Meet the MBA Class of 2022: Ekaterina Volkovich, IMD Business School

Ekaterina Volkovich

IMD Business School

“Experienced in data privacy and information security; passionate about product design and innovation.”

Hometown: Desnogorsk, Russia

Fun Fact About Yourself:  Since the age of 15, I wanted to be a designer and graduated from an art school. Then, I switched to a prestigious technical university in Russia in the information security faculty to ensure a serious profession with solid potential. My dream future will combine all my interests together.

Undergraduate School and Major: Bauman Moscow State Technical University, Information security of automated systems

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: KPMG, Manager, Cyber security and digital forensics

IMD classes have been dubbed the “Mighty 90” for their talent and versatility. What has been the best part of being in a small class with this group of classmates? We have 104 candidates in our cohort this year and it is still considered a small cohort compared to other business schools. The small size gives us a wonderful opportunity to bond and to know each other better. We spend most of our time together, be it to work on group assignments or just to have fun! Even though it’s only been several months, I feel like I have known most of my classmates for years, and I hope these bonds will last for the whole life.

Aside from classmates, what part of IMD’s MBA programming led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? The main reason why I chose IMD is due to the prominent leadership stream. I believe that IMD will equip me with specific tools and techniques to be a more efficient and thoughtful leader, and this will open doors for me to go to higher positions in my future career.

Secondly, before accepting the offer, IMD allowed me to participate in several class observations through Zoom. I saw how the professors conducted the class and how the candidates interacted. The observations helped me make my decision as I realised that I would not only enjoy the classes, but also learn the skills that I was looking for. I was also excited with the fact that we would have the opportunity to work with both startups and international corporations throughout the year. It is such a diverse experience and it is definitely the kind of opportunity that I did not want to miss.

Lastly, the location of the business school also played a role in my decision-making. Switzerland is perfect not only because of the beautiful nature, but also due to fact that it is the business heart of Europe with numerous potential employers.

IMD is known for academic rigor. What is one strategy you used that would help a future IMD MBA better adapt to the workload early on? If you do not have any background in finance or accounting, I would recommend spending some time before the program starts to learn the basics. As a person who does not have any experience in these fields, I struggled a lot in these subjects. My other advice is to know your goal and learn how to prioritise. Take some time to know yourself better, figure out your strengths and weaknesses, and ask yourself what you want to achieve or improve from this experience. The program is intense, but by knowing yourself and what you really want, you will be able to find meaning in what you are doing (and, hopefully, enjoy the process). This place is a sandbox where you can experiment safely and improve yourself. Tip: Do not be scared to get out of your comfort zone here!

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: My proudest achievement at work is initiating the development of a privacy automation software at KPMG Russia. Privacy management software helps data protection officers to automate their tasks and such software is getting popular in the world. However, in Russia, it was not the case. Knowing this, I created the business proposals and submitted them to the company. I interviewed privacy vendors and data protection officers from different companies to identify the pain points and key functions, tested several solutions, and published an article with my research. Before going to IMD, I managed to develop the interface of the tool and the technical task for programmers (including the logic, requirements, and detailed description of the solution).

Describe your biggest accomplishment at IMD so far: When it comes to grades or projects, it is tough to pinpoint ‘MY’ biggest accomplishment as it is mostly group efforts. However, when it comes to a personal development, I am very happy to see how much I have changed as a person! As I mentioned previously, IMD is a sandbox for candidates to experiment and challenge themselves. The school provided us with PDE analysts and leadership coaches that continuously help us to reflect and understand ourselves better. It is fantastic as it does not only help me to see myself through the eyes of others, but it also gives me the tools to help others. It is difficult to put it in words, but I can say that I am a different person than I was at the start of the year and I am very proud of that.

Where is your favorite hang-out in Lausanne? Why do you (and your classmates) gravitate there? There are several popular hang-out places in Lausanne that the cohort likes to visit, such as White Horse and Lacustre, both of which are bars that are located close to the campus, one even sitting right beside the lake, which offers some spectacular views.

Personally, I prefer to enjoy the nature (the amazing mountains, blue lakes, and cute villages). One particular place that I really like is the embankment opposite IMD. There is a wooden deck along the promenade where people can sit and relax. I really love to sit there and enjoy the peaceful view, especially during sunset.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? There are two main reasons why I chose to do an MBA at this point in my career. First, I come from a technical background and I have always wanted to take an MBA so that I can combine my technical knowledge with the necessary business skills. I felt that this combination would give me a broader perspective, in particular around management, and expand my career options, both in terms of location and function. Secondly, after working for 6 years, I believed that I had enough experience and exposure to fully absorb and contribute to the class discussions.

What has been your best memory at IMD thus far? There are a lot of memorable moments at IMD, but if I have to choose one, I would say MBAT was very memorable. MBAT is a tournament for business schools in Europe that was organised by HEC Paris. We competed in various sports and games, and I personally participated in the dance competition. As a passionate ballroom dancer, I was really happy to have the opportunity to represent IMD in a competition. I formed a team with people who were interested and we spent a significant amount of time together to prepare. There were a lot of surprises, both good and bad, but that only made the experience even more memorable! We won 3rd place and we were very proud of it! On a side note, I would also like to highlight the support of our classmates and the IMD MBA office. If there were medals for cheering, we probably would have won another gold!



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