Interview with Andrey Koscheev, founder of the service “More tasty at Home”, Alumnus of SSE Russia EMBA GM11

What for it is necessary to obtain MBA degree, how it is possible to return the money invested in education quickly, by what an education program in Russia differs from approaches in the West and what should be taken into account before the entrance – experts in the field of education and graduates of business schools tell everything that should be known about MBA.
МВА in Russia and in the West
MBA program was officially launched in Russia in 1999: the state requirements based on international standards were formulated then and national audit of quality of education was started. Nonetheless, Larisa Kartashova, dean of the Plekhanov business school Integral, explained that several MBA programs were launched eve before this in the 1990. However, the professor adds that "it is difficult to judge now if these programs complied with MBA requirements or were ordinary retraining programs."
The main goal of MBA is teaching of skills of business administration. No unified standard of the program exists and there is only a set of criteria according to which accreditation of an educational institution is done. In Western higher educational institutions and business schools the program has existed longer than in Russia and that is why experts single out several differences.
Larisa Kartashova, professor, doctor of economic sciences, dean of the Plekhanov business school Integral
— According to my observations, after graduation from FT MBA (Full-time MBA) graduates of the leading foreign schools often have fairly modest managerial positions in Russia. Graduates of mature Russian MBA schools often feel more confident and occupy fairly high positions in the country.
First, Western market of education is more homogeneous in this aspect. According to Kartashova, there are five to seven leaders in Russia and other higher educational institutions lag far behind them. Second, in Russia students choose Part-time MBA more often and combine it with work, whereas programs of full submersion are common in Europe. The costs of education are lower in Russia but grants for education are less widespread.
At the end of January of 2015, international rating agency QS released a report about how quickly graduates of European business schools would be able to pay back their education. According to estimates of experts of QS, in majority of cases they will manage to do this in 2.5 years, although after some schools graduates need 15–20 months to return the investments.
How to choose a school
Irina Tolstova, expert of international rating agency QS
— Before going to МВА a candidate should, of course, determine the basic things for himself: where he wants to work and live, which program exactly is necessary for him. During the choice it is desirable to take into account places in the rating, accreditation of a school or a university. Our consultants sometimes even recommend visiting of the campus and acquaintance with atmosphere of a business school to understand if this is suitable for the candidate.
It is also important to understand that every business school has its own mission: some of them focus on enterprising activity, some others on innovation and others on leadership. It is necessary to bear this in mind in the essay that candidates write during submission of an application and to illustrate your strong points with illustrative examples. If there is no possibility to visit the campus it is worth visiting educational events, communicating with representatives of business schools and asking all your questions.
A candidate should also find out the costs of education and to decide in which way they will be paid. Discounts and scholarships are often granted by business schools. It is also possible to find funds and organizations that may cover expenses on education partially or fully. For example, scholarship fund of QS amounts to $1,700,000.
Before submission of an application it is necessary to pass GMAT exam. If there are less than 400 points as a result not less than six months will be required for preparation and passing, as well as two spare months in case of repeated attempt of passing. Majority of business school demand 700 points and more for GMAT.
It is also necessary to understand that if a candidate goes to Full-time MBA it will be necessary to spend a year abroad in a European business school and two years if the school is in the US. Education proper requires industrious work for eight to ten hours per day. And it is necessary to be ready for a situation when candidates receive up to 70% of knowledge in МВА not from professors but from other students in the process of communication and discussion of their experience. A foreign MBA certificate provides not only a possibility of employment abroad but also a competitive advantage in Russia.
What graduates say
Andrei Koshcheev, founder of "Doma Vkusnee" service, graduate of Stockholm School of Economics
— There were two goals of going to study to Stockholm School of Economics: to learn marketing and to find inspiration for launch of the next business. I opened "Doma Vkusnee" service right after MBA. Now I am occupied mostly with marketing in the company. The school gave me two important things about which I did not think when I entered it.
