#COMETOGETHER: 4th Annual SKOLKOVO Alumni Convention

Monday, 29 May 2017

Moscow, May 29, 2017. – In the last weekend of May, the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO gathered all its alumni for the fourth annual SKOLKOVO Alumni Convention. Alumni of all programmes gathered, as is the tradition, on the Campus of the Business School to accept new members to the SKOLKOVO business community and discuss the most relevant issues. This year more than 500 alumni, friends, and partners of the Business School visited the Convention.

SKOLKOVO: #COMETOGETHER: 4th Annual SKOLKOVO Alumni Convention

The programme of the Convention included sports, educational, and entertaining events, a graduation and Alumni Awards ceremony, as well as a gala party. The main feature of the Convention of 2017 was a separate programme for the young generation of Russian entrepreneurs, consisting of workshops, sports and developing games, and a championship in nerfing.

The opening event of the Convention was a trip to the SKOLKOVO Foundation with the participation of Aleksei Sitnikov, Vice-President for Institutional Development of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology. The trip participants visited the research laboratories and the Hypercube of the Skolkovo Innovation Center, and talked with its professors and scientists. While some alumni were getting acquainted with the latest developments of Skoltech, others, headed by the President of the Business School Andrei Sharonov, took part in the sports relay organised by PRO TRENER or mastered the basics of the hustle, the quadrille, and the tango in the dance warm-up, arranged by two dance schools—Open Dance Studio and Casablanca.

The sports morning continued with a game of streetball. Arkady Dvorkovich, RF Deputy Prime Minister, Alexander Novak, RF Minister of Energy, Pavel Kolobkov, RF Minister of Sport, and many others played the game together with the members of the Skolkovo Basketball Club.

The educational part of the fourth Alumni Convention began with the welcoming speeches by Marat Atnashev, the Dean, who enlightened SKOLKOVO alumni about the plans for further development of the Business School, and Andrei Sharonov, the President, who told the audience about the secrets to maintaining important connections.

Marat Atnashev, Dean of the Moscow School of Management SKOLKOVO, said in his speech, “Today, the SKOLKOVO Business School is the leader among business schools in Russia and the CIS. This is a platform from which we intend to reach a still higher level—to get into the global arena and hence into the world league. This objective has been set in the development plan for the next five years, which we have defended before the Coordination Council of the Business School. Our main steps to meet this objective can be reduced to one phrase: we focus on the content. This means both the development of the School's academic content and development within the Russian and international systems and networks that we are incorporated into. This includes raising the quality standards for future students, as well as professors and teachers of the Business School, creating our own academic core, attracting the best Russian practitioners, and working with our Alumni Community, which has already become the most powerful business club in Russia, more and more actively.”

The next event in the framework of the SKOLKOVO Alumni Convention was the meeting with Vladimir Pozner, a well-known journalist and TV host, held in the traditional Speakers Nights format. The theme of the meeting, which was moderated by Andrei Sharonov, was The Lessons of Freedom.

Vladimir Pozner, a journalist and TV host, told the participants, “Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, once said that having freedom of speech does not mean that someone can falsely shout ‘Fire!’ in a crowded theatre. Is it a restriction on freedom of speech? 'Yes,' said Holmes, 'but this restriction is called responsibility.' You are a free person only because you are responsible for your words. If I believe that some information is important and it must be communicated to my audience, I do it. This is neither recklessness nor heroism. It is a journalist’s duty to bring information to the public and to be as objective as possible.”

Part of the recording of the interview is available on the website of the VEDOMOSTI, the media partner of the event.

The second half of the educational part of the Convention consisted of several discussion panels, during which alumni, guests, guest experts, and partners of the SKOLKOVO Business School discussed what approach is necessary for successful work with the digital generation, tried to figure out whether sport helps to achieve professional successes, and how to design a career path in the conditions of constant changes. The sessions were moderated by SKOLKOVO alumni, namely Alexey Bokov, the founder of BOKOVFACTORY Producer Agency, Vladimir Voloshin, Managing Partner of Newman Sport & Business Consulting, and Maxim Natapov, Managing Partner of One! International School. Viktoria Pavlova, Vice President for Marketing at Mastercard, conducted a workshop on the transformation of consumer behaviour in the digital age. The closed session with Arkady Dvorkovich in the Alumni Only format, dedicated to the future of entrepreneurship, was of particular interest to the Business School alumni.

The festivities continued with the reunion of Kruzenshtern's friends—a musical meeting with the participation of Mikhail Novikov, Mentor Captain of the famous Kruzenshtern barque, followed by a chess tournament and a lecture delivered by Sergei Shipov, a Russian chess player and one of the leading chess commentators.

The official programme of the Alumni Convention ended with the diploma awarding ceremony. On May 27, more than two hundred students received diplomas and joined the SKOLKOVO business community, among them alumni of the MBA and Executive MBA programmes, the Practicum for Directors, and two classes of the Startup Academy.

The evening programme of the Convention was held with the support of the Onegin brand, and began with the SKOLKOVO Alumni Awards ceremony, where alumni of the Business School traditionally honour their colleagues who made the most notable achievements and reached outstanding success in business. This year, the Club of the Year award went to the SKOLKOVO Women Association, headed by Anna Rezinichenko; Vladimir Voloshin was named the Volunteer of the Year for his considerable support for the Rusfond Charity Foundation; the title of the Ambassador of the Year was awarded to Alexey Goryachev, an Executive MBA alumnus, Senior Partner of RB Partners, head of YPO Moscow, who influenced the development of the School and its image the most; and Alexey Koldunov, CEO at Megapolis Group, won in the Career of the Year category.

The title of the Woman of the Year was given to Elena Shifrina, the founder of BioFoodLab and an alumna of the MBA programme. Olga Karpova, a Practicum-4 alumna, the founder of Dlya Svoikh (For Nearest and Dearest) farm, was announced the winner in the Startup of the Year category, and received a prize from OMEGA, the Swiss watch-making company.

The winners in the Business Idea of the Year category were Yury Vlasov and Vladimir Mlynchik, both MBA-5 alumni, engaged in the development of the WATTS Battery energy project. The Project of the Year award went to Atlanty Business Forum, which is being developed by SKOLKOVO alumni Mikhail Voronin and Yulia Ryzhova. The Entrepreneur of the Year title was awarded by Oleg Volkosh, the head of YPO Russia, to Anastasia Tatulova, head of AnderSon café and confectioner's network, and her son Artem, an alumnus of the Startup Academy Junior programme, received the prize for her. The founder of SHUSHA Vasily Perfilyev received a special prize from the VEDOMOSTI newspaper, the media partner of the Convention, for his entrepreneurial success story.

At the end of the day, the participants of the Alumni Convention enjoyed the songs of Vladimir Kristovsky and UMA2RMAN. The concert organised jointly with the Russian Pioneer magazine was held in the format of pioneer singing—not only did the guests of the meeting enjoy their favourite tunes, but also asked Vladimir their questions. After the last chords of the guitar, the festive event was officially over.

The partners of the fourth annual SKOLKOVO Alumni Convention were the School's friends: OMEGA, the Swiss watch-making company, BDO, an audit and consulting group of companies, Clever Publishers, Vostochny Bank, SimpleWaters GC, the Russian Pioneer magazine, Atlanty Business Forum, and SQUADRA, our long-time partner in the field of team building. The VEDOMOSTI newspaper provided media support for the event.

We are grateful to our partners and sponsors for helping us make our holiday so bright, touching, and memorable.

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