional tracks. That is why we have developed a new Master's degree concept and implemented it in the Master of Business Analytics programme.
What makes the Programme different is the originality of its content. It is centred upon the new professional tracks of the near future and includes two new specialisations: Value-Based Business Analytics and Strategic Business Reporting. In addition, the Programme has a global focus. We have created a new format for working with students — Virtual Project Labs — with international experts from Europe and Asia as presenters. In direct dialogue with the students, the experts will not only summarise their experience in solving a range of new business analytics problems, but will also formulate new ones. After all, we are just now at a kind of tipping point in knowledge in this area, in the professional skills that are the future. This is why international colleagues from our professional network will share a variety of perspectives on these emerging trends. In addition, we have introduced project-based seminars involving business experts from these growing new tracks in the financial professions before our eyes. These workshops become tools for organising creative work by small teams of students on project themes within specialisations. The modern world is dictating new formats for delivering education. In an environment of uncertainty and multitasking, online education is becoming increasingly important thanks to the flexible ‘learn from anywhere and with a flexible schedule’ format and the well-established set of digital tools for organising the educational process that our partners in Coursera are implementing.
The Programme is implemented in cooperation with the professional organisations, ACCA, AICPA-CIMA, and IMA. The Master of Business Analytics programme has 40 paid places for applicants from Russia and 7 for foreign nationals. To apply, applicants must submit a portfolio to the Admissions Committee. Russian citizens must also take an English language proficiency exam or submit IELTS, TOEFL, or CAE certificates. More information on how to apply can be found here.
Students' Knowledge and Skills
Our graduates will receive a Master's degree in Finance with a focus in Business Analytics. Therefore, the curriculum includes mandatory subjects for financiers (Finance Theory, Macroeconomics, Econometrics, Financial Markets and Instruments, Corporate Finance, International Financial Reporting, etc.) and programme-specific subjects (Valuation and Value-Based Management, Public Non-Financial Reporting, etc.). Students are expected to take 11 elective courses, 5-6 of which are relevant to the track.
Special attention is paid to the project-based learning model and we have implemented it consistently for each track. The first stage is applied research seminars, starting with methodological, summarising methods, as well as mentor-expert seminars. The second stage consists of Virtual Laboratories with international experts in each track, where the current state of the art of the problems and practical solutions are presented. The third stage is Project Workshops, in which small teams work on real business topics in the track's field under the guidance of business experts. During the study period, students will complete two projects in small teams.
I would emphasise that our students receive: direct contact with international experts at Virtual Labs, direct contact with industry experts in project workshops, including those from global consultancy companies, and access to the professional network of the School of Finance.
The Programme is centred around the task of developing new competencies for integrated thinking in analysis and decision-making, connecting the measurement and evaluation of financial forms of capital (debt and equity) and non-financial capitals. Today, such integration is simply becoming a rigorous competence requirement for those who set out to join top management or boards of directors of companies, banks, or consultancy companies. It is no longer possible to become successful in business and grow professionally without focusing on the integration of financial and multiple forms of non-financial capital. This entails the interests and benefits of not only investors and owners, but also non-financial stakeholders.
We develop cutting-edge competencies in transforming non-financial information into predictable financial results
In addition, we provide a practical framework for identifying and assessing the relative effectiveness of non-financial capital and its contribution to creating sustainable value for the company in the long term.
The Tasks of the Future Professional — the Business Analyst
The Master's programme is aimed at new groups of competences in areas which, at first glance, belong to traditional professional tracks, such as financial management, accounting, and reporting. But we have highlighted in them new training lines for new roles, corresponding to new international practices. Our graduates will be prepared for several promising career paths.
In financial management, for example, the central challenge is to have a methodology for analysis that integrates financial and non-financial capital and aims to add value to the business, taking into account the interests of different stakeholder groups over the long term. The peak of such a career in the near future is the chief value officer (CVO), which will replace the chief financial officer (CFO). This trend in the profession also requires a new approach to budgeting and modelling in order to achieve sustainable company value in the long run.
Today's companies require an integrated approach to financial management, which now needs to incorporate valuation techniques and indicators that were previously considered to be almost unmeasurable
A new position is taking shape — the ESG director — who provides a new quality of management of the company's different capitals to achieve specific environmental, social development, and board role targets. Innovations are also emerging in risk management: integrated risk management concepts and tools are being developed, taking into account risk factors hidden in non-financial capitals and modelling them. The second group of changes in the professional tracks is related to accounting and reporting. Different forms of non-financial reporting are developing rapidly. It is not just a matter of adding more sections to companies' reporting, but a new quality of reporting. It needs to become holistic, integrating non-financial capitals, their risks and their impact on financial results, both current and future. The third area of change in the finance profession is innovation in risk management. The concepts and tools of integrated risk management, taking into account risk factors of non-financial capitals and their modelling, risk-based planning are being formed.
Irina Ivashkovskaya, HSE University Tenured Professor, Supervisor of the Master of Business Analytics Programme
The fourth innovative direction is compliance, transforming it from a static function of fixing right and wrong practices into a function of maximizing value for both investors and other stakeholders by means of best ethical business practices and practices meeting ESG (environmental, social, governance) criteria. Compliance needs to focus not just on the risks of the company, but on long-term business value growth, and it is increasingly connecting to financial knowledge and skills. And this is the new mainstream in this group of professions.
The new business analytics, therefore, deals with new types of data and solves larger and, if you like, clearly ambitious problems for different companies. Our graduates will be able to apply for new, in-demand positions in companies and meet all of these challenges.