пятница, 25 февраля 2011 г.

SKOLKOVO first enrolment graduate Anton Saraykin speaks about the most memorable aspects of his education

Only two years ago the very idea of becoming a full-time MBA first-class student at not a very well-known brand new school in Moscow was considered absurd by many people. Indeed, one can learn MBA only once. So, do you really have to take risks when you can invest the same amount of money in a guaranteed high-quality education and get a prestigious diploma from a world's well-established school, whether Harvard, INSEAD or MIT Sloan? And even though I was lucky to qualify for the scholarship, I still did not want to waste one and a half year of my life.

It is probably the readiness to take risks that essentially distinguishes SKOLKOVO first enrolment from the students of other business schools. And now that we are through with our training, many people ask me ’Was it really worth doing it?’

One Can Find an Individual Approach to Each Person
While attending SKOLKOVO we (there were 43 students in our class) were lucky to work with hundreds of people from various countries, representing various walks of life and cultures: from peasants in an Indian village to the Transport Minister of the Russian Federation, from Chinese monks to twenty-year-old millionaire entrepreneurs from MIT, from circus performers and art critics to bankers and engineers. In addition to knowledge, experience and useful acquaintances acquired, one of the major lessons learnt by me was that all people are different and each person needs an individual approach. This is important at all times—during talks, management procedures, and daily life.

My idea of how to select the correct approach to everyone was shaped, among others, through teamwork where all of the participants were equal and ambitious individuals, while the role of the leader was a mere formality. The success of the team largely depended on how well all of the participants managed to reach mutual agreement. The leader's role, however, is to understand motivation of each team member. This understanding can only be shaped in the course of real, practical work rather than by reading a textbook. This kind of experience could hardly be acquired in any other school.

From Creativity to Consistency
MBA education helped me better understand my weak and strong points. SKOLKOVO encouraged me to develop a systematic and structured approach to work. You cannot build up a successful and stable business based just on creativity and non-conventional thinking. On the other hand years at SKOLKOVO made many of my classmates who used to demonstrate systematic thinking more flexible and taught them reasonable irrationality. Indeed, it is a proper balance between creativity and good judgment that makes creation of such successful innovations like an iPhone possible.

Each of us learnt something for themselves at SKOLKOVO. It would be true to say that many of us, including me, have become more mature. This understanding came to me, in particular, after quite frank and serious discussions with Ruben Vardanian, President of the School and one of the most successful businessmen in this country. Ruben was my mentor back at SKOLKOVO, and we could meet and discuss any subjects. And I do not know if I would have such an opportunity in different circumstances.

What's Next?
No doubt, one can only judge whether an MBA programme was a success by the extent of success gained by its graduates. Although it is now too early to make any conclusions and assessments (with us being only two months fresh from school), the trends are quite obvious.

Almost one half of my classmates got busy with their start-up activities - the way the school expected them to. SKOLKOVO places its stakes on entrepreneurship and expects that at least one third of its graduates will launch their own businesses. In most top-level business schools, this number rarely exceeds 5% as many of MBA graduates prefer to make their careers with corporations.

Real projects pursued by students include various start-ups such as Knopka Zhizni (Life Button - emergency aid to the elderly), UltraSteel (laser diagnostics of metal using a unique technology), ForestLab (innovative idea for woodworking industry), GreenWorld (construction of environment-friendly houses), AdOffer (innovation in internet advertising), etc. Some of my classmates have successfully found jobs at large Russian and foreign companies.

We still keep in touch with each other at the school graduates club. Plus, we maintain relationship with the second MBA enrolment.

As to me, I moved to Hong Kong to further develop my company Asia Business Media jointly with my Hong Kong partner Sergio Men who recently joined SKOLKOVO EMBA programme. There is also another project I am running jointly with my classmate Waseem Kawaf (from USA): we have been testing ChineseOnline.ru internet service for those who want to learn Chinese online with teachers from China.

You can find an original article http://www.forbes.ru/svoi-biznes-opinion/startapy/63382-stoilo-li-poluchat-mba-v-skolkovo

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