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Programme start

May 30, 2018
group with Russian translation

Students and Alumni

Pavel Chumak
Fertelita Group Ltd, Owner

– What knowledge and skills obtained in the programme did you manage to apply in your work?

- I started applying practically what we do here from the very outset. For example, the first module from Keith Goodall contained several exercises that I implemented at work. And people realised that we didn’t have a single, coordinated process, and that we needed to talk to one another, and not simply focus on individual goals.

There was also a very interesting module on strategy. Thanks to this module, I revised the company’s strategy. Our market today is quite tough and can be hard to read. I realised that we had to create an alliance with people interested in developing the market. Today I have already found such a company, and we have started to promote our products. We are competing with a fairly powerful monopoly and are already successfully winning over certain segments. I liked the phrase from the Rector Volkov that now and then we need to change something in our lives. At first you work for yourself, then you want a bigger business and you start doing projects with big companies. I have reached this stage and now require a specific toolkit that I didn’t possess in the past. I found it hard to understand corporate people. I had believed that they viewed things in the same way as I did. In addition, I have an entrepreneurial approach. I failed to apply a sufficiently systematic approach. Here I met guys from different companies and was amazed at how they think - people from different sectors, who in my opinion possess completely unique skills.

For example, I knew about CRM. However, after talking to fellow student Vladimir Voloshin, who promotes sales of spirits, I understood how to use this tool more effectively in the distribution of chemicals. Or take Pavel Belenko - he has an extremely systematic approach and extensive project management experience that I don't have. He showed me his entire toolkit. I think that there are areas, for example, where you can clearly perceive the best marketing or best logistics. By communicating with people from these areas, you can gain something for yourself.

– How has the programme changed you personally?

– I changed the communications process at my company significantly. Previously everything went through me, and I probably did not listen enough to the people around me. Today I deliver meetings in a different format. I give everyone a chance to speak. I really appreciated the brainstorming exercise, although at first I found it very hard not to intervene during the spontaneous contribution of ideas. I probably had subjective judgments about business formed 10 years ago when I personally communicated with a large number of small clients. I am trying to change these things.

- Could you add some words for people who are thinking about applying to SKOLKOVO.

– I had considered a wide variety of academic institutions, in particular, IMD and INSEAD. However, there is a significant difference between mentality in the west and our mentality. I studied for a long time abroad and was unable to apply much knowledge, as it had no bearing on our environment. In contrast, at SKOLKOVO you can get everything that you would learn in Western business schools – with interesting teachers from these schools coming to us. However, our reality here is also taken into account. In addition, the subjects discussed by people outside of lectures, and the potential relevance of these discussions to my business, are also extremely important for me. Here, we might set up a joint business. We are already implementing a large number of joint projects and have found a vast number of mutual acquaintances.

Vladimir Voloshin
Newman Sport & Business Consulting, Managing partner

- List your key achievements from the programme. What knowledge that you received during the programme did you manage to apply at work?

– I currently work in a comparatively new team. We gather the best people from different organisations to further develop the business. Coaching is the first thing where I started to apply the knowledge obtained from the programme. New people require the experience of someone who has already worked in the industry for a long time.

I also use my new knowledge and skills to develop the local development strategy for our premium brands. This segment is growing very rapidly, and we perceive significant potential here. Recently, all our indicators on the market valuation of brands increased and client loyalty increased. This means that all our marketing activities – and this is my area of work – are being performed effectively. Now we are studying the marketing module, and I can compare what we do in practice and what the teacher says. It transpires that we are doing a number of things correctly. In this sense I have been lucky: I work for an independent family business where you enjoy a certain degree of flexibility and where rapid decision-making is the norm, unlike public companies. We use the horizontal HR model to attain the best results.

As for personal achievements, this year, for example, we are bringing to market my personal development – a whisky that for the first time in history has been matured in casks made from Russian oak. We have already received phenomenal marks from specialists, who performed a blind tasting.

– Did the tuition from the programme affect your career advancement?

– When I was admitted to SKOLKOVO, senior management and the line managers who I work with knew about this. As a result I managed to join a special talent development programme that the company is implementing. And this is naturally a major step for me, as a maximum of five-seven people are enrolled from all over the world each year. They saw my potential and now I am doing all I can to prove they made the right decision. This could result in promotion and a foreign placement. For example, I might work with Eastern European markets or the markets of North Africa, where my experience would appear most useful.

– Can you say a few words for people who are thinking about applying to SKOLKOVO? Why should they choose this business school?

