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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:

Exploring BRICS Media and Creative Industries

On April 11, Dr Daya Thussu, Professor of International Communication and Co-Director of India Media Centre at the Communication and Media Research Institute (University of Westminster) will speak at the XVIII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development. His presentation, entitled ‘Creative industries in BRICS nations and glocalization of content’, is part of a panel session on Global corporations and local media content producers on newly emerging markets: technological and creative aspects. In addition to his academic role at the University of Westminster, he serves as the Managing Editor of the journal ‘Global Media and Communication’.

Examining Gender Discrimination in Labour Markets

This year’s April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development, taking place from April 11-14 at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, will cover the most pressing issues relating to Russia’s social and economic development. This year, gender issues are addressed in a number of presentations, including during a special session entitled ‘Gender, socialization, ageism’ taking place on the morning of April 13.

Pride for One's Country vs. Soviet Luxury: Top Papers of the April Conference

The April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development is Russia’s leading academic forum on social and economic sciences, and has won international acclaim. The XVII April Conference hosted by the HSE with support from the World Bank took place in Moscow on April 19-22, 2016. Selected by journalist Boris Grozovsky specially for IQ.hse.ru, below are some of the must-reads from the 900 papers presented at the HSE's XVII April Conference.

'Normal Is Not Ridiculous': Most Interesting Reports Presented at the HSE's XVII April International Academic Conference

The April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development is Russia’s leading academic forum on social and economic sciences, and has won international acclaim. The XVII April Conference hosted by the HSE with support from the World Bank took place in Moscow on April 19-22, 2016. A total of 900 papers were presented at the HSE's April Conference. We consider the following selection to be must-reads.

Microhistory Days at HSE

This April, Microhistory Days took place at HSE. The event coincided with the visit to the School of History of Prof. Sigurður Gylfi Magnússon (Reykjavík Academy in Iceland) and Dr. István Szijártó (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest), renowned experts in microhistory, founders of the Microhistory Network, and authors of What is Microhistory? Theory and Practice, a comprehensive analytical monograph.

Economics of Sport Discussed at HSE April Academic Conference

Economics of sports was one of the topics featured at the recent April Academic Conference. A section led by HSE Deputy Vice Rector Dmitry Dagaev included sessions dedicated to financial and organizational regulation, competitive balance, and determinants of success in sport. Two of the sessions were moderated by international scholars, Prof. Dennis Coates and Dr. Tim Pawlowski, who have talked to HSE News about their research interests and the importance of sports in modern global economy.

Michel Sollogoub Named HSE Honorary Professor

On April 20, 2016, during the XVII HSE April International Academic Conference, Michel Sollogoub, Professor at Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, was awarded the tittle of Honorary Professor of the Higher School of Economics.

Science Management Needs Evidence-based Tools

The technological image of the world is changing rapidly. Even for ordinary consumers, tracking new products on the market and analyzing their benefits and drawbacks is becoming more and more complicated given the abundant supply. This task is even more pressing for those who make decisions to advance certain areas of research and development. A presentation by Leonid Gokhberg, First Vice Rector of HSE and Director of the HSE Institute for Statistical Studies and Economics of Knowledge (ISSEK), at an April Conference plenary session, argues how global challenges enhance the need for evidence-based R&D and innovation policy.

Low Income of Parents Should Not Stand in the Way of Their Children's Education

The plenary session of the XVII International Academic Conference ‘From the Broad Educational Opportunities Towards Social Mobility Through Education’, held on April 20, 2016, was dedicated to the ways of overcoming inequality in education.

National Award Ceremony in Applied Economics Held at HSE

The prestigious National Award in Applied Economics 2016 has been granted to Ekaterina Zhuravskaya, Professor at the Paris School of Economics, and Evgeny Yakovlev, Professor and Director of the New Economic School Data Centre, for their paper ‘The Unequal Enforcement Of Liberalization: Evidence From Russia's Reform Of Business Regulation’. The National Award ceremony took place on April 20, 2016 as part of the XVII April International Academic Conference on Economic and Social Development.