Success Stories

Arina VOLKOVA (Russia), Christophe CLARET (Germany) and Vahab HASIRI (Iran)
  • It is really difficult to define a moment when students' startups in the modern educational system stopped being associated with something new and unusual. Even more, ideas to make startup equivalent to traditional graduate thesis are discussed at government level, and as everything new they have their pros and cons.

    Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University is 'on trend': the University encourages students' startups, and business-ideas of young scientists are supported by Business incubator 'Polytechnic'.

    During the previous academic year Polytechnic students took part in various ambitious projects: unique discussion platform Foresight Fleet 2017, final of the track TechNet - the largest start-up accelerator GenerationS in Russia and Eastern Europe, world competition for young entrepreneurs in Hong Kong, etc.

    Short-term programs of SPbPU also correspond with the modern trends. For example, under the educational module 'Global Entrepreneurship: Design Thinking and Start-Ups', of International Polytechnic Summer School, which took part in September, 2017, the students presented their own startups at the end of their studying. Arina VOLKOVA (Russia), Christophe CLARET (Germany) and Vahab HASIRI (Iran) after the end of the program shared their impressions. They are sure: the knowledge and experience they had during the Summer school will definitely be useful for their future life. Read more …

    Arina and Christoph worked in a team where also were students from France, Italy and China

    'On a one hand, we knew plenty useful information and learnt a lot, on the other hand, there was lots of fun, - says Christoph, - we created our tool from scratch: brainstormed everything, made researches, developed business-ideas and presented out product to the audience.

    Arina's and Christopsh's team was thinking about daily problems.

    'We came to the solution that when you are in a rush, you have a problem that if you drink coffee, or eat something you can muck your clothes. So we invented a tool that can clean your clothes in any situation', - says Arina.

    Their team invented a portable cleaner. This gadget is no bigger than a smartphone, and contains both iron and cleaning substance. You can carry it in your bag, and it won't take much space – the inventors assure. The group had to do a lot: they defined a target audience (businessmen with every minute planned with precision), discussed the details with engineers (they confirmed that this product implementation was possible), planned a budget, presented ideas of market promotion of a product. And, of course, the students defined and analyzed the main competitors. A similar device exists in the real market, but the group met those portable iron with a critical eye. 'You can only iron your cellar or cuffs with this gadget. Of course, it is better than nothing, but our tool is able to iron the whole shirt or trousers, and its price would be really low', - says Arina.

    In Vahab's team there were students from Russia, France, Germany and China

    In Vahab's team there were students from Russia, France, Germany and China. All of the students were interested in sport. On a final presentation they presented a special bandage, which could protect sportsmen from injuries and even replace the necessity of doing some medical operations.

    'We are seriously keen on this device, that is why I cannot describe the entire idea: we have all the chances to implement it in a real market, - says Vahab, - the diversity of cultures created amazing working atmosphere. I was very glad to meet people from different countries, to have a teamwork with them, to create a business project together. That is one of the biggest advantages of such educational programs: people learn to understand each other, respect the opinions of each other, and listen to each other. I am grateful to International Polytechnic Summer School for such an opportunity, and without any hesitation will recommend it to my friends and acquaintances'.

    A combination of science and art paves the way for new creative and brave ideas, which have all the chances to be successfully implemented. The examples of students who had not only presented their projects, but also had proved their right to exist, show once again, that there is no harm in dreaming, but there is a lot of harm in inactivity. As an ancient Roman writer and scholar Pliny the Elder told: 'How many things, too, are looked upon as quite impossible until they have actually been effected?'

Arina VOLKOVA (Russia), Christophe CLARET (Germany) and Vahab HASIRI (Iran), Believe in Startups: SPbPU Students Told About Their Projects
Tutors of the International Polytechnic Summer School
  • The International Polytechnic Summer School-2018 had a lot of surprises for students: they studied the space, nuclear power, special features of the oil and gas power production, molecular gastronomy and urban planning, explored specifics of the Russian language and culture. Another debut of 2018 was the educational module on the “Logistics and supply chain management.” This course was launched under the frames of the International   Erasmus+ Project called “Green Logistical Management.” The module attracted attention of Russian and international students already at its very initial stages. 

