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'University is a Community of Both Current and Future Professionals': How HSE Orientation Week Went

HSE Orientation Week came to an end. It was organised by the Career Centre and the Alumni Community. Within a week, there were 12 meetings at HSE University-St Petersburg in which 40 alumni of the campus and 350 first-years took part. The alumni shared with the students their experience in career building and discussed the issues of employment. Read about the impressions of the organisers and participants in the article.

'University is a Community of Both Current and Future Professionals': How HSE Orientation Week Went

HSE University—Saint Petersburg

The Orientation Week is a new project by the Alumni Community of HSE University-St Petersburg and the Career Centre which is aimed at helping students to choose a career direction and understand the prospects of employment after the graduation. For the organisers, it was important to show the first-years that they should think about their career at the beginning of the education: try themselves in various internships, take part in competitions—all these can help you build a dream career. 

To help the students to see the full picture, the organisers arranged 12 meetings for different educational programmes. Alumni with amazing experience took part in each meeting—some of them engage in scientific activities or work in the specialty, and others have chosen a completely new sphere. It helped to show the diversity of career prospects for everyone.

The daily meetings hosted 40 alumni of HSE University-St Petersburg and 355 first-years.

Margarita Kotelnikova, Organiser, Manager at the Career Centre

The majority of the alumni immediately responded and agreed to tell the first-years about their career paths. Some speakers filled in the application form for participation at the beginning of September–as a result, almost all of them joined the meetings. Several alumni contacted me themselves and were ready to share useful advice with the students. Some speakers were invited by academic supervisors, it also helped to present interesting personal cases. I expected it to be much harder to gather so many alumni, but everything turned out to be great!

Inviting speakers, we sought to show various career paths and necessarily included academic career tracks for each educational programme. The global idea was the exchange of experience between the generations as the university is a community of both current and future professionals. Also, I would like to highlight that our alumni find their calling in huge companies, successfully implement personal projects, especially because HSE University gives a powerful start regardless of the field of study. I think that after the Orientation Week, the first-years will definitely feel confident that everything is possible! It's exactly the kind of stories that our alumni shared, showing by their own example that there are no obstacles to conquer the career peaks if you have motivation and desire to take action. 

The most visitors came to the meetings for the students of the programmes 'Design', 'Public Policy and Analytics' and 'International Bachelor's in Business and Economics'. Almost at all the meetings, the students came up and talked to the alumni. It seems to me that it shows how important it is to the students to have an opportunity to get advice on career development first-hand.

In my opinion, this event helped to show that the university is a meeting place for generations. For the alumni, the doors of HSE University are always open!

Anastasia Korchagina, Organiser, Alumni of the Bachelor's programme 'Philology'

When I entered HSE University, I met different people: some of them had already determined their future and followed their planned course, some entered the dream programme and were going to work in the chosen sphere, others selected the educational programme to build a solid foundation for their future career, but without binding to a specific field. I was such a student myself—I entered the programme 'Philology', thinking that in the specialty, I could work only as a teacher or a translator, so I decided to get a qualitative higher education and choose a concentration later. 

Currently, I am working for a pharmaceutical company and, however surprising it may be, almost in the specialty. We want to help the students see numerous options for the career development as soon as possible, hear the stories about searching for internships or jobs in the dream companies first-hand, understand that making mistakes is not scary, and make new useful acquaintances. We carefully selected the alumni-speakers whose stories would be interesting to hear for us as well because they are so diverse, unexpected and helpful. The colleagues genuinely want to share valuable advice and life hacks! 

It's a pity there wasn't such a project when I was a student. I hope we have chosen the most suitable format: a relaxed, friendly atmosphere and real stories of real people.

Oksana Baranova, Speaker, Alumni of the Bachelor’s programme 'Law', Specialist at 'D&T Partners'

I was happy to share my experience with the students, as I felt an urgent need for something similar when I was a student myself. Unfortunately, during my student years, it wasn't that developed. I believe that the advice from people, who already have a certain career path, will provide strong support to the beginners. 

At the moment, I am working for myself, but I have an experience of working in private and public sectors, so I recommend all the students to try everything. After all, the hardest thing is to gain the confidence in the path you are going to choose. 

For me, the fundamental principle of the professional success lays in the progressive and deliberate development and movement, small steps in the chosen field. You should not chase the money and the employer's name. Do not get upset in case of failures. Do not settle for less or unworthy. Respect your work and time. 

Look not for a famous company, but an experienced mentor. Write down all your achievements, starting from school, to have a comprehensive resume. 

At the beginning, when you have no experience, I recommend you to focus on the qualitative cover letters to the employer rather than on resume. In addition, you should write them first. These are the motivation, interest, and eagerness to learn, which attract the employers in the students.

Stepan Ilenko, 1st-year student of the Master's programme 'Intellectual Property Law in the Digital Age'

I liked the meeting a lot. The speakers from different fields of law were interesting. They told about their cases and how they became lawyers. There were a lot of pieces of advice on how a student can start working and reach career heights.

Andrey Kirilenko, Speaker, Alumni of the Master’s programme 'Software Development and Data Analysis', Senior Software Engineer at 'Yandex'

Timofey Bryksin, my Thesis Supervisor, helped me to find my current job. While studying at the university, I joined the project where I took a deep interest in what he engaged in. For me, it all worked out well because when the project was finished, Mr Bryksin offered me a job.

I recommend students to communicate more with their thesis supervisors, mentors, senior students and wonder what and how they have achieved it. You can also ask them to recommend you for internships.

Anastasia Gruzdeva, 1st-year student of the Bachelor's programme 'History'

The Orientation Week showed me again that there may be various strategies for the further career development after HSE University. You can start an academic career or work in other fields somehow related to History.

The speakers were really nice and pleasant. They gave us some energy and motivation to study, use all the opportunities which HSE University offers, and take part in extracurricular activities. 

I liked the speakers' advice that you should try to prevent the burnout—don't push yourself to your limits and strive to diversify your life if you feel depressed. Besides, you should know that you can change the field and focus on your interests in any case.

Daria Egorova, 1st-year student of the Bachelor's programme 'History'

I entered the university with amazing people and I see that the graduates are equally amazing. That means my course-mates will stay with me, we will develop together and become something in the future. I like a lot that the speakers were not just from the field of History—it is great that the education provides us with new opportunities. 

I am very fond of the idea that everything we do here is useful for our future career. It inspires and keeps me motivated.