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"We teach the smart not to be poor!"
Sergey Myasoedov, Vice-Rector of the RANEPA, Rector of the IBDA RANEPA, Doctor of Sociology, Professor - about who and why needs modern business education
- Sergey Pavlovich, there are many thousands of kilometers from the Moscow building of the RANEPA to the Far East. The academy has its branches in Khabarovsk, Kamchatka, Vladivostok ... But is it easy to manage them? And is it possible at all to maintain the metropolitan level of teaching at such a long distance?
- According to its charter, the Russian Presidential Academy is the country's leading management university. It stands on three pillars: we have the direction of state and municipal service (for which the Higher School of Public Administration is responsible), business and management education (Institute of Business and Business Administration - IBDA, where your humble servant, among other things, is the director) and training in the humanities disciplines (Institute of Social Sciences). Today the Academy has about fifty branches - some large, others very small, almost all with their own specifics. The only way to link them into a single harmonious system is a common educational and methodological component.
Naturally, we maintain close contact with each of the branches, share all the resources that the central part of the RANEPA has, and develop support programs. We regularly retrain teachers on the basis of the Corporate University and help them improve their skills. The vice-rector for branches constantly moves between them and provides the necessary assistance. This is understandable and natural, it happens always and everywhere.
But there is one more essential point that must be kept in mind. Too high a vertical of power is destructive in relation to creative professions, which include the work of managers. From afar and from above it is much worse to see what potential for development the territory where our teachers directly work has. What knowledge and skills do their students need most of all - future leaders of local authorities, entrepreneurs, intellectuals. And, apparently, the key task of the RANEPA is the formation and support of strong teams on the ground. And then they will either accept and be able to apply what we offer them, or they will not accept, this also happens.
- The criterion of success in this case is whether the teachers themselves have good education and professional skills. But this is not always the case, especially in remote regions. And how to be?
- I can give you a concrete example: our Kamchatka branch, where I recently visited during the Business Forum. There are eight teachers. All of them are bright and, in their own way, enthusiastic, a little romantic people. They reminded me of people from the KSP asset - bard song clubs - of the 60s and 70s. They are interested in everything - from linguistics to philosophy and psychology. I would also point out that at least three of them speak good English. And this is a rarity not only in Kamchatka, but also in Moscow. When two decades ago we at the IBDA RANEPA started launching a number of business education programs entirely in English, it was very difficult to find teachers who could do this. Because it’s one thing to “know the language” in order to travel abroad and explain yourself somehow. And it is completely different to conduct full-fledged training of students on it.
So, our Kamchatka colleagues know the language quite confidently, they speak it easily. I can judge this as a graduate of MGIMO, I myself have two working foreign languages. With such a language level, they have great opportunities. Which, unfortunately, are practically not used by them.
I wondered how to help them from Moscow. How to show options for strengthening foreign programs through participation in free online conferences, building direct contacts with students and teachers from foreign associations of business schools. And specifically, from the Alliance of Business Schools of countries with dynamically developing economies, which includes the Associations of Africa, Eastern and Central Europe, Latin America, Asia and the Russian Association for Business Education (RABO), where I am president. These contacts open up great opportunities for entrepreneurial people for joint research, student and teacher barter exchanges online (that is, they do not require any financial costs). You can and should discuss management novels with your colleagues and implement them into your programs. Finally, the very slogan of the members of the alliance is remarkable: “We shall get the best from the West and leave them the rest” (“We will take the best experience of the West and leave everything else to them”). We talked about this with the teachers of the RANEPA branch. We dreamed about improving the programs that we already have, strengthening them. How to invite student study and travel groups from Alaska Business School to Kamchatka. Initially, I had the feeling that together we were starting to do something new, creative and interesting.
And then ... disappointment came. While these were beautiful-hearted dreams, the eyes of my colleagues were burning. As soon as I suggested that they start taking the first small but practical steps on this path immediately, they noticeably dropped. In our correspondence, they explained to my colleagues at the business school for a long time why they are not ready to connect to anything new now, but it would be better ... to dream of high things. And this is a problem not only and not so much for our branch. We will rock the branch team. We have experience of this kind. Otherwise, RANEPA would not have become the flagship of domestic management education both in the direction of the State Medical University and in the direction of management.
