Education and business: how Russia and Ghana can help each other grow


In the past few years, the whole world has faced changes – or one might even say structural shifts – in the economy, society, logistics and other areas.

The new state of business relationships require completely different approaches and business decisions.

Global challenges have forced different countries to implement projects and initiatives that would allow them to enter a new stage of development.

Russia and the African states are no exceptions. For example, the evolution of the digital economy and the digitisation of processes are putting through pace. Russia is actively working on the creation of digital infrastructure, the development of e-commerce and digital payment systems, and is ready to share its experience with African partners.

Meanwhile, business education in Russia is going through complex transformation and developing by leaps and bounds, despite the numerous restrictions imposed on the country in the form of sanctions. In this sense, it might be useful for Ghana – and other African countries – to look at Russia’s experience. In this article, we are discussing the innovations that the largest private business school in the country is introducing in its operations.

Impact on business

Against the background of external changes of the business development context, the requirements for the managers’ skills and competencies are also changing. And this is a challenge, first of all, for the system of vocational and additional education.

Every year, SKOLKOVO School of Management conducts research on how the business environment is changing, the challenges that senior management teams are working with and the competencies they will need to lead their firms.

According to the results of this year’s study, the corporate agenda in 2023 differs from the one of 2022. Last year, the key challenge for firms was to adapt to the sanction’s regime and the associated revision of their strategies, business models and operational processes.

In 2023, most companies overcame the crisis, found new footholds and are now forming the basis for long-term growth based on values, corporate culture and narratives.

However, corporate executives are facing another difficult task: the market context has become more complex, the competition is stronger, the targets are more ambitious and there is less time and resources for their implementation.

The study shows that all this affects managers’ educational priorities.

On the one hand, classical management knowledge and skills that ensure the effectiveness of an organisation are becoming increasingly important.

These include change management, leadership and project and people management. On the other hand, many managers have begun to update the organisational design and corporate culture to re-formulate goals and values that unite and inspire people.

This work requires not only knowledge of business management, but also an understanding of people’s organisational behaviour.

People have become one of the main assets, thus, retention and development of employees is becoming the most important priority for the coming years.

Today, firms around the world have similar priorities, says Svetlana Mironyuk, Vice-Rector for Operations and Digital and Professor of Business Practice at SKOLKOVO School of Management. Human capital development, change management, business innovation – the main goal of management education now – is to nurture leaders who would reach these goals.

How is business education changing and evolving in Russia?

Today, it is more relevant to talk not just about professions, diplomas and skills, but about individual’s ability to adapt; to show flexibility. This allows us to stay in demand on the current labour market.

Probably 10, 15 or 20 years ago, when people were planning their careers, everything seemed clear, linear and predictable to them.

Nevertheless, today, the rapidly changing digital world does not leave people the right and the possibility to stand still and think in outdated categories.

Specialists need to bring their experience together, determine the most valuable parts of it and move on because it is no longer possible to plan the future using the tools of the past.

This, in turn, determines the special role of education for adults and matured professionals who have already had managerial experience.

This education, on the one hand, gives a person a ‘precision calibration’ of competencies that he or she lacks and, on the other hand, improves adaptability. That is, it provides tools that allow a person to find solutions for current issues in a turbulent environment, forget outdated practices and skills and learn new things.

However, there is another problem that arises: how to engage a mature and busy person with one’s own matters in the learning process?

Technologies and creativity come to the rescue. They help to diversify the studying to immerse students deeply, even if they are online, and to support their motivation as well as assimilate knowledge so as to easily apply it in practice.

“Returning to the classroom and life-long learning, this is our new reality. At the same time, you need to be able not only to learn, but also to unlearn.

You should not bring with you to the future your awards from the past, even if they seem very important.

In order to adapt to the new world, sometimes you have to start your professional career anew; and this does not mean that everything you achieved in the past was in vain.

“Past experience will help if you don’t get fixated on it,” Svetlana Mironyuk explains.

How technology serves business education

Having moved into the education sector from the media industry, Mironyuk became the inspirer and project lead to introduce innovations, multimedia and digital formats into the educational process at SKOLKOVO School of Management.

This project was launched even before the pandemic, when the school began creating ‘Glassroom,’ the first virtual classroom in Eastern Europe, which became one of SKOLKOVO’s trademarks.

Inside, 27 plasma screens make up a video wall that could display up to 80 participants of the event at a time.

A group of participants can be physically located inside the room. Right behind the wall, there is a full-scale control room with professionals who operate video cameras, light, sound and effects.

All this allows SKOLKOVO to hold realistic simulations to solve business cases, hold talks and discussions with professors, invite experts and students, work together to create educational content, organise online events, presentations and pitches, as well as public speaking trainings.

Today, the school already has two classrooms of the kind, and students of various programmes regularly use them in their work.

How has educational experience and educational path changed in the last couple of years?

In addition, the multimedia environment of the school’s campus got a “Green Studio” which allows visualising educational content of any complexity, and an AR studio, as well as multifunctional classrooms with high-tech equipment for innovative educational formats.

Role of AI in business education

Today, one of the key tasks of the school is to introduce, AI both in educational and management processes. AI is already helping to make many training videos, diagrams and illustrations.

How Ghana can benefit from Russia’s experience

The experience of SKOLKOVO School of Management in both the transformation of internal management processes and in educational innovations can be useful for educational institutions in Ghana and throughout the African continent.

This is an example of a rapid and high-quality build-up of new competencies and the ability to share them with students – specialists, entrepreneurs, senior managers – who, in turn, are responsible for innovative development and implementation of changes in their companies and organisations.

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