Aziz Khamidov, an internationally-minded business pioneer, has taken western education to the emerging markets of the former USSR.
He works as admissions director for Bellevue Education Group, which owns a number of independent schools in the UK and Switzerland, and sees opportunities to tap the great demand for education in emerging nations, and in the $50 billion online learning market.
He has broadened his horizons with an EMBA in finance from France's Grenoble École de Management.
After a short stint in banking, Aziz joined the London School of Business & Finance and worked as regional director for central Asia and the Caucasus, responsible for bolstering the school’s presence in the region.
He went on to work for Anglia Ruskin University’s London College of Accountancy, promoting the LCA brand in central Asia.
With the confidence boost and the skills learnt from Grenoble’s EMBA, the sky’s the limit for the international business developer.
What has your experience been like working in the education sector?
I love it. The education industry is growing worldwide and with massive demand coming from emerging markets, it is one of the few industries which will never fall.
My role at Bellevue is to make sure the organization stays competitive, to promote our schools internationally and to make sure our brands are well known. I am also looking for new opportunities to grow our organization and one of them is going online. With an estimated global market size of $50 billion, online education marks a whole new chapter for the industry.
How do you reach out to the central Asian market, and what is the current situation in the region?
In Asian countries, business is based on personal relationships [and] not only on profit. Cross-cultural understanding is key; it’s important to respect the “in-house” rules.
Currently, central Asia is negatively affected by the economic slowdown in China on one side and the political and economic situation in Russia on the other. Yet due to its rich natural resources, big population and geopolitical location, it will always stay on peoples’ radars.
Why did you decide to pursue an MBA?
I was an impatient international student looking to make a huge jump in my career.
The MBA is a strong international brand considered by many as a panacea. It was the formal framework for my entrepreneurial ambitions and the only program I was interested in, due to its real-life orientation.
Why did you choose to study at the Grenoble in particular?
Like me, Grenoble has entrepreneurial spirit!
At Grenoble they do what they teach, they are good at business, they’re constantly looking at new opportunities and they’re up to date with market trends — which means they’re constantly high up in the rankings.
How have you profited from your experience studying for an MBA?
The most important thing I’ve learnt is that the only limits which we have are the ones we set for ourselves. I’ve learnt how to stand out from the crowd, to be open-minded and to think outside [of] the box.
What was the hardest thing about the MBA application process?
Applying for a scholarship. Getting a scholarship from a top business school which has a huge number of talented applicants from around the world is highly dependent on luck. I was lucky enough to secure one to allow me to finance my studies.
What are your plans for the future?
In the short term, I would like to turn Bellevue Education Group into an organization internationally renowned for delivering high-quality education.
One day, I would like to realize my entrepreneurial ambitions and be involved in the creation and promotion of a product, like an online education project, from A to Z.