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Every class was full of surprises and different types of high-quality discussions, interesting topics, entertaining cases and group projects

Bekir Efe Sipahioğlu, Antalya, Turkey, MIB alumni

Current job:
Specialist at the Finance Department of an International Construction Company        

Prior education:
Political Science and International Relations    

Professional areas of interest:
 Investing, Trading and Portfolio Management in the Financial Markets.       

Languages proficient in:
English and Russian       

Someone you admire:
 Warren Buffet, Peter Lynch, George Soros.
1)     First of all, could you share with us, what was your motivation to pursue a master’s degree in Russia? And how do you find your experience of studying and living in Moscow so far?

Growing up in a touristic town of Turkey, which is known to host millions of Russian tourists every year, namely Antalya, I have always been periodically around Russian people and elements of the Russian culture. I have decided to take this acquaintance to the next level and learn the language, so while I was doing my bachelors, I went to Belarus to study Russian in Minsk for a couple of months. It was so difficult, that when I came home after three months, I hadn’t learnt anything. But for some reason, the Russian language had grown on me back then, so I kept working on it until I graduated. I was more or less aware of the country, the city, and the culture; therefore, it was not completely an uphill battle for me. I knew what I was supposed to expect. I was also aware of the potential and all the possible career opportunities that Russia bears in itself for me to buckle down to. Taken together, they all added to my motivation.  The experience so far, overall, is splendid. The more I live here, go around places and explore new things, the more I realize that I love this city. Of course, it goes without saying, that I love my university as well.

2)      Why, out of all the master’s programs offered by the leading Russian universities, you decided to pursue Master of International Business at the HSE?

Before I moved on to the HSE part of this proposition, I had to work out the “Business” part of it. Earning a degree in international relations in the hope of becoming a diplomat afterwards really couldn’t establish the connection between me and the “business”, only a master’s degree in international business could. I was hesitating about the quantitative part of the business, due to the lack of lectures and education in my bachelors. Before coming here, I, of course, did my homework and exercised due diligence. When I did an appraisal amongst the universities in this sphere, I found out that the MIB program at the HSE would suit my needs and address my issues flawlessly, in terms of a providing a basis for the people who had no experience in the sphere of business and management studies.

3)     More than one year of studies at HSE MIB is over. How were your expectations met?

In my experience, I could readily say that I got everything I was told I would be getting. This includes a solid base and a theoretical foundation as to what we can put in practice, and the practice itself. What we learned was enough to give my international career a head start, and enough for me to contextualize  the studied theory and blend it with practice in a way that became second nature. I should also single out the sufficient time with exceptional business professionals with their professional insights that would typically take years in business settings to put together; and on top of that, the exhaustive management consultancy project for an international corporation that I led for almost 6 months, that I could put in my CV.

4)      Can you share with us some of the most exciting or challenging moments?

In the second semester, we had a real business consulting case with one of the business partners of the MIB – Henkel. It was quite an intense experience for me to conceive, start, lead, and see through. We had great fun doing it, but it was as challenging as it was fun. The paramount of the project was the experience that we have received. We closely worked with two corporate department leaders, and for me, it was the first time that I had been to any sort of professional business setting in Russia. I had a chance to really blend in, see how things happen. Being able to try my Russian at the professional business levelwas one of the extras that came with it. I remember the first and last day of the process, they were undoubtedly two of the most challenging and intense days of the program.

The other one for me, maybe not as a moment but as a whole process, was the international negotiations course with Vladimir Lissniak. He is perhaps one of the most authentic lecturers I have ever encountered, his energy and dynamism was definitely rare and rejuvenating, and throughout all these weeks, every lecture we spent with him was as exciting as the other. We looked forward to attending his classes every week, because every class was full of surprises, different types of high-quality discussions, interesting topics, entertaining cases and group projects.

5)      Which courses and lecturers do you find the most exciting, and why?

Even though I am not the biggest fan of marketing, it goes without saying that the international marketing class with Vyacheslav Buyevskiy was an intense experience packed with good memories shared with a great group, and it was above what I could possibly expect just starting out at this program.

As I mentioned, not knowing much about numbers before I began studying in the MIB, I could never imagine that I would somehow be working at a finance department of a corporation, furthering and streamlining the financial operations of an international company.  I owe the majority of this to Alexey Blinov. Typically, what happens is that, at educational institutions, you learn the theory in-depth, but seldom the practical implications of this theory. So when you actually go and have to put what you have learnt into practice, you often waver from the lack of sufficient experience. My experience of learning finance wasn’t close to it. Mr. Blinov is a true business professional from the field with years of experience. His valuable insights into how the real business happens in the real world helped realize that I actually enjoy doing this, and can start out focused and knowledgeable. I still got the theory that I always can go back to, but in addition to that, I got the practical crux of the matter as well.        

6)      In your opinion, what are the most important and useful skills you acquire while being an MIB student?

What I can infer from my experience so far, MIB is quite the practically-oriented program that puts a great emphasis on what you typically find at international companies -  continuous group projects that enable individuals to shine in their own work or within the group. Sometimes, the schedule can get hectic. And you must meet your deadlines for yourself and for the group projects that you work on in parallel. Thus, being disciplined in terms of keeping up with your own work and deadlines, facilitating the group’s work and streamlining the common goal by constantly interacting with and helping others are all pivotal attributes of vital importance. 

Along with having the sufficient amount of discipline for getting things done, this program has also taught me that simply knowing that you have to get things done is not enough on its own. You also have to be aware of how to get things done right. That is how I learnt to adapt and accustom myself to different types of settings and conditions to operate in. Overall, it comes down to the basic premise of doing the right things, in the right way.


I just would like to add, what I perceive as pivotal and a key attribute to this program.

There are, admittedly, hundreds, if not thousands of business programs in every country, that aim to provide some kind of competitive advantage for its prospective students, namely the up-and-coming future bright-minds and managers of the international business. Some offer best-in-its-class professional business individuals from the field as lecturers; some offer great cultural aspects, a great university and city life, flexible and favorable schedules; some offer practical business opportunities and real-life experiences. I think that the MIB successfully comprises all of the points aforementioned. A good indicator of this is that the program is moving up on the list of the best business degrees of the world.

Ending my words, I would like to offer my sincere thanks for having me answer these questions. It has been a valuable opportunity, and it will stay with me for quite a long time, only with good memories. Благодарю!