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MBA Applicant Voice: Russian IT Manager Chooses MBA To Charge Tech Career

After studying theoretical mathematics, project manager Vladimir Kosenkov looks to b-school to gain practical skills

After completing a mechanics and mathematics degree at Moscow Lomonosov University, Vladimir Kosenkov started his career as a junior consultant. By 2013 he was working at Sochi Autodrom, and in 2014 he was the company's ticketing IT Project manager for the glamorous Formula 1 Russian Grand Prix and Sochi Winter Olympics.

Currently working in a similar IT project management role for the Adidas Group, Valdimir decided to pursue an MBA in the belief that he is lacking practical skills and knowledge with a view to starting his own business in the future. He also values the international experience an MBA will give him, opening the door for a move to Europe where he can explore new opportunities outside his home country.

Why do you want to begin an MBA now, and what are you looking to gain from it?

I turned 30 this year and want to make a step to the future. I studied theoretical mathematics at my university and always wanted to learn something practical which I can apply to work. I have a good work experience and I wish to rethink it to create a plan for the next 10 years to achieve outstanding results.

How do you think obtaining an MBA would impact your career ?

I am currently an IT project manager with experience in Business Applications and E-commerce. My dream is to create my own business someday. To achieve this goal I feel I lack knowledge in Finance, HR and Leadership in general. I have many ideas, but i don't really know how to realize them, though I have tried a few times. I also wish to move to Europe or US to get an high end international experience within the next 10 years. The situation in Russia is difficult at the moment and unfortunately there isn't any support for young entrepreneurs. The private sector is getting smaller in the country, while the public sector is growing. A career in the Russian public sector is basically the only option available, but I am not a big fan of the so called Russian "public capitalism".

Which schools are you planning to apply to? What are the most important factors to you when choosing a business school?

I am planning to apply to schools with January intake in Germany, Netherlands and Spain, in particular ESMT, RSM and IE. I’ve chosen schools located in countries with growing economy and developing IT start- up sectors. I take schools ratings into consideration, but don't limit myself to the top 5. I pay big attention to linkedin profiles of alumni and watch school videos of professors.

So far, what has been the biggest challenge in the application process?

The biggest challenge for me was to find time to prepare myself for the GMAT while working. I made a first 520 attempt without preparation in April 2014. After that I found time to study only in the beginning of 2015. Two months resulted in a 660. I am sure that one month more would definitely result in 700+, but I had to start working at my current job. Unfortunately I don't have time for the GMAT now because I need to start my MBA in January and it is a super hot time to apply.

How did you prepare for the GMAT ?

I attended courses on weekends and did homework during the week. I didn't work during that time. I think that the best way to get a good result is to take a good tempo and solve at least 200 math and 100 verbal problems a week. GMAT Official Guide is definitely the best source for that. For non-english speakers a tutor is highly desirable to explain keys rules that are important in GMAT verbal sections. It is quite hard to understand them from the guide.

How do you plan to fund your MBA?

I’ve chosen schools that are supported by the Prodigy Finance. I am also going to receive some help from my family and use my own savings.

What are your future career plans?

I'm planning on continuing and advancing my career in the tech field. I have a big interest in e-commerce and have relevant experience with the ticketing program of Sochi Winter Olympics and Formula 1. I would be happy to join a company like Amazon to grow in the field. Earlier stage start-ups are another option that I will investigate during my studies.

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