Alexander Sozdatelev :
Our student of the Month for January 2008 is Alexander Sozdatelev. He was chosen for his high GMAT scores and his recent success in being admitted to Chicago GSB, one of the top MBA programs in the world.
Alexander was born in 1977 in St. Petersburg . In 2000 he graduated in the top 10% of his class from Hertzen Russian State Pedagogical University in St. Petersburg; majoring in Social Science and Economics, and went on to do post graduate work in Political Science. We suppose that it is that initial background in Political Science that got Alexander interested in his specialty today of market research, because Alexander started his career with the world's most famous opinion polling organization, Gallup, which that tests the market worldwide for everything from the mood of the voters in presidential election campaigns to the tastes of the audience for the most popular TV soaps. In 2001 he joined TNS, the world's second largest market research agency, where he headed the St. Petersburg office until 2006. Then in 2007 Alexander moved to Moscow to occupy the position of Production Director of TNS for all of Russia .
After arriving in Moscow , Alexander studied for the GMAT with us in the summer of 2007 and received a score of 720. After that he applied to B-school, was admitted to and chose Chicago Graduate School of Business.
Alexander says that Chicago GSB has several advantages which are very important for him. First, Chicago is equally very well known for the outstanding quality of its faculty and its learning processes in the U.S. and Europe as well as in Russia , therefore the Chicago gives broad opportunities in recruitment. Indeed, University of Chicago boasts more award winning professors than any other university, including several Nobel prizewinners.
Second, among all great b-schools, Alexander tells us, Chicago GSB allows the most freedom in tailoring ones own preparation program for future work. In Alexander's case, we feels the need to advance in Finance and Accounting rather than in Marketing or Organizational Behavior, where he already has 12 years of experience. Chicago allows Alexander to apply that experience and skip core courses in those areas, while in all the other schools Alexander looked at he would have been forced to complete the standard core courses without exclusions.
Third and, perhaps, the most important factor in Alexander's decision is Chicago GSB's community. Alexander made the wise move of visiting the campus and getting to know many Chicago students and alumni before he made his decision. He says that Chicago people are always ready to help, but at the same time they always encourage you to do your best to solve your problem rather than doing everything instead of you. He also said that, despite its top reputation, he never felt any arrogance among the Chicago GSB community the way one sometimes does when talking to people at top schools.
We can't stress enough the lesson to be learned from Alexander's comment on this. Far too many students choose a B-school on reputation alone without first visiting the campus and getting a feel for the school and the people there. Yet it's crucial to feel comfortable with and develop a kinship with the school and people one will be studying with for two years, and will be associated with for life. Reputation doesn't mean anything if you don't feel at home in the academic community and you will be miserable there if you don't easily find people you want to make into your friends. So visiting the school personally and taking an effort to get to know some of the students and alumni is well spent time and effort before choosing any graduate school.
Alexander says that after graduation he is interested in going into a top management consulting firm. While he doesn't plan to emigrate permanently, he would like to gain 3-5 years of experience in developed markets like the U.S. , Canada or Europe before returning to Russia .
Congratulations, Alexander, on your high GMAT score, and your admission to Chicago GSB. We think you have made a good choice and know you will be very happy and successful there.
PS: For those Pericles students who are also interested in Chicago GSB, we have videos and DVDs of Chicago's various presentations at Pericles available for checkout in the Pericles library.