“A leader can’t afford learning by his own mistakes”
The principle of the American automobile
company “ General Motors”
Why should I study at “ Master of Business Administration” business-school? And why exactly at the Institute of Staff Retraining of Ural State Technical University? It’s not an easy task to answer these questions. It’s necessary to stop, distract from everyday routine and try to make out your own thoughts and wishes.
I don’t know what my life could have been if not the radical break of the cosial formation in Russia. Probably, till now I should have been working for “ Ural Regional Industrial Center of Geoinformational Systems” where I had been assigned after graduating the University.
Beyond all question I should have continued my training to get an additional education, economic and administrative, I think, at a Higher Party school, for example. The thing is that the education I had got at Ural State University was most likely for specialists than for administrators..
It is necessary to justify the educational system of the University where abilities to think, to learn the information quickly, to make out the unknown fields of science and technology independently, were in the first place.
It helped me later on. At any new work I had to learn new knowledge and skills by myself.
But to be a successful administrator of any standard it is necessary to know more than an ordinary educational institution, even economic faculties or faculties of law, can give, to say nothing of self-education.
A good administrator must be both “ a leader” and “ a team member”. He must be able to give orders and submit, listen to his colleagues and persist on his own opinion, make out business processes, make use of the strong and weak points of his subordinates to form an efficient team. He must be stress-resistant, charismatic, responsible, competent, able to make risky decisions. The list can be continued.
People are not born but become administrators. No doubt inborn leader’s abilities are of great importance. But the system of teaching administrative knowledge and skills is not less important. Any person can become a good manager if he has a good training. Provided he wants to. An educational institution keeping to the proportional system of theoretical and practical teaching is necessary to solve this problem. Not an institute can do it because of the specific character of teaching. The Americans understood it one hundred years ago. That’s why the first business-schools were organized there.
I arrived at this truth in the process of work having passed through many trials.
It so happened that at every new work I had to organize functioning of any system from the very beginning. After graduating the University I began working as an engineer at the center of geoinformation “ Uralgeoinform”. A few months later I was appointed the team-leader at the department of interpretationtopographic maps. At that time the computer technology used to solve these problems was a novelty not only in Russia but also abroad. My colleagues and I had to search for solution of many technical problems without any assistance. The work for “ Uralgeoinform” taught me discipline and responsibility for my own and my subordinates’ results. Besides, for the first time in my life I had to put the university knowledge into practice, and I realized what a great difference was between theory and practice.
In the company “ Ivanmaster”, the official dealer of “XEROX”, where I came after “ Uralgeoinform”, I worked as a service-manager and had to organize the service work. There I realized that all the employees had to understand that their work was a a matter of common concern, and success or failure was everybody’s handiwork. Cohesion of a group in the first instance depends on the leader. Gradually I comprehended the lessons of business, learned methods of market research. I studied actions of the competitors, their strong and weak points. I had to learn to plan the demand for materials, copy machines, spares, to work out the best methods of stimulation of engineers. Besides, I was employed on the working out of a new trend – sale of computers and software. Eventually it became profitable. I was conceived of the main ideas: “ business is war” and “ profit is above all”. Later on I understood that it was not entirely so. It happened in the company “ Palmira”.
The firm “ Palmira” is a Russian-Canadian joint venture. It manufactures and sells the footwear under its own trade-mark “ Monarch”. It has a trading network all over Russia. There I got acquainted with a new sphere of activities – logistics, though at that time this word was not known in Russia. That’s why my work was called “ turnover stocktaking”. By means of hard work I succeeded in arranging the highest possible automated system of turnover stocktaking proper in our region. It gave an opportunity to optimize the stock of goods in shop store-houses and in the central warehouse, to forecast rate and volume of sales better, to automate standard reports. During my work for the company I took logistic and programming courses several times and they proved to be very helpful.
The acquaintance with General Director of the company was the greatest piece of luck. He set a brilliant example of treatment of the subordinates. He used to maintain that a momentary profit was not the chief thing and that one could not afford the acts undermining reputation of a firm. He managed to unite a very solid collective, and later on nearly 90% of the personnel passed together with him to the newly-organized firm “ Rusimport” . I was among them.
In “ Rusimport” ( one of the largest importers of elite alcohol drinks) I had to begin from the beginning again. I had to set up the computer network, the programs of management and business accounting. My duties were almost the same as at the previous work. Besides, together with Director I was engaged in calculating the necessary stock of goods, analyzing the sales, certifying the production, price-formation. Due to the high quality work of my assistants I handled my job well in the shortest time. Unfortunately Director turned out to be seriously ill. After his death I realized that I had learned everything I wanted and it was time to improve my professional skill at another work.
I began working as a manager on logistics for “ Lavern” , one of the largest companies in Russia engaged in the wholesale and retail trade in building and decoration materials. For a firm of this standard uninterrupted functioning of the logistic chain is extremely important. Several times a year the specialists in logistics took courses for improving their professional skill. Besides logistics they studied marketing, merchandising, the skill of sale. My duties were as follows: forming the optimum warehouse stock, brand-management, participation in the marketing analysis. Despite the fact that the main logistic processes had already been theoretically described, there were many defects. I had to set up the logistic system from the very beginning. There were two obstacles in my work: the strong centralization of control of the logistic processes from the headquarters and inclusion of the logistic specialists into the sales department. Besides, the governing body was not interested in additional training of the personnel. That’s why, having realized that I had reached the limit in my career and finance, I accepted the offer of “ Parket-Hall” and passed there to work as the leader of the department of logistics and deliveries.
