Waagt Nederland sprong in Russisch businessonderwijs?

Nieuws | de redactie
8 juni 2011 | De MBA-programma’s die business schools wereldwijd aanbieden zijn populairder dan ooit. Uit cijfers van de Graduate Management Admission Council (GMAC) blijkt dat vooral in Rusland de vraag groot is. Dat trekt veel internationale spelers. Waar blijven de Nederlandse onderwijsinstellingen?

Business schools face an ever increasing demand for MBA programs. Data from GMAC showsthat the demand for business degrees is especially strong amongyoung Russian students looking for international programs. GMAC,the organization handling the Graduation Management Admission Test(GMAT), saw a 64% increase in the number of Russian GMAT examineeswithin the last 4 years. In 2010, 2.019 Russian students took thistest that by now is established as a standard for every businessschool application.

Out of these 2.019 students, only 2,4% subsequently applied forRussian universities. The rest pursued their MBA studies abroadwith the US being the choice of 53% of these applicants. This factcombined with the high tuition fees business schools earn byoffering MBA degrees make this group of students an especiallylucrative target. Dutch business schools like Rotterdam School ofManagement and Nijenrode Business University both charge well above€30.000 for their 1 year MBA programs. Despite this potential,Dutch business schools cannot yet develop enough traction fortapping into the Russian MBA market.

Bringing the Competition to Russia

Meanwhile, international competitors make a move, not waitingfor Russian students to come to them, but instead moving theiractivities to Moscow and St. Petersburg. There, 5 big businessschools opened campuses backed up by local institutions and theRussian government. Among those are Duke University (USA), VlerickLeuven Ghent University (Belgium), Stockholm School of Economics(Sweden), Grenoble Graduate School of Business (France), andKingston University (UK). Main advantage of their programs is thatRussian MBA students value their high quality English taughtprogram while Russian competitors lack behind in internationality.Overall, Russia’s research capacity has suffered substantially since the fall of theSoviet Union at the beginning of the 90’s.

Nevertheless, Peter Rafferty, director of international businessat Vlerick Leuven Ghent warns that opening up business schools inRussia’s growing market entails some downsides: “There arepolitical risks to consider. Establishing a business school inRussia is a completely bureaucratic process. Your building needs tobe approved. The institution needs to be approved and your courseprogram design needs approval.”

Russian authorities view the academic exodus of their countrymenand women with great worries. To react to this development,President Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin put into motion anumber of reforms aimed at increasing Russia’s competitiveness inresearch and higher education. In addition to that, PresidentMedvedev took things into his own hands when he became chair of the Moscow School of ManagementSkolkovo in 2006. This school is heavily supported by the Russiangovernment and seen as a prestige project. Whether Mark Rutte wouldbe ready to honor his alma mater, the University of Leiden, in asimilar fashion is yet to be seen…

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