2020 MBAs To Watch, Anastasia Budaeva, McGill University (Desautels)

Anastasia Budaeva

McGill University, Desautels Faculty of Management

“A lifelong learner who is always ready for new challenges and wants to bring positive changes.”

Hometown: Ulan-Ude, Russia

Fun fact about yourself: I have worked in a place where you could have snow for almost 10 months a year and where the temperature could go below -40 degrees Celsius.

Undergraduate School and Degree: Bachelor of Science in Geology – Moscow State University;

Master of Science in Petroleum Geoscience for Exploration – The University of Manchester

Where was the last place you worked before enrolling in business school? IHS Markit, Exploration and Production Analyst

Where did you intern during the summer of 2018? I worked as a Social Impact Consultant for Emzingo in Johannesburg, South Africa

Where will you be working after graduation? At Amazon as Pathways Operations Manager

Community Work and Leadership Roles in Business School:

  • Vice-President of the Net Impact Club
  • Recipient of: Desautels MBA Entrance Award; Josée Goulet MBA Leadership Award; Richard Evans Graduate Fellowship

Which academic or extracurricular achievement are you most proud of during business school? As part of the MBA program, I had a chance to work as a Social Impact Consultant for Emzingo in South Africa during my summer internship. Having no previous experience in consulting, it was a big challenge for me to start a new role and apply all the skills and knowledge that I had obtained during the first year of the MBA to help the non-profit organization in Johannesburg. During this short period of time, I feel that I grew both personally and professionally. I met so many talented people, who are passionate about what they do and who are willing to create a more sustainable world. This experience showed me that everyone can make a positive impact, no matter what role or industry you are working for.

What achievement are you most proud of in your professional career? I had several years of work experience in oil and gas, and mining industries before I started my MBA. Over the course of my career in geology, I would say that I am most proud of the fieldwork in the Chukotka region of the Russian Far East, where I had a chance to try several roles such as geologist, field manager, and Health & Safety manager. The shift-based work and harsh weather conditions typical of remote locations in the Russian Far East created challenges, especially because drilling was usually performed in winter.

Most of the time I worked as a geologist, but during shift turnovers, I had to be ready to replace the Field Manager on site. I had the opportunity to manage a coal exploration project and control the logistics, which involved 40 staff (geophysicists, gas analysts, drilling contractors). During this project, I realized how quickly I can learn new skills, how important it is to be adaptable for any changes and how to manage stressful situations.

Who was your favorite MBA professor? My favorite professor is Angelos Georghiou, who was teaching the Fundamentals of Decision Analytics during winter 2019. Angelos Georghiou is a very knowledgeable, creative, supportive, and encouraging professor. Although the class was very difficult, the professor made it so easy to understand and showed us how we can apply our knowledge in solving many business problems. This class made me decide to choose Business Analytics as a concentration for my MBA.

What was your favorite MBA event or tradition at your business school? I am sure that one of the main highlights for everyone in our class, was the MBA International Study Trip to Japan, which was at the end of the first year. The whole class went to Japan for 10 days to explore this amazing country and to learn about its business practices. Not only did I learn a lot about business culture and opportunities in Japan, but also, I got to know my classmates better. Being in an unknown country with your 60 friends – who are also your classmates, travel buddies, and teammates – is an experience of the lifetime.

Why did you choose this business school? When choosing a school, I got the most help from the alumni and current students of the McGill Desautels MBA program. Everyone whom I reached out to through Linkedin responded and was happy to have a chat with me. I remember that I only heard positive feedback about the program and the professors. Most importantly, I heard about the “family environment” in the program. I knew that an MBA involves a lot of teamwork and learning from your peers, that’s why the very diverse cohort of the McGill Desautels MBA program attracted me.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s MBA program? The McGill Desautels MBA program has a small and diverse cohort in comparison to many other business schools. I would advise spending some time to think of the unique experiences and skills you have that you could share with your class.

What is the biggest myth about your school? I heard a lot about the “Desautels Family” and that you could really become a big family after two years of the program. It turned out to be true.

Looking back over your MBA experience, what is the one thing you’d do differently and why? I would not change anything within the MBA program experience, but I would probably spend more time in Montreal in summer: the city becomes very beautiful starting from May-June.

Which MBA classmate do you most admire? I do admire all my classmates; everyone is unique and I am happy that I had a chance to know them and work with all of them. If I have to choose one, it would be Ashna Agnihotri. She is a very smart and talented person; she is extremely supportive and always willing to help. Ashna knew what she wanted to do after graduation from the very first day of her MBA; she set her goal and successfully achieved it. I am very proud of every achievement she had throughout the MBA because I saw how hard she worked for it, be it a case competition, exam, or job offer.

Who most influenced your decision to pursue business in college? I had a great example in my family to what extent an MBA degree can be a life-changing experience and the value it provides. My elder sister got her MBA from the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University several years ago. I witnessed her professional and personal transformation during the two-year program. She was the one who inspired me to think about an MBA.

What are the top two items on your professional bucket list?

  1. Bring a positive impact to society.
  2. Always find the opportunity to improve and develop skills.

In one sentence, how would you like your peers to remember you? A good friend, a reliable teammate, always there to help.

Hobbies? I love traveling, I like exploring new places, be it a neighborhood, a new city, or a new country. The best thing about it is meeting new people, learning about the world, tasting different local food, enjoying beautiful landscapes.

What made Anastasia such an invaluable addition to the Class of 2020?

“Anastasia came to Desautels with a super interesting background as a Russian geologist, having worked in remote areas. During the program, she showed a deep commitment to making a difference and to maximizing the opportunities our MBA offers—going on an internship at Emzingo, going on international exchange and leading a club. It is no wonder she landed a great role at Amazon after graduation.”

Sema Burney
MBA Career Coach, Desautels Faculty of Management


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