    This year, students from Singapore, Germany, Denmark, England, China, the Netherlands, Belarus, Iran and Norway came to study logistics and supply chain management. Read more …

     “The educational program of the module is structured in accordance with the modern business concept. It is divided into several specialized blocks; that allows to form competences in the sphere of strategic planning and organization of logistical processes. The key feature of the Summer Logistic School is using the unique Fresh Connection role-based simulator in the sphere of supply chain management. In addition, we paid special attention to the green logistics,” module coordinator N.S. LUKASHEVICH said.   

    Presently, Polytechnic University is the only university in Russia where the Fresh Connection role-based simulator is used for teaching students in Master’s degree and Bachelor’s degree programs. More than that, SPbPU students under supervision of business coach D.A. GAVRILOV had got to the global final of the Fresh Connection World Student Competition, which took place in the Netherlands, and came in a good third. This summer, the unique Fresh Connection role-based simulator was put to good use at the International Polytechnic Summer School, and international students could see in their own experience that supply chain management is a complex, demanding, but interesting sphere.

    Prominent specialists of SPbPU and Erasmus+ coordinators taught lectures and seminars in logistics for students of the International Polytechnic Summer School

    “The skills I have got in the course of the training at the International Polytechnic Summer School will be very helpful for me in the future. We had a lot of practical training, and I understood only too well that, to a big extent, the productivity of our company may depend on our own solutions,” Katarina RASMUSSEN from the University of Southern Denmark believes. 

    Along with the unique Fresh Connection role-based business simulator, students were impressed with the trend of the green logistics which keeps growing with each year.  

    “We must take care of the environment and prevent emergence of environmental problems. Green logistics is a very important direction which helps us use our resources wisely,” Hoppman MEES (Utrecht University, the Netherlands) shared his impressions.  

    A picnic is a traditional event of the International Polytechnic Summer School

    In addition to lectures, seminars, and practical training led by leading SPbPU specialists and Erasmus+ coordinators, students visited for educational purposes the Russian Hyundai Motor Plant. And the tutor team helped to organize an intensive cultural program: young people went on a tour along St. Petersburg rivers and canals, visited Peterhof and other famous museum complexes of the Northern Capital.

Tutors of the International Polytechnic Summer School, Students of the International Polytechnic Summer School Manage Supply Chains
Jordi Aerts
  • In 2019, SPbPU international students for the first time ever were learning modern SAP technologies within the frame of the International Polytechnic Winter School. For a number of years, this educational module was a success in the program of International Polytechnic Summer Schools, and therefore, it was decided to introduce it to the winter school as well.

    Jordi AERTS is a student of Thomas More University (Belgium). At his school, Jordi studies special features of information security management, and he is confident that today SAP is one of the world leaders in the enterprise application market. Read in our interview about why Jordi chose to study at the International Polytechnic Winter School and whether he plans to return to St. Petersburg again. Read more …

    - Jordi, we are glad to see you! Each year, the popularity of winter student schools is going up. Could you please tell us why did you decide to come to Russia?

    - I got to know about the International Polytechnic Winter School from my teachers. I took it right away that this would be a unique opportunity to meet other foreign students, visit St. Petersburg, and study at an interesting for me SAP module. The course just over, I am already thinking about coming back to Polytechnic University: I would like to try other educational modules. It very well might be that already next summer or next year I will come here again.

    - What would you prefer to study next time?

    - I’m considering the Russian language and culture. It would be interesting to start learning Russian from the scratch. My future profession is on demand at any place where they have the Internet, and therefore I very well might be working at an international company. Who knows, it might be positioned in Russia.

    In 2019, students of the International Polytechnic Winter School studied new educational modules

    - How are the present-day SAP technologies connected with your specialization?

    - Back at Thomas More University, I study information security management. Since virtually every large company in the world uses SAP software in its operation, I need knowledge in this area. Within the framework of the International Polytechnic Winter School, we got the basic knowledge of modern SAP technologies. The information was provided in an accessible form; there were many practical exercises. We were taking notes on the most important points, and the professors gave us recommendations on how we can continue our studies. That is, I will be able to study SAP technology in more detail at home in Belgium: I already have a plan how.

    - Jordi, everything you say sounds reasonable and logical; on can immediately sense an IT specialist talking to you! You said that you would like to work at an international company in the future. Could you be more specific about this?

    - I have no specific goal to work at a large company. The main thing for me is to be of use. At high school I was quite excited about the tourist business: I think high about understanding the world. I am going to work for a few years in Belgium after I graduate, and then head for other countries. Possibly, Russia will be one of those.  

