How masters save companies
Business game? No, there is no time to play at the end of the semester. This is real consultancy work with real companies. Two months of intense teamwork by master's students successfully concluded in June with defenses of their business development projects. Defense was a very important test for future financiers - students defended their projects in front of company heads. Almost all projects received maximum marks and many proposals were submitted to business units for approbation. Business projects, which involve close cooperation between companies and students in solving business problems, are now an integral part of the curriculum in the School of Economics and Management's master's program in St. Petersburg.
There is no shortage of topics and companies to search for, and this year's projects included Capital Legal Services, Business Solutions and Technologies (formerly Delloitte), Elex and SSP-Consult, with some companies even having to compete for the right to offer their project. Most of the well-known large and medium-sized companies are SEM’s partners, and many of them employ graduates of the Master's in Finance programme. Companies are actively involved in preparing assignments and providing feedback on projects, because they know very well what an invaluable resource is available to them for finding answers to the challenges of our unstable world.
Why do companies take the solutions students propose seriously? Well, firstly, if they have worked closely together, the result was expected. Secondly, they get not just a fresh perspective, but a real broadening of horizons and fundamentally sound business solutions and proposals. After all, it is not enough to rely only on the accumulated knowledge and enthusiasm of the students, it is necessary to ensure the relevance of the chosen approaches and sufficient depth of analysis.
In order to make theory and practice serve the tasks set by the companies, the practicing professor - Olga Makarova, associate professor of Finance department, Ph.D., MBA, who has been managing financial services and consulting of international companies for more than 15 years, is involved in project management. But this is already at the stage of working on the projects. And a significant part of the success is laid at the stage of selecting project proposals, i.e. agreement with companies on topics and expected results - long work of the Centre for Corporate Partnerships and the Head of the Master's Programme in Finance, Associate Professor Varvara Nazarova, PhD in Finance, leader of SEM’s research and corporate programmes.
Where do students get the information and data to solve project problems? It seems that all you have to do is 'Google it' and you will find it. But the reality is that reliable information and research resources are an invaluable resource in today's world and access to them is usually limited. But not for SEM students, where it is a matter of honour to provide students with all the materials and to enable them to use the most relevant international academic resources and digital platforms, including exclusive library resources with access to the best international textbooks, publications and databases.
All these resources are usually inaccessible to companies for finding solutions, time is always short and the business environment raises one new question after another. So companies are waiting for student projects and real help from students, and the SEM only has to manage to prepare this help in time.