April 6, 2022

Yale SOM Cuts Ties with Russian Business School

The Moscow School of Management (Skolkovo)—arguably Russia’s best business school–was founded in 2006 by, among others, Russian oligarchs Viktor Vekselberg and Roman Abramovich.


As Yale Daily News recently reported, Yale School of Management began partnering with Skolkovo in 2013, the same year Skolkovo inquired about membership in the Global Network for Advanced Management, a group of 32 leading business schools that share courses, expertise and opportunities with students. However, a majority of Global Network member schools concluded Skolkovo was too early in its development as a business school to be a robust member.


In 2015 Yale and Skolkovo formed a non-degree executive education partnership that invited two Yale SOM professors, Shane Frederick and Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, to teach at Skolkovo’s Moscow School of Management. Frederick accepted the request, teaching sessions on marketing and behavioral economics in 2016 to Skolkovo students and business managers and executives from Russian companies and the Russian subsidiaries of Coca Cola, Procter & Gamble, and EY.


Sonnenfeld—who has recently driven Yale SOM’s efforts to track global corporations doing business in Russia—declined the initial request to visit Moscow and lead a workshop at Skolkovo.  As Sonnenfeld planned a visit to Moscow in 2018, Skolkovo founders Vekselberg and Abramovich, were sanctioned under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act for their close links with Vladimir Putin (Vekselberg was also sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury Department).  At these disclosures, Sonnenfeld recommended not to engage further with Skolkovo.


In 2019, Skolkovo received coveted accreditation from educational accrediting organization EQUIS, paving the way for the Global Network to offer membership to Skolkovo that  December. Skolkovo’ admission to the network allowed it to partner with all Global Network schools including Yale, which partnered with Skolkovo through three programs: Global Network Weeks which allowed student campus visits; Small Network Online Courses where students take online courses taught by professors around the world; and Global Virtual teams where students from different institutions engage in projects together.


Prior to Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine, Skolkovo Dean Yuri Levin requested that the school be suspended from the Global Network as it was experiencing an exodus of students, staff and faculty, preventing it from contributing meaningfully with other top business schools. According to Yale Daily News, after Russia’s invasion Dean Levin emphasized that many students would feel uncomfortable visiting Skolkovo. With Russia’s invasion, the Global Network has suspended Skolkovo’s membership and Yale has terminated its ties with Skolkovo.


For the full article from the Yale Daily News, click here.