School of Cross-Cultural Management
‘Management in Developing Markets: Trends and Strategies’ was the topic of an international summer school which took place at the HSE Faculty of Management. Irina Volkova, organizer of the school and professor at the HSE Department of General and Strategic Management, told us about the event.
— Dr. Volkova, the format of this school was quite unusual. Besides the fact its working language was English, what else stood out about this school?
— When we organized this school, we decided to use a format which is very well known to our colleagues from international business and management schools. Such schools are organized by all our key partner universities. Since our school was aimed at both international master’s and senior undergraduate students as well as our own master’s students, it had two purposes. It gave the international students coming to Russia the opportunity to immerse themselves in the cultural and economic environment of the host country and to collect material for their future theses while at the same time participating in individual and team tasks, project viva voce processes, marks and credits.
For Russian students, the school was in fact a series of case research projects. In addition to that, they had the opportunity to get experience of joint analytical work in international teams, which is very valuable for managers. This international, cross-cultural aspect was a key part of the school’s work. The educational process was built mainly on the results of research projects which are currently underway at the faculty, not on the basic educational programmes. During the student selection process we also gave preference to those participants who had experience of such research.
— Is a format like this popular? What are its advantages?
— Our school is unusual for the HSE. This was not a research seminar but rather research training for its participants. We did not set ourselves the task of bringing together researchers, and that’s why the results of the school should be seen not in formulated concepts or suggested models, but in the experience and competencies received by the participants. I would emphasize the two key advantages of our school. First, it involves very interesting lecturers-researchers. And second, it studies purely practical cases brought by insiders – owners and top managers of companies.
— How many participants, lecturers and experts came to the school?
— I can give you the exact numbers. The school consisted of 15 students, 16 lecturers and researchers and representatives of 5 companies working in developing countries. Geographically, we ‘covered’ four countries: Russia, USA, Ukraine and Moldova. As regards the HSE, it was represented by students and staff from two campuses: Moscow and Nizhny Novgorod.
— Leading on from the title of the summer school, did any of the speakers formulate the specifics of management in a Russian environment?
— You’ve used a specific term – ‘speakers’. There were no real speakers at our school. There were leading professors and researchers who acted first and foremost as organizers of mutual work among participants from the four countries. Of course, they spoke about the specifics of marketing, staff recruitment and motivation in Russian companies based on the material of their own studies. There were representatives from the business who shared their practical experience of management in Russia. What markets can be considered developed, and which markets are developing, how to act in them – these are the most relevant questions, and some answers to them were provided by research carried out at our faculty and presented at the summer school.
— For you, as an organizer, who were more interesting to work with – Russian or international participants? Didtheyfinda commonlanguage?
— It was sometimes hard to work with both groups together. It is a difficult task – to understand the problems of a company from another country, to collect information, develop the options for action and to make a joint solution involving people with different cultures and languages. But this is what contemporary business is.
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