The trouble is that this mood of replacing work with passive dreams is very characteristic of a significant part of the Russian educational intelligentsia. There is a well-known management maxim: “People are divided into two groups. A group of problem solvers. And a group of those who create them. " For decades, we have taught dreamers, smart analysts, and theorists. At best, complaining about the problems of the performers. And now it is not enough for us to develop creative thinking. We need to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. Too many people know how to criticize, complain, dream and wait, like in Nekrasov's case, "when the master comes, the master will judge us."
The scientific consultant of the IBDA RANEPA, Dr. Itzhak Adizes, has a well-known allusion story: “Two are walking along the sandy shore of the ocean after a storm. And on the sand under the scorching rays of the sun, thousands of sea stars perish, thrown ashore by the waves. One of them talks about the high, stepping over the stars. And the second one, every 3-5 steps, bends down and throws one star into the water. The first one says: “Why are you doing this useless thing? There are thousands of them here. To save them, the state's help is needed. And maybe even the Lord God! " The second responds to this: "While you are waiting for the state's help, I have already saved two dozen lives!"
It is no coincidence that the idea that it is necessary to look for new opportunities and projects, study the best Russian and foreign experience and introduce new "here and now", without postponing, ran like a red thread throughout the entire Business Forum. Governor of the Kamchatka Territory V.V. Solodov. At the end of the forum, Vladimir Viktorovich and I had a long and serious conversation about how RANEPA can get involved in the process of retraining personnel for the region, what new projects to create, how to improve the quality of regional business and management education. Let me tell you a little secret. In his “past life,” the governor was a star teacher of management and the State Medical University and was a member of the golden fund of teachers of interactive business games and trainings at the IBDA RANEPA business school. Therefore, the conversation was of a professional nature and was related to the real needs of the region. Without disclosing details, I will say that the new module of the Executive MBA flagship program of the IBDA RANEPA, in 2020 the first in the history of Russia included in the highest international rating of the Financial Times, will be held in Kamchatka. And I hope that this will happen in the coming months. I believe that we will not be limited to this project. Our graduates, who have become heads of well-known travel companies, are already discussing with us a number of ideas that we could implement together on the territory of the Kamchatka Territory.
- It sounds very tempting. But as experience shows, many bright dreams break on reality. What kind of English is there - some teachers in the regions and with a computer, for some reason, communicate with the "typing" method. Talented young people are not at all eager to work for the good of their native land, but with all their might they strive to move somewhere closer to the capital. And it's also good if this is the capital of Russia, not China, Japan, Korea. How do you think the current situation can be changed?
- Thanks. This is a very serious question. I already touched on it in passing when I was telling the story of sea stars in the sand. The answer to it is not connected with the level of business education and not with the capabilities of the Academy, with all their diversity. I am convinced that Professor Preobrazhensky from MA Bulgakov's "Heart of a Dog" is right: "Devastation begins in the minds." And here we are dealing with this very devastation. And with the mentality of most people in the post-Soviet space, especially in the periphery. It is believed that "abroad is always better", and the center is "obliged to help" the regions. Even if they may well be entrepreneurial themselves, and not wait for constant subsidies.
Changing the way of thinking, the very attitude to life, to business, to ourselves - this is the main task for the future for those whom we teach the wisdom of management sciences. An old truth: if a person grew up in a barn and saw nothing else, he will build the palace as a large barn in the Empire style. We have to give our students guidelines and examples. Teach them to think in a new way. It is no coincidence that the slogan of the IBDA RANEPA business school is: "We teach smart people not to be poor."
A businessman is not a crook, but a draft horse. He should not "saw", but harness, pull and create. At one time (it is enough to re-read the novel by Alexei Tolstoy) Peter I tried to find the "backbone" of Russia. And I realized that they were merchants. In our conditions, they are entrepreneurs. And not the oligarchs (politics is already starting there, which it is better not to get into), but large and medium-sized businesses. These are the ones that we must prepare as part of our business education programs. Our goal is to serve not only giant companies such as Gazprom, LUKOIL, Sberbank or Tatneft. They have their own brilliant corporate universities. We believe that learning to think and helping to act in a new way should be primarily those whom the whole world now calls "hidden champions of the XXI century." This is a medium and large business with an economic turnover of $ 50 to $ 500 million per year. Not super large, but not small either.
- What's wrong with small business? Now it is his support that is given, judging by the statements of officials, the greatest attention.
