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International Education and International Business Go Hand in Hand

Maria Ashaeva and Anna Buzueva, students in the HSE-Nizhny Novgorod’s Faculty of Business Informatics and Applied Mathematics, together with other Russian students, have taken part in the EDUPASS Project (Education-Process-Analysis, Support and Service) seminar. This project, involving the SAP Academic Department, is led by an international academic network, the European Research Centre for Information Systems (ERCIS), on behalf of T-Systems, a leading provider of IT solutions. The seminar was held in Germany.

Projects like this one help unleash the potential of the markets into which companies are planning to expand. Today, companies are increasingly interested in collaborating with universities to gain access to the best graduates. Seminar participants discussed ways to create best practices and to transfer existing best practices developed by T-Systems and SAP to Russia. These include, in particular, e-health solutions, which are actively promoted in Germany and potentially very useful for Russia; solutions for processing large volumes of data; and the use of mobile technology.

Professor Victor Taratoukhine, who serves as Head of the HSE's SAP Academic Department, Head of the ERCIS Network in Russia, Managing Director of the ERP Competence Centre, and Habilitant (Fellow) at ERCIS Münster, has been actively involved in all stages of the EDUPASS Project.

— The ERCIS Network is at its formative stage in Russia, and so far we have been collaborating with other universities in the Network for less than a year. I consider it to be a unique type of project. On the one hand, it benefits from the corporate sponsorship of T-Systems, and on the other hand, it is implemented by the universities in our Network, including the University of Münster as the lead institution, the HSE as the ERCIS Network coordinator in Russia, and Voronezh State University, one of Russia's top-ranking regional schools. We can define the criteria and metrics for teaching students; we can contribute meaningfully to the development of education in Russian regions; and we can offer our students the opportunity to work with the world's largest IT company.

Here is what some of the participants told us about the project:

Maria Ashaeva, the HSE-Nizhny Novgorod, Faculty of Business Informatics, fourth-year student:

— EDUPASS means more to me than just an educational project. It is difficult to measure the experience and knowledge I have gained working side by side with talented, active people in, Münster, Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, and Voronezh. Each of them is an expert in his or her field and has a strong personality. We have learned and borrowed a great deal from each other. The German professionalism and Russian explorative inquisitive mind, and the team spirit and mutual support all made us always feel like we were part of a team and always moving forward.

Jonas Shweizer, Master’s degree student in Information Systems at the University of Münster:

— The on-site presence in Germany was a great success in every way I could imagine. We were able to present our results to all the important stakeholders of the project, including Prof. Becker, Alexey Toskin and Alexey Derbushev of T-Systems CIS, and many more interested employees of ERCIS. We further spoke to Thomas Merz, Vice President of T-Systems for Healthcare International, who advised us about ongoing trends and processes on how to enter emerging markets. All in all, on the professional side of the project, we took a very big step towards achieving great project results.

But EDUPASS is also about international and further intercultural collaboration. This time, the German side was able to show our Russian friends German culture, including trips to the Münster city centre, a bicycle trip to the countryside, a BBQ, a visit to Münster’s terrific zoo, and many other activities. Personally, I really enjoyed the 10 days here in Münster, and I believe the rest of the team agrees that Münster is a small but amazing city in which to live and work. I’m looking forward to finalizing our project in the next four weeks, and I hope we will see the team in Moscow again for our final presentation.

Professor Jörg Becker, Head of the Department of Information Systems at the University of Münster, ERCIS Managing Director, and HSE Professor Emeritus, shared his expectations from the research conducted through EDUPASS.

— Expectations exist on different levels. One level involves giving students the opportunity to be abroad and to work on an international project. This is great for our students, because when they finish their studies, most of them will work in international companies, so if they are already acquainted with working on international teams, it’s good for them and their CVs. It’s good that they can say, “We have worked on international teams". That is it as far as the level of expectations for students is concerned, and that goes for both sides –for both the Russians and the Germans.

From the content point of view, there are two levels : one is the relationship between the universities and the other is strengthening the relationship between industry and the universities by focusing on the educational processes the two share. The content point of view concerns which topic of interest to industry can be provided by the university. And vice versa:  how industry can strengthen the curriculum of the universities. The project seeks to make recommendations on the relationship between industry and the university.

Maria Ashaeva, Evgenia Petrova

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