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Summer School in Berlin: Discovering Entrepreneurship

From August 5th to 11th 2012, the next summer school organized by the HSE Laboratory for Entrepreneurship Research together with the Berlin Institute of Technology and the Netherlands Institute for Knowledge Intensive Entrepreneurship (NIKOS) at the University of Twente (Enschede, the Netherlands) will take place in Berlin. The deadline for applications is February 1st 2012. Alexander Chepurenko, co-head of the School and Dean of the HSE Faculty of Sociology, told us about the forthcoming event.

— Dr. Chepurenko, what is the main idea behind this summer school?

— Summer schools have become an important and integral part of work at our research and educational laboratory. We introduce new students to modern research in entrepreneurship: particularly, with the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor projects where the HSE has participated since 2006, and with the Regional Entrepreneurship Ranking. But this summer school on entrepreneurship will mark a new stage in the development of our work in this field.

The schools in 2009 and 2010 were purely national, we selected students only from Russian universities, but each time also attracted a prominent international expert as a lecturer and a ‘fresh mind’ – to comment on student presentations, and to assist participants in terms of theory and research methods. Last year we took a new step: we created a joint organizing committee together with our colleagues from the University of Twente and prepared an interesting and mutually complementary programme. From their part it included a lot of case studies, as well as lectures on business organization and financing. Our section involved comparative analysis of entrepreneurial practices in both countries, the specifics of corporate governance in Russia, international standards of entrepreneurial statistics and their applicability in research practices on both national and international levels, as well as social entrepreneurship.

In addition to this, students presented their research projects on various aspects of entrepreneurship in the participant countries of the summer school, as well as carrying out another team project in mixed Russian-Dutch groups. This meant that there was a lot of teamworking, which successfully supplemented the standard educational procedures and promoted internationalization of the students’ research competencies. One other important and useful element of the programme also was the need to communicate on professional topics in English. And last, but not least, working with representatives from another academic culture gave both students and teachers the opportunity to compare working methods.

— And what did you learn from this comparison?

— We understood that the Dutch students in general were much better at working with paper material, they were able to carry out precise analysis better. At the same time, one of the strengths of our students is their skill in using empirical analysis to solve specific tasks (although they sometimes had problems interpreting the results).

— What was the feedback from the participants?

— In fact, it was their feedback that prompted us to again to get involved in such a time consuming business as organizing an international summer school. According to the students of both universities, the school exceeded their expectations: over a short period of time they got to look at many new things, learnt a lot about data analysis and team project work in international groups as well as having the opportunity to meet and make friends with each other and see some interesting places in Amsterdam and Moscow.

— And then you decided…

— …we decided to expand the scope of co-organizers. This year we shall be joined by the Berlin Institute of Technology. Some other universities from England, Scotland, Finland and Belgium are also looking at our experiences. We have analyzed the feedback of the last year’s participants, as well as our own impressions, and are quite sure that we are capable of organizing a regular summer school, of making it truly European and open, and on this basis to start gradually building a double degree European-level master’s programme in entrepreneurship studies.

— Who will be the participants of the next summer school?

— The organizers will select 8 students from each of the three partner universities who will have to prepare for the school during the winter and the spring: to carry out small group research projects, and their results (texts and presentations in English) will become the subject of discussion at the summer school. In addition to this, we are ready to host some students from other universities so that they can get a taste of this school and return to their institutions with positive feedback.

— In addition to individual student presentations, what will be included in the programme of the summer school?

— Of course, it will involve lectures, master classes and discussions on various aspects of the theory and practice of entrepreneurship, development of the national innovative infrastructure of the countries, corporate governance, business statistics and entrepreneurship delivered by representatives of all three universities, as well as participation in some extra-mural sessions: for example, in the Technology Park Berlin Adlershof, and other places of interest for our group.

In addition to that, we shall form international teams in four or three topical areas..Participants will have to start the preparation virtually and then continue and finish it during the summer school where they will have to present the results at a joint final session.

— Will the students have time for anything else?

— Of course they will. Berlin is a very dynamic capital which can offer various cultural activities, from classical music and painting to modern art. In addition to that, we are planning to give participants the opportunity to stay in Europe for several days after the summer school, so they will be able to, for example, visit the University of Twente and find out more about its master’s programmes related to innovation entrepreneurship.

— What will the students take away from the summer school?

— They will take away new knowledge, cultural impressions, improved English language skills plus at least two credits. What they will leave there will be their new friends…

See also:

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