The Advisory Board for the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) has approved the primary areas of the business school's development strategy until 2025.

Sergey Ivanov is Special Representative of the President of the Russian Federation for

Environmental Protection, Ecology and Transport, Chairman of the Advisory Board for the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University. Opening the meeting, he highly appreciated the successes of the business school in 2020 and thanked the team for their extraordinary work in the new reality.

The past year has been anything but simple for all of us, and universities around the world have felt especially the acute impact of the pandemic. I am proud to note that the Graduate School of Management not only overcame these challenges decently, but also began implementing development projects. Ahead is the solution of new challenging tasks. Next year will be a key milestone for the Graduate School of Management: we are starting a full-scale implementation of a new development strategy for the business school.

Sergey Ivanov, Chairman of the Advisory Board of the Graduate School of Management, St Petersburg University

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University and Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, also noted that the University coped well with the challenges of 2020, and not only did the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University not lose its positions, but also strengthened them both in Russia and abroad.

As we all know, St Petersburg University is a huge institution that employs representatives of a wide variety of schools of thought and fields of study. The key to the success of any effective educational institution in the 21st century is an interdisciplinary approach. And I am glad to note that the interdisciplinary component has significantly increased at the Graduate School of Management at the University over the past year. I am sure that this is what made it possible for us not only to retain our positions, but also to make a leap forward, despite the challenging circumstances of 2020.

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University

He also noted that a new development strategy for the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University – 2025 was formed for further advance. Its objective is to strengthen its position in international rankings and maintain the status of the best business school in Russia. Additionally, among other tasks are: to be listed among the top 30 European business schools in the Financial Times ranking by 2025; to become a first-choice business school for leading employers; and to increase the number of students and trainees to 30,000 people annually. The updated strategy is based on the concept of lifelong learning and the principles of sustainable development. Digital solutions will contribute to the implementation of the set goals: their share in academic courses is planned to increase to 50%.

‘The challenging task of large-scale growth and worldwide presence of the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University mirrors the current demand of the Russian economy for managers with: a sound academic background; internationally recognised skills sets; and understanding of the importance of the ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) agenda. The leaders of the economy included in the Advisory Board are prominent representatives of the labour market, and their expectations must be met by graduates of the School first of all,’ stressed Sergey Ivanov.

‘VTB strongly supports the education sector, and the Graduate School of Management at St

Petersburg University has been our strategic academic partner for many years. To date, the School has outperformed all Russian business schools in international rankings. Even more ambitious global goals are ahead,’ said Andrey Kostin, President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board.

Together with other members of the Advisory Board, we are confident that by joint efforts we will raise Russian business education to the highest international level and the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University will become a source of the best managerial personnel for the global labour market.

Andrey Kostin, President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board

In turn, Olga Dergunova, Deputy President and Chairman of VTB Bank Management Board and Director of the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University, noted that, at present, representatives of the business community must constantly improve their skills set and acquire new knowledge.

In partnership with business, government and top-level scholars, the business school designs world-class educational products and helps leaders, teams and organisations progress at all stages of their development.

Olga Dergunova, Director of the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University

GSOM SPbU as a university business school in its development is based on the high academic quality standards of St Petersburg University, which is a world-recognised centre of science, education and culture. The growth driver of the School will be continuing professional education programmes. Together with the administration of St Petersburg University and the members of the Advisory Board, the business school is launching a process of designing and updating continuing professional education programmes that are in demand in the labour market: massive online courses; corporate customised programmes; and short-term open programmes.

The general education programmes of GSOM SPbU will become more practice-oriented. Teaching experts, who have achieved conspicuous success in their field, will be involved in delivering classes. The business school intends to update the selection system for applicants for bachelor's degree, focusing on applicants with high leadership potential. Additionally, an industrial component and individual learning paths will be introduced in master's programmes, while preserving the opportunity for students to acquire a broad international experience. Already in the 2021/2022 academic year, the Master in Corporate Finance, Master in Business Analytics and Big Data, and Master in Urban Management and Development (Smart City Management) programmes will be launched in a new format.

The development of the digital educational environment will become the basis for the competitive advantage of GSOM SPbU. The business school plans to develop a digital platform for data-driven learning, communication and decision-making, integrated with business partners and the government. GSOM SPbU plans to introduce an online component into academic programmes and complete digitalisation of all processes.

