“The GSOM family is the most precious thing we have after graduation,” said Vladimir Ostromensky, Ph.D., chief physician of the maternity hospital of the Scandinavia network of clinics, an alumnus of the MBA and the Presidential Management Training Program at the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University (GSOM SPbU). Vladimir is one of the few healthcare representatives who has such a solid management education. As part of the #supportGSOM project, we talked with Vladimir about how the Business School charitable foundation helped him get the coveted MBA, how he implements the acquired skills in his work, and how it is to be a professional healthcare manager.
Vladimir, tell us why you chose GSOM SPbU?
When I was finishing the Presidential Management Training Program in 2018, I realized that my next step would be an MBA from GSOM SPbU. I understood that this was a world-class education, that the teachers who work here were the diamond treasure of Russia, and students could receive not only academic knowledge, but also practical skills. And I believed that my MBA was a matter for the next 5-7 years, not earlier. I remember walking along the corridor of the campus on Volkhovskiy per., 3 where on the left side there were photographs of the alumni of the President's program, and on the right there were the MBA ones, and imagined that I would soon be on both.
It so happened that I took part in the Leaders of Russia competition and won it. The education that I had already received at GSOM SPbU helped a lot in the competition. As a winner, I was awarded a grant of 1 million rubles, which I could spend on studying at any university in the country. I didn't even have to choose because I was following my plan. Just a year and a half after the end of the Presidential Program, I returned to the Graduate School of Management of St. Petersburg University to study in the MBA - Challenges of the Digital World program. And I also brought with me 13 more people, winners and finalists of the Leaders of Russia competition.
You already had a grant from the Leaders of Russia. How did the Business School support you?
There was a significant difference between the amount of the grant received by the winners and finalists of the competition and the final cost of the MBA program. GSOM SPbU met us halfway and offered an additional grant to compensate for it at the expense of the charitable foundation. The charitable foundation helped my colleagues and me make our dream come true!
Did you know that the university has such opportunities in terms of charitable activities?
I didn't know at first. We expressed a desire to enroll in GSOM SPbU, and began to learn about the cost of education. And when they saw that there is a difference between the grant and the cost of training, we discussed it with the program management and eventually received such an offer.
How valuable was the help from GSOM SPbU for you?
This was very valuable to me. The fact that we were given an additional grant became a determining factor for many who chose to study here. Seeing the loyalty of the Business School, the winners of the competition went here. I can say with confidence that none of my colleagues not only did not regret, but now actively promotes education at GSOM SPbU.
In general, I like the approach of the Business School to its students. They listen to us, go to meet us, if possible. Everything is resolved through negotiations and the search for optimal solutions for both. For example, during a pandemic, the question arose of whether to continue learning online or to take a break. We said unequivocally that we wanted to continue our studies. The program was reviewed, reformatted for us, which is very pleasant and valuable.
What do you think is the significance of such grant projects?
For me, such a grant is an opportunity to study. I want to emphasize that if I didn’t have a grant, then sooner or later my training would take place, but it would have taken from five to seven years. And now I already have the knowledge that helps me and my team develop. I can already use these skills effectively. But in order to appreciate the value of such projects, it is important to understand the value of this training. I had this understanding from the very beginning.
How did the MBA Challenges of the Digital World program help you?
It completely changed my mind, I learned to look at things from the point of view of strategic management, I learned to build logical connections between what is happening and what will happen. The program gave me and my team resilience in times of crisis. I learned to adapt quickly, to cope with challenges. I think it would be much more difficult without education. I have also found a new social circle. The GSOM Family is probably the most precious thing we have left after graduation.
What is the practical value of the program?
A very specific example: we defended graduation projects. I had a business plan for the development of my hospital, namely the organization of a new department. This is the practical value. I didn't just write a project to defend. I did financial and human resource calculations. I took this project as a strategy for the development of the maternity hospital, and have already submitted it to the company's board of directors for approval. It seems to me that this is very practical.
You work in the healthcare industry. As a rule, there are few medical representatives on MBA programs. How did you feel surrounded by colleagues from other industries?
When I participated in the Leader of Russia competition, I noticed that out of three hundred participants there were only six representatives of health care. This shows how big the gap is between healthcare and other industries. And, of course, I am very sad to see how the industry is still behind others in terms of management. When I went to the MBA, I understood that the same situation would be on the program, but I did not regret it at all. I hope that healthcare will develop in terms of management education. We have great potential.
Do you plan to continue studying at GSOM SPbU?
Now I am planning to take a break. I finished education on MBA - Challenges of the Digital World program just in April. What I would definitely like to do is become a part of the GSOM Family in terms of teaching. As a guest lecturer, I am already teaching a course on Project Management in Health Care at the Healthcare Management program. This is a great honor for me. I would like to develop further in this area.