F1GMAT: Why did you choose SKOLKOVO MBA?
Arjun Nair: It is a school with a strong focus on entrepreneurship and at the same time, the learning by doing approach gives you the opportunity to understand how businesses in different geographies (India, China, US and Russia) work.
You gain a first-hand knowledge on the business processes that define the company's daily operations, and get a chance to work on improving a particular processes or developing new strategic initiatives, etc. depending on the scope of work defined by the client.
It is the program structure that really got me interested in the program.
F1GMAT: How has been your experience till now?
Class Experience - The class size is relatively small, but the calibre of the students representing 9-10 different nationalities is great.
Curriculum - The program structure as such is something unique. Although, i would like to see some improvements in the academic support & project guidance provided during phases where we work with companies.
Value from the program - Working with different nationalities in different geographies in very different business environments and project requirements. I am sure I will be able to carry forward this gained experience and knowledge to help me in my professional life.
At MIT we spent a week being trained on Innovation Models (4I) by MIT Sloan faculty and then moved on to a second week of putting the innovation framework into practice by working on a Business Plan using the 24 Step Go to Market Strategy developed by Professor Bill Aulet.
The experience of having your business plans questioned leads to multiple iterations and pivots every single day, and you get to present the Business Plan to a group of senior faculty for further evaluation. There is a perfect mix of theory and practice provided that leads to the best learning.
F1GMAT: As an Indian student in SKOLKOVO, what has been some of the challenges and rewards of joining SKOLKOVO MBA?
Arjun Nair: A key personal challenge in the program, is to keep focus on your academics, as you can easily mistake the program for a nice long cross country vacation; maintaining a disciplined approach to your studies and your project performance will ensure that you would get the desired results at the end.
The MBA team and my classmates have been excellent, and made me feel just like back home. Although, once you step out of the doors of campus, you would need to speak Russian, knowledge of English will not help you get around the city. Once you learn the language, get used to seeing a lot of snow and get introduced to Vodka, Moscow has a lot more to offer.
F1GMAT: What advice would you give to MBA Aspirants and Indian students in particular about joining SKOLKOVO MBA program
Arjun Nair: Be clear on what your purpose is for joining a relatively new B-School in Russia, have a clear goal.
If you are a risk taker, who is against most conventional MBA's, this is great.
The program is great for entrepreneurship and there is a lot of opportunity to network with leading entrepreneurs in Russia and quite a few in Boston and at MIT.
The program is very well suited if you want to work ahead in Russia (with knowledge of Russian), if you would like to work outside Russia after the program, as of now the Skolkovo Brand reach might be comparatively lower in the international market.
About Arjun Nair
Arjun Nair is a SKOLKOVO MBA 2012-13 student, who was working as a Software Programmer / Functional Consultant, for a leading IT company in India before joining the MBA program. He is one of two people who won SKOLKOVO India Challenge Competition and received a full-tuition scholarship.