A business school created by Russia’s leading oligarchs presented diplomas to its first graduates and inaugurated a $250 million high-tech campus complex in a suburb of Moscow last month, seeking to stake out a role as the Harvard Business School equivalent for students focused on the so-called BRIC countries (Brazil, Russia, India and China).
“The whole focus of the program is to develop what we call entrepreneurial leaders for emerging markets and difficult environments, where a typical business school graduate would see all of the problems and none of the opportunities,” Wilfried Vanhonacker, dean of the Skolkovo Moscow School of Management, said in an interview. “We want them to see the opportunities, recognize the problems, but grab these opportunities, run with them and do something with them.”
After the graduation ceremonies — which were for 21 executive M.B.A. students — students and visitors scurried around the mazelike, light-filled corridors to classes by professors like Pierre Casse, a former World Bank official and dean emeritus at the Berlin School of Creative Leadership. The starkly geometric building, by the Tanzanian-born British architect David Adjaye, has skylights and walls of glass and was inspired by Kazimir Malevich, as a way to connect Russia’s artistic avant-garde with economic innovation, the school said.