'International Business' Master's Programme: Producing a New Generation of Managers
In 2020, HSE University - St. Petersburg will introduce a new English-taught master's programme in International Business. Students will carry out consulting projects at companies and complete internships and mobility programmes abroad. We discuss how the new programme is going to create managers of a new kind.
What kinds of careers will programme graduates be able to pursue?
International Business programme trains a new type of managers—specialists who do not just adapt to the market changes but anticipate them to build a company's development strategy. Knowledge and skills that students will gain are cross-functional, so graduates will be able to work for both international companies and start-ups. They will learn how to find creative business solutions and address company issues from a global perspective with a firm grasp of the international environment and practice.
The programme takes a 'generalist approach'. What does this mean?
The programme does not have a narrow focus. Students will obtain managerial competencies that will allow them to take on projects and manage processes, regardless of a company's area or industry. Our master's programme is modelled on the programmes of foreign universities, such as the University of St. Gallen in Switzerland, Bocconi University in Italy, and the Haas School of Business in the US.
As a result, students will become familiar with tools for working in an international environment, be able to analyze a company's position in the market, and evaluate a project or the business processes of an organisation.
The generalist nature of the programme also implies that applicants with different bachelor's degrees can apply to the programme. To get into the programme, applicants must pass an English language proficiency test and provide a portfolio, in which applicants must describe their background and participation in projects. Applicants who are motivated to learn and create new business ideas will be accepted to the programme.
What skills will students acquire?
The programme focuses on developing digital and soft skills. These skills are essential for modern leaders, enabling them to run a business in an environment where most of the information and transactions are online. Students will learn how to analyze a company's performance using digital data and present the results to partners or clients.
Students will also learn to analyze visual data using programming languages such as R and Python. They will learn how the business has changed in the digital age and what modern business models exist. This knowledge will help students use digital data to make informed decisions in the market. Students will also be engaged in creative workshops for the development of their managerial skills: teamwork, project management, human resource management, and presenting ideas and research to various audiences on the international business arena.
What different tracks does the programme offer?
The programme offers two tracks: 'Global Supply Chain Management' and 'Creative Industries Management in the Global Economy'. Students choose one of these tracks in the first month of their studies.
Different tracks enable students to focus on studying one of the areas of global management. Both areas, creative industries and operational management and logistics, attract international companies and bring in investments to Saint Petersburg. First, the city has developed sea and river ports, water transport communication, supply chains, and trade. Second, Saint Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia with the largest museums, creative clusters, and theatres.
Students will develop their expertise in management and gain international experience in the developing industries of Northwest Russia, such as creative industries and logistics. However, the programme does not train supply chain management specialists or managers for the creative cluster. The division into tracks will help students put their knowledge into practice in international companies.
How will students participate in projects?
Projects are the focal point of the programme. The programme aims to bring in international companies such as Yandex, Danone, and L'Oreal to work with the students. Thus, companies will turn to the programme with their business tasks and problems, and students will help address them. Projects will be done in teams, and at the end of the first year, the teams will have to make project presentations to the clients and receive feedback. In the international environment, this practice is called Bar Camp.
During the second year of studies, partner companies will constantly interact with students as part of consulting projects. Students will have to interact with companies relevant to their track of study, work on internal projects, help solve problems in the international market, and present their findings to representatives of these companies.
Project results can serve as the basis of students' master's theses. The programme's management recommends that the students write their theses as a consulting project, but they can also do scientific research.
Can students conduct research?
There is a research seminar in the programme where students learn research principles, methods, and analytical tools for the international business sphere. The seminar helps students develop academic research projects.
It is also possible to do research at HSE University - Saint Petersburg laboratories, such as the International Laboratory of Intangible-driven Economy and the Laboratory of Cultural Economics. Students can work in research groups with their lecturers and study international business and the management sphere.
Why is the programme taught in English?
The programme is taught entirely in English. Thus, students become integrated into the international environment and learn the language of business spoken by global companies.
International cooperation is a key component of our programme, and instruction in English allows foreign lecturers and students to join the programme. For example, Jeff Downing, Academic Supervisor of the bachelor's programme 'International Business and Management Studies', and Romie Littrell, Professor of the Department of Management, will teach some courses. In addition, studying alongside international students expands students' understanding of business cultures, because they will learn more about how the market functions in other countries.
To get into the programme, students must take an English proficiency exam or provide an English language proficiency certificate.
How will students gain international experience?
The programme management adheres to the idea that each student should intern or study abraod. It can be academic mobility when a student studies at the partner university for a semester or a practice-oriented study trip abroad that involves an internship.
There are internship opportunities in HSE's programmes in 'Finance' and 'Management and Analytics for Business'. Last year, students of these programmes went to the Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management of the Free University of Brussels, and this year they went to the Rotterdam School of Management of Erasmus University.
The mobility programmes are usually short, organized by the partner university, and considered as a project activity or internship. Students attend workshops and university lectures and visit local companies related to the programme's study track. Students are introduced to companies’ business experience and deal with real-world problems. For instance, students of the 'Finance' programme calculated the opportunities for companies to make sustainable investments.