14 Aug 2020

An offer at VTB during studies at GSOM: an interview with Georgy Baskhaev, an alumnus of 2020

Georgy Baskhaev is an alumnus of Corporate Finance Master's program of the Graduate School of Management, St. Petersburg State University (GSOM SPbU) in 2020. During his studies, Georgy received an offer to VTB Capital. In an interview, the he told why he decided to enroll in GSOM, why he was interested in VTB and who inspired him to pass a selection for the company. 


What is your Bachelor degree, and why did you decide to study at GSOM Master program?

I completed my BA in International Business in Finland. There were several reasons for admission to GSOM.


Firstly, I heard from my acquaintances and friends who studied at GSOM that this is a delightful place where you can develop and grow in an environment that stimulates you to do this. I really wanted to study in such an atmosphere. 


Secondly, in the GSOM master's program there is a direction "Corporate finance", in which I wanted to develop. In preparation for passing the GMAT, I met my now good friend, who spoke about the very strong faculty of the Department of Finance and Accounting at GSOM and said that I definitely would not regret if I went there.


Thirdly, being a native of St. Petersburg, I understood that I love my city and would like to spend two years of studing on Master program here, make the necessary acquaintances in my city and further participate in its development.


Now you work at VTB Capital, how did you get the offer? 

Coronavirus influenced on opportunity of Masters to find an internship or job because some companies were closed and every selection I passed was like the last. We understood that we can find ourselves in a situation where we had a brilliant education of the best business school, experience of studying abroad, experience of internships in leading companies, but no work due to external factors.


The selection process at VTB Capital went through the VTB Rost internship program, which was organized by Changellenge >>. The process consisted of four stages, several months long: an initial screening by CV and video interviews through the VCV platform. After that, there were 2 months of long and painful waiting for the next steps.


Then I took a test in economics, corporate finance and derivatives, as well as panel interviews with representatives of different departments of VTB Capital. At this stage, it was necessary to show that I know the subject and at the same time that I am motivated to work in an industry such as investment banking.


At the end of the stage with the test and panel interviews, I was contacted by representatives of different departments who were interested in me. In the end, I received my long-awaited offer to the Finance Transaction Structuring Directorate.


Tell us about your work. How did you manage to combine it with your studies?

Unfortunately, during my first year at GSOM, I did not work, as there were many classes, acquaintances and extra activities.


I participated in the organization of the conference "Management of the Future" as part of the Sponsorship Department. I would also like to say thanks to Elizaveta Troyanova, Director of GSOM Career Center, for the support and assistance that she provided to us in preparing the conference, and to Ana Provotorova, who was the Chairman of the Organizing Committee.


It was a cool experience because we had to do everything we could! My colleague Sasha and I even went to Moscow and pitched the conference to the country's top IT companies.


In addition, in my last year, I went to work at PwC, the Big Four, in the Infrastructure and Debt Finance Department. The department employs real professionals and wonderful people, and if you want to develop in infrastructure projects and project financing, this is definitely the place to work.


Why did you decide to work at VTB? What points did you pay attention to when applying for a job? 

Firstly, VTB is one of the leading banks in Russia, as well as one of the main partners of GSOM SPbU. These factors influenced the choice of the company. I wanted to start career in a large and stable company, where it would be possible to develop professionally.


Secondly, last year, when I organized "Management of the Future", Olga Dergunova, who was not yet a Director of GSOM, participated at the panel session of the first day. On that day, I was struck by the speech of Olga Dergunova about the values at VTB, which should be cultivated in young specialists from the very beginning: intelligence, communication skills and the ability to convey their thoughts and, of course, ambition. Since then, I realized that I want to work at VTB.


Thirdly, in my first year of education at GSOM, I decided to work in an investment bank. At that time, in 2018, it was already clear that this industry was in an unsatisfactory state and most of the business was consolidated in a small pool of banks and VTB was one of them. Accordingly, there was no point in going to smaller banks and gaining experience, since most likely there would be no room for growth.


What advice would you give to students who also want to get into the financial industry after graduation? 

I would like to advise them to realize what they really want. Here I must say that despite all the prestige of investment banking and consulting, these areas have their drawbacks. You have to understand why you are going there, and this “why” should be not only money, prestige and good life.


Also, be sure to educate yourself. With all the desire, professor will not be able to provide the level of knowledge that will be enough to get into serious firms, where the entry threshold and competition are very high. Therefore, read additional literature, such as CFA preparation textbooks.


In addition, you need to read financial news and be genuinely interested in why the US key rate has been declining several times a year. When you pass the interview, this will show that you are erudite and really passionate about the field in which you want to work.


The last thing I would like to advise is do communicate! Communicate as much as possible with people from the field in which you want to work, find out their attitude and vision of the industry, be aware of what you are going to face. This will allow you both to understand the industry better, and to figure out if this is really what you want to do.


What competencies acquired in the course of studying at GSOM were useful in work, and which ones had to be acquired independently?

The competence required for successful selection and work is, first of all, correct business communication. GSOM provides every opportunity to develop and hone it. Starting with educational activities and courses, ending with opportunities for direct communication with representatives of leading companies at the "Management of the Future" or Management Career Week. Students can develop this competence and easily communicate on an equal footing in the first weeks of their work.


From the point of view of the competencies required for successful career development in the future, it is important for students to be open to ideas, new people and beginnings. 


What was the most valuable thing you received in the course of studying at GSOM?

First of all, I would like to mention people. From fellow students to visiting lecturers from the industries. GSOM provided an opportunity to communicate, make friends and establish contacts with people of various backgrounds.


In the era of open knowledge, people are becoming the most important factor in development. Communicating with different people, you can develop new ideas, beginnings and better understand what exactly you want to do in this life.


Secondly, GSOM provides advanced knowledge in the areas in which you want to develop. I gave the basic knowledge and skills that attracted my employers.


Thirdly, GSOM is a competitive environment, and this is very good, as it prepares people for real life. Whether it's case championships, group assignments or exams, GSOM cultivates in people a desire to become better than yesterday. This is undoubtedly one of the most important advantages of studying at GSOM.