New level of academic mobility: development of international projects
The Faculty of Economic and Social Sciences (FESS) at RANEPA is developing a new type of academic mobility – developing business projects commissioned by international companies in collaboration with foreign universities.
In the 2018–2019 academic year, FESS developed a total of 31 business projects for international giants such as DeLonghi, PepsiCo, BMW, Pfizer, Bosch, Acentus, BMW Mini, and Coca-Cola. Each project takes 4-6 months to develop; Russian students travel to partner universities for their ‘pre-defense’ – their mid-term progress report, while the final presentation of the projects takes place at RANEPA. The final meeting includes acceptance of the project by the leaders of the customer company.
Business projects involve serious research with unknown results and require the collection of large amounts of data for processing and analyzing using Big Data tools. Two years ago, RANEPA FESS succeeded in convincing several major companies that students competent in new digital technologies are capable of solving their life-size production issues, that is, of actually providing consultancy to them. The next step was to involve foreign partner universities in the projects. FESS is developing a new type of academic mobility involving project teams travelling to another country for their pre-defense and final presentation of international projects.
German Students Annen Helena Birgit Margot and Tervesten Ludwig Benjamin from Hochschule Fresenius participated in two projects for DeLonghi. “In the first project, we worked together for four months to collect and analyze the best global pricing practices, and proposed a new automated model tailored for the company’s needs,” the students said. “In the second one, we analyzed secondary sources of marketing information, conducted a massive survey to develop consumer portraits, and ultimately built a strategy to promote Braun ironing systems. The work turned out to be difficult, but very useful.”
Tori Sarah Mari and Hong Nung Truong, students at the Belgian Vrije Universiteit Brussel, cooperated with a team from RANEPA FESS to evaluate digital communications for Pfizer and promote the Bosch green line. “We were delighted to participate in this international work; it was very interesting for us to try ourselves in real business projects – in our Belgian university, this is not done yet,” the young people commented.
Damiano Skembari and Leonardo Giusti from the Italian University of Pisa will arrive at the Presidential Academy next week for the final presentation of projects they developed for Puressentiel and Bosch. They cannot hide their excitement: “For the first time we are participating in a real international project. It takes a lot of responsibility; we are worried about how we will measure up to the Russian team. All our thoughts have been about these projects lately. This is a real test.”
At present, the Project Office at RANEPA FESS is putting together a portfolio of projects for the 2019–2020 academic year. The students will develop them together with their counterparts from Belgium, Germany, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Spain, France and Singapore.