Russia Scores Big in Global Business Education

Russia Scores Big in Global Business Education

The projected growth of full-time international students choosing to come to Russia for study, many in business and economics programs, is forecast to double by 2025.

As Russia is in the midst of hosting the 2018 FIFA World Cup, it is great timing to explore some critical trends in the Russian business education arena and some of the opportunities and challenges identified by our colleagues in Russia regarding business school positioning and strategy.

I was recently invited to deliver two presentations by the Graduate School of Economics and Management of Ural Federal University and HSE-St. Petersburg. The topic for the day-long program was Russian Business Schools: Competitiveness on the Global Market. The program gathered over 75 experts from across Russia and around the world for a lively debate and discussion on business education in general and the positioning of Russia business schools in particular. Tatiana Lopatina, executive director of the Expert Analytical Center, was especially generous in sharing her comprehensive research, insights, and analyses of Russia business schools. Her presentation at this conference, from which the following data are drawn, was exceptional.

One of the critical topics was the projected growth of full-time international students choosing to come to Russia for study. The global market through 2013 currently exceeds over 4.1 million students electing to study abroad. Forecasters at the conference projected this number to double by 2025.

Image showing long-term growth of tertiary-level international students worldwide, 1975-2013
In Russia, the number of full-time international students is currently just under 150,000 (over 200,000 international students, full- and part-time) and is expected to double by 2025.

Chart showing number of foreign full-time students forecast by 2034/35 academic year in Russia, in thousands

What is compelling is that business and economics programs are the third-largest segment of study for inbound international students in Russia, behind engineering and medicine.

Graphs showing structure of incoming students in Russia according to specialization in 2015-16

The conference also focused on Russian business school research activities, primarily exploring publications included in the Australian Business Deans Council (ABDC) listings; on global partnerships, including double-degree programs; and on accreditation pursuits (including AACSB). A great deal of attention was devoted to research with non-Russian coauthors, partnerships with internationally accredited business schools, extent of double-degree programs with non-Russian business schools, and a careful review of schools currently in and exploring international accreditations.

The following exhibit captures, based on these dimensions, the listing of Russian business schools truly pushing the globalization window.

Chart with listings showing trajectories of CIS business schools advancement

Some interesting conclusions regarding activities among business schools in Russia in particular and the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in general include:

  • The schools to a much greater extent are focusing on increasing and enhancing visibility in the global market.
  • There are increasing numbers of alliances, partnerships, double-degree programs, and participation in large, global networks like Solvay’s QTEM alliance.
  • A slow but steady interest in international accreditations seems to be sweeping the region.
  • Research activities in internationally recognized peer-reviewed journals is on the rise, as is the partnership with non-Russian/CIS-based coauthors.

As Russia currently abounds with international activity, it’s easy to imagine the region making ever greater strides in its global business education ecosystem in the coming years.

Tim MesconFollow Timothy Mescon on Twitter @timmescon.