– I will proceed based on my own personal experience. Firstly, it is important that you can obtain such a first-class education in Moscow, near home and work. I have experience of studying in Great Britain, and the four-hour time difference was a killer. Secondly the Executive МВА programme is structured in line with international standards and is conducted in English. This provides another opportunity for practice during work in groups, to try out your presentation skills before a large audience, to leverage international experience and use the language of international communications. Thirdly, the cooperation of the school with Russian business leaders is very important for me. For example, over the next five years I intend to stay in Russia, work in Russia and confirm my professional qualifications after obtaining a Russian education. This will be a first for me – until now I had studied abroad. In other words we receive new knowledge that can be put into practice in Russia and gain priceless business ties.

Ivan Sharov
Arktik SPG-2, Head of project execution

– What are your key achievements from the programme at present?

– The main changes happen inside: you consider your management methods from a new perspective. For example, thanks to the “General Management” module, I introduced practical data into the system. Previously I had approached management intuitively, with my eyes closed, not knowing whether my decision would work or not. I would try to obtain feedback and adjust my actions – however, in this case there was no guarantee that I was moving in the right direction. Now, however, I am confident about my decisions, because I have a system. And when we were asked to analyse our organisations, it transpired that it was not at all chaotic, as I had always felt, but instead an effective structure.

– And were there instances where you turned up at work after a module driven by a desire to do something in a completely new way?

– I would say that this happened after each module. However, life always brings its own adjustments: you come with an ideal picture in your head, you manage to change some aspects, but not others. As a result you retain 20% of your initial enthusiasm. However, I believe that this is already a good achievement. Now I think about why a certain decision didn’t work, whereas previously I had advanced haphazardly.

– Why is it worth applying to SKOLKOVO?

– Firstly, I would say networking. Naturally we study a lot with teachers, but we get 50% of our knowledge from the student group. It’s as if a patient doesn’t go on his/her own to see the doctor, but instead several patients go at once – after communicating with each other, they learn something new. For example, we are told about a theory and suddenly someone says: you know, we had the following case in our practice. Furthermore, the teacher might have international experience, while the student talks about certain Russian specifics. And you remember all this, and it stays with you.

– In other words, practical examples are linked to theoretical experience.

– Practical data. Furthermore, from very different areas – in normal life you would never receive such data, because you focus on your own specific business. And here you are in a very mixed bunch and this helps a great deal. I was also surprised that none of the teachers have disappointed me so far. They all brought something new. And most importantly a holistic picture started to form in my head. The modules do not contradict each other, but instead align into a common whole. And I really like this aspect.

Alexander Maltsev
LLC VLS-South, General Director

– List you key achievements from the programme at present.

– SKOLKOVO gives me best-practice knowledge. I don’t have the core education – in terms of education I am an engineer, and by profession a businessman. De facto I create businesses based on my own experience. However, now I am arranging the general principles, grades and levels. This is a systematic picture, a framework that doesn't change. In the past I could do something that might have worked out, but I didn’t understand why. Here, I was shown the reasons and taught the methods.

– Have you already applied any of your knowledge at work?

– I really liked the module on strategy. This is an interesting topic. There are lot of books about this topic, but I don’t have enough time for them. Here the teacher provides you with a tool that you can use right away. This is already a starting point, and not too much knowledge that you don’t know how to filter. We receive specific working methods, and they can be applied to any company and any project. I also have my own experience and the comments of my classmates – immediately ideas are reviewed from the perspective of experience in different sectors. That is how you start to create a tool that you can immediately use at your own company.

– How did the programme affect your personal growth?

– I look at the people here, at their rational and effective qualities. If they comply with my moral principles and rules, I start to copy these qualities and adapt them to my own personal needs. I make a certain mould from them.

– How would you explain why a student should apply to SKOLKOVO?

– The people enrolling here can be split into two categories: people who want development and people who want to discover something new about themselves and change their lives. Both categories find what they need here. The first group of people develop, while the second expand their social circle and broaden their horizons. And they all make new acquaintances. The business contacts that you make here help you to achieve a great deal.

Alexey Karpenko
EMBA 7 (2012–2013)
Forward Legal, Senior Partner

...I can honestly say that I had never met so many creative and good-natured people in my entire life before joining the school. My group mates are my potential clients, my potential referees, potential colleagues, and co-owners of future businesses that we plan to create. As well as the formidable amount of new knowledge, reasoning and skills, the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme provides you with a huge emotional boost to try something new in your profession and business, to try out a completely different business, and consider other ideas. It is virtually impossible to move on and create something new without this boost...