To tell the truth, I consider this fact as good luck. “ Parket-Hall” is a large holding company engaged in the wholesale and retail trade of parquet and parquetry. At that moment the logistic system was at the initial stage. That’s why I could form it according to my own conception. By that time I had a considerable experience in logistics which proved to be useful for the holding company on the whole. My elaboration of methods of calculation of stock insurance, decrease of the quantity of stock and lacking turnover positions, the report system and many others
were added to armoury by many firms including the central office of the holding company in Moscow. I think that the logistic system of an enterprise should seek to reach the level of development characterized by the integral approach to all the processes both at the enterprise and in the environment. The logistic service should coordinate the activities of such subdivisions as a warehouse complex, the manufacturing subdivisions, the transport services, the marketing department, and partially the finance subdivisions, more over, it should coordinate their interests which are often contradictory. It should report to Director only. General Director shares my opinion.
It was in “ Parket-Hall” that I grew considerably as a professional and a leader
because I had to go deep into every problem at the enterprise. It was impossible without getting new knowledge. I had to learn: to work out the optimum transport schemes, investigate legal rules of business, make a business-plan, minimize the expenditures, search for the reliable suppliers, discuss clients’ claims, organize the system of information security, write the instructions, maintain the marketing analysis, think over the system of motivation of the personnel, work out the actions of sale stimulation, form the range of products, and so on.
The business trip to the plant manufacturing parquet boards in Finland gave me a lot. I was astonished by the fact that one man only worked in a huge warehouse of finished production, all the rest processes were carried out by robots. In other subdivisions the work was also well-coordinated and efficient. It was interesting to watch the entirely automated manufacture and irreproachable logistic system. I realized that we had to learn a lot from foreign firms.
The training course connected with the personnel management I took in Moscow under the guidance of a well-known business-trainer was of great help. Of no small importance was the factor that the training was adapted to our firm and proved to be very useful.
But in the first place I learn from Director of the company. From the very beginning of my work for the company I keep wondering how logically and efficiently he can think.. He can professionally analyze any difficult situation, break into elements and find sometimes rather unexpected solutions. He can skillfully use the whole spectrum of administrative methods and he does it better and better month after month. Some time later I could open the
“ secret” of Director. It proved to be very simple. He learns the MBA Program at the Academy of National Economy under the Government of the Russian Federation in Moscow. I think I can’t find a more obvious case of effectiveness of study at the business-school!
Now I feel that I have outgrown” simply logistics”. I’d like to develop professionally and obtain further promotion because I know it for certain that I can do more. The MBA Program at the Institute of Staff Retraining of Ural State Technical University will help me in the best way.
No secret that I doubted about the choice. In the Internet and periodicals you can come across articles casting doubt on advisability of getting the MBA degree anywhere but in the leading American business-schools. Besides, the standard arguments are as follows: the popularity of the MBA Programs declines, the graduates can’t find a proper job, and if an entrant still chooses a Russian business-school, it’s better to get education in Moscow. But the fact is that these arguments are far-fetched!
Director of the Institute of Staff Retraining A. I. Druzhinina and Deputy Supervisor of the MBA Program L. A. Malysheva discuss this problem in the article “ The Necessity of Development of Strategic Alliances for Realization of the MBA Program” on the site“ Russian Associations of Business-education”. I fully agree with them.
For me the correlation between “cost of study / quality of study” serves as a criterion. To my mind the MBA Program ‘strategic management” is in line with this criterion most of all. The arguments are not original but I’d like to give some of them.
¨ The competent curriculum for education of top-managers combining a well-composed, balanced system of knowledge and skills. Neither separate courses nor the traditional higher education can be so efficient.
¨ The possibility to increase one’s market value as a specialist of high qualification and to raise the personal income. In contrast to America, in Russia business-education is just coming into fashion. Many leading companies have realized the advantages of capital investments into the high quality education of personnel. Recruiting agencies also suppose that the graduates of the MBA Programs will be much in demand in the nearest future.
¨ The study at one of the leading higher educational institutions of Russia with the excellent teaching staff.
¨ The foreign partner – Higher business-school of University of Piere Mendes France. The curriculum of the MBA Program corresponds to European standards. The possibility to get two prestigious diplomas – MBA – Russian - of the Institute of Staff Retraining of Ural State Technical University and ESA UPMF.
¨ The possibility to study without discontinuing work. There’s no need to go to another city to attend lectures and take examinations.
¨ After graduation a manager will be able to have in mind the reality of Russian business and co-operate with foreign partners with equal ease.
¨ The specialization “ strategic management” corresponds to my further career plans best of all.
¨ The individual approach to every student in accordance with his psychological profile is a considerable advantage.
¨ The idea of a circle of like-minded persons for exchange of experience is rather interesting.
¨ The possibility to learn the English language, especially colloquial, is very attractive.
¨ Finally, I’d like to visit France to work on probation. It is my cherished dream.
It is naive to think that I will become an ideal administrator after graduating the business-school. But I am sure that education will accelerate the process of making and will help me to avoid many errors. The MBA Program is one of many steps on the way to self-perfection. But it is one of the most important steps.
The modern world is changing rapidly, and it is difficult to try to predict where I’ll work in two years. For the time being I plan the career promotion in
“ Parket-Hall”. In the remote future I want to start my own business. I know for certain that the skills and knowledge I can get at the MBA Program will help me to get over the obstacles on the way to my object easily and smoothly. Whatever object it is.