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'Your Biggest Competitor in Life Will Always Be Yourself'

'Your Biggest Competitor in Life Will Always Be Yourself'

© Maxim Grigoriev / Roscongress Foundation

HSE representatives attended the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum and contributed to many of its sessions. What technologies, approaches and strategies are relevant in this new reality we find ourselves in? HSE Rector Nikita Anisimov, HSE Academic Supervisor Yaroslav Kuzminov and other experts offered their perspectives on these issues during panel discussions.

Spaces and technology

The Forum session 'Where spaces meet technology: New solutions for territorial development' discussed how spatial data digitalisation can facilitate the development of regions and economic sectors and improve public authorities' interaction with businesses and citizens.

The session moderator, HSE Rector Nikita Anisimov, invited the audience to discuss integrated territorial development in the context of potential anti-crisis effects of spatial data digitalisation. 'I welcome everyone to this warm professional conversation', he said.

Nikita Anisimov
© Alexey Alexandronok / Roscongress Foundation

According to Oleg Skufinsky, Head of Rosreestr, the state programme to create a National System of Spatial Data by 2030 involves domestic development and implementation of the necessary software. Setting up a network of geodetic stations will help avoid errors, while covering the entire country with a national geodetic grid could reduce paperwork processing time five-fold. 'Comprehensive and accurate geodata will inform administrative decision-making and support user-friendly services for entrepreneurs and citizens', Skufinsky said.

'Serbia operates a geodetic portal that meets UN and World Bank standards. How does this system work?' Anisimov addressed this question to Borko Drašković, Director of Geodetic Authority, Republic of Serbia.

Drašković expressed confidence that the new geodata system could change the current perception of the industry's capabilities; he also offered to share his agency's experience, which both the EU and the UN found extremely valuable, with Rosreestr. 'Geodata is not a challenge for just one day but a game that never ends', said Drašković. 

Small business will help the country

Yaroslav Kuzminov, HSE Academic Supervisor and Coordinator of the Expert Council of the Government of the Russian Federation, addressed the session 'A New Economic Policy for SMEs'.

Kuzminov believes that today is not the time to discuss how the state can help small businesses, but rather how small businesses can help the state in this challenging situation.

Yaroslav Kuzminov
© Maxim Grigoriev / Roscongress Foundation

According to Kuzminov, all targets for SME development that were set a few years ago have already been met, and today, the share of SMEs in the market and total employment in Russia are 20% and 27%, respectively. For comparison, these figures are 57% and 52% in the US, and 60% and 83% in China. ‘There is room for us to grow. I believe that three years from now, the share of SMEs in Russia’s economy will reach 30%-40% without any effort from the government’, Kuzminov noted. ‘It depends only on how much the Russian export sector will shrink by’.

Kuzminov also believes that SMEs could offset potential problems with employment that may eventually arise.

In his opinion, SMEs can fill certain market niches such as small-scale production of parts and materials for industries, as well as repairs and maintenance. ‘All these sectors undoubtedly require not only serious technological innovation but also a highly qualified workforce. We should consider providing online training courses in technology and economics for small businesses’, Kuzminov concluded.

Social policy reset

Irina Arkhipova, Deputy Dean of the HSE Graduate School of Business, spoke at the ‘Reset “S”: how will social programmes change in the new reality?’ session. She noted that as more people are in need of assistance, and since both public and corporate resources are limited due to the crisis, new and more efficient approaches to addressing social need in this context must be developed.

In particular, this means moving from one-off social assistance projects to more systemic efforts. Arkhipova cited data from VCIOM's public opinion polls to show that while more than 70% of Russians participated in some way or another in social and volunteer actions over the last five years, only one in five respondents engaged in such work systematically. This pattern has not changed over the last 10 years.

Irina Arkhipova
© HSE University

According to Arkhipova, it is essential to learn to treat NGOs as experts in their field rather than as subcontractors implementing someone else's projects. At the same time, NGO employees need to become better at business planning, negotiation and marketing.

She emphasised the vital role of education in this sphere.

New career trajectories

On June 15, before the official opening of SPIEF 2022, Professor Valery Katkalo, HSE First Vice-Rector and GSB Dean, addressed the session 'The Latest Career Trajectories' held as part of the SPIEF.Junior Forum. Along with other experts on the panel, he advised the audience of school students on what kind of knowledge and skills they need to build a successful career and how to choose the right university for their education.

'Think first about your own development. Be aware that neural networks, artificial intelligence and people around you are not what you will compete against. Your biggest and only competitor in life will always be yourself. The main recipe for career growth is developing the ability for continuous self-improvement, a continuous drive to outperform yourself', Katkalo emphasised.

Valery Katkalo
© Evgeny Fedoskov / Roscongress Foundation

According to Katkalo, a good university prepares students for a broadly defined professional field. HSE University has recently adopted its Development Program for the Period until 2030, introducing three types of prospective teachers to be recruited by the University: a traditional academic lecturer; an educational methodologist who does not necessarily write academic papers but rather creates quality online courses, business games and case studies; and a practice-oriented trainer with a strong business background. Along the same lines, all training programmes are supervised by expert councils which are led exclusively by business practitioners.

Katkalo also mentioned the quality of university degrees sending a signal to potential employers about the job applicant's actual level of training. While the grades in university degrees earned from different schools may look the same on the surface, the quality of education makes a difference:  top grades earned from one school may in reality indicate a lower level of training than poor grades earned from another.

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