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Regular version of the site
04
July

"I decided on the MIB program and I haven’t regretted it for a second"

Marcello Vitanza, Los Angeles, USA, 2-year MIB student

Current job: 
Consultant

Prior education: Associates Degree in Arts from Santa Monica College, 
Bachelor’s Degree in Languages, Civilization and Language Sciences from Ca’ Foscari University

Professional areas of interest: Consulting, Entrepreneurship

Languages proficient in: English (Native), Italian, Russian

Someone you admire: Jack Ma

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?

In my bachelor’s, I studied Languages, Civilization and Language Sciences in at Ca’ Foscari University in Venice Italy. During this time, I studied Russian language, I came to Russia for the first time to do an internship in Voronezh, and immediately fell in love with the country, the culture, and its people. I returned to Russia several times after that including studying abroad at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow for the final year of my bachelor’s degree.

Upon finishing my bachelor’s degree, I was looking for a way to stay in Russia in order to improve my Russian and study business. I decided on the MIB program and I haven’t regretted it for a second. Living and studying in Moscow has been an amazing experience. It’s such a vibrant, alive, and international city which goes completely against any and all negative preconceived notions and stereotypes.

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?

Because I studied abroad at HSE, I was able to meet many now-alumni of the MIB program. It was because of their positive feedback that I decided on the MIB program over other leading programs and universities. The main feedback that I received, that enticed me to the program is how this program focuses on a more practical approach rather than a theoretical approach that other universities favor. So many of the professors are working professionals in top multinational corporations and they impart upon you their practical knowledge of the business world.

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

I had high expectations based on what I had heard about this program from alumni and it being one of the most prestigious business programs in Russia. The amount of practical experience and knowledge I gained from the first year definitely exceeded my expectations. I didn’t study business in my bachelor’s so coming into the program I was worried that I would be behind the other students. My worries were unfounded as there were catch-up classes specifically designed for those of us who studied something else in our bachelor’s.

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

Definitely one of the highlights of the first year was the International Consulting course taught by the head of the program Irina Kratko. After a short theoretical course, each of the students were put in small groups and accepted to different major international corporations to work on a real consulting project. I was accepted by Mondelez International and my team worked on a confidential Oreo product launch project. The project wasn’t just some assignment, it was a real-life project where we would meet at the Mondelez offices with directors weekly and prepare materials that the executives would actually use.

Courses and lecturers you find the most exciting, and why?

It’s hard to choose as the program has many great professors who aren’t just academics, but real businessmen and women. Irena Kratko, the head of the program as well as the professor of several classes, is a real-life entrepreneur. Vladimir Lissniak, the amazing and eccentric professor of International Negotiations, also runs two of his own businesses. The Finance professor Alexey Blinov is a high-level Finance director at Mondelez. Vyacheslav Buyevskiy is a director at PwC. The courses taught by these professors and are some of my favorites because of their tremendous real-life knowledge of their subjects. They’ve not only studied their subjects, they have lived them and are able to impart their practical knowledge directly unto us.

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

A lot of courses emphasize group work and presentations. The professors know that once we leave the university and enter the workforce, we will not only be working on teams, we must be comfortable presenting and defending our work. These skills have probably been the two most important things that I’ve acquired during my first year at MIB.