HSE Graduate School of Business Student Teams Win Flourish Prize 2021
In the contest organized by AIM2Flourish, students from various countries tell stories about companies that promote the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals. HSE students won in the global goals of ‘Quality Education’ and ‘Partnerships for the Goals’ with cases of Kaspersky and VimpelCom PJSC (Beeline brand), respectively. They have become the first Russian representatives to earn these prestigious awards.
Two teams from the HSE Graduate School of Business were among the 17 winners of the Flourish Prize 2021. The case Developing Security Awareness Learning Journey for Everyone, prepared by the students, is about sustainable innovations in education that Kaspersky uses to increase cybersecurity awareness among the public. The case Rescuers Finding Missing People with AI Technologies concerns Beeline’s many-years partnership with the LizaAlert search force aimed at rescuing missing people with the use of cutting-edge communication and technology solutions.
The cases were developed as part of the ‘Responsible Business and Sustainable Development’ course supervised by Ekaterina Ivanova, Associate Professor at the Department of Strategic and International Management, by two teams of second-year master’s students of the Graduate School of Business. The Kaspersky case was prepared by Yulia Yurchak (master’s programme in HR Analytics), Veronika Krasilnikova (HR Analytics), Vladislava Stepanenko (HR Analytics), Matvey Petukhov (Strategic Management and Consulting) and Anastasia Galkina (Project Management: Project Analysis, Investments, and Technologies of Implementation).
The VimpelCom case was prepared by: Irina Zhuravleva (HR Analytics), Adelia Likhacheva (Project Management: Project Analysis, Investments, and Technologies of Implementation), Evgeniia Pechnikova (Strategic Management and Consulting), Marianna Simonyan and Pavel Scheblykin (Strategic Management and Consulting).
I’m very happy that for the first time in the five years HSE students have been participating in the AIM2Flourish contest, we won two out of 17 categories at once. It is even more rewarding that the contribution of two global Russian companies — Kaspersky and VimpelCom — to the implementation of two important sustainable development goals, Goal #4, Quality Education, and Goal #17, Partnerships for the Goals. I’m sincerely grateful to our corporate partners, Denis Barinov, head of Kaspersky Academy, and Evgenia Chistova, head of ESG VimpelCom PJSC, for their valuable time that they spent meeting with HSE students and talking about the important work they are doing to implement the Goals in Russia. I believe that the victory of the GSB students will be an inspiration for future generations of students and professors in our country, who will also participate in this prestigious international competition and tell the world about sustainable innovations in Russia.
The stories of business innovations described in the Kaspersky and VimpelCom cases were selected by the contest jury out of 585 stories published on the AIM2Flourish platform in 2020. The jury believes that they have best demonstrated that businesses can be not only a source of profit, but a contribution to socially important projects. These cases are also illustrative as an example of progress in achieving the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals.
AIM2Flourish is a programme implemented at the Fowler Center for Business as an Agent of World Benefit. AIM2Flourish is a global educational initiative supported by the United Nations, as part of which students use positive interviewing and Sustainable Development Goals to speak about little-known stories of business innovations aimed at changing the world for the better.
When our paper was published on the AIM2Flourish platform, I worked at Beeline and was familiar with joint projects by Beeline and LizaAlert. Participating in the AIM2Flourish contest was a great opportunity to share the Russian companies’ experience in sustainable business with a big audience. Thanks to collective work by our team — HSE master’s students, Evgenia Chistova, Beeline director for sustainable business, and Ekaterina Ivanova, HSE Professor, we managed to publish a really good paper and get a Flourish Prize 2021 in nomination for achieving the Goal No. 17, Partnerships for the Goals. I am happy that Russian companies’ practices in sustainable development are acknowledged by the global community of best experts.
Sustainable Development Goals are a driver for development not only in the business community, but for our society as a whole. They help make our world better, more comfortable and secure for everyone. Our project was quite an impromptu one: my peers and I had long thought where to go, and during our search, found the Kaspersky educational platform. It seemed very interesting, and we decided to take a closer look. Honestly, we hadn’t expected to win a prize. I want to specially thank Denis Barinov for his cooperation and for taking out idea seriously.
The problem of educational quality has always interested me. During my studies at HSE University, I repeatedly took part in organizing educational events and extramural schools, and now, personnel education and development is part of my professional work. That’s why working on this project was thrilling for me: it was interesting to find out that Russian companies pay a lot of attention to quality education and increasing people’s awareness. It is particularly true about such problems as cybersecurity, which is highly relevant today, when our lives involve more and more online communication. And the fact that Kaspersky actively shares its expertise with the world at large really deserves a lot of respect and may be an inspiration for other Russian and international companies.
The most complicated part of our work on the project was to find a really relevant and outstanding initiative among Russian business practices, and it was even harder to contact someone who would be willing to talk about it. But we were lucky: one of our team members was working at Beeline at the moment and managed to organize an interview with Evgenia Chistova, head of sustainable development department.
Beeline’s partnership with LizaAlert is a really interesting in terms of its realization and important in terms of its social contribution initiative. The company has managed to use its resources and technology effectively and impact the solution of a pressing social problem in Russia. Such social initiatives, particularly from such companies as Beeline can really save and improve the lives of thousands of people across the country.
The Sustainable Development Goals agenda is one of the key topics in the global business community today. Meanwhile, in Russia, this topic is only gaining momentum. Many companies have started to actively develop and implement specific practices and strategies of sustainable development and ESG. This is a sign that businesses are becoming aware of their dependence on external factors that, at the first glance, seem unimportant for company success. Prioritizing certain Sustainable Development Goals as part of business models and strategies creates a strong foundation for long-term development of the company, the society, and the environment at large.
I am particularly grateful to all members of our team: Adelia, Evgeniia, Marianna and Irina, as well as Ekaterina Ivanova, our professor at the course ‘Responsible Business and Sustainable Development’.