Magazine article Management Review

Internships Build an East-West Bridge

Magazine article Management Review

Internships Build an East-West Bridge

Article excerpt

Internships Build an East-West Bridge

We have been witnessing remarkable developments in the Soviet Union. The heroic defense of the Russian Parliament by Boris Yeltsin and thousands of Muscovites and the resounding defeat of the coup d'etat has opened a new era in the economic, political and social development of that troubled land.

The August revolution adds a new perspective to the Management Review article by Tom Horton and Igor Oleinik (September, page 46) which discussed the problems of doing business in the USSR. The authors noted that the only viable hope for true market reform in the Soviet Union is through significant changes at all levels of the economic and political system, including decentralization and initiatives at the republic level.

Power is indeed shifting rapidly away from the central government. The Communist party, which for so long stifled the development of a true market economy, is being dismantled. The subjugation of the coup and the shift of authority to the republics has accelerated the prospects for broad-based reforms. The republics now seem well on their way to achieving the autonomy that should make doing business far easier.

Although the transition to a market economy and privatization of former state enterprises will be long and difficult, the latest political developments should inspire Western business executives to look at the republics as potential new markets with significant possibilities for trade and investment in the relatively near future. Rather than dwell on the difficulties that have plagued East-West joint ventures in the past, now is the time for prudent and forward-looking business executives to take concrete steps rationally calculated to expand their activities in this part of the world.

At this dramatic turning point in East-West relations, Western companies can play an extraordinary positive role in accelerating the development of conditions necessary to create new market economies. Internships are an excellent way for Western firms to offer practical experiences to talented business leaders anxious to learn Western management techniques in a competitive business environment.

Internships are a cost-effective way to offer invaluable assistance to these dynamic nations while gaining an inside track to potential new markets. For companies not yet involved in business ventures in the targeted countries, internships are a convenient method for acquiring loyal managers who will be an invaluable asset for future business development. Companies already doing business in Eastern Europe can use internships as a vehicle for identifying managers to participate in their ongoing training programs. …

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