пятница, 23 сентября 2011 г.

Anna Puzey, SKOLKOVO: “If the school believes in you, you want to believe in the school”

A former Marketing Director for “Arbat Capital” and now a student of the third intake of SKOLKOVO MBA programme, Anna Puzey, dispels the myths surrounding the business school.

My life has slightly changed a month ago. I put my work on hold and moved from my appartment in the city centre to the suburbs. But no, that is not because of financial crisis hit; I just entered the SKOLKOVO business school.

And there it came from everybody around:
- Where have you been enrolled? Is that the “nano-banano” thing?
- How much is the tuition fee? Are you crazy?
- Give me that money now! You’re never going to work them back. I would understand if it was Harvard or Stanford, but this…

Well, in this column (which is going to be a regular one) I am trying to figure out what is true and what is false about SKOLKOVO.

So here are the five myths about SKOLKOVO:

Myth №1. Everybody can get in; you just need to have enough money. (You don’t need to pass the GMAT.)

Here are the facts only: in order to be admitted you need to pass 5 steps. I don’t know haw many people were in my round on the first stage, but only six of them got to the fourth one. There were five of us from Russia: an employee of a large bank, an entrepreneur, a venture investor, a graduate from one of the European schools and myself, plus a Peru citizen (an engineer, start-upper and business owner of 30 or so). As a result only I and this Peru guy were accepted (though I really don’t look like a millioner’s daughter).

Myth №2. Not a single “normal” foreigner will come to Russia and SKOLKOVO to study business.

This is true; they all are crazy. All these Indians, Chineese, Peruaneese, Egyptians, Greeks, Belgians, Americans, German, Spanish, French, and Englishmen – all of them have definitely gone out of their mind. At first the Russian part of the group was asking them the same question: “What are you doing here, in Russia?” It turned out that our foreigners consciously decided to give up everything (and they had everything – they are successful doctors, lawyers, consultants, engineers, traders) and go studying for an MBA in Russia. We have one student in the group who had studied for a while in an Australian business school but gave it up and came to SKOLKOVO. He says it was boring there; the curriculum consisting of studying tons of cases on American corporations didn’t satisfy him. Why should you waste your time and not enjoy the process?

Myth №3. Where can we get without a road? SKOLKOVO has so much money that they have built a separate road for themselves and are even rebuilding it already.

The road really exists. The tunnel under the school has in fact been built and is in fact being rebuilt at the moment. I have made my own photo investigation: they don’t put the road tiles but really have closed the road because the tunnel is out of order after the spring. Local workmen say that “the ground has moved”. And the explanation seems unpersuasive even for them. Well, it seems to me that the point is that the tunnel was delivered before it was ready; but still we can’t know what is really going on there. So I suggest we leave this story unresolved so far.

That very tunnel

Myth №4. This is a state project, and consequently everything is going to be pilfered, and SKOLKOVO business school is just a cover for money laundering.

The school was built on the money of private investors. Now the school’s coordination council consists of 18 founders who financially participate in the project. I have paid a fair sum of money for my tuition and I carefully watch that every penny is worked out. So far those who more or less know the programme’s timing think it is not that expensive. You may count it yourself: how much can it cost you to invite a marketing professor from Wharton Business School to read a lecture in Russia? It may be 3000 euro per person and more. I have 15 such lections till December, and then – trips to India, China, and USA.

Myth №5. This education is not worth that money you pay for it.

Ok, and what is worth? An apartment with 14% mortgage is? I keep promising myself not to over praise anything, as if I was brain washed; but really, if the school believes in you, you want to believe in the school. On the first day of my studies, somewhere in the middle of teambuilding exercise I thought, “Oh my God, what have I done?! I could have been sitting in the office and do real projects right now.” The same question I could see in the eyes of my classmates. That was the first day, and the more it went on – the harder it became. You must study hard and constantly prove that you can do it. Think – think – think: about your life after graduation; and catch the opportunities walking around the campus. “You are in the army now.” If you want to be a consultant – go on, do it right away. If you want to create your own business – come on, here is Ruben Vardanian and you have 5 minutes of his time to sell your idea. But if you are tired and looking for fun and parties – better go to INSEAD (that is probably a myth as well, but let’s leave it to the INSEAD students to dispel it).

And in the end here is an insight for the ladies: women make only 10% of my group, and here we have real princes walking around – this month the Danish one came by. So this is not a myth, but a reality.

The original text in Russian is available on Finparty.ru.

1 комментарий:

  1. I like "Think – think – think: about your life after graduation; and catch the opportunities walking around the campus"