Global Startups Course for a Global Team

Global Startups is an international course where students of many countries work together and share experiences related with business. 

Global Startups Course for a Global Team

The course brings the aura of cooperation, cross cultural experience and sense of unity for students who want to have an amazing experience. Global Startups certainly knows how to mix fun with seriousness, motivating students to use their creativity and team work to solve problems related with business and market. Technology shrunk our distance but only increase our desire to grow as a society, we are doing this now, from far, but together for now. The Italian exchange student Valentina Pavan spoke with us sharing a little bit of her experience.

I would first like you to give a brief introduction of yourself, your background, the course you are currently on in HSE, and why you chose the field.

I’m Valentina Pavan, I’m 23 years old and I’m from Italy. I studied the Chinese Language and culture in Venice university during my bachelor and now I’m specializing in Chinese business in my master. I’m in my second year of master at HSE, studying business and politics in modern Asia.

I chose this course at HSE because my Italian university offers a double degree program with it, and I’ve considered it a good choice for my academic and personal path for a number of reasons.

First of all, I considered that the educational approach that is used in Russia would have provided me with a wide range of specializations in the field of international business and politics, as well as a lot of practical skills.  In addition, thi master would have let me experience a different teaching method and educational system, where the academic contents are complemented by research and business projects.

The second reason I’ve been drawn to Russia was the increasingly globalized context which characterizes this Country and the international environment it features, as a place where the “East” and the “West” meet.

Thirdly, I was interested in Russian culture, literature and language, therefore studying at HSE university would have allowed me to learn Russian and to immerse myself into Russian culture, as well as improve my English level through held in English courses.

Tell us, please, about Global Startups course

“Global startups” consists in an applied project, consisting in both a more theoretical part, where some general knowledge about how to start a new business and are taught and real examples are presented, and a practical part, meaning interactive exercises to apply the tools and the knowledge acquired in the theoretical part, and the development of a team project with the help and the guide of the tutors of the course.

Why did you decide to participate in the course?

I joined this course because I believed it was a great opportunity to apply my knowledge and learn something more practical, working in an international team of motivated people with different backgrounds, whom to share ideas and knowledge with.

What kind of skills do you think you developed at the end of the course and what is the importance of such a course for a young professional?

I think at the end of this course I developed my communication skills at an international level, a deeper consciousness of the meaning of entrepreneurship and the steps needed to create a startup.

Can you describe the best exercise you most enjoyed and thought most useful, in the course, in your opinion?

In my opinion the most useful exercise was to present our startup project to different colleagues of the course and tutors, in a few minutes, and to receive their feedback.

I think that this was useful to test our ability to explain the concept and the most important points of our project, because in the real life investors and contributors have limited time and we need to capture their attention and interest immediately, and also having feedbacks and suggestions from both people who were doing our same course, and tutors experts in this kind of things, was really interesting for further and better develop our idea.

Do you think this experience could have been more productive if it was offline or in online mode, such course can bring the same results?

I think this experience have been really productive even though it was completely held in online form because, thanks to the wise use of platforms such as zoom and discord, it was possible to interact and communicate a lot. However, I believe that if it was offline, it could have been even more interesting and smooth, as there would have not been technical gaps or barriers that are inevitable in the online and we could have established a greater connection between members of the groups and tutors.

What do you think are the obstacles we have in the labor market, speaking as a young professional with a good formation?

In my opinion young professionals with a good formation face a lot of obstacles today in the labor market. First of all, the lack of trust of the older generation; in addition, the practical inexperience is often exploited by underpaying young workers and replacing them continuously. This way the labor market becomes an obstacle course and a useful survival game.

In your opinion, what's the bad side of big incentives for young people like us, maybe 20 to 27, to be very successful or start things very early compared with the older generation?

I think that today young people are more under pressure than the older generation, and often feel themselves as inadequate for a society that asks them to be successful and fully realized very early, but that doesn’t allow them to be so, due to the higher education and the experience required to have a good job and have a stable position.

Nowadays, we could assume that the importance of soft skills has raised considerably among many occupations, can you name a soft skill you’ve learned in the course and the importance you think this could have for your professional life?

In the course I’ve learnt mostly relational soft skills, as I had to cooperate with a team of international students that I didn’t know before, with different backgrounds, different timetables and also different time zones. In particular, I developed a delegation skill, the capacity to assign tasks and responsibilities to other members of the group, trusting them and without having the necessity to have everything done by myself in order to be sure that is done appropriately. I consider it a very important skill to work in teams, that permits you to concentrate better on few tasks and keep others engaged with autonomy.

Speaking about the impact on personal life, do you think such course could improve or support someone in terms of “developing an ability” to chat more with people, be more friendly, curious, tolerant, and so on?

For sure this course could improve people in terms of developing such abilities, because for working in a team unknown international people, you need to be tolerant and open to others’ ideas and opinions, and this diversity stimulates curiosity, that leads to talk and discuss with others, in a continuous process of confrontation and sharing.

Humans need offline more they want to admit in my opinion, I think we had a triple difficulty in handling the online format for several activities, I believe in this because humans need to have personal interactions. Has the method of "building" personal and professional contacts been greatly or little affected by COVID due to the introduction, shall we say sudden and compulsory in many ways, by digital tools? What's your opinion on that? Do you think this came to stay?

I agree that humans need offline more than they want to admit. For sure COVID pandemic has made it compulsory to find new online ways to build professional and personal contacts by digital tools, but I reckon that nothing could equal a real offline meeting with people.

For sure digital tools for interactions will continue to be used, considering their convenience and practicality, in particular in some situations like people living in different countries, but in my opinion these methods could never replace offline personal interactions, and they need to integrate rather than substitute them. 

Nicholas Antunes de Andrade