Director of his own Banking & Communications business
MBA Full-time (Class of 2005)
A prestigious Foreign and Commonwealth Chevening Scholarship brought Russian student Sergey Novokhatsky to study at Aston Business School in 2004 – and he was so glad it did. He loved everything about Aston and enjoyed a rich mixture of hard study and a full social life, including visits to soak up the rich culture of Birmingham pubs!
Sergey graduated from Krasnoyarsk University with a degree in Economics in 1998. Krasnoyarsk is the geographical centre of Russia and is more than 2,500 miles from Moscow - a two-day trip on the Trans-Siberian railway.
Even before taking his first degree Sergey had started to build up business and work experience. He had been a PC assistant at Krasnoyarsk’s State Academy and set up and managed the local computer network.
Being fluent in English and Russian, and with a knowledge of German, Sergey then worked for MaxSoft Ltd in Russia in marketing and as an interpreter for an MBA consultant from the USA.
After graduating he joined an oil company, starting as a junior economic analyst, Sergey was promoted to eventually become the head of the company’s sales department. He applied for a place under the Russian President’s Management Programme and graduated from the Moscow State Academy of National Economy with a diploma in the Management of Innovations. This led to a two-month internship under Russia’s Technical Assistance to Commonwealth Independent States (TACIS) Managers Training Programme.
The internship was based at the Manchester Business School and Sergey carried out a case study at Southern Counties Fuels Ltd in West Sussex. This short insight into business in Britain convinced Sergey that to further develop his career he would benefit from an MBA programme in the UK.
For a spell during 2004 Sergey became the Director General of a former state run bread factory in Krasnoyarsk producing nearly four tonnes of bread and bakery products a day for hospitals and schools.
He successfully won a prestigious Chevening Scholarship, awarded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to enable talented graduates from 150 countries to study and gain skills at UK institutions of higher education.
Sergey said: “I was recommended to apply to the Aston Business School, although I had been accepted by some other UK business schools. I choose Aston as it provides a one-year MBA programme, which does not require a GMAT score as they are far more interested in applicant’s work experience.
“Besides, Aston is being developed very rapidly nowadays and is ranked among the top UK and European business schools. But I also did further research on the MBA course and along with the theoretical knowledge, an MBA provides you with a lot of case studies and other practical work.”
Sergey decided to live on campus at Aston and set a goal of learning about the culture of Birmingham while living and studying in an international community. He said: “These aspects were of critical importance to me and I am so glad that I selected Aston.
“There were 30 people in my MBA group and we separated into syndicate groups of six, giving us the opportunity to work within a close knit team. We were regularly assigned tasks and those syndicate groups, which had been most successful in the first term, kept on meeting during the revision week while getting ready for our exams in December.”
His enthusiasm for lectures, background reading and all aspects of his MBA programme is illustrated on his comments on attending a lecture by Sir Adrian Cadbury on Corporate Governance. Sergey said: “The lecture was very informative and I learnt a simple truth – if you want to boost your career, show commitment and win the confidence of your colleagues.”
Away from his academic studies, Sergey made good friends with his colleagues and shared a flat with students from France, China, Greece, India and Germany and they regularly had Wednesday night trips out to pubs.
He said: “We would all go to the pub together. There are really nice pubs around Aston with tasty local beers and a nice group of locals to socialize with. I would say we were really lucky to live in the centre of Birmingham, which is a really fantastic city with lovely canals and both modern and old-fashioned buildings.
“There were lots of places to go and the on-campus community was really international, which was great. Even when some of our lectures finished at 10.00 pm I felt happy that with Aston I had made the right choice.
“There are really nice people in the UK. Getting to know them really helped me understand Britain as a nation. I would say the British are people who value their liberty, their way of life and democracy.”
Sergey, now runs his own banking and telecommunications business in Russia.