A 2005 graduate of the course "Accounting, analysis and audit" at the Faculty of Economics of Voronezh State University Yevgeny Gavrilov told us about studies at the Faculty of Economics, advantages of fundamental education and his first steps in his career. At the moment he is the financial director at Da You Business Consulting. He has been working for ten years as a financial director and a team leader in such companies as Belgorodsky khladkombinat, group of companies OSNOVA, Accent Development, KOPEIKA and others. He knows for sure that the best work is the one that makes you totally absorbed in it. His recipe for professional happiness is challenging tasks, a team of like-minded people and absolute dedication to your job.
'My family influenced me greatly in my choice of educational institution and speciality. I was thinking about entering Police School and the Law Faculty but as a result I became a student of the Faculty of Economics of Voronezh State University and in the very first year I understood that it is exactly what I needed: it was interesting to study and I really enjoyed it'.
The university teaches you to take a stand and it is a very important skill!
'I believe that you have to take part at least in the local university conferences and publish articles. I understood what advantages it brings when I was in the first year and was giving my first public talk. It was not as sophisticated as I wished but it gave me a chance to dispute with knowledgeable people. It taught me to prove my opinion without offending my opponent. Later my articles, public speech experience and student activist experience gave me a chance to get a Vladimir Potanin Scholarship which, I think, was a very important step in my university life'.
Student + activist: it is not only possible to combine both roles - it is absolutely necessary.
'In the first year I took part in the "First Year Student" festival and then continued to help organising it. Several times I won the nominations "Best Special Genre Performance" and "Best monologue". There are a lot of advantages in being an activist and it does not interfere with your studies. You always have free time and if you can't find it for student activities you still waste it on something else. And if you want to study well - nothing can prevent it! Getting ready for festivals gives you a chance to reveal your leadership skills and ability to work in a team. It teaches you not just to see a problem but to solve it in a very short period of time, to engage various people in finding creative ideas, to take the responsibility and be responsible for the result. You should understand that these qualities together with competences and deep knowledge in a subject have led many people to success. Another important advantage of being a student activist is the first experience of building your social network and this skill is very important in life'.
Doing a master's degree does not prevent you from working.
'I started working when I was doing the first year of my master's degree. I will admit that it was much more difficult to find free time then. It wasn't easy: I had to miss classes and study some subjects on my own. Nevertheless, combining studies with work gave me a chance to see the information I got at the university in an absolutely new aspect – I tried to apply the theoretical knowledge at my workplace when solving problems that I came across in the work process. Half of my master's degree dissertation was dedicated to practical issues – I described discoveries that I had made at my work place'.
Don't be afraid of taking responsibility!
'Every day you do what you have to do and you do it well and your employer starts thinking highly of you. But if it happens, that your company faces a new task that requires an unusual approach, this is your chance to show your leadership skills, creativity and ability to see the problem as a whole. Usually new tasks appear at the confluence of two disciplines and you have to join together efforts of specialists with different competencies and you also have to speak their language and set local tasks for them. Judging by my experience, this is exactly the moment when you can use everything you learnt as a student activist'.
There is always demand for good specialists.
'Vladimir Eytington said that the modern world has so many innovations that you can't choose a speciality and hope to work in it in five years time. Everything changes too quickly, you can only choose a direction and then deepen your knowledge in this area. You shouldn't be afraid of the fact that education does not determine you profession. On the other hand, the more you climb up the career ladder, the more important your fundamental knowledge in the area is. When I entered the Economic Faculty I heard many times that nobody needs so many economists because every year about 15 thousand students graduate from faculties of economics. I heard this when I graduated and I still hear it. And every time life proves it wrong – today, just as many years ago, it's not an easy task to find a good economist, and they are always in demand. What's more, you have to be an interesting and devoted person who can spark their team. For example, when I started working I understood that I have features of character suitable for a project manager (I did not know it when I studied at university). I needed a challenging task that I could study, then invent a solution and encourage people to work on it. I find routine boring and that is why I can not work effectively following the same smoothly-running process. I like violating standards, destroying traditions and building new models. Then I pass the model to the specialists who enjoy stabilising and enhancing processes. Your features of character are very important for any activity.'
A wide network of people you know is a great resource for finding answers to difficult questions.
'To be successful you have to meet new people, keep in touch with them and be able to formulate your questions. It is not difficult to practise these skills today. It only takes about five minutes to find the right person now, whereas in the past it could take quite a lot of time to think where exactly you could find them and then how you could get in touch with them. Social networks have made everything much easier. Now you can ask your question to top managers, specialists and experts in various areas in various social networks, you only need to formulate your request correctly. Most of the people you write to will answer your question, will help you with advice, will give you a link or will share resources. You can’t know everything. Your ability to find an expert and formulate a question you want to ask them so that you could get the answer that would help you is, without a doubt, the most important skill. Ability to build social networks of useful people can compensate for a lack of knowledge.'
'Since my childhood I have always been interested in things, I have always wanted to learn more than I was told. I was propelled by curiosity. Possibly, that is one of the reasons why I have never been looking for a job it has always found me. People learnt about me and got in touch with me. It is not an easy thing to learn, it is rather a gift, but I think if you wish you can develop it. I recommend you to be interested in everything that is happening around you, at least within your speciality. When you have enough information it is quite easy to take a decision. News aggregators, interest groups in social networks can help you a lot – be in the swim, read blogs because they are usually dedicated to the most recent news. If you know everything in this or that area it is easy for you to find a solution to a problem. Read from different resources, check if what you are learning now is highly valued, if somebody finds it useful. Read foreign resources because some materials are not translated and those that give the best answer about a new thing are usually in English.’
Comfortable life or successful career – make up your mind what is more important for you!
'Today you have to be ready to move. Mobility is very important. Some people believe that everything has to be provided for: if they wake up and don't get everything here and now they try to find whose fault it is. If you ask them about their job they would say that it is too difficult to find a job and the salary is very low. I would ask them if they checked vacancies in Siberia, in the Urals and they would say they didn't. Specialists are always in demand there and salaries are quite high. You have to sacrifice something – either comfort, or work. If you are lucky to avoid this choice, it's great. I believe I am one of such lucky people as the distance between Moscow and Voronezh is not that big.'
Be confident about what you are doing.
'When you are young, don’t be afraid of anything. Young people are easily forgiven - take risks, try new things, fail and analyse. Look for a place where you will get a chance to do something and show initiative. You will get a lot from it. As a rule, these are small companies or small departments in bigger companies that are involved in inventing or changing things. You have to believe in what you are doing and are sure that it is highly useful. It means that you have to dispute with yourself, suggest things and reject them, then your idea will become more solid.'
Don't look for a high salary!
'You shouldn't look for a high salary. I earned little at the beginning of my career because experience was more important to me. And it bore fruit. You can increase your income steadily or you can start very low and in a twinkle of an eye overtake those who earned more than you from the very start of their career. Do not be afraid of looking for experience in any company, just offer to work for free for some time just to get experience. It will be hard for the employer to reject. Moreover, such an approach to your first job will release the pressure from your boss and influential employees – financially, you will not depend on the company you work for. And more importantly, when you start working for another company you will have experience that you have gained and this will increase your competitiveness on the labour market'.
Good communicative skills, curiosity and fundamental knowledge in Economics formed the base that helped Yevgeny Gavrilov find his speciality and become successful in it. His advice is based on his personal experience and we hope that someone will find it useful when taking serious decisions in their life.