Geographical tasks for bachelors of management

The degree of utilizing geoinformation technology in various fields of business depends on the number of specialists who understand the efficiency of those technologies and possess a certain set of skills for working with them. Are there a lot of geo-technology classes provided in the basic educational programs for the most popular professions, such as business administration, finance and economy, marketing, and analytic professionals, who often become GIS/GEOdata customers? I know a few. Believe me, Geography and GIS aren’t as easy as for Science-students. Initial testing of students as a rule demonstrates different levels of basic geographical knowledge, almost total absence of ideas about GIS, and poor understanding of business administration structure in the geospatial industry. was a lyrical digression :)

The optional course “Geographical Aspects of Business” in the framework of the Bachelor of management program in the Lomonosov Moscow State University Business School is setting the goal to introduce future discipline specialists with geographical topics of current interest for management and provide knowledge, skills and expertise of geospatial analysis and the use of geoinformation technologies in finding solutions to economic and managerial tasks.

The practical part of an optional course “Geographical Aspects of Business” contains geographical tasks which simulate the influence of geographical and environmental conditions on business processes.

As the GIS skills are progressing the level of tasks is increasing. Individual, group and collective forms of education are used. The course starts with the block of physical geography. There are several examples of the tasks.

1. The Worldview task. Relief, climate maps and capital layer (as the most economically active center of almost every country) are used. The task allows me to analyze the student’s level of knowledge and catalyze their Worldview.

2. The physical geography tasks. The first example. The shown below GoogleEarth image is demonstrated for the students.

I ask students which interesting facts can be easily detected. There are more white cars then black ones. Why? Let's look at the coordinates. It’s getting evident that this city is situated in hot climate conditions. It’s Abu Dhabi. An interesting note. If one group of students is asked what cars are mostly used in Abu Dhabi without demonstrating the image and the other group of students is asked about climate conditions with demonstrating the image, the second group is faster to make a decision and coming to the right answer.

The task clearly demonstrates the influence of climate conditions on car business in different countries.

The second example task is the task on estimating geographical conditions. The students distinguish the differences in umbrella sales in Magnitogorsk, Salavat and Sterlitamak cities. The relief layer and population of the cities are used as a clue.

These additional layers lead the students to the right decision of the blocking effect of the Ural mountains. The main amount of precipitation falls on the western hillsides.

The third example is on physical and socio-economic conditions. There are 4 Russian cities on the map. The structure of freight traffic is shown for each city. The aim is to analyze geo-ecomonic conditions of the cities and to match them with the freight traffic types.

The specific characteristics of the Norilsk freight traffic aren’t explained (transport by road - 10%/55%, aircraft transport - 40%/45%, river transport - 20%/0%). Soon or later, everybody comes to the right decision about cold climate conditions which are typical of Norilsk. The rivers which are frozen almost 8 month significantly change the structure of the freight traffic types.