SKOLKOVO MBA - A threat to Babson, Harvard and Stanford?

SKOLKOVO vs Babson vs Harvard vs Stanford vs MITUS News MBA ranking for 2012/13 has been released. Babson, Stanford and Harvard have ranked in the top 3 positions for Entrepreneurship.  We have been observing this ranking for over three years now. The top 3 spots for most specialities pretty much stayed the same. When we talk about speciality rankings, these are MBA ranking in Accounting, Entrepreneurship, Executive MBA, Finance, Information Systems, International MBA,General Management, Marketing, Non-Profit, Part-time MBA, Operations and Supply Chain Management.

What are the criteria that US News set before ranking a Business School based on speciality? Here is what we found out from US News:

“Specialty rankings: These rankings, including executive M.B.A., are based solely on ratings by business school deans and directors of accredited master's programs from the list of schools surveyed”

Deans and directors opinion are the only evaluation factors used to create speciality ranking.

If you compare this method with the overall ranking, the later uses 10 evaluation factors: Quality assessment , Peer assessment score, Recruiter assessment score, Placement success , Mean starting salary and bonus, Employment rates for full-time master's program in business graduates, Student selectivity, Mean GMAT scores, Mean undergraduate GPA and Acceptance rate

So what makes an MBA program truly entrepreneurial?

You have to think from an Entrepreneur's point of view. Is it worth spending two years in an Entrepreneurial MBA program if you can’t work on your project as soon as possible?  Why would any Entrepreneur go for an MBA program?

There are five things that Entrepreneurial MBA students look for: Business Fundamentals, Speed of Execution, Mentorship, Funding and Networking Opportunity

The primary objective with an Entrepreneurial MBA program is to learn the fundamentals that would be applicable for their Business. Broadly speaking, there are six courses that would add value for Entrepreneurs: Leadership, Strategy, Financial Accounting, Sales and Marketing, Managing People and Negotiations.

Speed of Execution is the primary goal. Entrepreneurs want to know whether their idea can be converted to a viable Business. Peers and professors would help them in evaluating their idea and refining the Business plan. When it comes to execution, it is the Entrepreneurs who have to see whether they can get traction from the idea.  The MBA program should guide the students in that direction.  Unlike traditional MBA program where experiential learning only comes at a later stage of the program, for Entrepreneurial MBA programs, experiential learning should be the foundation.

Speed of execution also depends on the mentorship opportunities in the campus. How qualified are the mentors? Have they gone through the same journey? Do they have an understanding of current market conditions and consumer behaviour? All these factors will influence the effectiveness of the mentorship program.

For students who want to start their own company after the MBA program, funding and networking opportunities should be the qualifying factor when it comes to selecting a Business School.  Make sure that the Business School has association with investment banks and venture capitalists.

Our research on finding a truly Entrepreneurial MBA program led to the association with SKOLKOVO MBA program in Moscow School of Management

What we love about SKOLKOVO MBA Program

1) 12 Month Program: For traditional MBA program, the 2-Year MBA program has many advantages. The internship opportunity, Electives, Study Tours and International Exchange program. But with Entrepreneurial MBA program, the objective is to develop the Business Fundamentals and leverage the network and funding opportunities within a Business School, in the shortest period of time. 12-Month is ideal for an entrepreneurial MBA student

2) Strong Fundamentals:  What we love about the program is the focus on building strong fundamentals in the shortest period of time. The SKOLKOVO MBA team has carefully chosen courses that have high practical value for students. The courses include Leadership, Competitive Strategy, Macroeconomics, Financial Accounting, Managerial Economics, Marketing, Managerial Accounting, Corporate Finance, Operations Management, HR/ Managing People, Risk Management and Negotiations.  

The Foundation module is completed in an intensive four month schedule where students are introduced to experts in the field of entrepreneurship.  The Experts are not researchers but successful Businessmen, Entrepreneurs and CEOs of leading companies. They will pass the knowledge on how to face challenges and difficulties that they themselves have faced while starting and growing their Business. The advices are actionable as the experts share the tools and practices that have helped them achieve their goals.