Ashot Marian
EMBA 7 (2012–2013)
RUSNANO, Managing director of investment activity

...The SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme is like a detector of leadership abilities, or, if you like, a test of professionalism. When you are successful, it is not at all difficult to continue going with the tide and feel comfortable and confident. The SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme literally takes you away from your comfort zone and places you in a group of exceptional individuals, where everyone is a leader and just as successful as you are. It makes you undertake various sophisticated and challenging case studies and project scenarios where you have to prove your worth to yourself again and everybody around you, and where you have to do your utmost to try reach the bar that has been raised even higher...
Evgeny Shevtsov
Promyshlennye Tekhnologii Management Company, Sales & Marketing Director

– 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.

Konstantin Krivtsov
EMBA 6 (2011–2 013)
Gromita Trading Ltd, Head of the Russian Representative Office

...SKOLKOVO is a community of inspired people who share common goals. I have never met 40 people at once in a relatively small space who would be equally interesting to me. The SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme allowed me to reload and look at my business, my life and myself from a different angle. I feel as if my life has several additional dimensions. It is as if you live constantly in some understandable cube, and suddenly you are thrown into a polyhedron with an unlimited number of sides. I am not in the habit of acting rashly and changing my attitudes in the heat of the moment. However, SKOLKOVO definitely changed my views and expanded my initial outlook ...
Rustam Zhursunov
"JSC "Sovereign Wealth Fund 'Sumryuk-Kazyna'", Head of Law Department

– What are your personal key achievements from the programme?

– I am frequently asked what an Executive МВА means. Everybody knows what an MBA is, so why Executive? I explain it like this: Take for example, a soldier. He can serve for a long time and reach the grade of colonel. However, he will not become a general until he has graduated from the academy. One of my favourite heroes, Winston Churchill, was due to read a lecture at the private school Harrow, where he had also studied. Churchill was already over 80, and it was the intention of the organisers that this lecture should mark a fitting end to his career. A huge crowd gathered. And he turned up and pronounced the shortest speech of his life: “Never give in – never, never, never, never.” The same principle holds true here. At SKOLKOVO I can escape my daily routine and observe it from the outside. When I come back, I undergo a micro-reassessment, which enables me to make further progress.

All of us here are successful people, who have either developed or created a business. We knew a great deal, but this knowledge had not been systematised, it had been pigeonholed. If you don’t understand, you will never acquire knowledge. Here all this knowledge formed part of the system. Now you can run any business model through this system and look at it calmly with detachment. My decisions have become more structured. I personally came here as a CEO, and will leave as a freer individual. Now I can start a new business or work for a company. I now manage companies as a board member and chairman of the board. And with every passing week I have opportunities at more and more companies. This is personal growth.

Yes, you reach a new level - you represent the shareholders at a business and set objectives for companies. Sometimes you have to “run roughshod” through carefully prepared strategies. I sometimes even feel sorry for people, but this is the challenge. In general, to all intents and purposes, I have achieved a professional breakthrough. When we were admitted to the programme, we were already flying at say 15,000 metres. Now we are approaching the stratosphere.

– Do you apply in practice any mechanisms or tools that you obtained at SKOLKOVO?

– I often use Porter’s diagram and on occasion the decision tree. I always draw diagrams during work to help people gain a better understanding.

– What might you say to anyone thinking of applying to SKOLKOVO?

– As I have already said, for me SKOLKOVO means a break from the daily grind and serious pressure. For four days you find yourself in a different dimension. Here you will meet a number of good entrepreneurs focused on income generation. I myself do interesting, perhaps even great things. I would not go so far as to say that I am already a good entrepreneur. However, at the very least I have started to perceive situations from a different angle. My one regret is that I did not have good ideas from the outset that I could have run through all 18 modules. Logically, I should have ended up with a real diamond.

I came here as the salaried employee of a well-established business, where they already use best practices, shall we say. However, I did the assignments on my own, without fail – I either drew on my own past experience or modelled the situation. This actually helps a great deal.

Viktor Nasyrov
State Corporation RosTec, General Director of Subsidiary

– Could you please list your key achievements from the programme?

I found group communications most interesting. I participated in two events - XL-trek on Everest and diving. Trekking on Everest was my first experience in the mountains, a challenging physical and psychological test. However, it was very interesting. I got to know people from different groups and we communicated a great deal – we ended up having a debating club as part of the trip.

– In your opinion, what arguments would you propose in favour of studying at SKOLKOVO?

Several people have also asked me this question. I asked them the following question in return: do they just want to acquire a set of knowledge, or do they want to become part of the Russian community and find people they will communicate and become friends with? At SKOLKOVO the community is key – intelligent, strong and talented individuals.

Alexander Lagutin
Nazvanie.net CFO

– What knowledge and skills obtained during the programme did you manage to apply in your work?

