Vladislav Pererva graduated from the Bachelor program Public Administration at GSOM SPbU in 2019. After graduation, he worked in the non-profit sector for two years, after which, without changing the trajectory, he entered the Master in Smart City Management (MSC) program. What are the benefits of continuing the educational track and who else might be interested in studying on the MSC program, Vladislav tells in an interview.
For many people, the Master in Smart City Management is associated with the installation of meters, the use of solar panels and other devices. Can you please tell us what the program is really about?
Smart City Management does not only involve the use of smart technologies: smart houses, streets, safe roads, meters, cameras, and so on are smart global solutions in all areas, made with sustainability in mind. Changes require fundamental analytical work, for example, in order to anticipate the behavior of stakeholders, find common interests, bring them together and form the most successful decisions in urban planning. If you limit yourself to the introduction of know-how, you can miss a lot and thereby come to unforeseen consequences.
For whom is such education interesting and useful?
In order to benefit from the program, one must be interested in urban development issues, green economy trends and information technology. All these topics are now relevant for our major cities and regions. A specialist from any field, with any background, including technical, will be able to find the MSC program interesting. Urban life is very diverse and requires interdisciplinary solutions to improve the quality of the environment.
Do Public Management and Master in Smart City Management programs complement each other, do they overlap, or do they have different educational and career paths?
The Master program continues and complements the Bachelor degree. Smart City Management is more focused on the problems of urban development and planning, here we are more often talking not about the state as a whole, but about specific things. The Master student's research is devoted to a specific problem of great social significance.
What are the career prospects for Public Administration or Master in Smart City alumni? Is the prospect only to become a civil servant?
Bachelor in Public Administration alumni work in commerce in a variety of areas: consulting, IT, sales. The programs of management and state and municipal government are similar: the main focus of education is directed to the techniques and concepts of management. In the Master in Smart City Management program, students are also taught how to apply these mechanisms and knowledge in the field of state and municipal government. My peers are in great demand in the field of "government relations" — communication with organizations in the public sector. This is a promising direction. Big business often interacts with the authorities and needs specialists who understand the needs of society and the requirements of the state. My experience is the opposite, I worked for a non-profit organization.
Tell me about your experience. What did you do for two years after your Bachelor program?
I worked in the field of construction and housing and communal services. It was an invaluable experience of interaction both with private structures — for example, construction companies — and with public authorities, local governments, and regional governments. I was faced with tasks of a very different nature: I had to deal with both building standards and legal documents. Each day was different from the previous one.
Did you use the knowledge and skills that you received in the Bachelor program?
The ability to learn helped in the process of work — this is one of the most important skills that one can learn at GSOM SPbU, as well as the ability to act in a dynamic and rapidly changing environment, in conditions of limited time and information, in conditions of multitasking. GSOM SPbU develops soft skills well. I advise everyone to take advantage of this opportunity, because it will definitely come in handy after graduation from business school, regardless of the line of work.
Why did you decide to continue your education?
I came to the need to complete the full cycle of education in the chosen specialty. In our world, you need to move faster and faster to not be late. It is important to look for new opportunities for partnership and interaction with other people in order to solve complex problems together. For me, studying has become a way to look at what I do from a different point of view — from the side of science. I am very glad that I made the right decision, although at first I did not intend to go to the Master program.
Many people think that if you do not change the educational track, it will be boring to study. Is it so?
I do not agree with this opinion. There is an element of repetition, and it is needed to make it easier for people who come from other directions to integrate into the program. It was also useful for me to update my knowledge after a two-year break. Now a lot of new knowledge has appeared.
Smart City Management is a very broad specialization. In what direction are you currently working in terms of science and research?
I study modern trends in the field of data analytics and decision-making on the formation of policy based on the information received. This is a very strong course and it is needed for my Master thesis, which is devoted to energy efficiency and energy saving in housing and communal services. This work combines my practical experience and theory.
What are your plans after the end of the program?
I would like to continue to be engaged in the sphere of housing and communal services with a slight adjustment towards energy saving and energy efficiency. But I am not interested only in this direction, time will tell. The approach will remain unchanged: to accumulate skills and competencies, to strive to apply them in the most successful way in order to benefit society. Postgraduate studies and research activities are also incredibly interesting and promising, especially if you do this at GSOM SPbU. In general, there are a lot of development scenarios.
What is the most valuable thing for you at GSOM SPbU?
The most valuable element of GSOM SPbU is the community, a unique composition of students who come from different fields and exchange experiences while working together. At GSOM SPbU, the interaction of students is very well organized. This is largely the merit of the administrative staff, which is one of the elements of the community. Do not forget about the professional faculty and the continuous improvement of educational content. This is clearly seen in the Smart City Management program — it is relevant and meets the current challenges of society. Constant adaptation of disciplines, courses, focus on results, on providing students with advanced knowledge and developing their most demanded skills — all this is very valuable.
It is often said about the GSOM SPbU environment that it is very competitive, and students are involved in the struggle for high scores. How much does it help or, on the contrary, hinder learning?
In the Master program, the competitive environment is not so strongly felt, because we interact in a narrower circle and are focused on teamwork. In Bachelor studies, healthy competition, which is dosed at GSOM SPbU, serves as a performance driver. The roots of this approach come from management as a field of science. This is a positive experience that needs to be further developed. But if you look deeper, it seems to me that a person must compete not only with others, but also with himself: set ambitious goals and objectives and strive to outplay himself.
Make a checklist for the GSOM SPbU applicant. What qualities and ambitions do you need to have in order to maximize your potential at the Business School and after graduation?
I would note discipline, perseverance and constancy. This set of qualities allows you to achieve results in any field, not only in education. It is important to be in harmony: to understand why training or work is needed, to feel your interest and involvement — this serves as a catalyst for hard disciplined work.