    - Did you come to this idea after coming here or you had such thoughts before that?

    - The SPbPU Winter School contributed quite a lot to my decision. This is my first experience of taking part in such international programs. When I was discussing this trip with my parents, my dad said, “Go! This will be a unique experience. Russian culture is magnificent. You will see everything with your own eyes, talk to local people; you will discover a new country for yourself.”  St. Petersburg has impressed me immensely, and I feel I will be back.

    The SPbPU White Hall impressed students of the International Polytechnic Winter School

    - And what impressions did you get from our university?

    - Just wonderful. Teachers, coordinators, tutors were very kind. Everyone was ready to help at any time. And the university campus and its auditoriums are very well tuning for the working mood. My life was full of love and care. Thank you, the Polytechnic!

    - Jordi, thank you for your emotions and sincere words. We wish you all the success and hope to see you again at Peter the Great St. Petersburg Polytechnic University!  

Jordi Aerts , A Student of the International Polytechnic Winter School: I will be back!
R Singaram (Singaram) and NG Jui Khang Emerson (Emerson)
  • Educational module 'Space Technologies' was the bright innovation of the International Polytechnic Summer School 2017. Recently 26 students from Singapore, China, Mexico, South Korea, Greece, Bulgaria and Russia have finished their space course, and now it is time to sum up: has Polytech achieved the stated goals?

    High-level international specialists were invited to give lectures and hold seminars at SPbPU. We may say that an educational process started right at the Summer school opening ceremony: Director of the ITU Radiocommunication Bureau François Rancy gave an introductory lecture where he told about the global role of teleradiocommunication all around the world. Within the program of the module Counselor of ITU-R Study Groups Vadim Nozdrin introduced the students with the basics of International space law and technical basics of telecommunication satellite systems design. He also told about principles of electromagnetic compatibility for space services and space technology applications. Read more …

    Under the Summer school program the lectures were given by such world-renowned scientists as Alexander Ivanchik (SPbPU) and Vladimir Mostepanenko (Pulkovo Observatory). Director of the project management office, an associate professor from Samara University Ivan Tkachenko told about educational-scientific small satellites; researcher from Crimean Astrophysical Observatory Sergey Nazarov gave a lecture 'Active galaxy nuclei'. Denis Malygin (Space Telecommunication Systems Department, SPbPU) and Vladislav Tkachuk (Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology, Skoltech) told about experiments in space. Particularly, the students learnt about CubeSats:  a type of mini and midget satellites for space research. According to the module there were trips to the radio astronomical observatory 'Svetloe' and to the Pulkovo observatory.

     Educational Module Space Technologies: Successful Shoot

    Two students from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) (the partner of SPbPU) R Singaram (Singaram) and NG Jui Khang Emerson (Emerson) told the International Office representative about the events they participated during their education. Both of them said that their friends would learn about International Polytechnic Summer School!

    - The Educational Module 'Space Technologies' of International Polytechnic Summer School came to the end. It was for the first time for our school. Why did you decide to learn about space?

    Singaram: Russia is well-known for Space technologies. People in your country first launched the satellite, and then your man was the first to make a journey into outer space, and you learnt aerospace in general. In Singapore we don't have space technologies as part of the curriculum. It's a good opportunity for me to learn about space. I think it would be very useful.

    R Singaram

    Emerson: In NTU I am studying Civil Engineering. In Civil Engineering you have to do buildings. So when I saw Space Technologies, it seemed very interesting for me. I know that in the world there are many considerations that the Earth is getting very uninhabitable, and people will hardly live on the Earth soon in the next thousands of years. So they will have to do distant terraforming in space which means discovering planets or satellites where it’s possible to live. For example, that's what's happening to Mars. There are people who find some suitable environment so that other people could live. And I think that we should be interested in learning about such terraforming, because we need to build buildings on the new planet or so. And it might be very different: to build on Earth or in space, because they are two different places. This was a new revelation for me, and I was just interested in learning how space technologies can help me understand the concepts better.

    - What do you think how the knowledge you've got in Space Technologies Module can help you in your future career or in your future life?

    Singaram: I am a volunteer in a team for an independent company from Malaysia, which is participating in Google Lunar XPRIZE challenge, so they are trying to launch a lunar rover. As I am a part of a team, I am trying to contribute some programming experience for the navigation of the lunar rover.  I have not been much experienced in space, so this really gave me a lot of knowledge that the people from Malaysia have not have yet. So it has given me something necessary to contribute to the lunar rover navigation.

