"MIB program is a combination of a business degree and an international affairs degree"
Can you tell us about yourself and about your educational background?
My name is Maria; I was born and raised in Moscow, Russia. Until 8th grade I studied in the gymnasium #1507 and then was sent to the USA. When I was four I started playing tennis and this sport became the main reason for my departure to the States. My last 4 years (USA counts 12 grades) of high school I spent in the international multi-sport boarding school – IMG Academy. There in the sunny Bradenton town, Florida, I received my high school diploma. Then followed the decision to continue my education in the USA and I spent the next 4 years in the state of New Jersey, in a wonderful school – Monmouth University. After my graduation in 2019 I faced the same question as after finishing high school - to stay or to go elsewhere, this time for the Master’s degree. I chose my hometown and after several months of constant brain storming over the universities, I applied to the HSE. Right now it is with great joy that I am finishing my 1st year and getting exited to see what the second year has to bring.
Why did you decide to pursue your Master’s Degree in Russia?
This decision took me quite a while. I was debating with my family, international teammates who had already made this decision and people who I looked up to. I was listening to them, thinking through their opinions and trying to understand which of their mindsets feels right to me. The choice stood among the USA, Spain, Great Britain and Russia. Finally, the one man said “Over the seas you will always be looked at as a foreigner”. He said that I needed to surround myself with good, strong, reliable people willing to help. And it became the answer to my question - that kind of people I have only found in Russia.
What criteria influenced your decision to apply to the MIB? What attracted you the most?
One of such criteria was the fact that the MIB program is a combination of a business degree and an international affairs degree. This allows to get an overall understanding of the relationship between countries and the way these relationships affect businesses, which I found very interesting. Another attractive feature is that the MIB program is taught fully in English. Due to my educational background I am used to learning in English, so this little detail played a vital role in my decision. Finally, I have always found it fun to study among international students. The way representatives of different cultures think, act and communicate is fascinating, and experiencing it over the next 2 years appeared as a pleasant bonus of the MIB program.
So, having already spent some time at a Russian University, can you pinpoint some differences in the educational process?
One of such differences I experienced taking accounting and finance courses in both schools. I noticed that the US schools mainly use different kinds of calculators, which of course makes the process more fun and less complicated for the students. On the other hand, at the HSE I had to solve similar problems without the use of any technologies; and as a result, I got a deeper understanding of the subject. Therefore, based on the experience of studying these two courses I could say that in the US this process is more fun and in Russia it is more deep and detailed. The positives of the US school would be: willingness of professors to help their students, honors programs and social events. Positives of the Russian school would include: the depth of the given knowledge, the study approach and the people.
What do you like the most in both countries?
In the USA it was definitely the opportunity to easily travel from state to state, explore the country and meet new people. In Russia it is the inspiring atmosphere, wonderful people and the great feeling of home.
Can you share some specifics of the relationships in an academic environment in the USA and Russia?
I can say that the two countries are the complete opposites of one another culturally. If to highlight the relationships, in the US it is easier and more free to communicate. Due to the culture, the first characteristic an individual brings to the society is friendliness. All of the smiles and politeness make you feel relaxed and comfortable. As a result you quickly get to know the entire school and keep the relationships close throughout the school years. In Russia, the process of building the relationships goes slower, but with greater quality. You don’t count people around as your close buddies only because you appeared in the same place at the same time. I would say that communication here happens in a more careful way and only after getting to know your classmate better, you can call him/her your friend.
What is your favorite place in Moscow?
I love exploring Moscow but, since I have been away for 8 years, I know only a few places. My classmates have decided that this is unacceptable for a Moscow born and so they show me wonderful places every now and then. Among them is now one of my favorite breakfast spots – Dr. Jhivago – with a beautiful view on the Red Square and one of the most delicious Syrniki I have ever tried.
Can you share your plans for the future? Where do you want to live and work?
Russia is home to me and right now, and I feel comfortable living and studying here. For my future job I’ve been considering Moscow. Nevertheless, due to my background I do not feel tied to one particular city. Moscow is a place for me for the current period; however, if a job or other circumstances require me to move in the future, it will not be a problem.