This year, the destination was Moscow. Although in the last decade Russia has experienced a relative slowing down of the local economy, it is an upper-middle income country with an attractive market size and opportunities for foreign trade and investment. The perfect destination to learn of a history of adaptability and transformation.
The Master of Science in International Business is a one-year intensive program that prepares students from diverse backgrounds and nationalities of origin with the analytical skills, domain of the techniques and main competences required for participants to move forward in their professional careers in managerial positions in International Business. Students learn about the different domains of knowledge involved in International Business operations and strategies. They materialize this knowledge in the Master Thesis, which they develop throughout the year and defend at the end of June. After the strictly academic activities, students have an international experience by participating in the Business Trip, right before they begin their full dedication to the internship period.
The business trip is a one-week unique international experience in which the group of students perform an important number of visits to a wide array of organizations. These include private and public organizations related with international trade and investment, local companies that have an international dimension and foreign companies that have settled in the country of destination. Students have the chance to meet CEOs and top managers of different divisions within these organizations and learn first-hand about the strategic and operational challenges related with their international activities.
The objective of the business trip is that students identify and learn about how organizations adapt to the differential business environment, resources, institutional and legal structure, cultural characteristics, and overall climate for doing business of the country of destination whilst strengthening their network of contacts and their ability to interact in a foreign context. The visits are planned much in advance with the collaboration of ACCIO (the Catalan Agency for Competitivity and Internationalization) with the objective to gather as wide a perspective as possible, both in terms of the sectors covered as well as the inner firm’s divisions.
Past editions of the business trip took our students to Poland, Turkey, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Morocco. This year, the destination was the capital of Russia, Moscow. Although in the last decade Russia has experienced a relative slowing down of the local economy, it is an upper-middle income country with an attractive market size and opportunities for foreign trade and investment. The profound changes that its society and economy have experienced made it a perfect destination to learn of a history of adaptability and transformation.
The diversity of visits performed during the business trip allowed students of the MScIB to form an idea of the particularities of the Russian business environment in several key sectors. Before the actual company visits, students participated in an introductory session on “doing business in Russia” by the Vice-dean of the Faculty of Finance of the Plekhanov University of Economics and the former CEO of RosTelecom, a widely recognized technological company. These initial presentations allowed students to gather a deeper understanding of the general environment that Russia offers to perform business activities.
Talk by Mr. Dmitry Leshchinsky, Regional Sales Manager of CISCO Russia. / Photo: Mercè Roca
The agenda of the business trip included visiting a vast array of transnational companies based or operating in Moscow. During these visits, students could engage in conversations with their managerial teams and insightful discussions on the specific international strategies of the companies. The companies visited are listed next: ABBYY, Anex Tours and Coral Travel, Chaika clinics, Cisco Systems Russia, Azbuka Vkusa, Unicredit Bank, Detsky Mir, Netcracker Technology and Stelmach Polyus Technology Park.
Here are the reflections collected from the class delegates of the MScIB regarding their experience in the Business Trip:
“The business trip to Moscow was an incredible, eye-opening experience. We got an inside look into the Russian business environment, as well as the opportunities and challenges the country has faced and continues to face when doing business. We participated in engaging conversations with company executives across many business sectors where the students were given the opportunity to ask questions for a better understanding. Moscow was also a beautiful city with lots of green space and architecture that spans the centuries. We saw tall modern skyscrapers, soviet era fortresses and Tsardom Empire buildings. We also got a taste of Russian cuisine and culture. And finally, this trip was an incredible way to wrap up the master’s program. We got to experience this new city with the classmates and friends we have been studying side-by-side with for the last nine months.”
Britney Sloan (US).
“To me, the trip was a great way to recognize in a business environment what we learned in theory in class this year. A wide variety of topics from courses was covered by the speakers of the many company visits we enjoyed in Russia. Recognizing those course topics makes you realize how much we learned last year. The business trip was a great way to finalize this year with, and at the same time see a cool new city. ESCI-UPF partnered with a professional team to organize the trip and therefore enabled us to visit relevant companies in different sectors. The company visits made even more sense since the organization started the week with an interesting explanation from different angles about Russian business culture. I really enjoyed it!”
Inez Jager (the Netherlands).
The business trip is certainly a great complement to the academic preparation of the master. It enhances the ability of students to adapt to changing environments and to build bridges of dialogue between different ways of understanding the world and, in particular, business organizations, the activities these develop and their relationship with society.
The business trip is the final experience that students of the MScIB have as a group. Right after the business trip students embark in their professional internship, as the final stage of the master program. Most of these internships will take place abroad and many will already be in the form of an actual job contract that extends beyond the master program.