‘The new strategy has been formed based on the results of the co-working of: the team of the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University; the University administration; members of the Advisory Board; partners; students; alumni; and the state. An agile approach has helped us find effective solutions. We will also move towards achieving new goals in short iterations step by step. We will test hypotheses, make adjustments if necessary, achieve results and state new tasks. Today, the correctness of the hypotheses put forward is confirmed by the achievements of the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University and the successful launch of pilot programmes,’ said Olga Dergunova.

Comments of members of the Advisory Board for the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University

Ruslan Vesterovsky, Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of the Russian Federation:

‘The work of the Graduate School of Management has reached a completely new organisational level and the past year has proved it. The new strategy looks very ambitious and even aggressive in a good way. I am confident that it will really make it possible to take the declared positions soon. We are conscious that in order to achieve the result, investments are needed, above all, in human capital. Together with the School and members of the Advisory Board, we will be able to create new winning products and solutions for the educational services market.’

Svetlana Matveeva, Vice President for Human Resources at Sistema Public Joint Stock Financial Corporation:

‘The pilot launch of the programme in Management Essential has exceeded our expectations. The demand for training from the employees was high: 1,000 people registered for the programme; 600 people took part in the selection process; 50 people became finalist winners and entered the programme. Even mature managers with more than one degree in their background wanted to study at the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University – a diploma of this level turned out to be excellent bait and motivation. When designing the programme, the business school team managed to take into account all our requirements and respond to the changes and wishes that we expressed after the launch. All this, despite the fact that our company is very heterogeneous: divisions have different levels of organisational maturity, industry presence, and so on. I would like to say a special professional thank you for such responsiveness and attentiveness.’

Vadim Khrapoun, Partner, Head of Business Restructuring Services and Financial Recovery Practice, PwC Russia:

‘Our company was immersed in the strategy from the very beginning. We are currently actively engaged in working with the team to reform the Master in Corporate Finance – MCF programme. The main objective is to bring the graduate's profile closer to the requirements of employers. The start of the updated programme is planned for next year. We are fully confident that the GSOM Master's programme has every chance of becoming one of the best on the market. There are all the prerequisites for this. Firstly, these are world standards: some of the MCF programme courses will be accredited according to ACCA and CFA standards. Secondly, we have already begun recruiting practitioners who have realworld experience in corporate finance. Their tandem with academic teachers allows for excellent theoretical training and practical knowledge. As members of the Advisory Board for the business school, we strongly believe in this project. PwC employees are involved in the programme development and will teach three courses within the programme: Audit; Taxation; and Project Finance.’

Also, during the meeting of the Advisory Board, they talked about the development of Mikhailovskaya Dacha Campus. By the next academic year, it is planned to put into operation nine halls of residence. They will house bachelor’s students of the business school. According to Nikolay Kropachev, Mikhailovskaya Dacha is currently the most technologically advanced and state-of-the-art part of St Petersburg University.

The path that remains to go before the completion of the construction of the GSOM campus is getting shorter, and the experience gained during the work is getting broader. It will be very instrumental for St Petersburg University at the new stage of its infrastructure development.

Nikolay Kropachev, Rector of St Petersburg University

The Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University would like to thank the trustees for their support in developing the campus. Thus, thanks to Russian Railways, extensive repairs of the railway halt platform was carried out, and it was also named Mikhailovskaya Dacha. VTB Bank provided construction of the fence and a new entrance complex. The plans include: the improvement of the park and an open sports complex with a football pitch and jogging tracks; and equipping halls of residence with furniture and household appliances. MegaFon, Mail.ru Group and P&G have redesigned the spaces of the future campus. Smart classrooms, 5G_DREAM_LAB and coworking have been equipped. Cloud-based facilities have been provided. Cellular coverage of the campus has been improved.

‘We would like to thank everyone who helped develop the new strategic directions of growth of the Graduate School of Management at St Petersburg University. The present-day and future achievements of the School are the common pride of the entire staff of St Petersburg University, the staff of the business school, trustees, students and alumni,’ emphasised Olga Dergunova, concluding the meeting.

The next meeting of the Advisory Board is scheduled for the second quarter of 2021.