- He's not bad. He is good. But it is good, first of all, in order to remove the social overload from the state. In conditions when the population is aging, unemployment is growing, people's incomes are falling, and the year under the sign of the coronavirus has also exacerbated all the problems to the extreme. Small business, individual entrepreneurship, self-employment are all great. The problem is that the main goal for many of those to whom the state promises and gives support is to take money. And once the subsidies and incentives run out, 90 percent of these small businesses cease to exist. Taking money from the state or a sponsor is considered normal, but creating it is even strange. They never did that. What are we, some kind of capitalists? We are poor but honest. Familiar theses, right?
Small business employs the same people as elsewhere. And not all of them were able to change their style of thinking. They work as long as “someone” gives them money. And they fall into a stupor as soon as they are told - that's it, support is over, now make money yourself. But first, create something that the client will definitely pay for. The essential point: not what you think is necessary, but what exactly he needs. No, we are not used to this. Companies are starting to go broke. This is happening not only in our country, but throughout the world. There is a common problem: how, from a very young age, to cultivate entrepreneurship in a person, the desire to do something on his own, to take risks and win. Not just running errands. So far, judging by the data of opinion polls, the majority of graduates of Russian universities want to work in large companies such as Gazprom or go to the civil service. Only a few dream about "their own business".
RANEPA graduates in this sense stand out from the crowd. In their final undergraduate courses in business education, the overwhelming majority of them want to start their own business. Yes, we understand that many will not succeed, life will make its own amendments. But the attitude itself is important. As the apt expression used at Harvard Business School, people are divided into two groups - those who solve problems and those who create them. We strive to educate people of the first type. And launch social elevators for them. This is what our branches are focused on. True, I must make a reservation: there is practically no business education as such in the regions now. And such programs cannot be “brought down from above”. It is necessary first to find people in the field for whom such training is vital.
- And money for the creation of business schools ...
- Money decides a lot, but not everything. It is possible to provide large financial injections, but when they run out, as a rule, the business school also comes to naught. Over the three decades that Russian business education has existed, and I came to it in 1988, I have seen many examples when "business schools" favored by the attention of the press, which were built on state money and announced grandiose prospects for the future, then ... They “lay down on one side” as soon as the “crutches” of financial support were taken away from them.
I am convinced that a business school that cannot feed itself and does not know how to make money on the open market has no right to exist. And Russian business cannot teach anything. Neither small, nor medium, nor large.
The path of successful business schools and quality business and management education is the path to the client, the study of his needs and requirements. Moreover, the needs of the solvent. “Free” business training programs subsidized from the budget are dying out instantly, having lost financial support, because they confuse their idea of what the market needs with that of real consumers. The needs of clients, the confirmation from the business that they need a business school program, is their willingness to pay for the program. And if at the end of the program these people remain grateful to her, they turn on word of mouth, which brings new clients.
Only on the basis of this approach will business schools be able to help the "hidden champions of the XNUMXst century." To give that mental, legal and simply moral support, which they now sorely lack. There are more and more such entrepreneurs in our country. When I travel to the regions, I meet them all the time. They can be recognized by the "sunbeams" and the light in the eyes. They always like what they do. They sincerely love their clients, and their daily selfless work is a joy for them. Including a story about such examples in Kamchatka. They are a family, husband and wife with eight children, who breed sled dogs. They have a successful venture. Or another example, where a family of an entrepreneur breeds horses and organizes horseback riding trips for tourists. Or an example of a successful business that I saw on the other side of the country - in the Kaliningrad region, where a retired Interior Ministry colonel bought and restored a dilapidated boarding house with his savings. And then, through the efforts of his entire large family (wife and five children), he turned his boarding house into a cult and most fashionable and popular holiday destination in the region.
Our task is to find such people, draw the attention of regional authorities to them, help organize specialized business programs and exchange of experience for them. And in the end - to bring their business to a new level and the amount of profit. Give a primary impulse so that they can turn around in full force.
I'm sure now is the right moment for that. In terms of the level of business education, we have sharply reduced our gap from the whole world. Earlier, at the end of Soviet times, they lagged behind by fifty years. Now this gap is three or four years. And we are quite capable of achieving no less than our colleagues from other countries. To do this, of course, you do not need to mindlessly copy what "took off" from them. It is necessary to study our own market and mentality, to be guided by these realities.
