A group of MBA students from Moscow School of Management Skolkovo visited the offices of Imagination Technologies in Santa Clara, California. This visit was a part of a program aimed at familiarizing future executives with the Silicon Valley business infrastructure and the key companies in the world’s high-tech ecosystem. For Imagination, this visit presented an opportunity to get more insight into and exposure in Eastern Europe, a region that is poised to become a new important player in the electronic design market.
Russia has a long history of computer technology – the first general-purpose computer called MESM, created back in 1950, was the fastest computer in continental Europe. The heartland of the Russian electronic industry was created during the 1960s in the city of Zelenograd near Moscow. This city is still a main focus of American, European and Asian companies in establishing cooperation with Russia in microelectronics. Zelenograd has two fabs, Angstrem and Mikron, and numerous design companies working on ASIC libraries, SoC designs, DSP processors and related areas. Zelenograd is home to a large university called the Moscow Institute of Electronic Technology (MIET). This university teaches young engineers every type of technical skill necessary to support the electronics ecosystem – from deep knowledge of semiconductor physics to practical courses training the students to use the latest electronic design automation tools from Synopsys and Cadence.
In addition to MIET, the Russian electronics industry gets engineers from several other large technical universities, including Moscow Engineering Physics Institute (MEPhI), Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Phystech) and others. These universities were critical in the past to support the space and nuclear programs; however their integration with the international academic community and international industry was limited. To facilitate better integration of Russian technology with the rest of the world, the government kicked off a series of initiatives, including several projects under the umbrella name of Skolkovo (a suburban city near Moscow).
Moscow School of Management Skolkovo is a business school born in cooperation with international business leaders back in 2006. The Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology is a research university created in cooperation with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to teach high-tech entrepreneurs how to commercialize their technologies. There is also the Open University of Skolkovo which prepares applicants for Skoltech, and Skolkovo Foundation – a granting agency that provides both grants and seed investments for Russian high-tech startups.
All Skolkovo projects closely follow business models and practices developed in Silicon Valley. Jim Pulcrano, a visiting professor at the business school in Skolkovo and a management consultant, said:
The Moscow School of Management Skolkovo wants to not only upgrade the skills of Russian managers, but also bring a new spirit of entrepreneurship to Russia, and it is for these reasons that we brought the EMBA class to Silicon Valley for a one-week total immersion module. Important to this module is meeting with people and companies in the Valley who exemplify the qualities that make this small piece of real estate the mecca for innovation and entrepreneurship. And that was our reason for visiting Imagination Technologies, a visit that will leave a lasting impression on the EMBA students. They saw a company that not only has deep technical knowledge and accomplishments, but also the ability and courage to look 5 to 7 years out into the future to help understand what consumers and society will want and need, and then to create it.