From Unilever to Megafon: HSE University Holds Another Career Marathon
IT giants and investment funds, banks and international corporations — more than three dozen employers took part in the HSE Career Marathon. Company recruiters told students what vacancies for young professionals were open in various departments, what they look for when selecting employees and what skills they particularly value.
The HSE Career Marathon from the HSE University Career Development Centre, which has already become a tradition, was held in a blended format this year for the first time. For two days, April 12-13, students and graduates of HSE University, as well as students from other Russian universities, spoke with major employers remotely and in person. Representatives of PwC, Sberbank, Skoltech, BAT Russia, Henkel, SBS Consulting and other companies answered questions from prospective employees.
Quizzes, Interviews and Public Talks Online
From personal success stories to the specifics of employee selection, marathon participants learned all the secrets of the job search process in detail. Group discussions and a public talk with employees of several global corporations attracted special attention in the online section. Ekaterina Lebedeva, Senior Employer Brand Development Specialist of Deloitte, said that the company was now recruiting students for a consulting internship: ‘This is always interesting for HSE University students. Here they can try their hand at strategy consulting, operational optimisation, IT consulting, etc’.
Tatyana Podgornaya, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Philip Morris International, noted that today's employers pay special attention to candidates’ soft skills.
I would highlight three key soft skills that are important not only for young professionals, but for all employees: fast learning, teamwork and results orientation
Coca-Cola HBC representative, Ekaterina Puzankova spoke about working conditions for young professionals. ‘We are now striving to create the most comfortable projects for students, so that they can comfortably combine work and study, showing themselves to their best advantages,’ Ekaterina Puzankova assured her potential colleagues. ‘We create special business cases and do projects online. At Coca-Cola HBC we think not only about the students who are graduating now, but also about those who have not yet graduated and who we will need in the future. We have created an online platform with internships for them: it can be used to get feedback from mentors during internships, solve cases and build your skills from the comfort of your home.’
The discussion with representatives of KPMG, Renault and VTB was equally fascinating and informative. The speakers explained in detail the selection stages interns go through, how the pandemic has affected recruitment and what distinguishes an internship from an apprenticeship.
VTB HR expert Alexandra Ugodnikova noted that Russia's largest financial group has now developed internship programmes aimed at early career professionals. There is a ‘Junior’ programme for undergraduates and a ‘Growth’ programme for master's students. They differ in their terms, but all have the same selection stages: applications, telephone interviews, testing and an interview at the unit. ‘Be prepared to answer the question: “Why do you want to come to us and specifically in the chosen field?”,’ Aleksandra Ugodnikova addressed the candidates. ‘We also look at your theoretical knowledge (not work experience) and outlook: how interested you are in the field you are planning to work in. Determination is just as important to us, so don't be afraid to apply, ask questions, and at the internship, express your opinion and your suggestions.’
Olesya Shablova, Renault trainee recruiter, spoke about the difference between apprenticeships and internships: ‘Apprenticeships are long and paid, while internships with us, whether in production or training, last an average of two months and allow you to meet the internship requirement at university and try your hand at something that interests you. At Renault, they are available in different departments, but in general, we can tailor an internship to suit you and give you the opportunity to do an internship wherever you want.’
Alina Korotkova of KPMG explained that the company has a very strong culture of hiring young professionals and that every financial year it hires several thousand young professionals around the world.
‘To get into KMPG, you have to apply through our career website and go through the selection stages. They may vary from department to department, but on average, comprise a CV screening, a verbal or numerical reasoning test (or both), and a video interview where the candidate sees the questions and records the answers on camera. After that, candidates meet with the hiring manager, that is, the person who will supervise the trainee's direct work on projects. There are many stages, but they all go quickly,’ said Alina Korotkova.
Photos for CVs, Counselling and Live Communication
On April 13, online sessions were complemented by in person meetings. Representatives of Raiffeisenbank, Samsung, Ozon, CROC and DOM.RF were waiting for students in the atrium of Pokrovka building. Vladislav Shishkin, a first-year student of the Faculty of Economic Sciences at HSE University, came to Pokrovka building for a face-to-face meeting with employers. ‘I am searching for my first internship and I want to learn more about what companies are offering, what opportunities I have right now,’ said the student. ‘I will be applying to three companies: Raiffeisenbank, Ozon and DOM.RF; they are offering different options.’
At the offline marathon, the students not only had the opportunity to explore the companies' stands in person, but also to take photos for their CVs. Masha Nikolayenkova, a fourth-year student of the Faculty of Humanities at HSE University, took advantage of this opportunity. She said that she had been going to career events since her first year: ‘I like the atmosphere of the HSE Career Marathon—the first time I was there, I understood the significance of the event. In addition, it is always interesting to talk to representatives of companies—it helps you to understand much faster and more effectively what kind of specialists they need, what you need to improve in your knowledge in order to secure an internship, etc.’
Vladimir Yagovtsev, on the other hand, a graduate of HSE Tikhonov Moscow Institute of Electronics and Mathematics (MIEM HSE), has never been to a marathon before: ‘I am now in my third year of doctoral studies at MIEM. I cannot teach in my School of Electronic Engineering because, as my doctoral student friends tell me, they do not have time to do both science and teaching. So, I have decided to go into development or analytics for the remaining one and a half years of my doctoral programme: I now need to find a way to earn money and sharpen my skills.’
Career advice sessions were also popular. Employees of HSE University’s Office for Alumni Relations and Career Development explained how to make one’s CV more attractive to employers.
‘Various students come to us, not just from HSE University. There were students from MSU and Moscow Aviation Institute. There was also an older man, and he was asking us about changing his career path’, said Liudmila Zemchikhina, department manager. ‘We provide general advice, and HSE University students can get answers to more subject-specific questions from managers at their departments. This work is carried out within the framework of the ‘Career Consultations’ Project that was launched at HSE University last year. There are forms on our website, which any University student can fill in to get career advice.’
HSE University’s Career Development Centre is a structural subdivision of HSE University’s Office for Alumni Relations and Career Development. The Centre not only organises the annual HSE Career Marathon, but also posts job and internship announcements for University students every day, provides consultations, and organises workshops with employers. In addition, the Centre records a podcast ‘NORM STAGER’ with representatives of various companies.