Removing the Borders: Education and Research in Business and Management

Prof. Nikolay B. Filinov , Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management, shared the plans and the anticipated synergy of the merge of several Schools and institutions under one roof.

The Faculty of Business and Management encompasses three schools, four research institutes, one research center, and four professional development centers. The School of Business Administration, the School of Logistics and the School of Business Informatics have their own networks of academic partners and being part of one Faculty brings synergy possibilities to the fore.

Currently the Faculty has several Double Degree programmes – with University of Münster, University of Passau and University of Applied Sciences (Berlin) in Germany and with ESCP Europe in France and Lancaster University in the United Kingdom. It holds summer and winter schools, runs a ‘Business in Russia’ programme jointly with DAAD and the German Chamber of Foreign Trade and actively promotes exchange opportunities for students. Both in Russia and abroad students show impressive results: they win Case Competitions by Google Cup and Jaguar Game Changer, get invited to IBM’s Best Student Recognition event and to the Heidelberg Laureate Forum.

As for the development of the Faculty itself, Prof. Nikolay B. Filinov, Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management, shared the plans and the anticipated synergy of the merge of several Schools and institutions under one roof.

The Faculty of Business and Management was formed in early 2015 – what did the transformation bring in terms of research and education?

It is too early to say what synergy we can gain because the decision to form a new Faculty was taken only on January, 30 in 2015 and implemented in April. However, several positive consequences of merging into one faculty can already be noticed.

The School of Business Administration, the School of Logistics and the School of Business Informatics have a lot in common in terms of research interests. Of course, Faculties have no real “borders”, they do not have the power to divide people – but sometimes even such paper-thin borders prevent communication between people with similar research interests. For example, such a topic as project management has been developed for a long time by the School of Business Administration, but it is also of interest for the School of Business Informatics. In these two cases the spheres of application are different but in terms of the approach to project management they are the same, both refer to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, use the same software, etc.   It is clear that the exchange of ideas, teaching experience, research results and best practices will be beneficial for both Schools.

Research of business models is another example of cooperation facilitated by the merge of different Schools into one Faculty. It’s a buzzword of sorts right now in many spheres – strategic management research, teaching research, project management, and in strategic marketing. Business Informatics and Business Administration researchers are interested in business models. Such a modelling tool as system dynamics, developed by Jay Wright Forrester, is used in teaching by different departments – logistics, project management, strategic management, etc.  These are only a few examples of how people have common fields of interests, use similar tools, and can enrich each other’s knowledge through collaboration.

One of the ideas behind the faculty merges was not only to provide more opportunities for cooperation, but also to give more autonomy in terms of decision-making. How is that working out?

One of the benefits of the Faculty merge is that there is a chance of wider expertise of research results, applications for financial support of conferences, research projects proposals and so on. It provides conditions for a more objective and diverse approach in decision-making. We’ve already had a taste of that at several meetings of the Research commission of the Faculty, which can allocate resources for conference travel, organizing research seminars, conferences and summer schools. We learn to discuss and bring together views from different disciplines, conflicting priorities and values – it takes time but it is necessary for the greater autonomy of faculties and their academic communities.

What are the Faculty’s plans for international recruitment of students and professors?

Out of the three Schools within the Faculty currently only the School of Business Administration has joined the University’s program of international recruitment to hire faculty members.  As far as international students are concerned, only the School of Business Informatics has launched a full-degree Master’s programme taught entirely in English. Such complementary experiences are also an internal asset – different parts of the faculty will share their positive and negative experience with colleagues who are also interested in recruiting from the international academic market.  Another sphere where we see a lot of potential for synergy is partnerships with foreign universities: each School has had its own partners abroad, and this gives an opportunity for other colleagues also to join these collaborations.

Geographically speaking, where are the majority of your partnerships?

As far as international partnerships are concerned, it depends on the topic: logistics is traditionally strong in Germany, and we have many partners there. We also have strong ties with French universities, because they have been very important partners of Higher School of Economics since its establishment, and with the UK. We hope to bring together these networks of partnership and to create a closely connected and vibrant network of cooperation.

We also cooperate with all HSE campuses; as one integrated faculty we are easier to partner with on the topics of business and management than we were before as different entities.

Do you have any plans on opening more English-taught programmes?

Naturally, and we hope to use the experience of the School of Business Informatics, though it cannot be transferred automatically. There are certain stereotypes about the country’s expertise, and while Russia is often thought of as having highly skilled IT specialists, it does not enjoy the same reputation in the sphere of management.  This is not quite justified: we have many accomplishments in certain spheres of management. They concern large-scale complex projects (such as hosting the Olympic Games), management in emergencies or crisis situations and in creative projects (such as Sergei Diaghilev’s Ballets Russes).

Nikolay Filinov is a Candidate of Sciences in “Mathematical and Instrumental Methods of Economics” and a Dean of the Faculty of Business and Management. Prof. Filinov was born in 1954 and graduated from S. Ordzhonikidze Moscow Institute of Management. He is active in professional and research associations both in Russia and abroad. Prof. Filinov is Member of the Editorial Advisory Board, of Management and Organization Review Journal, board member of the Global Business and Technology Association (USA), Member of Academy of Management and Academy of International Business.