You come away with something new from each module. Take, for example, the decision tree. I had a problem involving the restructuring of debts running into hundreds of millions of dollars. This brought with it a heavy emotional burden. However, thanks to the decision tree, I was able to look at the situation rationally, understand and start to act. I was also helped by the negotiating module.

In general, all the knowledge is accumulated and streamlined throughout the studies, and you gradually change your way of thinking. As a result many people change their jobs and start aspiring to do something new. When I came to SKOLKOVO, I had to pigeonhole the knowledge I had at the time and understand whether I was using it correctly. I wanted to analyse my own experience and reach the next level. When this transition occurs, you start to communicate with your work colleagues in a new way. Sometimes misunderstandings can occur. Sometimes it can be boring. Sometimes you leave a job due to certain circumstances, whereas in another situation you would have immediately started considering new offers. However, now first and foremost you want to complete your studies.

– How did the programme affect your personal development and performance?

My performance clearly improved. I started to do some things more quickly. During the studies you gain access to new management technologies, methods for performing analysis, etc. After each case I applied the knowledge and skills that I had obtained. This enabled me to organise people in a different way and to identify my own strengths and weaknesses.

Sergio Men
EMBA 5 (2011–2 013)
Eurasia Capital Partners, Managing Partner

...Within, literally, the first hours at the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme, I realised that during all my 10 years as proactive businessman and entrepreneur I had been doing all the right things, of course, but in the wrong way. This is about effectiveness and efficiency. So, in the first place, the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme equipped me with knowledge, tools and the ability to take the right decisions at the right time. Or to decide not to take any decision – to refrain from performing any unnecessary operations and businesses whose time has still not arrived...
Andrey Tokarev
EMBA 5 (2011–2013)
FESCO Transportation Group, Vice-President, Business Development Department

...The SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme is, first of all, a unique environment. The environment enables you to learn by drawing on the experience of other people. The experience, the bundle of knowledge that we received from each other in class, is as great as the input that we received from the academic component of the programme. To my mind, if you want to live, work and do business in Russia, there is no alternative. Apply to SKOLKOVO!...
Andreas Savvidi
EMBA 5 (2011–2013)
Fidelity Investment / Greek Retail General Director

...The SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme pleasantly surprised me in terms of the level of the teaching staff. Literally, starting from the very first module we understood that the school set very high standards when choosing the faculty and working out the educational materials of the programme.

Ours was not the biggest group in the school. But we understood from the first moment that we would have a great time together. The school did a good job in shortlisting the candidates, and all my fellow students are unique bearers of new information for every single one of us. They are all bright and interesting, and everyone brings something special to the process...

Konstantin Mashanskiy
JSC "Ekoton+", President

– Please list your key achievements due to the programme at present.

The programme provides us with a vast bundle of knowledge. Even though I already have two university degrees – including in economics – I constantly derive some new inspiration from the SKOLKOVO programme. We focus on developing markets and international experience is competently interwoven with Russian nuances. Analysing cases from Europe and the USA, we “fine-tune” them in line with Russian specifics. I was also extremely interested by the focus on China – this is a major economic partner of our large country and the whole world and naturally we will have to organise mutual relations.

Here we are taught at the most advanced level. We are shown in modules how views on various business processes have evolved. For example, in my favourite module General Management with Keith Goodall we were shown where we currently stand in management, negotiations and marketing. We often rush on a squirrel wheel and believe that we are running very fast and that everything is wonderful. In actual fact, however, after talking here to students and professors, you understand that this level is possibly twenty years out of date, and that other people are moving three times as fast.

– What knowledge and skills did you manage to apply at the work?

– I am not interested in career advancement, because I run my own business. Consequently, business represents progress that has to be managed. Here SKOLKOVO also helps us.

I am striving to improve key performance indicators, increase profits, increase client loyalty and optimise business processes. The programme here delivers specific results. For example, after a very strong module on business processes, I analysed my own service component, broke it down according to the proposed methodologies and assessed its effectiveness and our focus. It transpired that we had been focusing on the wrong area – we had not been concentrating on our clients. We had prioritised the utilisation levels of the delivery service. We utilised one unit 100%, but only this unit was effective. At the same time, we were clearly not delivering professional client service. Now I perceive similar problems and understand that if we change one process at the company, other processes will also start to change. Everything should work taken as a whole.

In addition, it is correct that SKOLKOVO not only provides knowledge, but also stimulates personal growth.

– Do you mean the leadership course?

