International College of Economics and Finance

“What distinguishes a good university is the alumni”

In March ICEF Assistant Professor Kosmas Marinakis presented a 2-Lecture Course on professionalism for ICEF students. In this interview he talks about the course objectives.

Kosmas, why did you decide to design a course on professionalism?

Well, no one asked me to do it. This is the second course; I had one on public speaking last year. I have given this course for three consequent years. It started after I had attended some students’ presentations. Few of them were very good but most of them were horrible: students made mistakes; they didn't know how to present. When I studied in the United States, we had some courses where they gave us some information on how to do everyday business things. One of them was how to present your work for the audience. This is a skill that everyone who works in the sphere of economics and finance should be able to have in a decent way so I have designed a course that students could take and that could make them better presenters.

The professionalism course that we had this year is a new one. It started with some discussions that I had with recruiting companies (big companies that I consulted). They told me that our students are very good and they know the material very well but they sometimes don't have the professional ethics. It was a course to make them understand how they should behave, how they should present themselves, and what the professional behaviour is, and what to do in order to succeed in their professional duties. We taught them everything, from how to prepare their documents, their CV, their cover letters, we taught them how to present themselves on interviews, and how they should behave in the workplace as some things are acceptable and some are not.

Was it the course for ICEF students only?

It was organized by ICEF but was open to everyone. We had the full lecture hall: lots of people from the Faculty of Economic Sciences, Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, from different departments, and lots of people that are not affiliated with the university at all.

Was it your first attempt to make such a course?

It was a first time here, in Russia. When I was teaching in the USA at a business school we had organizations that were doing all this stuff. We are university so this professional training should be very important for us. Many our students go to the industry, I guess and what distinguishes a good university is the alumni, how they act in a company. In the long run our alumni will be recognized as those who have this particular training. This is extremely important because it makes our candidates more valuable for the industry and makes our degree more valuable for the candidate.

You have been working at ICEF for six years now. Are there any specific issues of being a professional in Russia?

They are. That is a very good question, actually. We tried to cover that in the course. First of all, being polite is very important. Politeness is different in Russia than it is in the United States and in Europe. Many our students will work in international companies abroad, so we have to explain them the difference. For example you have to smile on an interview in the United States. In Europe too, but probably less than in the USA, and in Russia if you smile too much it may look strange. There are some issues that we tried to cover.

What course are you going to teach next?

Right now we do not have another one. We might have a course on time-management, perhaps. Or we might have public speaking course again because public speaking helps our students present better so they have better placement. But my goal is not to have a short course as it used to be but to organize a professional development course, so the students can have everything they need from there and they will have to take this course on their last year of studies or maybe earlier. We will teach them public speaking, professional ethics, we will teach them how to get ready for the job market.

And what about leadership?

Leadership is the part of professionalism but there are some limits. No one hires a student in the beginning to be a leader. Leadership is something that comes later. But of course leadership abilities and team player qualities are very important. We should think about making our students better candidates for the job market, this will give our university a trade mark: if you are from ICEF you are more valuable for the companies. And this is not difficult because our students are very good, I really believe in our students as we have an amazing luck to take the best students from an entire smart nation because Russians are very good in math, in literature, and very intelligent in general. We have the honour to have the best of them. If we train them right we can be the leaders of the future.

Anton Galeev, ICEF student

When one sees poster advertising a seminar on public speaking or professionalism you might become skeptical about the content. However, the courses presented by Prof. Kosmas Marinakis is a completely different story.

I have participated in a course on public speaking and on professionalism. In my opinion Prof. Markinakis is an expert in those areas and the seminars only prove it. The last seminar on professionalism was different from all other career events. In the first section of the course the lecturer suggested a strategy to succeed in the interviews and guided through the process of CV creation. His lecture was supported by the head of HR department of BCG. However, the second part of the course was the most interesting. Prof. Marinakis using various examples inspired the audience to become professionals. The goal of the whole lecture was to motivate the students and give them grounds for further self-improvement.

Overall, I personally think that the courses taught me a lot. I would recommend everyone to participate in the next event by Prof. Marinakis as he will give you the best information possible in two hours time.

Lisa Moskalkova, ICEF student

I decided to participate in the course, because it was particularly interesting for me to know what qualities make people successful and how to include those qualities to my daily life to become a professional in everything I do. In addition, I am already a student of Industrial Economics course by professor Marinakis and his lectures are always very engaging and thought-provoking, which also contributed to my decision to attend the course.

First of all, the course was very motivating and filled with interesting real-life examples on what anyone can do to become successful. Also the lectures were told in a very entertaining manner. The material provided is very applicable not only to working environment, but also to personal life.

Secondly, there was a lot of very useful professional advice on how to make yourself an attractive applicant, communicate with potential employers and be convincing. A lot of the recommendations were unique. The information that we were told is not easily found anywhere else.

Finally, I can definitely recommend this course to anyone who wants to enhance his professional skills and be successful in life.

Nikita Krylnikov, for ICEF HSE