By Global MBA Student Aurélie Metcheka
The Global MBA has not ceased to conquer the world; this time we discovered the Eastern part of Europe: Russia. This trip wasn’t like the Singapore term, where we spent 6 weeks, had lectures, talks and company treks. The Russia trip was one week in length and the agenda of the trip was company treks and sightseeing, plus an alumni dinner.
Our journey started in St Petersburg, the cultural capital of Russia.
In the morning, we visited The Petrodvorets Watch Factory in Peterholf, a municipal town in Petrodvortsovy district in the federal city of St. Petersburg. The factory is Russia’s oldest factory and was founded in 1721 by Peter the Great. Since 1962, the factory has been producing watches under the brand name “Raketa” in honor of the Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin. Originally, the factory produced luxury objects in semi-precious and precious stones for the palaces of the Tsars. Now, we find these objects in the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg and also in most of the palaces of Europe, like Versailles and the Louvre. Today, the Petrodvorets Watch Factory is still located in its historical building and is one of the rare watch factories in the world that fully manufactures its own movements including hair spring, balance wheel and escapement. Today, the head of the Design and Creative department of the factory is an ESSEC Alumni: Jacques Von Polier. He is the key-stone of the restructuring and the rebranding of the Russian historical brand "Raketa".
In the afternoon, we had a boat ride on the Neva River. Many, if not all landmarks sights of St. Petersburg are situated near the Neva River. For example: St. Isaac’s Cathedral, Nicholas I Monument, Blue Bridge, Mariinsky Palace, Yusupov Palace, Mariinsky Theater, Saint Petersburg Conservatory, Naval Cathedral of St. Nicholas and the Grand Choral Synagogue.
The day started with a visit to the Hermitage museum. The bus left us on the Palace Embankment, a street in Central St. Petersburg which contains the Hermitage museum itself, the Winter Palace (the former official residence of the Russian Royal Family from 1700 to 1917), the Marble Palace (the interior and exterior of the property features 32 different types of marble. Also, Catherine the Great intended to give the palace as a gift to Count G. Orlov, one of her favorite friends) and the Vladimir Palace. The Hermitage collection includes more than three million works of art and artifacts of the world culture. Among them are paintings, graphic works, sculptures and works of applied art, archaeological finds and numismatic material.
After the museum, some of us went to Petrograd embankment to see Cruiser “Aurora”. Cruiser “Aurora” is considered to be a monument of the Russian shipbuilding because it has seen much in its life. Aurora took part in three wars (the Russo-Japanese war, the First and Second World War), revolutionary events in 1917 and forged many naval officers of the Russian Navy.
After the long day of sightseeing, we took the night train to go to Moscow.
We arrived in Moscow at 6:30 AM. Our journey in St. Petersburg was much easier and less tiring because we had a bus at our disposition. Moscow is big city and it is a nightmare to drive a car there. The subway is the best mean of transport. Every 3 min you have a subway, it is regular and always on time. At 9:00 AM, we had a company trek at Dior and at 1:00 pm another company trek at Globus, an international chain of discount hypermarkets represented in Germany, Czech Republic, and Russia. Globus supermarkets provide products of unique freshness and quality at low prices, with a European level of service and qualified personnel.
We visited the Economic Mission of the French Embassy in the morning and in the
afternoon, we went to Philips. Philips has an interesting concept in its office in Russia. Based on the nationality of their employees, they decorate their break rooms with the scenery of their countries. We were all amazed when we saw that. The company really does everything for their employees to make them feel at home.
We started the day with ABBYY. Abby is a Russian software company, headquartered in Moscow, which provides optical character recognition, document capture, document conversion and language software for both PC and mobile devices. Their applications can be found on Android and in the Apple Store.
The second trek of the day was at BMW and the last one was at Rezidor Hotel Group. The
Rezidor Hotel Group is one of the world's fastest growing hotel companies. Their portfolio features well- segmented hotel brands: Radisson Blu, Park Inn by Radisson, Hotel Missoni and Country Inns & Suites. Their objective now is to well known in Russia and Africa. In Africa, they are only present in South Africa. We ended the day with the Alumni dinner. Many of the ESSEC alumni living in Russia were there and also some prospective Global MBA students. We took advantage of the trip to hold some interviews and recruit some students.
No company trek today! Let’s make room for tourism. This time we had a bus at our disposition. The agenda of the day was the Kremlin and a boat ride. The Kremlin is a historical walled complex at the heart of Moscow, overlooking the Moskva River, Saint Basil's Cathedral, Red Square and the Alexander Garden.
Later on during the day, some of us went to Arbat Street to buy some souvenirs. Arbat Street is a street full of souvenir vendors, tourist cafes. The prices of the souvenirs vary from reasonable to rip off. Vendors offer a very high price but can be talked down if you speak Russian, but unfortunately the only words I learned while there were spasiba (Thank you) and Dobroe utro (Good Morning).
After such an exhausting day, we all went back to the hotel to prepare our departure the next day.
The week spent in Russia was very enriching! We got the inside view of eight companies and still managed to do some sightseeing. The ESSEC Global MBA’s aim is to form Global managers for that we need to have a global mindset. Guess where we will be in the month to come …