– Yes, I am referring to the leadership course. We received individual tuition and were taught how to talk in public, how to always be ready for an interview and derive enjoyment from this process. I would also like to note that communications with the other students represent another important aspect of the education. I knew about this, but had been extremely sceptical. Out of all my fellow students at Plekhanov Academy, I only stay in touch with one person. As for Bauman, I have kept no contacts, as we all went our own separate ways and no longer had common interests. And now, as we turn 40, we already understand our place in life and want to run our businesses more effectively. Consequently, communicating with other people is extremely beneficial. All in all SKOLKOVO helps you to break through your own boundaries and grow all the time.

And SKOLKOVO does not let you stop. We have training courses that simply don’t end: once you enter the process, you go with the flow.

– And so why is worth choosing SKOLKOVO?

– First of all, if you want to develop a business in Russia, an international business school will be less helpful. Secondly, SKOLKOVO will give you a boost. Successful individuals, who are at different stages of development, study on the EMBA programme, and SKOLKOVO stimulates their growth. It does not matter if someone changes the area of activities or someone else starts moving more rapidly. The key is that we all advance more quickly. And I agree that at some point we, the Skolkovo Executive MBA graduates, will run the country and actually change something both in the state and in business. Here we are already working on changing the situation for the better.

Erlan Balgarin
JSC "CC 'Competents'", Member of board of directors

– Please list your key achievements from the programme at present.

– Approximately 30% of the knowledge that I obtained during the studies is applicable to my work, as it implies far greater authority than I have at present. In general I use the skills acquired in corporate finance and HR. Business performance indicators have also improved. I am on the board of directors of the bank. The bank’s financial position has improved and capital has increased significantly recently. It goes without saying that this is due to teamwork. However, I have also played a role in this success.

– How did the programme affect your personal growth and effectiveness?

– The SKOLKOVO EМВА programme does not involve simply studying individual disciplines; you also achieve self-identification. I am grateful to the school for identifying my strengths and weaknesses from the very outset. Throughout the course I constantly worked on them and analysed myself – previously I had never even thought about this. In general, I perceive SKOLKOVO as a whole period in my life that has an impact on everything: relations with family, friends and colleagues, and also certain important decisions. And I am very grateful to my fellow students. We have a great deal in common when it comes to value systems and culture. We find it interesting to communicate and exchange opinions. And this provides a powerful push so that the educational process proceeds even more intensively. If you live according to a certain template, here you realise what this template is and whether it is working for you. SKOLKOVO makes it possible, roughly speaking, to “rewrite your own programme”. This is probably the most important aspect for me personally.

– What knowledge and skills obtained in the programme do you apply at work?

– For example, I apply new skills when forming a team. After determining team roles based on the Belbin Team Inventory, you understand where you are and the individuals that you need on your team. As a result, this has a very significant impact.

In actual fact, it is essential that we do not simply read books: our teachers clearly transmit their own experience. In this way we gain a better understanding of the subject and apply knowledge in practice.

– What assignment that you performed after the module did you find most useful and why?

– Here, I would highlight corporate finance. I had a fairly good understanding of accounting before SKOLKOVO. However, here I was shown details that I had not noticed previously. Previously I had been a user of the model, whereas now I can be a developer. When completing the assignment, I created the model on my own and personally performed all the calculations. This was very interesting.

Another interesting topic was HR when we performed the group assignment. We considered the most effective way of aligning the management of human resources at a specific company. We approached the issue amicably. Everyone expressed his own opinion, and we managed to make a number of valuable recommendations. In other words, we were able to contribute to the businesses of our colleagues.

– Why is worth choosing the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA?

– Why did I choose SKOLKOVO, rather than a French, English or American business school? Firstly because I am interested in the business community in Russia. I am from Kazakhstan and we are currently implementing integration processes. What is the point of going to another part of the world where I will probably never go again? Secondly, I believe SKOLKOVO to be the top school in Russia, which applies stringent selection requirements for students. Thirdly, our teachers come here from all over the world and give 100%, and demonstrate their worth so that they are invited to teach the next module. And finally, I can honestly say that the program represents the period in my life when I am constantly happy, because I experience a sense of freedom and innovation. This is very strong driver. If your daily life is marked by routine and boring chores, SKOLKOVO offers a real escape.

Vitaly Polekhin
EMBA 3 (2011–2012)
SKOLKOVO Investors Club , President

...When I entered the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme, I already had a business degree, but SKOLKOVO surpassed my expectations. No one is left untouched by its atmosphere. The best professors come here from every corner of the world to act as a catalyst in activating the entrepreneurship gene that can be used effectively both in a private business and at a big corporation.

Every module of the programme is a major, outstanding event – the best lecturers, best speakers, cutting-edge trends, knowledge, skills, and business cases. The international EMBA modules are important and very interesting elements of the programme. They help you share experiences and knowledge, and comprehend current global trends.

