– Please list your key achievements from the programme at present.
I am a marketing expert by education, vocation and profession. First and foremost, the school enabled me to systematise my thoughts. Previously we would do many things intuitively: we would assess the market and try to formalise external information. However, in the absence of an integrated system these were mere isolated fragments. After I completed the marketing assignment, the system finally took shape. Previously I had not even realised the extent to which my “knowledge cell” was fragmentary. And in this context I would state that the school as a whole and the Executive МВА programme in particular enables you to think more broadly. Here I understood once more that you should study constantly and never stand still.
– How has the programme changed you and your life?
My career has advanced. I changed company during the tuition – and this represented progress both in my career and also in terms of personal development. That is not to say that the school was the reason. However, communications with interesting and intelligent people enabled me to look at life from a different angle. And it turned out to be far broader and richer than I had thought.
– And why is it worth studying at SKOLKOVO?
There is one rule – taken from the world of boxing. To be successful, you have to train with the strongest. In this sense, we were lucky. The business school is very good at selecting people for groups. It goes without saying that everybody here has their own psychological makeup, but they are all on the same level, they are all self-sufficient and have their own opinions. And when you join such a group, you want to grow. Personal growth is a given.
Andrei Volkov told me about the programme. I became interested, turned up for a presentation and was very impressed. The presentation was delivered by Valeria Pavliukovskaya. She was followed by Ruben Vardanyan, whose energy is simply infectious. Another key moment was that I saw the profile of the EMBA-7 group: very interesting people and very interesting companies.
The module timetable was another reason: you spend only two working days here - the other two days are the weekend. This is ideal for business. Every academic day is full to bursting: we start at 9am and end, for example, at 7pm, but then listen to the invited speakers. We also have a very comfortable campus: the auditorium is located in the same building as the hotel. As far as I know, other schools do not offer this. Sometime I even leverage the opportunity to take a 15-20 minute nap during the breaks – and rapidly recover.
– And what assignments were most beneficial?
All the modules were extremely useful. The wonderful professor Keith Goodall gave us management modules: Taylor, Mayo, Lawrence, and Lorsch. Even though this was theoretical material, it proved to be useful for practical use. Meanwhile Jack Wood showed us that businesses need different people. We conducted a survey and found that ninety per cent of the class were prior to SKOLKOVO “Red Army commanders”, who thought that only two opinions existed: “my one and the wrong one.” And we would recruit similar people for our teams. In general, this was related to the Russian management style: we have here a rigid, authoritarian approach. On the other hand, our country needs a certain amount of rigidity in management. Now I am abandoning the old style, while trying to maintain control. We are recruiting different people, and have already tested this principle in our company. I would also like to add that the module on financial analysis is very useful to non-financiers. Complex mathematical things were explained to us in a comprehensible way. It goes without saying that we have great teachers.
– Does this help you communicate with the financial director differently?
Our finance director was surprised, in just four days I had learned the ropes and understood the main gist. The material, which was hard to study on your own, was structured so that we would be able to master and apply it in practice.