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The EMBA arrived in Russia five years ago and there are still barely a dozen courses, says Anna Rubalskaya, analyst with Begin Group, the research company.

The first was launched in 1997 by the Institute of Business Studies at the Academy of National Economy (IBS Moscow) with the University of Antwerp Management School.

In 2002 IBS Moscow launched a second EMBA, this time its own degree. What makes both 18 and 24 months’ $15,000 programmes special is their emphasis on strategy and business practice, explains Sergey Myasoedov, dean.

However, IBS Moscow was not alone for long. The Stockholm School of Economics, through its SSE Russia venture, was the second to launch an EMBA, in 2000. Its two-year programme is in English and fees are €16,000. “This school in St Petersburg offers an internationally competitive brand and is conveniently located,” explains Giedrius Pukas, a 2004 EMBA graduate and now managing director of private equity at Troyka Dialog Asset Management.

Also in 2002, the Higher School of Economics (HSE) launched its two-year programme. The €14,000 programme takes the form of an exclusive club. There are weekends at a hotel outside Moscow, meeting business gurus and discussing case studies. This helps develop a strategic view of the markets, says Sergey Filonovitch, dean.

In November 2003 the MIRBIS Institute in Moscow also launched a two-year EMBA, this time costing $13,000. Nikolay Popkov, director of MBA programmes at MIRBIS, says the aim is to help participants move into leading business positions.

There are several reasons why executives running businesses in Russia might shun a prestigious degree from a school in Europe or the US. People aged more than 30 find it difficult to leave business and families, reflects Natalya Samoilova, a second-year EMBA student at MIRBIS, Moscow.

“I was looking in Russia for business education meeting European standards, to develop a systemic approach in addition to what I have already learned in business.” The former communications director says she gained more than expected, and is starting her own consulting company.

Another reason is networking. Mayank Jain, 35, an Indian national and president of Jaina, a pharmaceutical company based in Kharkov, Ukraine, chose the SSE Russia programme in St Petersburg.

“My company operates in Russia and Ukraine, so I thought an EMBA from that school would be the optimal choice. We had some very nice networking there,” Mr Jain recalls.

“We had a great team,” agrees Sergey Shupletsov, 44, a 2004 graduate of the EMBA at Higher School of Economics.

“We still meet, and I know who to turn to, if the need arises.”

And, of course, there is the price. Top-class Russian EMBAs cost less than high-end EMBAs in Europe or the US: fees at the most expensive two-year EMBA programmes in Russia amount to €20,000, whereas INSEAD wants €85,000.

The Ural Siberian Institute of Business EMBA, a 24-month, $17,000 programme, was launched two years ago.

Growing demand is sending prices up. Leonid Evenko, president of the Russian Association of Business Education (RABE), estimates the annual rise in the price of an EMBA at between 10 and 30 per cent.

Increasing demand leads a rise in the number of programmes. An EMBA is being developed at the Russian Academy of National Economy with the UK’s Kingston Business School.

“We are in the planning stages, but we expect to launch a pilot in the first half of 2006,” explains Robin Matthews, academic director of the programme. This 18 to 24 months’ EMBA will cost $28,000.

Two big projects are also being developed in Moscow and St Petersburg. Thirty to 40 Russian and international companies in Russia are expected to participate with the St Petersburg State University’s School of Management (SOM).

Meanwhile, SOM has just launched its 18-month, €20,000 International Executive MBA in co-operation with a handful of prestigious European business schools – Copenhagen Business School, HEC Paris, Louvain School of Management and the Norwegian School of Economics and Business Administration.

The International Management Institute in St Petersburg is also starting an 18-month EMBA, for $20,000. The list goes on.

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