By Anna Shakirova and Lauren Wallace

This week, 36 Darden students experienced the coldest day in Moscow in 120 years. On 7 January, the students braved the record-setting cold temperature at -15˚F (-26 ˚C) in the capital city on the first day of their Darden.Worldwide Course (DWC). “We are proud to say that everyone was prepared and we had a great time exploring Moscow through the city tour,” wrote Elena Loutskina, faculty leader of Darden’s inaugural DWC offered in the Russian Federation.

The theme of this week-long program, from 7-14 January, is “Adapting Products, Services and Business Models to an Emerging Market” in which Darden students are exploring Russian investment and financial processes, production systems, infrastructure projects, and economic growth. After the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the organization of its stock market in 1994, Russia is considered an emerging market only about a quarter century old. Being a multicultural, multi-religious, and multilingual state situated across Eurasia, Russia’s diversity and competing cultural and business traditions make successful entries and growth a great challenge in this market.

The Russia DWC is taking place in both Moscow and St. Petersburg, where students are currently attending lectures and receptions with Russian leaders and entrepreneurs; visiting major cultural sites like the Kremlin, Red Square, and the Tretyakov Gallery; and enjoying a performance of the famous Russian ballet. Students are studying firsthand the success, survival, failure, and contributing factors therein of multinational corporations entering and operating in the challenging, yet promising, emerging Russian market. The group will head to St. Petersburg to finish the program later this week.