- And your students today - who are they? From capitals or from all over the country? Are you managing to accommodate their personal needs?
- “Students” is a broad concept. Their groups and strata are very different from each other. The best and most enterprising representatives of the country's youth study on the bachelor's and master's programs of the IBDA RANEPA. We have a tough competition, a very high cutoff for admission to the budget. And the high cost of extra-budgetary training. Where, however, students who came to us with the USE total in 3 subjects 270+ (but did not get the passing score for the budget, we have higher), can count on a discount of up to 70 percent. And study with this discount either to the end, or to the first two!
The age of students and undergraduates is from 17 to 23-24 years old. The ratio between Moscow and the regions is approximately 50x50. Learning is difficult. Two foreign languages under the MGIMO program, from where our business school came to RANEPA in 1996. Even pure humanities students from the Faculty of International Relations study the basics of mathematics, finance and Python programming. Without this, they will not be competitive in today's market. Before the pandemic, every third exchange student went abroad for a semester. Instead of defending a diploma, students have the right to choose to defend their entrepreneurial startup. If it's real, not paper. We are proud that, unlike the overwhelming majority of universities in the country, our 4th year undergraduate students write in an anonymous survey that their dream is their own business, and not a civil service or a job at Gazprom.
In an MBA, the average age is just over 30 years. Without 5-6 years of experience, we do not hire anyone for this program. This is for middle management or for young entrepreneurs who want to rise higher. They need business techniques, marketing, project and especially product management skills. That is, practical things.
The Executive MBA, with an average age of 43, is a program for three top executives. Management experience cannot be less than 7-8 years. They are interested in the problems of strategic management, leadership and the development of emotional intelligence, personal development in the broadest sense of the word, overcoming professional burnout, family and team relationships, finding the optimal balance between work and their own life.
For those who go to the MBA / EMBA programs, studying with us is a wide opportunity to meet their own kind, energetic people who have already achieved a lot. To establish broad contacts, which very often result in joint business projects at interregional or even international levels.
We, of course, can make an individual program for a person. Naturally, we also have such experience of working with top officials of the largest banks and companies. But, in general, we put the main emphasis on group training, which, through the exchange of experience, makes it possible to create new knowledge in the classroom. And for long-term programs. In the slang of Russian business education, we are "truckers". Unlike various small training centers, which are often called "fast food".
We work in the format of long programs with a rigid set of disciplines and parameters, which is approved by the world's leading accrediting organizations. There are only three of these in business education. They are called Triple Crown associations. These are the International Association of Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB International - Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EFMD - European Foundation for Management Development and AMBA or the Association of MBA Programs (MBA International). About 100 out of more than 30 business schools are accredited by all three associations in the world. Over three hundred business schools have two accreditations out of three in the world. IBDA RANEPA has two of three accreditations: we are the only ones in the country that have the most difficult and prestigious of the Three Crowns - AACSB International accreditation, as well as AMBA International accreditation.
Obtaining international accreditations of the "Triple Crown" opens access to participation in the most prestigious world ratings, of which the Financial Times rating is considered the number one rating in business education. (University ratings such as QS, EDUNIVERSAL, etc. are not quoted in business education). The IBDA RANEPA ranks 90th in the rating of the 58 best business schools in Europe according to the Financial Times, and in the rating of the best EMBA programs in the world, our Russian EMBA is in 52nd place. And two joint MBA / EMBA programs (for two degrees) with the Antwerp School of Management (Belgium) and the Grenoble Graduate School of Management (France) ranked 55th and 63rd in the Financial Times rating for the best programs in the world, respectively. In total, 847 people are currently studying at the MBA / EMBA programs of the IBDA RANEPA. The figure is a good illustration of why the assertion of semi-literate amateurs from education that MBA programs are dying is typical trolling nonsense.
- Do you mainly cooperate with European business schools? Or are they also ready to make a "turn to the East" towards the countries of East and Southeast Asia? Far Eastern businessmen are guided by these regions almost without exception. But business with these or in these countries has to be conducted according to special rules, for which not all Russians are ready.
- Yes, we take this specifics into account. That is why at the IBDA RANEPA we attach particular importance to such a discipline as cross-cultural management. I am proud that after graduating from Harvard Business School, I developed and began teaching the country's first cross-cultural management course. This was in 1993.
