Artem Kuchev, co-founder and COO of an IT consulting Agency theMakeApp specialist with over 10 years of experience in the corporate sector and international markets, was an educational program Global Executive MBA in business school, IE (Spain, Madrid). Whether business education is a must for managers and owners, and how an MBA helps small business, Tom said in an interview delo.ua
Artem, tell us about your educational background before IE. What’s the first training you received?
I have classic post-Soviet education in engineering. Basic diploma I received on a speciality “system engineer”. Such education helps in business. It is based on mathematics, which is developing structural reasoning and the ability to build a logical chain. After all, what is a business? This is when there is a problem which is solved by a product or service. The mathematical approach helps to see the problem from different points of view and to find the most appropriate solution. I believe that College is a necessary stage of formation and development of the individual, it is society in miniature, which the students safely test the life model.
What query have you gone into business education? Expected to applied knowledge from teachers, networking with colleagues, or something else?
I was walking to the decision to enroll in business school about 5 years. From the point of view of applied knowledge I have almost no gaps, because in running a business you are constantly expanding your Luggage, reading the relevant literature, communicating with colleagues, partners, competitors.
Therefore, the motivation was to understand what I still don’t know that you need to get for development. I wanted to “pump” the soft skills, which in the Ukrainian education system does not pay attention. For example, I was interested in leadership. In addition, I wanted to get a look inside other regions and industries. At the time of admission to IE I was a co-owner of the company Mirta, which produced home appliances, and we had partners in China. And even though we had not planned to grow globally, in terms of sales, I was interested to study foreign experience. So focused on admission to a business school outside of Ukraine.
What are you guided by when choosing a business school or program?
I studied professional rankings of business schools looked European, and American. Choose from a dozen of the best schools in the world. I needed to find a program that fits my goals, work schedule and scope. Most suitable by all criteria was the program Global Executive MBA in IE. In addition, she suggested the possibility to plunge into the business environment of Spain, Brazil, USA and China, allowing more details to get acquainted with doing business in other parts of the world.
How is the admission process?
The applicant submits the application, completes the application, attaches her resume, then writes essays. School representatives work out with him a series of interviews, usually 3-4, and after this a decision is made on admission. For some programs (including Executive MBA) you need to pass the GMAT and TOEFL.
Than Global Executive differs from the classic MBA program?
In classic MBA, usually what people do after 2-3 years after the start of a career in order to “jump” to a new level and to academic business knowledge. The audience of Executive MBA professionals with extensive experience and knowledge. We have average age of students was 41, I was one of the youngest students — I was 35 years old.
The classic MBA program lasts two years, and our course was designed for 15 months. The program itself started in early may 2013 that ended in July 2014. For those who have not had our first financial education business school pre-course of financial accounting.
Executive MBA at IE is a very intensive program, students warned about it in advance. Honestly, at first, take it graciously, but then quickly realize that the schedule is indeed very tight.
We were told that need to spend on training at least 25 hours per week. I get even more — on average about 40 hours a week.
The program assumes that 50% of the knowledge students receive from professors, and the remaining 50%. Some jobs we have done individually or in a team of 5-6 people, and, in addition, the portal schools were constantly online discussion themes, which were to take part each student.
For example, we had to do was work in a group of 6 people. I was in Ukraine, my classmates in the United States, Singapore, India and Germany. For a successful result it was necessary to define a convenient tools for communication, information sharing and collaboration, the choice of time window for conferencing with the participants, covering almost all time zones, overcoming language and cultural barriers. The format of the course reflects the modern business — all work and communication take place in the remote. Due to the difficulties I encountered during the study, we theMakeApp created a mobile application Worldstime, which facilitates the selection of a convenient time for different time zones.
The program includes full-time and distance learning. How convenient is it? Is it possible to combine studies and business?
Yes, this is a blended program, there is alternate online and offline blocks. That was one of my criteria when choosing a business school — the presence of remote blocks, because I have no way to break away from the workflow and to go fully into the study, wanted to combine. IE in terms of such mixed programs — the best in the world. It’s convenient and gives you the ability to remain effective in business and in studies.
Tell us about your classmates. What industry and company they represented?
The culture that develops IE is multinational and global. In our class there were students from 20 countries, a lot of different industries. I was studying Global Business Development Director Roche, CFO of REHAU automotive division, Portfolio & Product Management Director from Siemens, IT industry, heavy industry. We have studied even the Colonel of the Singapore army.
For whom is this program? Is there any hard requirements for the position or experience?
For business school professional profile of the student is the main factor they look at how you’ll “join” in the class, how your knowledge and expertise will add value in this class and will benefit all the others. There is no specific criteria like “SEO-minus one”, there is basic criteria — age, experience, and everything else depends on the applicant, his personal and professional qualities of the assembled group.
This program is more appropriate for managers or business owners?
There is no fundamental difference. I believe that every Manager should treat the business as the owner. I did so work. It is a culture that needs to be brought up in the company, delegating responsibility and authority.
Business education is only suitable for big businesses or for small and medium too?
I believe that business education is not only permissible but even obligatory for small and medium-sized businesses. In our class there were people from different businesses — big and small — owners and top managers.
The owner of any business, regardless of volume, must be a marketer and a financier, a psychologist, to be able to hire the right staff.
Business education provides a set of basic functional knowledge necessary for understanding the physics of processes in different departments.
What are the main key points you can allocate to yourself after the training? What was important to you as an entrepreneur?
First, before studying at business school, I focused only one industry — the electronics and was professional. Electronics in Ukraine — about 500 specialists, who know each other and shape the industry in principle. And the world economy — the millions of people who compete to form the global ecosystem. It’s a completely different level of understanding of the business and it became available in the learning process.
MBA gives you the opportunity to look at the wider issues on the industry, the business as a whole. It was a real discovery for me. One of the sessions we were given a very simple strategic business case, it seemed to Me that the solution to this elementary case can be only one, that has matured in my head, but when I listened to that offered my classmates, I realized that all the solutions work. MBA teaches you to look at the problem from a different, often unexpected, angle.
How did the programme affected your career?
In 2015 my business partner Yuri Babich started a company developing mobile applications theMakeApp. Now the company has transformed into the Agency IT consulting, full cycle in-house development of mobile applications, chat-bots, we have solutions based on the use of machine learning and neural networks. We have made some significant for the Ukrainian market of mobile apps, for New Mail Pharmacies Good day, water delivery Alaska to IDS Borjomi, the application for the network of SOCAR filling stations. I hold the position of chief operating officer responsible for strategy, business development, marketing and financial management. In addition, a very valuable experience, tied to the business school. After the release it took 5 years but we still communicate, we can ask each other questions related to the business, to get advice, to discuss something, sometimes even visit each other in the hotel.
How Western business education is relevant for people who work on the Ukrainian market?
International experience helps to make more informed decisions. The Ukrainian experience is not unique. Business is a balance between supply and demand, and the realities of a single country — this is an additional well-known in the equation that you just have to take into account. Yes, the situation in the region can’t escape, but she is changing every day, it is impossible to predict. Every market has its own characteristics and complexity. Paradise on earth does not exist as there is no perfect market. The opportunity to learn the peculiarities of other regions and find ways of applying foreign experience in the practice cannot be overestimated. And while the classics of doing business has not been canceled. “Capital” of Karl Marx is still the main business of the book.
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