St Petersburg has hosted the 10th Northern Dimension International Business Forum. This year, its main theme was “Sustainable development in the era of global change: Growth factors and (un)known challenges”.

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Konstantin Krotov, Head of School, the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University, spoke at the opening panel discussion. He told the audience what had been done during the 10 years of the forum’s existence from the perspective of business education in Russia. According to Konstantin Krotov, Russian business education over the past 10 years has followed the principles of the best foreign practices, and until recently this approach was correct. However, today in order to be ranked high and keep a leading position such a strategy is no longer appropriate. This is because everything changes too quickly, and the future is non-linear.

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The right growth path should be mapped out on the basis of an analysis of current trends. They include technological innovations, social and cultural changes, as well as changes in business models. The latter are no less important because they also dictate the future: the total competition and globalisation of business causes the necessity to create management models that are open to the outside world.

Geographical remoteness no longer protects us from competition, anyone can compete with us. Online learning has become commonplace, and any of the providers in the world can act as our competitor, and so can we.

Konstantin Krotov, Head of School, the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University

According to Mr Krotov, to ensure sustainable development, education has to solve three main problems: to develop the ability to unlearn and relearn in people; to create new knowledge; and also to change the approach to how and what to teach. Konstantin Krotov said that now at the Higher School of Management of St Petersburg University there is a transition from a rocket model, when teachers fuel students with knowledge using the principle “the more we fuel, the higher they will take off” to continuous learning.

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“Unfortunately, the education system is not always ready for this. It is also not ready for the creation of human capital,” said Mr Krotov. He noted that these restrictions arise from traditions, existing standards, and other global challenges. To overcome them, it is necessary to interact at the institutional, organisational and personal levels.

Speaking about cooperation with companies, Konstantin Krotov said that recently, thanks to cooperation with Severstal, the Transformation Office was created at the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University. “We cooperate with our colleagues from Severstal, and recently we have started to attract other companies. We expect such interaction to be especially effective in solving current issues in business and society,” said Konstantin Krotov. “We are constantly experimenting and changing to fit the future. I believe that sustainable development simply cannot exist without this.”

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Over its 10-year history, the Northern Dimension Forum has earned a reputation as one of the most important platforms for interaction between governments, businesses and civil society of the Northern Dimension countries. They are members of the European Union, the Russian Federation, Norway and Iceland.

This year, the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University, acted as a partner of the Northern Dimension Forum for the first time. After the joint plenary session, thematic round tables were held within the framework of individual working groups. Students, teachers and company representatives discussed energy, engineering, ecology, transport, logistics, medicine and tourism.

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