The school will change you greatly; this will lead you to rethink all processes, result in a serious reset and push for rapid development, irrespective of your current level...

Evgeniy Larionov
EMBA 2 (2011–2012)
Ex Libris, CEO

...The SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme is a lengthy informative adventure, which started for me in 2010 and continues to this very day. We implemented immediately in our businesses and tested in practice the theory, knowledge, and skills that we received during the course. I personally found the whole process exceptionally useful and effective. The atmosphere at SKOLKOVO inspires you to come up with numerous ideas. And we immediately try to implement them in real projects either within the framework of home assignments from the programme or separately. For example, during the programme I started my own business jointly with a partner. This is a coffee chain. I also created a social project for schools with a fellow student – we developed the SKOLKOVO clothing line. And the ideas don’t stop there. Drawing on the experience, knowledge and contacts that you receive during the programme, you simply cannot stop being creative even after you graduate...
Alexey Voronin
EMBA 2 (2011–2012)
Delovaya sreda , Value stream leader

...For me personally the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme means, first and foremost a team - a team of like-minded individuals. When I was admitted to the business school, I imagine for a long time who my fellow students might be. I was extremely surprised to come and find here a team of like-minded people. It is not only enjoyable to spend time studying with them and become friends, but also to launch new projects and do business with them. As well as acquiring new knowledge and skills, I personally consider the most significant aspect of the studies the fact that I launched a whole range of new business projects, including some with my fellow students...
Dmitry Rubanenko
Rusforest Management/Lesosobirskiy LDK №1, Director, Member of the Board

...SKOLKOVO turned out to be a fantastic place, combining a high quality education, excellent faculty and a completely unconventional way of delivering the information. The intellectual environment at the school is absolutely unique. And it is definitely an excellent place to learn from the professors and also from each other...
Ravi Sachdeva
Meridian Technologies, Director General

I selected SKOLKOVO from all other world-class Executive MBA programmes, because I was impressed by the school’s founders and team, their clear vision and professional approach. The faculty is made up of internationally recognised professors from the world’s top business schools, while the programme focuses on rapidly developing markets. Based on my own personal experience I can say that studying at SKOLKOVO complies 100% with any other world-class business school.
Vadim Zelensky
EMBA 2 (2010–2011)
Zelenski Corporate Solutions, General Director

...SKOLKOVO provides a good opportunity to learn more about management skills and focus on the development of leadership skills. I think that this is a wonderful place with significant potential and probably one of the best schools in Russia in the area of business administration...
Alexander Shelukhin
EMBA 2 (2010–2011)
Interkros Opt Ltd , Founder

...I had extremely high expectations and wanted to be able to establish good networking ties, have an opportunity to communicate with the best teachers and founding partners. And I am very pleased with everything that I received...
Natalia Stolyarova
EMBA 2 (2010–2011)
Rusmice Events & Motivation , Executive Director

...I was among the students in the very first year, in other words at a time when nobody knew anything about SKOLKOVO. However, my intuitive desire to be part of this process, life and society didn’t let me down. At the time it was an emotional decision, but has been corroborated by facts during the studies.

I understood that I could achieve far more. You spend four days on modules and endless assignments. However, it transpired that despite all the time, your strength and energy levels do not wane – on the contrary you find that you have far more energy and strength than ever before. New ideas simply appear out of nowhere; you acquire even more energy for studies, for learning, you want to learn even more, you acquire interest in new projects and new beginnings, and this is amazing. I found the strength to do what I had always dreamt of doing – I started my own company, and the SKOLKOVO EMBA programme inspired me to take this step...

Svetlana Hoersch
The World Bank, Operations Analyst

I expected to get a top-level business education, establish good networking contacts and new ideas for business and life. And I got all this at SKOLKOVO. Moreover I feel that I have started to understand myself better.
Vartan Dilanyan
Accenture in Russia, Managing Partner

My impressions are extremely positive. I think this is a major achievement for Russia – to have a business school like SKOLKOVO. I like here the top quality professors and also the actual group and friendly environment in which we study.
Ekaterina Akhanova
EMBA 1 (2009– 2010)
Investment Finance Company Metropol, Managing Director

...I wanted to structure my knowledge and the programme helps me achieve this goal. What is most important is the programme team who pay attention to the personal requirements of each student...
Mikhail Kokorich
EMBA 1 (2009–2010)
Ilim Timber Industry, CEO

...I was one of the last students to enrol on the Executive MBA programme. I believe that this was one of the best decisions that I have taken in my life. Personally I benefited not only from the knowledge, but also from socialising in a new business environment...
Tatiana Olifirovа
EMBA 1 (2009–2010)
Cristall, Chairman of the board of management

...First and foremost, the programme instils you with tremendous confidence in yourself and boosts your self-reliance. You understand that you can do absolutely everything, and no obstacles will prevent you from succeeding.

