Gaidar Forum experts discuss specifics of training business leaders for the digital economy

The expert discussion, How to Train Business Leaders of the Digital Economy, was held in two parts on January 17, the second day of 2018 Gaidar Forum, and gathered a large number of Russian and foreign experts.

The speakers talked about the differences between the new generation of leaders and the previous ones, and how business schools should train leaders to meet the expectations of the professional community. The moderators were AACSB International Vice President and Chief Officer for Europe, the Middle East and Africa Timothy Mescon and CEO of AMBA International Andrew Main Wilson.

Mr. Mescon said modern leaders are better informed than before and aware of the problems that companies face. “Moreover, they are perfectly aware of the expectations we have to them, but the volume of those expectations is growing exponentially now. Therefore, we will talk about preparing leaders for the digital economy today,” he added.

Sergei Cheremin, Minister of the Government of Moscow, Head of the Moscow Department for External Economic and International Relations, stressed that today big cities and megalopolises should invest in the development of education and human potential. In 2011, the Moscow Mayor and the government of Moscow launched the City Education project, which has helped install cutting-edge equipment at Moscow schools and kindergartens. Otherwise, it is impossible to join the digital economy. “This is very important for us, because before that, Moscow depended heavily on revenues from the oil and gas industry. Therefore, to diversify income, the Moscow government launched a program to encourage companies to develop technoparks and technopolises. It seems to me that this was a very good and wise decision the mayor made,” he said.

President of AACSB International Tom Robinson pointed out that in the future, the basic works in most professions will be automated, therefore the professions will change, and people will rise to a higher level of intelligence, thereby increasing labor productivity. “This is another technological revolution that will provide us with a more pleasant future, but we need to reflect this in our training programs for students – we need to teach them technical skills, teach communication skills and critical thinking skills. It is important to teach the student to be flexible and agile; this is one of the most important skills today. There is a need for such training programs that will allow students to constantly develop in new areas and learn new things,” he said.

“We have never been so open and ready to attract the best experts in the areas that we develop,” Deputy Chairman of the Central Bank Ruslan Vesterovsky said. “Now we have important tasks to train specialists, managers; these are new tasks and new strategies. We have completely restructured our system of training and development. We have partnered with RANEPA and transferred the banking schools that were units of the Central Bank to our colleagues.”

Dean of the Antwerp Management School Paul Matthyssens noted during the discussion that it is necessary to train people on the ground to work with new software and other ICT competencies. He also talked about his vision of a business leader in the digital economy, listing their main qualities and competencies: “They must be people who know how to manage change. They need resourcefulness, the ability to notice trends in other industries and implement them in their own, and certainly the ability to catch trends from small signs and symptoms of global change. We should educate such people.”

Vice-Dean of the SKEMA Business School Patrice Houdayer spoke about the specifics of business school curriculum. “We do not yet know today what competencies will be needed five to ten years from now, so we need to teach young professionals to continue studying all their lives,” he said.

During the discussion, the experts actively asked each other questions, shared experiences of their countries and business schools, and all of them were unanimous that the modern world is changing dramatically, and new specialists are needed with a whole range of competences from various areas.

The organizers include the Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA), the Gaidar Institute for Economic Policy (Gaidar Institute) and the Association of Innovative Regions of Russia (AIRR).

The program outline is available at the forum website.

Media accreditation

2018 Gaidar Forum on Telegram

The program of Gaidar Forum

Gaidar Forum on social networks: Telegram-channelFacebookInstagram

The general partners of the Gaidar Forum are Gazprom and Gazprombank; strategic partners include Novartis, Johnson&Johnson, RZD, MSD, AstraZeneca, the ACIG Group of Companies, Mastercard, Coca-Cola, Russian Agricultural Bank, Pharmstandard JSC, Microsoft; O1 Group, Unilever, EY, Russian Brewers’ Union, Russian Direct Investment Fund are partners and RVC.

The general information partners include the Rossiya 24 TV channel, RBC and TASS news agencies. The official information agency is Rossiya Segodnya. The general online media partner is Gazeta.RU. The general radio partner is Business FM. The strategic information partners are Kommersant Publishers, the RT TV channel and Interfax. The main information partners are Rossiyskaya Gazeta and Federalpress news agency. Other media partners include, PRIME news agency, EFE,, Expert RA, Radio Ekho Moskvy, Parlamentskaya Gazeta, BRICS, National Banking Journal, Banking Review, Financial One, Standards and Quality news agency, AK&M, Ekonomika i Zhizn weekly, Invest Foresight online magazine, Strategia magazine, Naans Media, the Public Administration scientific political journal, the PRO BUSINESS TV channel, the Indicator online science journal, the Bankovskoye Delo (Banking Business) magazine, RNS news agency, Business Excellence magazine, Cision, the Budget magazine, Information platform “Russian planet – Smart Russia”.