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SKOLKOVO MBA - One of the greatest Intellectual Meeting Places

SKOLKOVO MBA is one of the greatest "Intellectual Meeting Places" I've worked. Students come from all over the world, with curiosity and hunger to learn new things.They are open minded, and above all – fun to work with.


Professor Moty CristalF1GMAT: How did your association with Moscow School of Management began?

Moty Cristal: I was observing closely the changes that Russian economy and management styles have undergone. My work with some Israeli-Russian business people further attracted my attention to the potential market of negotiation training in Russia. When time was ripe, almost two years ago, a close friend, who is doing business in Russia, introduced me to SKOLKOVO through one of its client, and from the first training almost two years ago, I've strengthened my relations with the school and its clients.

F1GMAT: How important is negotiation in Business Education, especially an MBA program.

Moty Cristal: It's like asking how important is text analysis in literature studies, or contract law in legal studies. Negotiation is the essence of any business education, and regrettably it does not get sufficient attention. Many business people, and business school professors, still think that negotiation is a born gift, rather than learned skill and or a sophisticated profession.

F1GMAT: Can you teach negotiation? What are the teaching methodologies that you adopt in SKOLKOVO MBA?

Moty Cristal: Yes. You can teach negotiation. However, unlike many of my colleagues who believe that there is one way to negotiate, therefore they adopt a "manual" approach to negotiation teaching, we've developed a unique methodology, based on a blend of academic research and years of practical experience, which trains MBA students, (and some of the executives we work with at SKOLKOVO), in "Negotiation Thinking".

We define "negotiation thinking" as "the capability to understand and design effective negotiation processes in a complex business environment". Our methodology is based on the notion that business relations today are significantly different than in the past, due to technology, information, transparency and globalization. Different and dynamic, this is the reason behind building negotiation thinking on complexity science and system thinking, which is also the basis for much of the work conducted in SKOLKOVO.

MBA students are going through an intensive 4 days course with focus on the personal dimension of business negotiations (negotiation psychology, interpersonal communication, and cross-cultural awareness), the structural dimension (concepts of power imbalance and trust) and the learning how to control the negotiation process. All learning is done through simulations, case-study analysis and video movies.

F1GMAT: How different is Business in Israel compared to Russia. How do you customize negotiation processes for Russian Business?

Moty Cristal: This is the paradox. Business is business anywhere, but business cultures and codes are different and very culture sensitive. In US and Russia to bargain is considered "cheap" and business people don't like it, while Chinese and Indian can't do business without bargaining.

Russian business culture is more about power, and many times Russian business people "lose it" when they need to face a more powerful business partner. A lot of my work in Russia is training business people how to control the process even when they don't have power across the negotiation table.

F1GMAT: In your experience, how do you compare negotiation process in BRIC countries to US, UK and Rest of Europe

Moty Cristal: BRIC countries are the emerging economic power but in terms of negotiation culture they are very different. The only thing that you can say is common is the importance of relations in the BRIC negotiation culture. In the West (US, EU) time is money. The shorter the process – the better. American business people don't understand why they should "spend time" on drinking vodka with future business partner. They don't spend much time on building relations which is something essential Russian, India and China. Cooperation, rather than competition, is more acceptable in the West, and this is an important lesson in Russia. Compromise, which is very acceptable in India and China, is considered to be a "defeat" in Russia. By the way, all these are very general observations, and of course each particular process requires its own analysis.

F1GMAT: You have interacted with diverse personalities from various walks of life. How do you rate the SKOLKOVO MBA students? Can you please share some anecdotes about your negotiation Class in SKOLKOVO MBA?

Moty Cristal: Can you imagine a Russian, Egyptian, British, Spanish, Indian and a Chinese trying to negotiate a simple text? It sounds like the beginning of a good joke but no. This was one of my best teaching experiences. SKOLKOVO MBA is one of the greatest "intellectual meeting places" I've worked. Students come from all over the world, with curiosity and hunger to learn new things. They are open minded, and above all – fun to work with. I'm still in touch with many of them, even after the course, as they consult with me in their real life negotiations, their projects and their start-ups. Coming from Israel, a known start-up nation, I know how to identify their potential. It's the spark in their eyes which makes me invest more and more time working with them on their projects, even after the class.


Video Moty Cristal SKOLKOVO Professor of Negotiation

About Moty Cristal

Moty Cristal is the Professor of Negotiations at Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, Moscow's leading Business School, as well as a lecturer at Tel Aviv University, and the Lauder School of Government at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzelia. He is a research fellow at the Institute for Counter-Terrorism in Herzelia and a visiting scholar in leading international negotiation institutions including the Program on International Negotiation (PIN) at IIASA, Austria, (2001-2008), Program On Negotiation at Harvard Law School (2007) and the IDSS in Singapore, (2004).

From 1994 to 2001, Mr. Cristal served in various official capacities in Israeli negotiation teams with Jordan and the Palestinians, and experienced years of intense negotiations. Following an illustrious career as one of Israel's leading negotiation experts, Cristal established NEST Consulting to bring a unique systemic approach to the world of negotiation and the benefit of his experience and success to the private sector.

Since 2001, Mr. Cristal advises, consults and trains business people, top managers, CEOs and senior government officials in Europe, Russia, US and Asia in analyzing, planning and designing complex negotiation processes. Graduated Bar-Ilan Law School in Israel (1994), and Harvard Kennedy School of Government (1998), Mr. Cristal is also a doctoral researcher at the London School of Economics

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