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20 Feb 2020

“GSOM provides a lot of opportunities that need to be wisely used.” Interview with Daria Yakovleva, GSOM SPbU first-year student

Not all applicants applying for GSOM SPbU have a basic managerial or economic education. Among the students there are also alumni from the law, philology, and science Faculties. We talked with Daria Yakovleva, a first-year student at the MiM program and an alumni of the Bachelor's program at the Faculty of Law at St. Petersburg University, and found out why Daria decided to change her educational profile: was it difficult to study at GSOM without a mathematical or economics background, is it possible to combine study with work, and what the School has personally managed to give her after a half year of study.


Why have you chosen GSOM SPbU?

After Bachelor program, I knew for sure that I did not want to continue studying at the Faculty of Law, and and a future career in this profession had ceased to attract me. After a rather difficult period of looking at various options, I was drawn to marketing, but I had neither the experience nor the appropriate education.

I therefore decided to take a break and spend this “gap year” on getting acquainted with a possible new profession. During this year of working in marketing, I realized that I really wanted to work in this area, but I did not have the necessary fundamental knowledge and understanding of what is happening in business. Therefore, I decided to go to business school.

Honestly, I didn’t have any struggles or difficulties in choosing. I knew about GSOM even while I was studying at the Bachelor of Law program. In addition, some of my friends from the Faculty of Law  had studied there and talked about the opportunities that the School provides. The rankings and faculty were impressive. The opportunity to go on an exchange semester also played a huge role in the choice. I was also very impressed with the names of the GSOM Career Center partners. I realized that after graduation I could get a job and develop in the best companies in the country, and not only in this country. Therefore, my choice was quite simple.


Have you quickly fit into the rhythm? Did your expectations match with reality?

It's hard to get into the rhythm slowly. A large number of educational and extracurricular events immediately made it clear that the study process at GSOM is intense, and it's cool! Reality exceeded expectations. I had heard a lot about GSOM, but when you find yourself in the thick of things, everything feels different. From the very first couple of days, I realized that studying would be difficult, and that the grading system does not allow you to relax during the semester. As a rule, 30-50% of the final grade in the subject is given for the work done classes. The knowledge level of all students also immediately made it clear that GSOM is a high-level school.

I was also struck by the number of extra-curricular events at the School: every week we have lectures, meetings with representatives of School partners, student championships, parties with foreign students and so on. The study process is really intensive, and I like it.


What was the hardest part for you during a semester?

I have no mathematical and economic background, except for basic school training (but that was 5 years ago), so for admission, and then for training I had to learn a lot of additional material. During my six months of training, I studied a lot of new and unusual information for me. But it’s great when you feel that you are developing.

In addition to my Master program, I work, and, to be honest, combining studies and work is sometimes difficult, especially during deadlines. The project delivery period, in November and December, was very intense. Everything had to be done at once, because the final projects have a lot of weight in the final assessment for the semester.

I was lucky to meet incredibly talented and purposeful people among my fellow GSOM students. Despite the fact that the training material was completely new to me, I enjoyed the educational process very much. I began to look at challenges from different perspectives. And in the dining room there are delicious snacks, which also pleased me.


Many future Bachelors are concerned about the issue of combining study with work. You successfully mangage it. Would you share you secret on how to do this?

Combining studies at GSOM with work is not easy. You need to constantly look for balance. Time management should become your best friend. There is no time for procrastination. I have a part-time job, and my employer was willing to help me and offered a flexible work schedule. After school or before it (depending on the curriculum, but it is not always stable) I go to the office, and often I have to finalize work projects during the weekend. But my work is directly related to what I study at GSOM, so I'm glad that I can study and work, it helps me to develop faster in the profession. As for the secrets of combining study with work, then everything is simple, everyone can work in a flexible schedule, which helps stress resistance and time management. Everything is possible, a number of other students on the course combine study and work.


Have you received any personal insights while at GSOM SPbU?

There have been a lot of personal insights. The main thing is that GSOM is not just about studying. GSOM has an incredibly strong community. I had heard about it before, but when I visited GSOM Family Day, I saw everything with my own eyes. Alumni continue to keep in touch with faculty and students, there are programs that connect students and alumni of GSOM to help future alumni build a career. GSOM provides an opportunity to study abroad for a semester, and this also strongly distinguishes the School. The CEMS program gave some of my friends not only the experience of living and studying abroad, but also job offers from top international companies. GSOM provides a lot of opportunities that need to be wisely used.

Also, I have really been inspired by different people at GSOM SPbU. Students with very different backgrounds enroll in the GSOM Master programs. After completing their Bachelor programs many alumni decide to get a business education. And therefore we are a mix — economists, sociologists, historians, lawyers, journalists and so on, studying  at GSOM. I have never been so excited about my surroundings. Each person is completely individual, each has his own set of knowledge and skills, therefore it is interesting to communicate with everyone here: anyone can give you something that you did not know before.

I have learned a lot during these six months. Finally I understand how to write a resume. Now I constantly resumes for different events or companies. This is an invaluable skill. I also participate in the mentoring program “Talent Up!” as a menti. Thanks to this program and my mentor, I began to take part in large case championships, although I would not have decided before entering because I thought I couldn’t. And I have been able to determine the strategy for my career growth for a couple of years in advance. I have previously lacked this in my professional development. GSOM helps to expand boundaries, gives you the courage to try everything and take advantage of any opportunities. For all of this, I fell in love with the School.