In the winter term 2014–15, Voronezh State University and the Faculty of Economics and Media at the Hochschule Fresenius (Munich, Germany), founded and executed an international student project aimed at communication strategy development on request of the international company W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH.
Students of the Faculty of Economics – Olga Boyeva, Natalia Kolesnikova, and Marina Mekvevrishvili represented Voronezh State University. The heads of the Russian team were the head of the department of Economics and Organisations Management Yu.I. Trestchevskiy and a lecturer of the same department T.Yu. Spichkina. The project had three stages.
On 18th September, German students and the Vice-Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Media, Professor Stefan Widmann visited Voronezh State University for the first time. The German guests had an official meeting with the Dean of the Faculty of Economics P.A. Kanapukhin and the Vice-Rector for Economic Development and International Cooperation O.N. Belenov that was followed by a conference held in the room named after Gilyarovskaya at the VSU's Faculty of Economics. The German colleagues were satisfied with their visit and recognised the high level of technical equipment at Voronezh State University. During the visit the guests also learnt about the history of Voronezh and went sightseeing.
The second stage of the project was held in November. Voronezh State University had a team from the University Fresenius as well as representatives of the company W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH – Jurgan Kammerer and Alfred Strauss who were favourably impressed with the interstage results. Interaction within the project group had a powerful synergetic effect even though Russian and German students communicated by means of video conferencing and email messages.
In February 2015, the Russian team, professor Yu.I. Trestchevskiy, and project leader T.Yu. Spichkina visited Munich, where the final stage of this unique cooperation was held.
'We had working meetings in Germany but at the same time the atmosphere was very warm and friendly. Despite the pressure that was inevitable before the defence of the project the students managed to have productive discussions that professor Widmann, the virtual leader of the project T.Yu. Spichkina and I enjoyed watching,' said Yu.I. Trestchevskiy.
The results of the project are unique. Firstly, representatives of different countries, different universities and different scientific schools managed to work as a team. Secondly, most of the wok was done remotely. And it did not worsen the result but rather, the other way round, it made the team members work swiftly. Thirdly, the working language was English. Fourthly, both German and Russian teams had a chance to learn about the international innovative company's activities, peculiarities of B2G and В2С markets, and work with different target audiences of the customer company. Fifthly, as a result of the project a communication strategy was developed that was unconditionally accepted by the company W. L. Gore & Associates GmbH.
Yu.I. Trestchevskiy commented on the final results – 'The company Gore has taken every effort to ensure the success of the project. First of all, the expenses of the Russian team within Germany were almost fully funded by the company and that shows how valuable the project is. What's more the goals and tasks were well-defined, the algorithm of work was given from the very beginning of the project and the plan of work was revised as the conditions demanded. The results of the project and the executives were always treated with great respect. By the time the project was accepted, the company had already known the result and, nonetheless, the top management spent their time listening to the presentation, considering the results and discussing them with the project executives. It was clear that the company was interested in the work process, not only formalised results'.
The Faculty of Economics and Media of the Hochschule Fresenius is planning further active collaboration with Voronezh State University. A summer school for Russian top managers is planned for the next summer term in Munich. Among other plans - a theatrical project where Voronezh State University is going to present a unique Russian art project Theatre of equals which participants are young people with disabilities,' – said the Vice Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Media of the Hochschule Fresenius professor Stefan Widmann.