In his recent article, AACSB Executive Vice President Tim Mescon referred to the Russian Presidential Academy as one of the most attractive Russian universities for foreign students. Larisa Taradina, RANEPA Director for Development of International Education and Cooperation, suggests reasons for that.
There is a growing interest in studying in Russia among foreign students. The number of students preferring to study abroad has grown by 4.1 million since 2013, with experts predicting twice that number by 2025. Larisa Taradina explained why the Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration (RANEPA) is attractive for foreign students and what prospects its graduates have.
Question: The topic of internationalization of higher education is especially relevant in the context of Russia's Priority Project to develop the export of Russian education until 2025. How do you assess the chances of attaining its goal – an over 200% increase in the number of foreign students in Russia?
Larisa Taradina: The goal set by the country's leadership is indeed extremely ambitious, given the long return on investment common for educational services. However, the current pace of development, judging by the Presidential Academy, suggests we are capable of achieving the target indicators (and even overrunning the plan if we progress faster). The intensity of RANEPA’s international activity peaked in 2016-2018 due to the implementation of large-scale international projects. One of the most striking projects was the Russian-French Network University established in 2016 – a consortium of eight leading universities in Russia and France. Another Russian university has recently joined the association. Negotiations are also underway with several leading French universities willing to join.
RANEPA plays an unquestionably leading role in this project on the Russian side in terms of the number of joint programs with the French members. Over this time, the Presidential Academy has shown an obvious growth of key international activity indicators, most importantly a 50% increase in the number of educational programs delivered in foreign languages, from 17 to 28. The number of partnership agreements and joint educational projects with foreign organizations is also growing.
Question: What do you think is RANEPA’s competitive advantage for students from other countries?
Larisa Taradina: Any school’s advantages for Russian and foreign students are closely interrelated. International relations and projects, English-language programs and other aspects of internationalization are an integral part of the current training system at RANEPA. That is, the benefits for foreign students are largely related to the general training environment at the university.
The favorable educational environment at RANEPA is primarily due to high admission requirements. The Presidential Academy is one of the leading universities in Russia based on the USE results required for admission. This is also a reason for its second place in the Forbes ranking of Russian universities that train business leaders, as admission requirements were one of the school rating criteria. We at RANEPA are creating a community in which talented and motivated students are not just trained by professors, but they also motivate each other through healthy competition. This environment encourages a high interest in learning and provides for a fundamentally different quality of education. But most importantly, it helps shape a community of leaders who trust each other and have solid entrepreneurial skills and thinking – a community that will generate bright business ideas and successful start-ups.
Students of the Presidential Academy are also actively involved in the professional community in Russia and the world. In particular, RANEPA Summer Campus annually brings together ambitious and internationally oriented Russian and foreign students. This opportunity not only to listen to international experts in business, economics and management, but also to work on projects under their leadership increases the potential added value of each student’s knowledge. Similar practices are common on many RANEPA educational programs.
All these components add up to the educational environment of the Presidential Academy. Due to this training system, RANEPA delivers high-quality programs that match the level of leading foreign universities. I would like to note that ten RANEPA programs have international accreditation of AMBA International business education, and RANEPA IBS is the first and only business school in Russia and the CIS that is at the final stage of obtaining AACSB accreditation. These achievements vividly confirm the global recognition of RANEPA business schools by educational and business communities.
Question: What distinguishes RANEPA graduates from graduates of other universities?
Larisa Taradina: A RANEPA graduate has had practical experience of participating in project activities and / or working with global brands, meaning they have their profession at their fingertips. Regular interaction with representatives of the professional community and an in-depth understanding of their competence area’s current trends and development priorities give our graduates advantage in career management. The Presidential Academy is a leader among Russian economic universities in terms of its graduates’ average salary level, so we can safely say that RANEPA graduates are future leaders in the professional field they have chosen.
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