Meet Warwick Business School’s MBA Class Of 2020

Alexander Khmelevskoy

Warwick Business School

“Looking positively at any situation, passionate about finance and exploring new cultures.”

Hometown: Moscow, Russia

Fun Fact About Yourself: I like to explore new cultures through books and committed myself to read the most noteworthy writings about the life of each part of the world. So, when I try to validate my findings from the books with my diverse classmates, they are usually surprised by my knowledge.

Undergraduate School and Major: Ural Federal University, Crisis Management

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Scholae Mundi Charity Foundation, Head of Finance

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Building my career at the leading Russian oil & gas companies, I managed to participate in transformational projects, breaking the mold of internal processes. At Gazprom Neft, for example, I contributed to the implementation of effective budgeting, forecasting, management reporting, and KPIs system at the oilfield subsidiaries.

To drive this change, I participated in a range of working groups, consisting of employees and external consultants. Our work improved and harmonized organizational and budgeting systems across the oilfield subsidiaries. This created a common informational space and, thus, enhanced the effectiveness of management. This experience facilitated my rapid professional growth and helped the company to realize its strategy. What I am really proud of is my transformation from a single contributor to an inspirational leader, understanding people’s concerns on the changes and encouraging them to challenge the status quo.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Supportive. The class is small, so the atmosphere in the school is family-like. If you have any issues, you can always ask the group. There is a lot of support they offer, from revising your CV to getting a lift to a remote town. Besides, the classmates are also keen to share their experiences, and this really makes a difference! As a result of our discussions, I have reshaped my desired future career quite a lot, getting rid of some options and finding out some new ones.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of the MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The Leadership Plus module. Choosing an MBA, I was not looking for a sheer academic experience and improvement of my hard skills. As a seasoned professional, I was more interested in embarking on a journey towards emotional intelligence and soft skills excellence. I wanted to find out more about myself, particularly my communication and leadership style, and find ways to improve them. The Leadership Plus module combines the latest managerial and leadership theories with engaging activities that allow putting these theories into practice. For example, as part of the module, the groups were asked to build a spacecraft. The task was carried out by forming a real-life organizational structure and a chain of command. This exercise helped us to understand and internalize the communicational and motivational challenges that management face while implementing the changes.

What was the most challenging question you were asked during the admissions process? How are you planning to improve your leadership skills during the course? Many students assume that going throughout the MBA program will automatically boost their leadership skills. In reality, we have to put a lot of effort into such a transformational improvement. So, a good strategy will be to formulate an individual development plan before starting an MBA. As an answer to the question, I outlined how the school’s curriculum and activities may help me to improve my emotional intelligence and soft skills – and therefore my leadership capabilities.

How did you determine which business schools best fit you? Rankings from leading international business newspapers gave me a general idea of the best business schools in the UK, which was my target destination. In those rankings, I paid close attention to value for money and the employability of alumni. To figure out if the school really fit me, I spoke with as many school alumni as I could. I found that the alumni network is very helpful, collaborative and friendly, the qualities that resonate with my understanding of a positive school culture.

In addition, I used LinkedIn to track the career progress of the school alumni who graduated several years ago. I found out that many of them grew into senior corporate roles, changed geographic location or set up their own business, the success that I attributed to a transformational experience of a Warwick MBA.

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