    Emerson: For me it's an actual understanding that we - humans - are really very small in importance. When we learn about space we realize how big our Universe is, how negligable we are and there are so many things that are more important than us. And what we are doing here is just a really little contribution, but important to mankind as whole.

    - What disciplines were the most interesting for you during the educational process?

    Singaram: I would say the subjects connected with star observations, and then there was a subject about CubeSat building. It is a type of mini and midget satellite for space research. They are used, for example, in navigation. Everything connected with it was very interesting.

    Emerson: For me it the history of Space Discovery, because what happens to space is something which is so big and so profound!  For example, people from ancient times have wondered how high the sky is, whether the Earth is round or flat, and whether the Sun goes around the Earth or our planet goes around it… There were so many questions. So I was really interested in this progression in knowledge across the centuries. At first people thought that everything revolves around the Earth: the Sun, Pluto, other planets, the Moon... But the soon progress made it clear that the Earth actually revolves around the Sun, and then more and more concepts were there, and people began to know our Universe better. It's great to see through generations that people have been doing great progress in getting more knowledge of high quality. And there is so much left to learn the ropes.

    - During your studying you had some trips. Where did you go?

    Singaram: At first we visited the Radio- astronomical observatory 'Svetloe'. A very big radio telescope of 32 meters in diameter is situated there. With its help we can research different features of celestial objects not only in the Solar System, but in galaxy and even metagalaxy.

    NG Jui Khang Emerson

    Emerson: Then we visited Pulkovo Observatory. We learnt that there are studied the key elements of modern astronomy: astrodynamics, dynamical astronomy, the Sun, solar-terrestrial relations and so on.

    - What inspired you in St. Petersburg?

    Singaram: I am fond of Hermitage. The architecture, beautiful sculptures, masterpieces of art... It's splendid!

    Emerson: I was fascinated by Peterhof. This is a very historical place, and it is a great flight of imagination when you realize that there you kings and queens were, and now you may walk in these parks and gardens.

    - What can you advise to the next students of International Polytechnic Summer School?

    Singaram: Plan you expenses properly. The program of Summer School is very extensive, and there are lots of places in St. Petersburg to go. But there are places where you can't pay with a card, so it's better if you clarify these issues with tutors.

    Emerson: Enjoy the history, the culture and the incredible atmosphere of St. Petersburg, listen to your professors and, of course, spend your time with fun!

    - Singaram, Emerson, thank you very much for the interesting interview! Wish you good luck in all your projects!

R Singaram (Singaram) and NG Jui Khang Emerson (Emerson), Educational Module 'Space Technologies': Successful Shoot!
Connor Dautel and Daniel Kuntz
  • One of the summer modules in the Russian language and culture was completed at the Higher School of International Educational Programs. Its participants were 17 students from the Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S. The month-long educational module presumed daily classes in the Russian language with division of students in three groups of different levels of complexity and a joint course in the culture of present-day Russia.  For the full immersion in the environment, the students were living not in the dormitory but in Russian families. Interaction with teachers, members of the hosting families, and each other in Russian was an important precondition of the program.  The outcomes are quite impressive:  practically all participants of the Summer School noted significantly improvement of their language skills. Connor Dautel and Daniel Kuntz, students of the Georgia Institute of Technology shared with the SPbPU International Services their impressions about their life in Russia and special features of the educational process. Read more …

    - Connor, Daniel, we are glad to see you! Could you please tell us about the interesting things that have happened this month? Did you enjoy living in Russia?  

    Connor: This really was an unbelievable experience. Up until now, getting out of my apartment, I keep thinking, “Could it be that I really am in Russia? I could never have expected that I would have such an opportunity!” It was rather worried to leave my country for so long and to go so far away, but when the hosting family greeted me with such warmth, all my scares and concerns just went away. I liked living and studying here, while constant communication with my new acquaintances and intensive studies gave me perfect language training. This month has practically changed my life, and for the better, of course.  

    Daniel: Living in Russia, I was feeling myself at home. We sometimes speak Russian at home because my mother and grandmother are Russian. My major goals for this month were to learn more about special features of the Russian language and improve my command of Russian.  And I am fully satisfied with the results. Speaking of living in Russia, I completely agree with Connor: this month gave me absolutely unique experience which I am very thankful for.

