A cultural and study visit to Russia was not something I expected when I chose Henley Business School for my Master’s degree. However, on 25th March 2018 a group of Henley Business School Postgraduate students went to Moscow State Institute of International Relations (MGIMO). Students came from various backgrounds including Digital Marketing, like myself, to Entrepreneurship and International Business. This alone provided an amazing opportunity to interact with other postgrad students, some who I may have seen around the Business school but never had the opportunity to meet.
MGIMO is renowned for its elite reputation where it accounts presidents and ministers as its Alumni. A tour around the university and its Museum showed the many famous people that have visited the university such as Ban Ki-Moon. MGIMO has also received the Guinness World Record for teaching 53 languages full time and all students are expected to learn English. This proved to be very helpful, as other students would assist us when we were struggling to order food at the university cafeteria!
The trip featured presentations from MGIMO and Henley Business School lecturers as well as Business Incubator residents. The most memorable presentation for me was on Macro and Microtrends in Marketing by Professor Olga Khotyasheva. Despite the dense content, I learnt a lot on the Russian perspective of consumer trends and found Olga’s lecture very engaging.
This was followed by a trip to STROGINO Technopark, where we had the opportunity to hear presentations from existing residents and personally meet some of the start-ups such as 101XP. The creative environment provided us with an insight on established start-ups and the new technologies which are providing a platform for growth in the industry.
Thursday was spent with our groups and our client working on a proposal for their business. My group’s client was Katarina Tamarina, and her business KEN’NEDY which sold premium athleisure apparel. Her passion for the brand and its growth was very motivating for us and I thoroughly enjoyed working with her. Work continued overnight as we prepared our presentations in the student accommodation’s ‘chilling rooms’, but it was interesting to see the market trends and opportunities for the brand.
Friday was presentation day, and you could tell that everyone had worked hard to understand their client’s business and provide adequate suggestions. My group focused on conducting research on local and global markets as well as marketing techniques which could be implemented. It was a great opportunity for me to implement the techniques I had recently learnt in my Digital Marketing module onto a business. We were joint winners for the best consultancy team, along with the consulting team for Folk Comic which brings Russian folklore to digital comics. Our client also won the best venture award, along with a trip to the UK to attend the Henley Business Angels Company Presentations event next month. To celebrate, everyone went on a tour around the Moscow City Museum followed by a reception and awards ceremony. Seeing the sky view of Moscow was a lovely end to an eventful week!
The trip was of course filled with touristic activities and I found Red Square my favourite place due to the magnificent Saint Basil’s Cathedral and the department store GUM. I also got to try the legendary Soviet ice-cream at GUM, and it was really popular despite the minus degrees temperature. Despite the snow, commuting was never a problem, and I loved visiting various ornate metro stations.
Overall, I found the trip an amazing experience to learn about Russian culture and business ventures. It was great working as a Marketing Consultant and presenting in front of all the other groups, lecturers and our client, who has already implemented our ideas. I’m thankful to Henley Business School for this practical international experience, especially as my studies draw closer to an end. I would also like to wish all the MGIMO Incubator Residents all the best of luck with their business ventures and hopefully, we’ll see them expanding overseas, as there were a lot of interesting projects.