The enrollment campaign at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU) is going on full blast. This year Freddy the virtual owl helps the applicants to puzzle out the intricacies of the admissions procedure — the Telegram chatbot answers the questions regarding academic programs and exams. Those who prefer communication with people are welcome to the admissions office. Alexander Denisov, Deputy Head of SPbU Directorate of Admissions tells about all innovations and answers the most frequent questions asked by the applicants and their parents.
Please tell us how this year's enrollment campaign is different from the one of 2021?
The most important thing is that this year the documents may be submitted both online and in person. After a long pause it became possible again to come, ask questions and communicate with the members of the admissions committee. Both students and alumni work in admissions, so one can ask for their personal opinion about learning at GSOM SPbU. Communication may help those who haven't chosen a program yet to make a decision. It remains possible to send the documents online, which is convenient for applicants from other regions. Online technology is clear and handy, as it has been well-proven during the pandemic. Master's entrance exams remain in remote format too. Document originals need to be submitted only in the final stage.
How can applicants get advice on the rules of admission, exam dates, etc.?
This year we launched the Telegram chatbot Freddy that can guide an applicant through the whole enrollment process. A detailed guide for Bachelor program applicants and answers on frequently asked questions regarding Bachelor and Master programs can be found on the website. Notice that in 2022 there will be only one flow of admission to programs on a state-funded basis and there's now SNILS (individual insurance account number, if applicable) on the list of the required documents. Special Vkontakte groups for Bachelor and Master applicants were created where we tell about the features of each program, offer insight into student life and remind of important dates and events. I highly recommend joining them – there's definitely a lot of useful information! The admission schedule can be found on the SPbU admissions committee website.
Why is the chatbot called Freddy?
Freddy the owl is the GSOM SPbU mascot at the Leningrad Zoo, and the Business School takes care of him. Roman goddess Minerva can be found on the university's coat of arms and the Business School's emblem, and owl is her totem animal. It is a symbol of knowledge, wisdom, insightfulness and erudition. Freddy is a real snowy owl. He was born on May 1, 1994 in an endangered species breeding center in England and has lived in the Leningrad Zoo since 2013.
This year the GSOM SPbU promotional campaign slogan is "Rise higher". Is the Business School a truly good way to start rising the career ladder?
GSOM SPbU is distinguished by close collaboration with business. The Business School's Advisory Board includes executives of the leading Russian and international companies, representatives of government agencies and academic community. The curricula are regularly updated according to the needs of the global labor market. Program Advisory Boards consisting of industry professionals and experts help to do this. Besides, company representatives are actively involved in the learning process: practicing lecturers teach the subjects and guest speakers are responsible for application aspects. Representatives of partner companies are always present at the thesis defense, which helps the alumni to show themselves to future employers in good light. The Business School provides the students with all the vital up-to-date knowledge and skills for business development, including hard skills, soft skills and systematization of practical experience through academic concepts. Taken together, this guarantees jobs at the best Russian companies and rapid career growth.
What percent of GSOM SPbU alumni get jobs right after graduation?
According to the GSOM SPbU Career Center, 84% of masters and 69% of bachelors find jobs within six months after graduation. This is the 2021 data. Procter & Gamble, MegaFon, VTB, L’Oreal, Google and Severstal are among the largest employers. GSOM SPbU students often get their much-anticipated job offers at the third or fourth year of bachelor program. Learning management implies practice in the first place — the majority of course papers are dedicated to business projects. After the second or third year bachelor students do an compulsory internship in one of more than 200 partner companies. However, not all alumni go to corporations — they often start their own businesses or engage in social projects.
What exactly does the Career Center you mentioned do?
The Business School's Career Center consults the students on career and helps to find internships and jobs at partner companies. Two times a year the Management Career Week takes place — an event where students can choose a professional path, take part in discussions with professionals, get inspired by the stories of success and even get a job offer. Consultation projects included in the master's compulsory program allow the students to prove themselves to potential employers: the employer sets a business challenge and students offer solutions. The Business Schools also has a case-club where the participants share case championship experience and help the first-timers to prepare. Championship winners often get fast-tracks to the largest consulting companies and such cases are widely spread among GSOM SPbU students and alumni.
