‘Don’t Shift the Responsibility for Your Development onto Someone Else’
Maxim Oreshkin, Russian Minister for Economic Development and HSE alumnus, met with HSE students at the invitation of the HSE Business Club. He answered their questions and spoke about the key areas of his ministry’s work, his life values, and difficulties on his career path.
Lots of people were keen to talk to the minister, and the big lecture hall at Pokrovka couldn’t accommodate everyone. For those who weren’t able to fit in, a live broadcast was organized in the building on Tryokhsvyatitelsky Pereulok.
The talk started with congratulations: November 30 marks three years of Maxim Oreshkin’s incumbency as a minister. He admitted not remembering the anniversary date.
The students’ first question was about the most useful thing the minister learned at HSE University.
The ability to work in a team and develop myself. These are the main things the university has given me
According to Mr. Oreshkin, any good university teaches its students to learn: ‘The key value of higher education is not getting specific knowledge, but learning how to get this knowledge. For example, I cannot say that at university I learned how economics works. Rather, I learned to study, to investigate, to make conclusions, and as a result, I have been learning throughout my career’.
The minister says that he tries to compare himself to himself in the past: ‘If I understand that a year ago I was more ignorant in certain areas and didn’t understand something, this is a good sign. This is a sign that one is developing and becoming better each year. And if you look back and see that everything was perfect, and you were better than the others, this is a catastrophe: you are degrading rather than moving forward’.
Maxim Oreshkin said that he is always guided by the principle of continuous self-development. He named transparency as his key value: ‘We live in a digital world, and it’s impossible to keep anything secret. That’s why honesty before myself, my co-workers and my country is very important to me. Another important rule is to form a team of like-minded people. One is capable of doing a lot alone, but can achieve much more in a team’.
Over 60,000 people work under the minister’s supervision (including organizations affiliated with the ministry). Maxim Oreshkin emphasized that to organize the effective work of so many people, a hierarchical management structure is needed. When he chooses people for his team, the minister follows an important criterion: whether the person is able to implement projects, which means focusing on tasks, determining the resources necessary to reach the goal, and being able to use these resources.
Mr. Oreshkin also talked about his own career path – how he worked at the Central Bank of Russia, then moved to a private company, and later came to work for the Russian Government. He admitted that he faced some difficulties at the start of his career: ‘One of the big problems was, speaking in economic terms, information asymmetry in the job market: when you are already capable of doing something, but no one knows about it. How can you let potential employers know that you can be hired and you already deserve to move up to the next step in your career? This is not a simple story, and you always have to express yourself more boldly. This helps to move forward.’
The students were also interested in the pressing problem of deadlines – how does the minister deal with all his numerous tasks? Mr. Oreshkin recommended spending less time on social media, which is a waste of time.
However, he admitted that he uses social media often, since lots of useful information can be found there. The minister refused to recommend any books to read.
It’s important to choose your books yourself. Don’t shift the responsibility for your development onto someone else
Of course, HSE University students could not avoid questions about economic reforms. Maxim Oreshkin said that the ministry is now elaborating a plan of structural change. ‘The main things, of course, are the job market, investment activity, and the regulatory guillotine. What is the value of the state? It is a set of institutions that help humans to develop and realize their potential. I would like Russia to become a place where you can develop and realize your potential comfortably, fast, and with great results. This is the direction we need to head in.’