IMD Business School
Describe yourself in 15 words or less: World citizen: I lived in three countries and changed twice industry during the last three years.
Hometown: Koriajma, Arkhangelsk region, Russia. (Even in Russia very few people know, where it is)
Fun Fact About Yourself: I experienced the power of a tropical typhoon, which scored 10 out of 10, while being outdoors.
Undergraduate School and Major:
BSc Economics at University of Economics and Finance, Saint Petersburg, Russia
MBA Finance and control, University of Paris Dauphine, Paris, France
Employers and Job Titles Since Graduation:
Galaxy Group: Financial Analyst
Philip Morris International: Operations Finance Analyst
Danone: Financial Controller, SAP Implementation Manager
Gadget Scout Startup, Founder (most recent experience)
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: After 8 years of experience in blue chip FMCG companies, I decided to take my courage in both hands and launch an e-commerce start-up. I wanted to try something new, test my entrepreneurial mind-set and fulfill a lifetime ambition. I quit my comfortable life of processes and big resources and grew the start-up from idea generation stage till the launch of the full-scale product. My biggest challenge was to abandon the slow and risk-avoiding way of thinking we had in big companies. I wanted to find my own approach to the turbulent environment of entrepreneurship.
I am proud to say that I was successful in making the mind-set switch, building a team and delivering a product to the market. It certainly broadened my experience and raised many questions I am hoping to address during the IMD MBA program.
Looking back on your experience, what one piece of advice would you give to future business school applicants? The first and main thing: start by seeing the final goal. In other words: know what you want and pick your school accordingly. Different business schools focus on development of different skills and can prepare for specific industries. Your objectives could be to accelerate your career in your own field or switch industry / location / function.
Secondly, plan it in advance and put maximum effort in your admission. Remember, an MBA is very likely to be a life-changing event, so you can hardly be over-prepared. On the other hand – it is easy to be under-prepared. The safest way is to target the first and second round.
Take your GMAT in advance, leaving yourself a 2-3 month window for retake – it will save you if you’re not happy with the first result. Find the alumni of the school and talk to them, learn about the admission process and special features of the school. Hire a good coach to prepare your essays as well as yourself. Think of your strong and weak points, how you are going to fit the class, and bring value there. Be honest and open. Remember: this is your first application experience; however the admission team see hundreds of applicants each year, so pretense or lack of confidence won’t stay unnoticed. On the other hand, self-awareness and clear vision will be a strong ace for you.
Thirdly, in case of any uncertainty (about which school to choose or about your future plans) – explore as much as you can and try to increase the number of available options.
Don’t be afraid and remember: if challenge is your game, the world is your playground.
What was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? The key factor for me was a perfect balance of hard and soft skills development. IMD has announced its new direction focusing on digital transformation while keeping its key feature – leadership development. This is what I have been looking for: to become a leader and a strong expert in digital transformation in traditional business.
What would success look like to you after your first year of business school?
I have chosen the following targets for myself:
- Build actionable self-awareness and vision of my role in a team. I want to know how to maximize my strength and control my weaknesses in order to be a strong leader.
- Leverage my network in companies which can be potential employers for me. I will aim to get an offer from several of them before graduation.
- Gain a wide diversity in skills and latest best practices, allowing me to contribute to various functions, ranging from operations to marketing.