Voronezh State University is proud of its graduates who work in various spheres and make their contribution to the development of the Voronezh Region. They are ambitious, hard-working and determined to move up the career ladder. This time Nikolai Yurasev, a graduate of the Faculty of International Relations (2011), and chief financial officer of the OA Additive Manufacturing, told his story of success.
From learning languages to choosing the career
– Thanks to my parents, I started learning English at a very early age – I was about 2 or 3 years old – and by the time I started school, I could speak English well enough. Of course, everyone in school noticed this – both the teachers and my classmates – as in the Kamchatka Region, where we lived then, learning foreign languages was not very common. I kept learning English, attending language courses and taking private lessons, and by the time I was in the 5th form, I knew I wanted to be an ambassador. I believed I had all the chances (knowing English as good as I did). Then, I changed my mind a bit. There was then one popular game – caps, and I was selling caps to other guys. At that time, some relatives of ours made quite a success in business, and in my mind money and economics became interconnected. In the 7th form, I decided to become an economist and started thinking about which faculty to choose. First, I wanted to enter the Faculty of Economics, but my father advised me to choose the Faculty of International Relations as it was a good chance to learn economics and foreign languages at the same time. So I enrolled in the Faculty of International Relations.
Being a first-year student, I enrolled on the Spanish course, as I wanted to speak three foreign languages. I chose French as my second foreign language, but it was not a success, so I changed it to Spanish, as I had no problems with this one.
I started my career at OOO Voronezhselmash as a manager for international development. In 2008, I – as an English-speaking employee – was assigned to work on the "India" project. It was a year of Indian-Russian partnership, and the Russian government was going to hold a joint expo in Delhi and a presentation in Kolkata. OOO Voronezhselmash was one of the participants of those events on behalf of the Voronezh region. My task was to coordinate our communication with other Russian organisations, analyse the market for farm machinery in India, search for useful contacts, and invite representatives of the Indian companies that could have been interested in our products. I worked for half a year preparing for the expo, but two weeks before the event the economic crisis began and the project was withdrawn. I was a student then, so I got sacked "until better times". A year later, the company began collaborating with Argentina, and I was invited - as a Spanish-speaking employee, which meant better salary. I kept learning Spanish for a year and a half after my graduation from the university.
Today I am the chief financial officer of the OA Additive Manufacturing, one of the Voronezhselmash companies that specialises in industrial 3D printing and designing 3D printers. I worked in seven different positions to get here. Career progression requires not just your knowledge – although it is very important – but also hard work, initiative and willingness to take responsibility. Of course, the knowledge and skills I acquired at VSU help me a lot, but I still have to learn many things myself in order to complete some projects and reach the set goals.
Everyone has their own recipe for success, which means there is no one answer in fact. For me personally, a good manager is, first of all, a good worker, a good executive. When you work as an employee and do what you are told, you learn discipline. The tasks you get may be dull or difficult, but you still have to do them. A good manager knows his company, knows how it works, from the inside. This happens when you go through various career stages in a single company, as I did. You've got to listen to your employees, understand what they want and what their motives are in order to run the company successfully. I know some good managers. Each of them has their own methods, but there is one common thing about them - they all have a strong spine and they are first-class professionals. Don't be afraid to stick to your point of view. But try to prove it; try to find arguments to persuade others and to be sure yourself.
Having a good teacher is also a huge part of success. These people become an example for us, they do not only give knowledge, they set an example of behaviour in various, often difficult, situations. For me such a teacher is Ekaterina Petrovna Tsebekova, the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of International Relations. I still keep in touch with her.
– I believe that continued education is of no less importance than the one you get at the university. Provided that you've made the right choice. I've done quite a number of different courses and master-classes, and I keep learning all the time. This year, I enrolled on the extramural postgraduate programme at the Faculty of Economics. The university programmes give you deep theoretical knowledge that you definitely need for your work in various organisations, but they are not the basic things. A lot depends on your communication skills and knowledge of psychology. And these are the things you can and should learn yourself.
How to choose your future career
– My advice would be to access your skills and your ambitions as early as possible, before you graduate. Then you need to choose the direction, and finally, the position to start your career with. Good positions usually go to people with a good profile showing they are ready to solve problems. The more complex these problems are and the larger their number, the more career opportunities you will have. The chance of getting everything at once is very slim, it's like winning a lottery, so you need to be ready to work hard and plan your time carefully in order to reach your objectives.
And you need to like your job. If you get up in the morning and understand that you don't want to go to work, you've chosen the wrong profession. As for some special skills, my advice is to study science. It is also good to get a job where you will work with technical specialists and scientists. Structuring your work and applying logic, you will gain a huge advantage over your colleagues specialising in humanities only.