Before coming to business school, I had mostly worked with people within banking or finance. But on my learning team at Yale, I worked with a consultant, an archeologist, and the founder of a startup. It brought such breadth of perspective on the issues. And I realized that my own view of the world was significantly broadened as a result.
SOM has been a period of tremendous personal growth for me. Every day, whenever I go to class, to a talk, or to a meeting, I never have the feeling that I’m wasting time. There is always value in everything going on here. There is such a concentration of talented, smart people and so much intellectual energy in this place. There’s a can-do attitude that you constantly feel, and it energizes you.
At SOM, I feel like I’ve truly embraced the diversity of the world. The school is so global, and we have people from so many different places with different backgrounds and experiences. I’ve made real connections, and my long-term aspiration has crystalized—it’s to build cross-cultural bridges between different nations and between businesses in different countries. I’ve become passionate about helping people establish productive, friendly dialogue and collaboration.
My International Experience trip was to China, and I really enjoyed it. I liked the idea of taking a group of students to another country, introducing them to a country’s business capitals and historic landmarks. I came up with the idea of doing a similar trip to Russia, my homeland. Yale SOM is a place where you can propose this type of thing. I received tremendous support from faculty and advice on how to organize the trip. I also reached out to some SOM alumni who gave me very good tips on what to do in Russia. I thought that the trip would be about 15 people, but to my surprise, we had tremendous interest and almost 60 people from SOM ended up going. I loved introducing my classmates to my homeland, telling them more about our culture and what our business environment is like.
In St. Petersburg, we went to the Hermitage, the Fabergé Museum, the Catherine Palace, and many other famous sites. The Moscow leg of the trip was more centered on business. We met the governor of the Central Bank of Russia, the co-founder of one of Russia’s most prominent and powerful business consortia, the founder of one of Europe’s most successful fin tech companies, and many others. So many of my classmates told me that the trip completely changed their perception of Russia.