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Beeline Russia CEO Mikhail Slobodin engaging with Beeline University students on a recent course

Beeline University is Beeline Russia’s in-house training and development arm, with 23,000 employees participating in its programs annually.

Formed in 1999 in by VimpelCom Founder Dmitry Zimin as a political discussion club,  Russia’s Beeline University has evolved over the years into Beeline Russia’s in-house training and development arm, with 23,000 employees participating in its programs annually. 

Now, for its fifteenth anniversary and in line with Beeline Russia’s renewed commercial and operational focus, Beeline University has updated its curriculum and increased the involvement of senior leaders in developing and delivering its curriculum.

“This is more of a renovation than a revolution”, said Ekaterina Podvalnaya, Director of Talent Management and Personnel Development. “It’s one where we have renewed our curriculum and developed a clearer structure, mirroring that of best practices of Corporate Universities of leading multinational companies as MARS, Motorola and others, where they have structured their corporate universities as departments mirroring main functions in a company.  Functional leaders in the business act as heads of these departments, and teach relevant subjects when it makes sense for them to do so. Our Leadership Development department is led by Mikhail Slobodin, our CEO.”

24-7 Education

A key driver of the “renovation” has been the need to provide access to educational resources around the clock, to accommodate Russia’s 11 time zones.  This focus on round-the-clock access has added emphasis on blended learning, and the integration of on-line resources with the University’s historically-strong off-line offerings.  “We are definitely strengthening our on-line offering.  We are also making more use of external trainers around the country, and where possible, working with those external trainers to certify internal staff to deliver these programs,” Ekaterina added.  

Strong backing

“Mikhail Slobodin has a long-term commitment to education and development that pre-dates his arrival at Beeline Russia,” Ekaterina added, noting that Michael had founded his own business school, Moscow’s New School of Art before joining the company.  “This commitment goes well beyond practical training into broader education and deeper engagement of participants at various levels of the business.” 

Mikhail has the title of University Dean alongside his other responsibilities as the Business Unit CEO. He headlined an all-employee event where he conducted a master class on customer centricity earlier this year, with a panel discussion including participants from Volkswagen and the Moscow School of Management Skolkovo. Along with Artem Vartanyan, Beeline Russia’s Director of Customer Experience. “He showed his high commitment in people development and agreed on his future involvement in Beeline University programs as a speaker, participant and trainer,” Ekaterina added   

Alignment with Group

Beeline University has focused solely on delivering Russia-specific programs to Russian audiences since the establishment of Beeline Russia as an independent business unit. But closer ties within the Group being developed through the VimpelCom Transformation are opening the possibilities of broader availability of University programs and more receptivity to Group educational initiatives in Russia.  “We have a lot we can offer the Russian-speaking parts of the business directly. We have experience and learnings that can be applied more broadly, and we have the ability to convene and organize programs.  We are in the process of organizing an Inspire Workshop in Russia in the beginning of 2015, and we are keen to offer our Russian-language online programs to our Group colleagues who can benefit from them.”

Looking Ahead

To further enhance its offering to senior and emerging leaders, Beeline University is actively pursuing a partnership with an established business school to incorporate more external content and perspective into its management thinking.  Finalists include the European School of Management and Technology in Berlin,, Sweden’s Stockholm School of Economics, Belgium’s Vlerick Business School, and the Bled School of Management in Slovenia.

BEELINE UNIVERSITY AT A GLANCE

More than 200 internal courses

217 internal experts

315 external trainers and providers

12,000 annual e-learning participants

2,500 daily e-learning participants

400 electronic and mobile library books

The site can be found at www.vimpelcom.com

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