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'I Feel the Urge to Continue My Studies'

In 2022 Kseniia Nicheuhina graduated from the Master's programme ‘International Business’. While studying, she and her course mates often managed the projects for major companies. Currently, the graduate works for HSE Centre for International Education and uses all the knowledge gained. We have talked to Kseniia about the admission to the university, Asian and African studies background and studying on the programme.

'I Feel the Urge to Continue My Studies'

Photo courtesy of Kseniia Nicheuhina

Admission to ‘International Business’

In 2020, I graduated from the Bachelor's programme ‘Asian and African Studies’ in HSE – St Petersburg. When the admission period for master's programmes started, I was considering different programmes: Asian Studies and related to them Politics and International Business. Then it occurred to me that on the bachelor's programme I had already studied history, culture and politics. It will not be hard to find books and reread them. It is much more interesting to try something new and even practical. That is how I chose ‘Master in International Business’.

They just started this programme the year I entered it. It was not clear from the programme's title who could be accepted to the programme and what skills they required. But it turned out that the programme welcomed students with various backgrounds including Asian, Technical and Regional Studies. You do not have to be a brilliant mathematician or economist to be accepted. It was a relief as exact sciences are harder for me.

The choice surprised my parents. I have never seen myself working in business sphere, I have never been interested in it though my father is an ex-businessman. I looked through the list of courses and understood that the curriculum and my idea of this sphere are very different. You can apply to ‘International Business’ to start a business or you can get into marketing, strategic planning or HR spheres. 

Impressions of studying

On the bachelor's programme I had to do a lot of individual work, we often prepared research reports. On the programme ‘International Business’ we focused on practical tasks: we worked in a team almost all the time and it was great. Now I know how to identify strengths of each person. Moreover, of course, it is easier for me to distribute the work load and adapt to others.

The educational process was comfortable. At the beginning of the academic year, the Study Office satisfied our needs for the timetable. Some of my course mates had already been working and the others were searching for vacancies and internships. We managed to get such a timetable that work and classes never overlapped.

All the courses were in English, but it was not as hard as I first had thought. Most of the classes were online, but it did not spoil the impressions. All the lectures and seminars went well, and team presentations and texts were more comfortable to prepare online. We used Google Docs, discussed what we had written and instantly corrected if something had gone wrong. In addition, due to online classes, I could combine studies and work which was very convenient.

Three courses got stuck in my head the most. The first one is ‘Digital and Offline Marketing in Arts and Culture’, it was delivered by Elena Zelenskaya. We had a lot of team tasks during this course and it was enjoyable. The second one is ‘HR Management in International Companies’. Before this course I had known nothing about HR sphere, it had seemed too narrow to me. But it turned out to be otherwise. The third is ‘Management of Industrial Enterprise’. Our lecturer was the head of enterprise and after his course I started taking industrial safety very seriously. He explained in details what problems you may face if you don't follow the rules.  

In addition, we had many project courses and worked with practicing lecturers. One of our lecturers was a legal practitioner. There also were specialists from Unilever, Nordgold and other major companies. In two years, I worked on three projects for Unilever, a project for Nordgold and a project of market development and analysis for Admitto company, it was carried out during BarCamp. 

Within some courses the lecturers explained the procedure of starting your own business to us: from an idea to pitching for commission. Within the course ‘Entrepreneurship’ taught by Galina Shirokova we presented the idea of clothes fitting services ‘EFit’ for online shops. It would help customers to choose and try on clothes during the COVID-19 pandemic. For the course ‘Global Strategies and New Business Models’, we created a project for organising and managing online events and classes in educational institutions. The lecturer even said that he would invest in this idea if we had developed it. We participated in HSE Startup Cup with our first project, but did not progress much.

The brightest and greatest moment was this year's graduation. When I graduated from the bachelor's programme, there was not an offline event because of COVID restrictions. That is why I watched the graduation on my laptop with the graduates of four HSE campuses and sang Valery Meladze's songs. It was nice, but I did not feel that this stage of my life was over. This year I have managed to tick the box labelled ‘Graduation’. It was my first university event after the pandemic and restrictions, so I had various impressions. But I think everyone was happy that the graduation took place anyway. I guess I liked the speech of Anna A. Dekalchuk the most. It is hard to express it with words, but I was very happy to stand on the stage wearing a graduation gown and holding my diploma.

Career 

Currently, I work in Centre for International Education in HSE Saint-Petersburg. I had been an intern there since the third year of the bachelor's degree and when I was the first-year student of ‘International Business’, I became a graduate programmes coordinator. Now I am being transferred to the position of the centre's head.

When I was a coordinator, I had to consult the prospective students, help them with the documents preparation and remind them of admission exams. I think as a head of the centre I will focus on the admissions strategy. 

Everything we have learnt about HR management, marketing and project management was very helpful in my work life. All this knowledge helps me a lot. For example, recently I had to search for a new employee and I used the knowledge gained during the HR Management course. It helps a lot that I can easily interact with the team and write e-mails to anyone. Thanks to Asian and African Studies I can translate prospective students' diplomas from Arabic without anyone's help.

Now I am really happy with my job. I want to continue working for the Centre and it would be great to enter a doctoral programme. I feel the urge to continue my studies, but I do not know if I can enter the university this year. Anyway I can apply next year. 

Advice to prospective students

The most important thing is to study the programme's webpage carefully. When you apply, check the programme's title once again. Check if you have put it correctly in the documents and it was our campus you applied to.

If you are interested in the programme, watch video materials about it and attend the events organised by the programme's representatives. I personally have attended CIBA conference which was organised by the Master's programme ‘Arts and Culture Management’. I believe it is useful for prospective students to attend such events for a better understanding of what they can do while studying for their master's degree.

The Master's programme ‘Master in International Business’ offers state-funded places and fee-paying places for foreign students. You can apply via personal online account.