Figuratively speaking, I was sitting in a well looking into the sky before. Now I have climbed out of the well, look around and see approximately 97% more than before.
First, friendship with fellow-students and relations in alumni community are invaluable and are for the whole life. You need not do business with friends, it is better to look for friends in business. Graduates of SSE help each other, advise each other and provide consultations, cooperation and look for jobs through alumni community. We have fun together and drink wine. We have "Unofficial club of SSE alumni," which means that community has been formed.
Second, I started looking at my capabilities in a different way. MBA broadens the horizons and opens your eyes wider. Whereas before learning I has practically been convinced that I would work for the whole life only in Russia, after the learning I look at Russia as at one of the countries that creates 3% of the global GDP. Figuratively speaking, I have climbed out of the well, look around and see approximately 97% more than before.
Thus, I achieved the goals: I learned basics of modern marketing and opened a new business. At present, Doma Vkusnee is the absolute leader of the market of delivery of food baskets with recipes. We plan to enter the European market in the near future.
Inga Korchagina, business coach, expert of CBSD Thunderbird Russia, graduate of Instituto de Empresa
— In 2006, I graduates from international program International MBA Instituto de Empresa in Madrid with specialty in General Management. By that time, I already worked as marketer. At 28, I became manager in Estee Lauder having taken position of marketing director for Russia and CIS. In the process it became clear that one thing it was to be a specialist in my area and another thing was to be a manager. This requires an absolutely different set of skills and knowledge. When a person becomes a manager he needs to learn to manage people.
Learning abroad was fundamental because at that moment everything was very sad about education in the field of management in Russia at that time (like now still). What our managers can do is insufficient due to a short history of business in our country and that is why it is useless to learn in Russia. It is better to do this abroad through experienced and knowing ones.
As a rule, people are not ready for a situation when there will be an emotional decline after a wave of rapture and enthusiasm in a new country.
Learning in the framework of the program helps working out of a systemic look at the entire company. For example, when you work in marketing you know the system of your department and your segment. MBA gives you notion about management of the entire company: finance, organizational structure and work with the staff. A manager should know how the entire chain is arranged. Besides knowledge of certain subjects the program gives the main thing, understanding of how to manage people. In my opinion, in business and in a company this is more than a half of success. It is Russian business that suffers from absence of correct communication among people: linear managers, executives and subordinates etc.
Expectations always differ from reality. Before the beginning of learning they are always exaggerated. Absence of information or unwillingness to receive this information is also an important factor. Altogether this provokes a row of frustrations: as a rule, people are not ready that for a situation when there will be an inevitable emotional decline after a wave of rapture and enthusiasm in a new country. Culture is difficult in another country and conditions of learning are more stringent.
Besides knowledge of certain subjects the program gives the main thing, understanding of how to manage people.
The system of education differs from the system of education in Russia radically. We worked permanently and slept five hours per day for 18 months, we read much and learned to communicate with different people, which was a big moral tension. You are also always evaluated, you permanently feel competition. That is why it is necessary to morally prepare yourself for the fact that, on the one hand, this is a very interesting time but, on the other hand, this is a challenge.
I would implement tutors in organizations that offer learning at MBA courses. The biggest problem is in the fact that you do not know which questions to ask. Due to a tutor a person will be able to navigate the topics that are interesting for him personally and to obtain the maximal quantity of data about what he will face during learning in reality. The main thing is that such person be honest to you, take into account your goals and form correct expectations.
International rating agency QS will organize traditional event TopMBA Connect 1-2-1 on March 16 in Moscow and on March 18 in St. Petersburg. This is a series of individual 30-minute interviews with representatives of reception commissions of the best business schools of the world. Experts will consider CVs of every candidate and will offer optimal options for obtaining of MBA degree. Consultations are free but participation requires preliminary registration.
Free, registration is required
March 18 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Sokos Hotel Palace Bridge, Birzhevoy Lane, 2–4


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