... in St. Petersburg, Russia (Joint ISU)
Graduate School of Management St. Petersburg University, St. Petersburg, Russia
Johannes Bochsbichler recently received his bachelor’s degree in International Business Administration from WU Vienna. As part of the Joint ISU program of WU Vienna’s International Office, he has spent a few weeks abroad in Russia. Our ISUs are an excellent opportunity for WU students to take part in internationally oriented short programs abroad – and you can experience that too! Let ISU participant Johannes tell you why!
You’ve spent the Joint ISU program in St. Petersburg. Can you tell us a bit about the academic program?
The academic program of the ISU was diverse and the focus on international marketing. It was pleasant that every lecture was different. They did not only consist of classic lecture talks, but most of the time, lecturers tried to involve the students in the sessions. Questions were welcome and answered with pleasure. In addition, we worked on many case studies in groups, had to work on tasks individually, and presented our groups' solutions.
During the ISU, each group - consisting of students from WU and the host university - worked on a realistic market entry project. Due to the possibility to apply what has been learned on a realistic case, a lot of the content of the lecture will be remembered.
What did you do during your free time?
In addition to hotel, transfer, lessons and much more, two trips and two company visits were organized for us by WU or by the partner university. At the end of the first week, we made a joint trip to the Peterhof Palace. We were picked up directly from the university and after about an hour bus ride, we reached the World Heritage Site built by Peter I. After a guided tour through the splendid rooms of the tsar’s residence, there was enough time to stroll through the extensive park, past countless fountains and flower gardens, to the sea.
On the last day before our final presentations, we had a company visit. We were able to visit Solopharm, a Russian drug manufacturer. Two friendly employees guided us through the entire facility and explained the manufacturing processes of the various medical products. Every Monday, our coordinator Stefan organized a joint group dinner to which every participant in the program was invited. This was especially nice, as the group could exchange ideas with each other and everyone was able to end the day together. I found it extremly positive that at ISU Russia, there are traditionally two cultural evenings at which the students introduce their culture to students from other countries using creative methods. Thus, the program is not so compressed and there is room for small talk and a relaxed atmosphere.
Do you have any tips for future ISU participants?
When talking about project work, one should not underestimate cultural differences. On every ISU I participated in, I have seen that students at the host university simply took a different approach. Some preferred to discuss each detail together, others have contributed almost nothing to the project. In some countries, it can be common to appear two hours later than scheduled, and elsewhere, it was extremely rude to give honest feedback - once, it could somehow be construed as criticism. To inform yourself about cultural differences in advance can be helpful, but if you are actually confronted with differences, you have simply get used to them.
How did you find out about the Joint ISU program? Why did you choose it?
Since this was, after ISU Estonia and ISU Indonesia, the last of my three ISUs, I already knew the ISU concept very well. As I studied IBW, I needed the international experience for my studies. I decided to do the three ISUs instead of one semester abroad, because for various reasons I could not be away that long and I especially liked the fact that I could get to know several very different countries and cultures.
How did the Joint ISU experience help you personally and academically?
Like the other two ISUs, this program allowed me to meet people I would never have met otherwise, visit places I would never have travelled to, and spend time I would never have experienced otherwise. These are all experiences that have helped me advance academically and professionally as well as personally and I will always look back on them with pleasure.
Content by Johannes Bochsbichler. Thank you very much!
Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg University
Location: St. Petersburg, Russia
Population St.Petersburg: 4.9 Million
Number of students: approximately 1.300
Level of exchange: bachelor, master