A special feature in the Foundation Module is the Boot Camp where students will learn to differentiate between project work for real clients and classroom based analysis and problem solving. Students will also learn to:

1) Manage Client Relationships
2) Effective Problem Framing
3) Design Work plan
4) Recognize errors in the use of qualitative and quantitative information and argument

3)Truly Experiential Learning: The word ‘Experiential’ has been used loosely and out of context in many MBA programs. Even a two day consulting work is considered experiential. But SKOLKOVO has designed the curriculum taking into consideration the learning opportunities available in International Markets. It seems that the SKOLKOVO MBA team at Moscow School of Management recognize the strengths of emerging & developed markets, and have included 5 corporate projects.

Module [1] - Corporate project in China
Module [2] - Corporate / Public sector project in Russia
Module [3] - Corporate project in USA
Module [4] - Start-up project based in Russia
Module [5] - Corporate project in India (Optional)

If you analyse why SKOLKOVO has designed the corporate projects in China, Russia, USA and India, there is a clear vision.  The SKOLKOVO team has picked the strengths of each country and have designed a curriculum that would provide a complete Experiential learning for the students.

For instance we know the strengths of each country:

US -> Technology Driven Projects
China -> Manufacturing
Russia -> Private- Public Partnerships
India -> Outsourcing/Service

Wouldn’t the learning experience be complete if the students develop the skills to work in Technology, Manufacturing, Public Sector and Service projects? Add to the diversity of the learning experience, working with an International team would enable students to develop leadership skills necessary for managing complex and multicultural teams.

At the end of the projects, SKOLKOVO MBA students will learn to:
a) Plan and Define Resources
b) Develop Effective project strategy
c) Lead a complex team
d) Meet Client’s Needs

Download SKOLKOVO MBA Brochure to learn more

4) Start-Up Project: Russian markets offer huge opportunity for budding Entrepreneurs. The Start-Up project at Module 4 is designed to meet this demand. Students develop their start-up during this module and work with mentors and experts at the final phase to launch their Business.  The fundamentals of starting a Business are covered with a coursework on analysing and refining Business plans.

What makes this project interesting is the opportunity to present the Business plan to a large group of professional venture capitalist and Angel investors.  The investors day bring together some of the best in the industry. Some of the previous investors who have evaluated the start-up projects are Intel Capital, Almaz Capital Partners, Troika Dialog, united managers japan inc, tinkoff credit systems, Leader Asset Management and Solid Asset Management company.

The winner at the end of the module will have the opportunity to enter SKOLKOVO’s Business Accelerator program. The program provides support, mentoring and access to resources for continued support.

5) Mentorship and Networking: In addition to the mentorship and support in the start-up project, MBA students will also get the chance to have 3-4 personal meetings with the SKOLKOVO Founding partners. Students will meet the likes of Ruben Vardanian (Chairman and CEO of the Troika Dialog Group) and Igor Gundobin (Partner, Sun Group).  The meetings will provide students the opportunity to get one on one feedback and ideas from Industry leaders.

Mentorship doesn’t stop there. The two month module as part of the corporate project in US is provided through MIT Sloan. This is a unique offering. SKOLKOVO MBA students will have full access to the wonderful eco-system in MIT Sloan.  They can even leverage the network available in MIT Sloan. At the end of the course, SKOLKOVO MBA students will be provided with MIT Executive Education diploma.

According to 2012 GMAC Prospective Students Survey, 30% of the applicants in 2-Year Full-time MBA and 29% of 1-Year Full-time MBA applicants have indicated Entrepreneurship/Self-Employment as their career objective. This is a remarkable trend. We have found a truly entrepreneurial MBA program in SKOLKOVO MBA.  If you have come across any interesting MBA programs focused on Entrepreneurship, please send your recommendations to our Editor.

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