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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsResearch&ExpertiseRenowned Strategy Expert to Speak on the Making of Champions at April Conference

Renowned Strategy Expert to Speak on the Making of Champions at April Conference

Hermann Simon, chairman of Simon-Kucher & Partners Strategy & Marketing Consultants, will present at the upcoming XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development in Moscow. His presentation, entitled ‘Hidden Champions – the Vanguard of Globalia’, will be held during the Firms and Markets section on Tuesday, April 11.

An expert in strategy, marketing and pricing, Dr. Simon was previously a professor of business administration and marketing at the Universities of Mainz (1989-1995) and Bielefeld (1979-1989). He has also served as a visiting professor at Harvard Business School, Stanford, London Business School, INSEAD, Keio University in Tokyo and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is the author of more than 30 books, including the most recent ‘Confessions of the Pricing Man, Hidden Champions of the 21st Century’.

Dr. Simon spoke to the HSE News Service ahead of this year’s April Conference about several of the themes he plans to cover in his presentation.

— Your presentation at the conference will be called 'Hidden Champions - The Vanguard of Globalia' and will centre on ambitions and being ambitious, among other things. How can one grow and develop ambitions, if that’s even possible?

— Ambition resides in the entrepreneur. Is ambition genetic or socially induced? Probably both. But it’s not enough if an entrepreneur has strong ambitions. To paraphrase St. Augustine, he must ignite the flame which burns in him in others. Becoming a hidden champion is not a one-person endeavour but a team exercise.

— Having a good understanding of your unique target audience is one path to achieving success. How would you describe a winning team for a start-up, for example?

— I see focus as absolutely essential. Only focus leads to world-class. The most difficult challenge with innovation is to integrate technology and customer needs. Hidden Champions are very good at that, because their biggest strength is their closeness to customers. ARRI, the global leader in professional film cameras, not only has the best digital camera, but it also knows all famous film directors and their preferences better than anybody else. 


— Will you talk about the Russian market and its champions, if there are any?

— I will mention some, for example Kasperky in the IT-security sector, or Grishko, the global leader in ballet shoes, a typical niche player. While Russia has five Fortune Global 500 companies the number of Hidden Champions from Russia is small. 



— What would you recommend that young people read, study and do to achieve success?

— The most important aspect is to gain international experience. To prepare yourself for Globalia, you must experience Globalia. That can only be achieved if you spend time abroad on school exchanges, studies, internships, etc. My company, Simon-Kucher & Partners, rarely hires anybody who doesn’t have some foreign experience. As I can tell from my own experience, reading is not enough. I read a lot about Japan. But that gave me nothing compared to the semester I lived in Japan in 1983. And openness to the world remains a major weakness of Russia. 



— Have you been to Moscow before? Are there certain places of interest you would like to see during your visit to Russia?

— I have been in Moscow many times. My last visit was in December 2016. I took an hour to stroll across the Red Square and to do some shopping in GUM. I was touched by the wintery atmosphere, the illuminations, the people hurrying through the city (much faster than during my first visit in 1971). I stayed in the Metropol hotel, again after 45 years. Beyond my business with Raiffeisenbank it was a very emotional visit.

In April, I am afraid, I will have little time. My visit will be short. Besides the conference activities, I will meet my publisher and a long-time Russian friend and maybe give an interview or two.

Anna Chermyakhovskaya, specially for HSE News service 

See also:

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Global demand for oil will likely grow at a slower rate, but the chances that this growth will nevertheless continue until 2035 are still high. Moreover, the European Union will remain Russia’s key trading partner, while China will increase its share of the global economy, but it won’t catch up with Russia in terms of GDP per capita by 2040. Experts discussed these and some other options for Russian economic development over the coming decades based on global trends at the expert discussion ‘The Russian Economy in the International Economic System’ at Higher School of Economics (HSE).

Converting Russia’s Educational Potential into Capital

At ‘Crossroads and Prospects for the Development of Russian Education’, a special session held as part of the XVIII April Conference, experts discussed the section related to education from a recent report on the strategy of Russia’s development by the Centre for Strategic Research. Since investments in education have an effect after 15-20 years, participants analyzed development prospects up to 2035.

Aritificial Intelligence Society Breeds Insecurity and Xenophobia

Why did Trump win the election? Who votes for right-wing xenophobic populist parties? How do we account for Brexit? Ronald Inglehart, Academic Supervisor of HSE Laboratory for Comparative Social Research, traces the change in public opinion to rising inequality and the resulting cultural xenophobic backlash and prevailing feeling of insecurity.

Revolution in Administration to Take Place Over Next 10 Years

How should the state’s economic priorities change? What structural reforms are to take place in the near future? What should be improved in the state control system? Participants at the roundtable discussion ‘The State and Economic Development’ discussed these and other issues as part of the XVIII April Conference at Higher School of Economics (HSE) in Moscow.

Russian Students in More Difficult Circumstances Improve Their Academic Performance

The International Symposium on Economics and Sociology of Education is being held on April 11-14 as part of the XVIII April Conference on Economic and Social Development. On April 11, experts discussed the dynamics of educational outcomes in Russia and beyond (based on data culled from international projects to monitor the quality of education) at a roundtable session organized by the World Bank.

Without Trust the Best Programmes Cannot Be Carried Out Even Partially

At this year’s April Conference on Economic and Social Development, speakers in the first expert discussion on strategies for Russia’s development discussed growth prospects for the Russian economy. The main speaker was Chairman of the Board at the Centre for Strategic Research, Alexei Kudrin.

April Conference Discusses Strategic Areas of Russia’s Development

The XVIII April International Academic Conference has kicked off at Higher School of Economics (HSE). This major event includes expert discussions on the strategic problems facing Russia’s economic and social development. Representatives of the Russian Government will take part in the debates.

‘By Observing Best Educational Practices at the International Level, Schools and Universities Can Improve Efficiency’

Tommaso Agasisti, Associate Professor at the Politecnico di Milano School of Management, researches management and economics of the public sector and teaches business administration, accounting, and control & performance management. In an interview with the HSE News Service ahead of his presentation at the XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, he spoke about his recent research and the importance of taking a multi-country perspective to today’s questions of education reform.