Internationalization at home : Virtual Business Case with HSE St Petersbourg

Published on September 30, 2020 Updated on April 13, 2021

Even before the current health crisis, iaelyon has been exploring and piloting online mobility initiatives in order to continue to provide intercultural and international opportunities for all of our students.

If the current pandemic has shown anything, it is that the face of mobility will be changing over the coming years. Mobility is one of the key aspects of internationalisation for our students, as well as the whole of iaelyon by extension. The benefits of mobility are widely known- the academic and linguistic improvement, but most importantly the development of soft skills, which are crucial for students to have in order to enter the workplace in an international environment.

COIL: A way to rise to the challenge

Difficulties arising from providing students with international experiences in this climate have paved the way for iaelyon to reflect on its own strategies of mobility and internationalisation, and explore new potential ways that our students can benefit from an international experience at a distance, or virtual mobility, and still develop these important skills. An exciting new concept that has emerged out of the United States is COIL : Collaborative Online International Learning. This virtual concept is based on meaningful exchanges between faculty and students of different universities across the world that enhance and emphasise classroom learning through collaborative means, and can be applied to any classroom or course if partner universities and faculties innovate together to facilitate it.

The pilot between iaelyon and HSE St Petersburg: A focus

Before the current health crisis, a pilot project was proposed by Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg, a valued partner of iaelyon in Russia, to explore how iaelyon could do virtual business cases with our partners and their students. The pilot involved four iaelyon students working together with four students of the Higher School of Economics St Petersburg in carrying out a business case for L’Oréal Russia, and was finalised at the end of May 2020.

The four students were Manon de Sousa (First year of Master's in Marketing and Sales), Inès Bouchadel (2nd year of Master's in International Business Realities) , Charlyne Maes (2nd year of Master's in International Business Realities) and Aline Thoreau-Levaré (1st year of Master's in Marketing and Sales)

The students were asked to undertake an in-depth analysis of the digital marketing potentials of the Russian beauty sector, including an analysis of the business model of L’Oréal Russia and its suitability to the digital e-commerce market, and to produce a 20 minute presentation where they explained their results, as well as a written report and a poster. 

" The project we work on for L'Oréal was a great experience. It is very rewarding to work for an international renowned company and working along international students made the experience even more interesting. I encourage every students to take part in this kind of enriching initiatives !" Manon de Soussa 

Students presented their results and work on Friday 29th of May to the digital commerce team of L’Oréal Russia, who were thoroughly impressed by the quality and depth of the work carried out by the students of iaelyon and HSE.


“It was a great opportunity to work with an international team for a well-known company. It was extremely rewarding to receive feedback from the representatives, both positive and negative, as it helps us to improve for future projects. Moreover, working remotely is maybe what we will all have to experience in the future, we are now armed for the current realities.” - Charlyne Maes

The future of mobility

Based on the positive feedback that this pilot has received, iaelyon is in the midst of developing a COIL strategy specific to our school that is based on developing and creating business cases with partner universities and local and regional businesses, all the while capitalising on the intercultural and international benefits on the academic and linguistic levels of the students, and the continuous development of their soft skills through exchanges with students from around the world. iaelyon has a firm belief that COIL provides a real way for business schools to continue their internationalisation path and provide students with a meaningful international experience.

logo hse iaelyon would like to take this opportunity to thank Tatiana Grishchenko, as well as her school, the HSE St Petersburg, for reaching out to iaelyon and including us in their project.