Participation in the programme provided me with a fantastic networking opportunity and chance to mingle informally with other students, whom I can now turn to if I need experts in various fields.

For me the SKOLKOVO Executive MBA programme was a wonderful opportunity to structure the working knowledge that I had accumulated. Study on the programme helped me arrange my experiences in their proper places, and also obtain a new toolkit. As a result, you come away with the feeling that you know precisely what needs to be done and when.

The school set itself the ambitious objective of training future leaders. And this is actually happening right here and right now. I think that in 10-15 years the SKOLKOVO alumni will comprise Russia’s business elite and not only Russia’s elite...

Armen Vardanyan
EMBA 1 (2009–2010)
Vagr Vina-Vita, President

...Objective – To create more...

The first question that everyone asks about SKOLKOVO: “How could you pay such money?” And then they start comparing it with other business schools. There are probably other institutions where you can spend your time in an interesting and beneficial way. However, for me it was more important, believing in the idea of the founders, to make a contribution to the actual establishment of the school, the birth of something new. We, the first group of students, perceive ourselves more as partners than customers of the school. Money was not the decisive issue. At the same time, however, each one of us personally paid for the education, rather than the company where we work.

There is a vast amount of interesting information. The very first module, General Management read by Keith Goodall, was simply mind-blowing. My first degree was in languages – I am an Arabist and graduated from the Institute of Asian and African Studies. And I obtained most of my knowledge in business from my own personal mistakes. However, here you come away with the feeling that everything is stacked up brick by brick, systematically. Even when painfully familiar topics are expressed by someone else, they are classified, and you understand them in a new way. Once every 20 years, you need to “upgrade” yourself in this way.

Understandably, the teachers don’t teach us everything. None of them run a business - at most they have consulted other people. However, there is a second important component – a team of individuals who are completely unique. For me people are the most valuable asset here. In the past I would also escape routine regularly – I have my own wine business, so I spend five-seven months a year travelling both in Russian regions and abroad – Argentina, Chile, South America, Europe. However, business trips are a completely different matter, there my comfort zone is far greater than at a business school: here I had to get used to a completely new environment during the first few modules. I don't mean becoming a student again, but rather the fact that most of the group are younger and each individual has ambitions and is trying to show what he or she is worth. Here it is irrelevant who is an owner, who is a CEO and who simply works for a company

Communicating with intelligent and engaged individuals is a rare opportunity. Each one of us has personal objectives, but many of them coincide. The key objective is to create more. It goes without saying that it is important where you go after the business school, what position you have and how much you subsequently earn. However, it is gratifying to see that there are so many individuals here who have not come simply to take, but rather want to give back.

We help each other, in words and deeds. We are constantly creating something. Several new business projects are already being discussed by just our group. And all these projects, which originated without the assistance of the founding fathers – we understand that we will have to do everything on our own and cannot rely on anyone.

It is quite another matter that any idea should be facilitated by opportunities. At present, however, they are limited. In our country, business is blocked from the outset, and in the case of the wine business, legislation changes once every three months. For example, we woke up on 3 January and discovered that we needed new licences, but nobody knew where to get them. Before that was 2006 and the introduction of the Unified State Automated Information System … We cannot expect stability.

On the other hand, it is easier to study, as there is a certain lull in work. You take one step back and see what you have done all these years. It is as if you are in another hemisphere. And then the breakthrough happens, some new idea appears and some new drive.

I have come up with a new project. I want to return to the knowledge to which I dedicated ten years of my past life and apply this experience and these connections in a new direction. However, for the time being it is too early to talk about this – let everything work out first.

Yury Eremenko
EMBA 1 (2009–2010)
Holodilnik.ru , President

...It is good to learn to think differently...

I myself feel that I have actually changed. I don't know if this is a good thing or not, but my self-confidence began to waiver. That is probably a good thing. It was good to enjoy a new experience, to learn to think differently and understand that you are not the most important person on this planet and not the most intelligent individual.

The studies have no impact on work – you only miss two business days and two days off a month. I still manage to stay in touch all the time, which probably irritates the teachers. I find the time to answer e-mails, agree on certain actions, and take some decisions. Immediately after the end of each module I would return to work and start implementing something new immediately. Some people were annoyed by my disappearances for study – they realised that there would be changes as soon as I came back. The most striking example happened after one of the modules when we restructured the HR department. We did everything correctly and properly as we had been explained. The changes primarily concerned training individuals and enlisting them in the common cause. And this yielded results. Whereas we had been assessed as the worst company for quality of service when benchmarked against competitors at the end of 2008, by 2009 we were the best.