    - Were there any moments that surprised you or seemed quite unusual?

    Connor: I guess this was food. I know there are restaurants of Russian cuisine in America, but I have never been to any of those. Here I’ve tried many new dishes. Luckily, the taste of most of them I liked.

    Daniel: I would have never expected that Moscow would impress me more than St. Petersburg. Everybody keeps saying that St. Petersburg is the cultural capital of Russia, its cultural center; no doubt, its architecture and its style are magnificent. However, the spirit of Moscow is much closer to me: it reminded me of New York where I am from.

    - But there are lots of interesting things in St. Petersburg, aren’t they?

    Connor: Absolutely! I had been walking around the city for hours, scrutinizing the places of interest and trying to get the most of this month in Russia. St. Petersburg brings together unique things: the ancientness, culture, and modern trends. I fell in love with the heart of your city: Nevski Avenue.   

    Daniel: I would like to add that I very much enjoyed public transportation. The transportation network in St. Petersburg is very well developed: you can quickly get to any place in the city and, what is essential, it isn’t expensive. As far as tourist attractions are concerned, my strongest impression was Palace Square.  

    - And what would you advise to visit other foreign students coming to St. Petersburg?

    Connor: First of all, I would recommend to start with the traditional tourist route: the Hermitage, Russian Museum, a trip to Peterhof. However, I have also liked less popular places, often known only to the locals.  For example, you can find lots of cafés, restaurants, and shops in Sredni Avenue of Basil Island (Vasileostrovskaya metro station), which is a lot less crowded as compared to Nevski.

    Daniel: I agree that not to visit the major city attractions would have been a huge mistake. But after you will have got more or less acquainted with the city, make sure to ask local residents about other places of interest. For instance, I was advised to visit the flea market in Udelnaya; as it turned out, it belongs to the top ten flea markets in the world, right along with the markets of Tokyo, Paris, London, and Amsterdam.  

    - Would you advise tourists and foreign students to learn a little bit of Russian before coming to Russia?

    Connor: Of course I would advise to learn the basics of the Russian language; however, to a big extent it depends on the region you are going to. Notably, it would be a lot easier for English-speaking tourists to get around in St. Petersburg rather than in Moscow: this city has mush more signs and directions in English.  

    Daniel: If you are planning to stay in Russia for a longer period, than you should better learn at least the basics of Russian. Otherwise, you will have to stay in the center of St. Petersburg where there always are lots of tourists (laughing).

    - Did you have any communication problems during this month in Russia?

    Connor: My problem was my limited word stock; some things were difficult to understand. In particular, this concerned conversational phrases and terminology. However, people were always trying to help me, and, what I am especially thankful for, were patiently waiting until I would formulate my sentence in Russian without “switching” into English.  

    Daniel: I had no communication problems whatsoever; the difficulties I had were caused only by my knowledge of the Russian language. I was afraid to say something wrong, to make a mistake in a word or a sentence. However, it is important to understand that mistakes are a part of the educational process, and no progress is possible without them. Teachers’ assistance and support were helping us to move forward.  

    - Please tell us what would you remember in the intensive course on the Russian language most of all?

    Connor: Class studies in my group were primarily focused on syntax and grammar, usage of verbs in particular. This was very useful and helpful.

    Daniel: I would like to single out the lessons in which we discussed the events that were taking place in present Russia. It was very interesting to hear a variety of opinions and ideas.

    - In your opinion, how much have you improved your knowledge of Russian?

    Connor: I am now speaking Russian a lot more confidently. Back home, I will continue my intensive language practice. Thanks to the International Polytechnic Summer School, I could see the issues I should be working on to improve my Russian.

    Daniel: I was very glad to take part in the intensive Russian language course, and I would be happy to speak Russian with my relatives. And, of course, I would love to come back to Russia not once.

    - Would you advise your fellow students to take part in the International Polytechnic Summer School?

    Connor: Absolutely! I would recommend anybody interested in getting to a new level of Russian language command to take part in this intensive program.

    Daniel: I absolutely agree!

    Connor, Daniel, thank you so much for your interesting interview! We wish you all the success in learning the Russian language!

Connor Dautel and Daniel Kuntz, U.S. students took an intensive course of the Russian language within the frame of the International Polytechnic Summer School