THE OPENING YEARS
Stockholm School of Economics Russia was founded in 1997 as Stockholm School of Economics in Saint-Petersburg. The launch was the outcome of the endeavor by the then SSE President Professor Staffan Burenstam Linder, the SSE Riga President Associate professor Jan Eklöf and the generous donations made by the Rausing and Af Jochnick families paired by support from the Prince Bertil Research Foundation of Sweden. The idea behind the SSE Russia launch was to contribute to the development of sustainable business in Russia by promoting the pursuit of sound, long-term, fair, and socially responsible business practices, what later was coined as promotion of capitalism with a human face on Russian ground.
The initial product portfolio coined programs such as the Hans Rausing program on entrepreneurship and a variety of activities within the sphere of quality management. A small but important research center was also set up. In order to promote the school brand SSE Russia also initiated its own book publishing activity, the most well-known offspring of which is Funky Business or as called in Russian Biznjes v stilje fank. At the time the school rented an office space at Nevsky prospjekt 1 and threw its classes in external venues such as Hotel Baltiets in Repino. In 2001 SSE Russia moved into new premises hosting also class rooms located in Shvedsky pereulok 1, in the heart of the Swedish early 20th century colony in Saint-Petersburg. The Moscow office opened its doors in 2003.
As the school further penetrated the Russian market for higher business education a number of new programs were launched, most notably the first Executive General Management MBA program in year 2000, a true offspring from the Hans Rausing Entrepreneurship program. This program was the first to issue an SSE academic diploma signed by the SSE President and from year 2006 and onwards it was ranked by the Financial Times together with its sister programs in Stockholm and Riga. A number of other open programs such as Entrepreneurship Essentials, Living Company, Finance is beautiful andBranding… were also launched as well as a number of customized corporate programs.
THE PHASE OF CONSOLIDATION
In the mid-2000s the Executive MBA program portfolio was enlarged, thus adding an Executive MBA Oil & Gas and an Executive MBA in Strategic Market Development. The former, the outcome of a corporate program with the Yukos company, was the first degree program delivered to a Russian-speaking audience with simultaneous translation from English. In 2003 the Executive MBA program tuition fee for the first time supersedes EUR 10.000. The introduction of these new programs also meant the gradual substantial increase of the SSE Russia alumni community. Although executive MBA programs were enlarged, a number of other activities were discontinued such as the quality center, the own academic research and the book publishing. Instead further efforts were put into focusing larger corporate programs customers with an inherent ability to order programs for a number of successive years. Such a move saw this period promoting the coming into being of major corporate programs customers such as Novartis, RZD Russian Railways and Sibur. In this period SSE Russia changes guises in terms of financial viability as to become fully self-sufficient/auto-financed from 2008 and onwards. And this amidst the global financial crisis deeply affecting Russia. This is obviously a key dimension in order to enable a sustainable long-term development of the school. A prerequisite for such a development is furthermore a well-working governance structure. In the case of SSE Russia this is most notably seen through the active board chairmanship by the then SSE President Professor Lars Bergman as well as the active engagement of board members Rolf Eidem, Fredrik Ekman and Anders Rydin. In 2009 SSE Russia celebrates the centennial birthday of the Stockholm School of Economics by hosting a record number of some 500 alumni at place in Saint-Petersburg.
The last few years see a concentration of the Executive MBA programs into the General Management version, provided in English and in English with simultaneous translation into Russian respectively. Although competition is continuously increasing both these programs stand strong and continue to attract a sophisticated group of aspiring candidates, most recently the General Management 15 and General Management in Russian 6 programs. The corporate programs portfolio likewise stands out in a solid way (for instance venturing into both Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan) meaning that year 2013 is the financially most successful SSE Russia year ever, also taking into account a record level of participant-perceived program quality. This is very much embodied in the ever-growing SSE Russia alumni community currently reaching some 2.000 members half of which are executive mba graduates. In light of efforts to establish a Bachelor of Science Program in Business and Economics SSE Russia has furthermore received official support from both the Swedish and Russian governments. These program plans are currently put on the shelf but they constitute a tangible proof of the future potential of Stockholm School of Economics Russia.