Sergey Myasoedov for Forbes Education: What will change for Russian business schools
The AACSB, the Association of MBAs (AMBA), the Business Graduates Association (BGA), and the EFMD have recently announced they are collectively suspending membership and accreditation activities for Russian universities until further notice.
Forbes Education asked RANEPA Vice-Rector, Director of RANEPA Institute of Business Studies, President of the Russian Association of Business Education, Doctor of Sociology, Professor Sergey Myasoedov to comment on the news.
How will the suspension of the AACSB, AMBA, EFMD activities affect the functioning of Russian business schools?
The Triple Crown associations have indeed temporarily suspended their activities in Russia – new accreditations and re-accreditations – until further notice. However, the accreditations they have earlier awarded to leading Russian business schools will remain valid. This means they continue to be accredited schools and can post their accreditations on their websites, as well as inform their clients of these accreditations.
This means Russian business schools that have Triple Crown accreditations will maintain their status quo. Schools that were pursuing global accreditations, or were just about to earn them, regrettably, will not be able to continue the procedure in the near future.
Maintaining its accreditations is crucial for RANEPA Institute of Business Studies (IBS-Moscow), the country's leading business school with over 950 MBA students. The school has been collaborating with the London Business School, IMD (Lausanne), INSEAD (Fontainebleau) and others. Its MBA/EMBA programs are among the top 50 on the Financial Times Business School Rankings.
Getting to keep its accreditations, among other things, has confirmed that IBS-Moscow continues to be one of the world's leading business schools and the national leader in business education. I think it is an important factor for representatives of Russian and foreign businesses who decide to enroll in one of our programs.
Have any of the school’s foreign partnerships been suspended? What consequences could this have?
A number of foreign partnerships have been temporarily suspended, including with Antwerp School of Management and Grenoble School of Management. Both of them are key strategic partnerships for IBS-Moscow. The Financial Times ranked these schools 45th and 67th, respectively, on its 100 best programs ranking
It should be understood that suspending enrollments to new programs – a step our partners had to take under pressure – is anything but beneficial for them or for us, in a competitive market. Sanctions always act as a boomerang and affect both sides. When sanctions target major powers such as Russia, they always create economic problems for the countries and groups of countries that impose them, and can therefore be quite painful for our partners.
How do you think the current situation will affect business education in Russia? Will the demand increase or, conversely, decrease?
From our experience in the past 30 years, the demand for quality business education usually grows during recessions. This happened in 1998, in 2003, in 2008, and in 2014. This can happen again in the next six months or a year. For leading Russian business schools, this is, among other things, an opportunity to enter, or increase their presence in, a number of modern segments of the business education market associated with breakthrough technologies.
This spring, IBS-Moscow seems to enjoy as high a demand as last spring, and that was an absolute record in the 33 years the school has been on the market. Naturally, I cannot predict with 100 percent certainty how the situation may change next fall. A market is a market. However, I repeat, in difficult times, the demand for business education and the exchange of hands-on experience usually grows.
What steps is the school taking to minimize losses?
It would be more correct to say that a global economic recession usually creates opportunities for leading business schools to improve their share of the business education market. We will need to carefully assess the new situation, do some strategic foresights with our graduates, develop new programs, add new disciplines and subjects, figure out the optimal balance between classroom and online time, etc. We are busy working on this right now.
The school is looking for new alliances with practicing businesses, and exploring the possibility of extending to market niches that are now especially relevant for practitioners. Finally, we know from experience that programs consisting of independent modules that can be assembled in a way that suits the student’s needs usually work best during recession. Students can choose to study specific modules, such as finance or marketing. Projects that give participants the opportunity to use the IBS-Moscow platform to meet with leaders of major companies and gurus of IT, neuropsychology in business, etc., are also very relevant. I hope we will be able to present some new programs to the market next fall. We will make an announcement in early summer.
Which of the school's projects have been put on hold, and which ones will be implemented despite the current situation?
Several adult education projects in partnerships with foreign business schools have had to be put on hold. It is important to emphasize once again, however, that this does not mean a severing of ties; our programs and projects have been suspended only temporarily.
In this regard, it is important for the country's business schools to consider alternatives, and think about expanding cooperation with Asian, Latin American, and African countries. Projects that have to do with business development in Russia, the CIS and across Eurasia will certainly be promising. It should be relevant to study the Eurasian business school model, effective management practices specifically used in Eurasia, on the border between the two parts of the vast continent where Russia is located.
I would really like to believe that the accomplishments Russian business education has made in recent years should help it adapt to the new normal, and furthermore, make a qualitative breakthrough. I would very much like to hope that business education in Russia would grow through interesting strategic alliances in various parts of the globe, as well as through breakthrough projects with partners we could not reach before. This is a difficult and stressful time indeed, but it can also be interesting for those who are enterprising and open to change. I think about a year from now, Russia’s leading business schools including IBS-Moscow will be able to tell you more about their new educational projects, research, and unique trainings.
It is widely known that in Chinese, the word for crisis also bears the meaning of opportunity. Russian business schools should take full advantage of this opportunity.