Let's say that an applicant has already decided on GSOM SPbU. How to choose one of the three bachelor programs? What is the difference between them?
As a business school, the Graduate School of Management of SPbU, first of all, provides basic systemic knowledge of management, teaches data analysis and develops the so-called soft skills that are essential today — business communications in a multicultural environment, task planning, work with information and so on. This is what unites all programs. But each of them has its own objective and a set of special courses. The Management program students can choose their personal track: marketing, financial management, information management, logistics or human resource management. The Public Administration program prepares professionals in the area of state government, cooperation between the authorities and business, as well as public sector enterprise executives. All subjects of the International Management program are taught in English, each of them is studied in an international context and with respect to features specific to business in different countries. So an applicant should decide which area is more appropriate and interesting.
What kind of advice would you give to the applicants in this tough time?
When evaluating your chances to get a state-funded place, do not fear to see your name in the middle of the list: those preceding you may choose another university or another program in the final stage. Remember that only the GSOM SPbU Admissions Committee knows the actual state of things and enrollment situation, so do not hesitate to call and write to get any information and help. If you have made your final choice to study at GSOM SPbU, you can always get a place on a contractual basis. If you have enough points, of course. You may take an educational loan if needed.
Are educational loans expensive?
Firstly, educational loans are provided on quite comfortable terms as they are supported by the state. The state will pay the major part of the loan interest rate. Secondly, the loan will be paid off in spades after graduation and starting a career. As estimated by FT, a GSOM SPbU master's average wage three years after graduation reaches 70 thousand dollars a year, which is similar to the income level of the alumni of top European business schools.
Is it worth it to enter a Master's degree in the current economic situation?
The largest investment in our life is to make good use of our time: we cannot turn it back and it is difficult to catch up. Career opportunities after graduation from GSOM SPbU are absolutely incomparable to those after other institutions. Wages and job positions of our alumni prove that. Competent and efficient managers will always be in demand.
What Master programs does GSOM SPbU offer?
In master programs the students learn the strategy of international business, smart city management, big data analysis or corporate finance. The Corporate Finance program prepares professionals that will be able to work at any company's finance department. Smart city is a complex of three levels of city infrastructure organization: traditional infrastructure, smart technologies and Data Science. Digital transformation of business is inevitable and it also guarantees its competitiveness. Competitiveness means not only having material and financial resources, it depends more from the company's ability to make decisions based on big data analysis obtained from the digital environment. Thus, we see the increasing demand for business analytics professionals and cross-functional team managers who can generate effective solutions using quantitative data analysis.
Where do GSOM SPbU students learn?
The Graduate School of Management of SPbU has two campuses. Masters, doctors and students of the Executive Education program study in the historical building on Volkhovsky Pereulok. Mikhailovskaya Dacha, where bachelors study and big events are held, is a mid-19th century manor. It was a residence for Grand Duke Michael Nikolaevich Romanov and his family. After careful renovation Mikhailovskaya Dacha became a GSOM SPbU campus — a unique place that combines classic architecture and state-of-art digital technology.
Last year both campuses equipped hybrid classrooms that allow to unite digital and in-person learning environments. This provides equal learning opportunities and prompts engagement of students regardless of their location.
Does GSOM SPbU provide a dormitory?
SPbU provides places in dormitories for all students from other cities and countries, so do not forget to specify that in your application. Business School students are going to have the best accommodation: apartment-type dormitories for 600 persons are located directly on the Mikhailovskaya Dacha campus territory — it's a two-minute walk to the academic building. Rooms are single and equipped with modern furniture and appliances. There are coworkings for meetings and joint activities. There's a special accommodation block for students with limited mobility that has been designed according to all up-to-date standards and requirements. You can find more information on SPbU dormitories and the accommodation procedure in the Dormitories website section.