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Saturday, October 21, 2017

Returning to Moscow with an MBA, China Experience, and a Cat

~ MBA Admissions interview with CEIBS MBA 2016 Alumni Ivan Vostrikov


October 21st, 2017. Moscow - MBA Admissions caught up with MBA 2016 alum Ivan Vostrikov at the QS World MBA Tour in Moscow.  He was on hand to discuss his MBA experience at CEIBS with the next generation of MBA applicants, and also shared with us how his life had changed since returning to Moscow after graduation.

“For starters I have another mouth to feed,” Ivan said. “I had never been to China before enrolling at CEIBS and having moved to Shanghai with my now wife, we found a place to live near the campus. One day after class I came home to find a small stray kitten on our kitchen floor, the subject of a daring rescue by my wife who had bravely snatched him from the jaws of a dog on the roadside. Batman has since been fully inoculated and we brought him back to Moscow with us after I graduated in 2016.” 

When it came to researching and applying for business school, needless to say that favourable cat adoption and repatriation policies were far from Ivan’s key criteria; instead rankings and class size were his top priorities. “CEIBS was #11 in the Financial Times global MBA rankings at that time, and continues to be consistently ranked within the top 20.  I was also encouraged by my peers at US schools to pay close attention to class size. Given the considerable investment, I didn’t want to feel like one of 700+ students that needed attention and was searching for more of a family feel, and CEIBS didn’t disappoint. Just to name a few examples; Kenny Xie from foreign affairs helped both me and my wife get visas for China; Alicia Bi from the programme team helped me find an apartment; former MBA Director and Professor of Accounting Dr. Shimin Chen always had his door open for a quick chat about his financial accounting course; and Annie Wu in the Career Services Centre helped me find a summer internship at globalizing Chinese investment powerhouse Fosun Capital. If you are not familiar with the company, you soon will be as they are the financial muscle behind international brands such as Cirque Du Soleil and Thomas Cook Group. In fact, riding my electric scooter through the streets of Shanghai’s financial centre, Lujiazui, and across the river to Fosun’s offices is among my happiest memories of my time in China,” Ivan said.

Fast forward 12 months and Ivan has settled back in Moscow, having expanded his career from a technical engineer in his own business to the Team Leader of infrastructure projects at the largest fashion e-commerce group in Russia and CIS; Lamoda Group. “They were looking for someone who understood the Russian market but who also had international experience. CEIBS helped me to upskill in almost every aspect of my profile for the role. I gained an understanding of how to implement operations management strategies from Professor of Management Tae Yeol Kim and received faculty mentorship from Professor of Marketing Lydia Price and Professor of Economics Bala Ramasamy throughout the compulsory, high-level Integrated China Strategy Project,” said Ivan.  “I was also thinking the other day about how the MBA helped me to grapple with the complex nature of cultural diversity in the workplace. I recall one role-play exercise during the core modules that required us to write a letter to a partner in the class giving him/her notice of dismissal from an imaginary job. I received a two page essay from my Peruvian partner, whereas I had only written ten words. He was genuinely upset about the tone of my letter, whereas in Russia this communication style is quite normal. We have since made up following his fake dismissal but the key takeaway for me was how the class explored how to navigate some of the challenges associated with cultural diversity in the workplace.”

Ivan expects to be back on the Shanghai Campus for the next MBA 2016 reunion, but in the meantime he remains a keen China and APAC watcher. He offered us his thoughts on the secret behind China’s success, and why it provided him with such a fascinating background to his MBA. “Few people outside of the country fully appreciate the drive for innovation in China. I observed that an extremely strong spirit of competition has been ingrained in entrepreneurs and start-ups since the days when they were competing for business in a China that was predominantly the factory of the world. Now that China has moved significantly up the value chain this same competitive spirit is helping Chinese companies to push themselves, and the boundaries of innovation, across multiple industries,” he said.



James Kent
Janine M. Coughlin