Purdue to host leadership program for Russian students again this summer

July 2, 2015  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - A group of Russian undergraduate students will spend three weeks of their summer at Purdue University to turn their business ideas into startup companies and learn about entrepreneurship and American culture along the way.

Ten students were selected through an open competition by a committee of American and Russian specialists in economic policy and entrepreneurship to participate in the Yegor Gaidar Summer Leadership Program, which will run July 13 through Aug. 1. This marks the fifth consecutive year that Purdue has hosted the Russian students.

In order to have developed a final business model by the end of the three weeks, participants will arrive with their business ideas already prepared. By the end of the program, each student will have developed an individual business project related to high tech and innovation.

"Purdue's vibrant entrepreneurship program and its focus on discovery with delivery and commercialization is a great opportunity for the Russian undergraduate students, as it is for Purdue's students year round," said Dan Hirleman, chief corporate and global partnerships officer at Purdue. "This international program also represents an important cultural collaboration for Purdue and these bright Russian students and leaders to learn and share best practices."

The Yegor Gaidar Summer Leadership Program, funded by the U.S. Russia Foundation, includes classes focused on how to define business problems, assess risk and return, package a pitch and find a competitive edge.

During their Purdue stay, the students will work in teams on a business case to commercialize a new or enhanced product. Teams will determine the best way to establish a startup by developing a business model, identifying capital needs, creating a marketing strategy and formally presenting it to experts on the Purdue campus.

This year's program kicks off with a welcome on July 13 by Purdue associate provost Candiss Vibbert; Alfiya Mosalova, program officer for the U.S. Russia Foundation; Timothy Peoples, entrepreneur-in-residence at the Purdue Foundry; and Juliana Casavan, training manager at the Foundry.

Janet Beagle, the Purdue Graduate School's director of graduate admissions, will give an overview of Purdue to the students on day one along with a presentation later in the week about how to apply to graduate school. West Lafayette and Lafayette city officials will welcome the Russian students at a reception at MatchBOX Co-working Studio in Lafayette on July 14.

Mike Cassidy, continuing lecturer on entrepreneurship at Purdue, will lead sessions throughout the first two weeks to lead students in effective communication of their business plans. History professor Michael A. Morrison will teach an introduction to modern American culture and history and will show the students several classic U.S. films.

Management professor Greg Hundley, associate dean for global programs and initiatives and director of the Purdue Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER), also will hold sessions on international business throughout the three-week period.

Students will have the opportunity to experience a number of field trips such as day trips to Indianapolis; Conner Prairie Interactive History Park; Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois; and a weekend visit to Chicago. Business-related excursions include tours of the Discovery Park, Subaru of Indiana Automotive Inc. and the Lafayette Recycling Center.

A formal reception to recognize the Russian students is July 30 at the Dauch Alumni Center. Event keynote speaker is Joseph Pekny, interim director for Discovery Park's Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship.

The visit culminates on July 31 when the Russian students present their final business models at the Burton D. Morgan Center for Entrepreneurship, Room 121.

The Yegor Gaidar Summer Leadership Program is a joint project between the Yegor Gaidar Foundation and U.S. Russian Foundation designed to assist Russian undergraduate students with the knowledge, skills and practical experience in the area of economic and business development, with a focus on economics and entrepreneurship.

The program is modeled after the Purdue Research Park Entrepreneurship Academy, a program established in 2007 that introduces young people to the world of entrepreneurship.

The U.S. Russia Foundation is working to support the long-term economic development of Russia's economy, working closely with the Russian government and leading Russian institutions. In this way, the foundation seeks to build strong ties between the United States and Russia.

Media contacts:  Phillip Fiorini, 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu

Anna Schultz, Purdue University, 812-447-5229, schult70@purdue.edu 

Sources: Dan Hirleman, 765-494-9095, hirleman@purdue.edu

Timothy Peoples, 765-413-5577, tpeoples@purdue.edu

Note to Journalists: Reporters interested in arranging interviews with the Russian students or who would like more specific details about their itinerary while visiting Purdue can contact Phillip Fiorini at 765-496-3133, pfiorini@purdue.edu 


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