My life is also changing. I am currently at a crossroads – I have received a number of offers regarding participation in business (not start-ups); I received offers to manage companies, even proposals on joint projects from people who are studying here. I think that the number of offers is attributable to my studies. On the one hand, I have some doubt about my persona and development desires. On the other hand, as a professional I have started behaving in a slightly different way, and I have acquired more knowledge, which has affected my behaviour in a constructive and positive way.

I find it hard to highlight any bright impressions – I always perceive everything in the same way. I remember that after the first management module some of our class said: we feel like we already know everything and it is unclear what else we can be taught – the teacher was that striking. The trip to China was very good. This was the penultimate international module. One of the students and I asked if our programme could be related in some way to retail. They arranged a meeting for us with the Director General of Louis Vuitton in China and also an entrepreneur who, after graduating from the INSEAD business school, had established a major distribution business in China with other graduates. All this was extremely interesting. However, I found another experience more significant. We were in Sichuan, in an area where there had been an earthquake two years previously. We lived in the house of the head of one of the villages that had been rebuilt from scratch. It was very interesting to immerse myself in his way of life and get to know certain national specifics from the inside. I had previously visited China a number of times on business, but this trip was real revelation.

Such things take you out of the daily routine. Indeed the daily routine also changes, as now it can be investigated from within, and new elements can be added, obtained during such self-experimentation as an overnight stay in a village house without heating, and communications and dinner with a peasant.

I am completing my studies and summarising the results in my head. Until recently I wondered whether it would be hard to study or not. And I have realised that even though I had to read and write a lot, I enjoyed everything. I wouldn't say that I considered the modules work that tired me out at the end of the working week. On the contrary, this was leisure.

Vladimir Repiev
EMBA 1 (2009–2010)
RUSNANO , HR Director

...I was capable of doing things that I previously couldn’t have imagined...

I believe that today individuals who want to achieve something need to constantly improve themselves, to constantly learn. In my life there have been clearly discernible educational and work periods – I learn something new, then I reap the benefits of my studies, and understand within a short period that I need a new push, new knowledge. I perceive the period when I worked in London, for example, as an educational period and not as work – I learned a great deal about myself

Last year I felt that I needed a new drive and considered the possibility of further education. Over and over again I would consistently run into SKOLKOVO, and at some point I realised that I needed to go there. Until then I had not considered studying in Russia, as I had believed that you couldn’t get a top quality business education in Russia. Many of my friends, after hearing of my choice, were at a loss – I had graduated from school in the USA, had worked in Europe, and could have chosen between Chicago, London and Switzerland. By contrast, other friends said that I had made the right choice.

Everyone in our group took a risk in choosing SKOLKOVO – the business school had only just been created. If I had studied at a Western school, it would have been standard, logical and predictable. Here I understood that the school would provide a particular experience that would prove useful. It was unclear what it would be. I don’t regret my choice. I have achieved a result that I find hard to assess objectively – I believe that my perception of the world has changed fundamentally. Usually you don’t get a chance to look at yourself from outside, and try out another reality. However, here you see people, who live in a slightly different way and have achieved far more than you have during the same time, and it is simply extremely interesting to talk to them.

The most difficult subject matter in the programme is probably group communications, where every single individual is an extraordinary personality. As a rule, in an organisation you always operate within a certain clear-cut system of reporting relations, functions, etc. However, here you are on the same equal footing as everyone you study with. It is hard and at the same time challenging to find common goals and ways of achieving them, but I am not convinced to date that we were successful in this matter.

You acquire joint experience in a group of extraordinary individuals – people you would have never met in your life in any other circumstances. And irrespective of whether you like a specific individual or not, you are forced to constantly spend time with this person: do assignments, participate in the group exercises, and spend free time together. Through the academic programmes, exercises and case studies you come to recognise how different people think and act. When you spin round and round in your self-contained world, you constantly travel along the same tracks, speak on the same topics, whereas here, for example, you meet someone from the world of film, who perceives everything in a completely different way. I believe that this is the most valuable aspect. It goes without saying that good case studies are also important, as are good teachers capable of managing a group, and showing something that is actually new and interesting.

You can use your knowledge, or you can opt not to use it. All the same, you expand your horizons. I understood during the studies that I was capable of doing things that I previously could not have imagined, things that had previously appeared distant and unreal.

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