Why did you pursue an Executive Master degree?
I’m a lawyer by training. I joined my company, PJSC Tatneft, one of the largest Russian oil companies, in this capacity. In addition to providing legal counsel, I also quickly moved into a more finance and business development role, which required new skills and knowledge. I had to learn everything about this area on the job. Eventually, I decided it was time for more formal training – an MBA.
Why IE Brown?
I needed a program that would accommodate my work and family life. I reached out to IE after I noticed the Financial Times rating of IE as one of the top blended programs. I spoke with an IE representative who helped me hone in on what I really wanted out of an advanced MBA: the opportunity to refresh my brain, delve into finance concepts in a real business environment, and increase my awareness of the relationship between business and society and the environment.
Once I fully understood my goals, IE Brown’s breadth and flexible schedule made it the obvious choice.
How did the traditional MBA components of the program alter your approach to business?
Certainly the traditional business (strategy, marketing, finance, accounting and operations, amongst others) coursework boosted my confidence in making business decisions. It gave me an advanced understanding of the origins and meaning behind terms like “lean manufacturing” as well as dive into some emerging concepts and ideas. Now when I read publications like the HBR, I feel like we’re speaking the same technical language which gives me the power to think more critically.
What about the “beyond business” aspects of the program?
It’s one thing to master the numbers behind business. But the program’s focus on the interplay of business and society and the environment was more than confidence boosting, it was inspiring.
For example, Professor Ed Steinfeld’s course on China gave me more insight into the forces driving this economic giant. But it also gave me the tools to be attentive to the changes shaping how other countries see the world and the potential that these changes open up.
Professor Lenore Manderson’s course on the environment inspired me to focus my Key Reflection Project on the need to transform the energy sector by decarbonizing it. Due to the role of the oil and gas industry in Russia, we must view these transformations not just as risks, but opportunities, which can be exploited to create value.
When you think of business beyond the spreadsheets, you become aware of how much is at stake. You realize if you don’t make a difference who will? IE brown gives you the tools and experiences to take on new challenges and make an impact.