“I cannot remain long in a comfort zone. I always strive for the next challenge.”
Hometown: Krasnodar, Russia
Fun Fact About Yourself: I led my first team at work at the age of 22, with all my subordinates being older.
Undergraduate School and Major: Kuban State Technological University, Marketing
Most Recent Employer and Job Title: Grocery retail chain SLATA (Russia), Marketing Director
Aside from your classmates, what was the key part of Kenan-Flagler’s MBA programming that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? One of the most significant advantages of the program is experiential learning because theoretical knowledge does not have much value without practice. I was attracted, in particular, to UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA, which provides an opportunity to gain real experience by participating in STAR (Student Teams Achieving Results) and engage in real projects to acquire more business acumen.
What course, club or activity excites you the most at Kenan-Flagler? There are numerous opportunities outside classes, so it took me a while to choose. I am excited to join the Consulting Club to explore the industry and share experiences with my classmates. Additionally, since I was a member of my undergraduate university basketball team, I am thrilled to continue playing by joining the Basketball Club at UNC Kenan-Flagler.
Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: Being a marketing director at Russian retail chain SLATA, I led the building of a long-term marketing strategy for more than 300 grocery stores. After performing marketing research, predicting competition development on a saturated market, and applying financial models, my team of 13 implemented the strategy. Our primary goal was to raise the company’s annual revenue by 150%, achieving $1 billion in five years by attracting 500,000 new customers. Shareholders accepted the strategy and its success resulted in $104 million in the Q1 sales.
How did COVID-19 change your perspective on your career and your life in general? First, COVID-19 affected me personally – my family endured a loss and illnesses. Secondly, I realized that our ambitions and aspirations are not so important as the health and well-being of people around us. We are a part of a unified global community and must be responsible not only for ourselves but also for others. As a result, it became vital for me to continue my career in a company that cares about making our world better and safer.
What is the most important quality of a leader…and why is it so important to success? Among all leadership skills and personal qualities, I would highlight the three most significant. First, a great leader must have a strategic vision to precisely determine where to lead their team and the ultimate goal. Secondly, a leader has to figure out how to achieve that goal, paving the most efficient and appropriate way. Finally, a strong leader must inspire their team and motivate each member for shared success.
What led you to pursue an MBA at this point and what do you hope to do after graduation? After I achieved success in the retail industry, I needed the next career challenge. I prefer to lead different projects, work on complex problems, and find not-so-obvious solutions. Hence, I decided to pivot to management consulting. To successfully prepare for this transition, I need to improve my knowledge and skills, establish new competencies, and strengthen my leadership. The best way to do so is by participating in an MBA program.
What other MBA programs did you apply to? I applied to several business schools, but my primary choice was between North Carolina’s two schools Fuqua and UNC Kenan-Flagler. However, the UNC admissions team made a fantastic impression on me, demonstrating support and providing me with any information I needed.
What advice would you give to help potential applicants gain admission into Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program? To gain admission into UNC Kenan-Flagler’s MBA program, you need to be yourself, but do your homework. That means not only preparing for the GMAT, but also working on self-awareness and reflection. Understand who you are, what is crucial for you, and (in particular) what your dreams are. Gaining a deep understanding of yourself is a key to successfully preparing to apply to a business school. After that, it will be much easier to work on your essays and interview with an admissions committee. You have to share your story honestly, describe what exactly leads you to the MBA program, and explain how you could contribute to your future UNC community.
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