I also own the first cross-culture textbooks in the country. If any of the readers are interested in this subject, then my textbooks can be easily found and downloaded on the Internet, as well as listen to a course of ten lectures on YouTube. Naturally free. On programs of all levels (bachelor's, master's, MBA, EMBA, DVA), a lot of attention is paid to cross-cultural management.
In addition, the IBDA RANEPA Bachelor's Program in Foreign Regional Studies is focused on Asia and China. The corresponding department of the Institute also includes the Department of Chinese Language, which works in close cooperation with the Embassy of the People's Republic of China in Moscow. In the past few years, our students have been winning against teams representing such well-known brands in the field of Chinese studies as ISAA or MGIMO at the Olympiads in Chinese language, writing characters and reading. By the way, the embassy recommended us several teachers who constantly work with students as native speakers. And every year a dozen of our children go for internships to China - some as part of a student exchange, and the most gifted - with a scholarship from the government of this country.
- And yet a question that is asked quite often. Do our citizens really need a complex and, frankly, expensive business education? There are many examples when people who were not constrained by stereotypes in business communication became truly successful. Those who studied "not by books" did not even receive a classical university education - and nevertheless are among the top ten billionaires. Maybe "to teach smart - only to spoil"?
Good and correct question. Business and management education teaches business, entrepreneurship, management, leadership. Is it given to everyone? Does everyone need it? If not all, then to whom?
Every 10-20 years, geniuses are born on the planet in various fields of economics, science, art. For example, according to legend, at the age of 6, Mozart could listen to a two-hour piano concert and play it right there as a keepsake. Geniuses can do without a conservatory or a business school, or even without a degree in Mechanics and Mathematics from the best university in the world. Such geniuses in their field as Bill Gates, Stephen Jobs, to a certain extent Oleg Tinkov can do without studying at a business school. And in general, do not graduate from universities. But there are only a few geniuses in the world.
Everyone does not need a business education. Is that some of its elements in the form of a financial literacy program in high school. Business education is focused on talented people. Talented in what? In the ability to create projects that people will need, for which people will pay money. That is, projects that will bring profit, which can then be used for the development of the company, spent or invested in charity. Every approach has motivation. But in order to do this, you need to make a profit.
As studies by the world's leading sociologists show, the ability and talent for doing business, management, entrepreneurship and leadership has about 7-8 percent of the self-employed (or able-bodied) population of any country. It is to people who have the appropriate talent that business education is directed. Others do not need to study in business schools. First, the professions of businessmen and entrepreneurs are no better or worse than the professions of doctors, artists, painters, and teachers. As the children's poet Sergei Mikhalkov wrote: "All kinds of mothers are needed, all kinds of mothers are important." Second, if there is no talent for running a business, business school will fail. It will be like studying in a conservatory without hearing. But if there is a rumor, the conservatory will polish your talent and make you a virtuoso. Also in business, if you have talent, a good business school can help you develop and polish it.
And how to determine in the simplest way, do you have a talent for running a business, for creating successful projects and products, for making a profit? And how great is the talent? The world defines it somewhat cynically. If you have talent, you can make the money you need to attend an expensive business school. All other things being equal, the more expensive and more successful a business school is, the better its teachers. Good teachers are always expensive. Therefore, the more expensive the business school is, the better the educational process. The more expensive the program, the more talented from a business point of view those who study on it. Therefore, sharing the experiences of these people will be very beneficial. Together they will be able to find new directions of activity. Success multiplies by success and produces a synergistic result.
We are visited by those who have all the makings for this and, which is also important, - the means. Those who are ready to develop further and need help for a decisive breakthrough. At the same time, we know that not all money holders are talented and hardworking. Everywhere in the world there are those who just happened to be in the right place at the right time. We focus on those who strive forward. Initial talent is needed, but it takes a lot of work to develop it.
Therefore, along with the high price bar, the IBDA RANEPA sets a high bar for requirements and entrance examinations. On the programs, we don't need rich bums living on a fortune earned by others. But those who are able to rise above it will certainly reach new heights. We believe that the Russian people will never run out of talent. Including talents for business, management and entrepreneurship. And in conclusion, I will repeat our slogan once again. It seems to me that in the light of what has been said it has become more understandable and appropriate.
We teach the smart not to be poor!