International College of Economics and Finance

"Universities should be more perceptive to students’ needs"

"Universities should be more perceptive to students’ needs"

Dmitry Dorokhin earned his bachelor’s from ICEF in 2018. Currently a project manager at SBER Engineering Services, here’s why Dmitry believes one’s choice of career can dominate the choice of school, why cheating is now seen as a thing outdated, and what teaching experience can reveal about the students of HSE.

Why I chose my university

I was focused on two things when choosing a university – top quality finance courses and everyday challenges to be faced. I knew back then that my dream career was in the finance industry. With a double-degree programme, excellent teachers with international experience from different countries, instruction in English and, most importantly, interesting courses, ICEF seemed a good fit for my academic background. I have always wanted to study capital markets and portfolio management, and ICEF turned out just the right place.

By the time I graduated, I knew exactly where I wanted to work at. My first internship was with SBER. I got the understanding of how things really work at banks soon after I got there – the experience completely different from what we learn from textbooks – I was absolutely amazed at the multitude of processes to be tuned up so that the whole thing could work smoothly. I rather saw it as a challenge to be tackled by going deeper into all those different processes, not as a deterring factor. In my workplace, I benefit greatly from the academic knowledge I received at ICEF. It comes in handy in many situations. I can therefore say that in my case it was my choice of career that had led me to choose ICEF, not the reverse.

What makes the people of ICEF special

I liked studying at ICEF mostly because of its environment. This is an environment dominated by warm, friendly relations among students and faculty. We were invited to join workshops, case championships and informal gatherings, where we generated cool ideas and some of them even evolved into full-fledged projects. I would describe the ICEF community as very cohesive. Some of the tasks we were given to prepare for our exams involved distribution of responsibilities and team building skills – something that we all eventually benefitted from.

How I got hired by SBER

Since I started out as an intern, landing a job didn’t take long. I searched for vacancies on the bank’s open HR platform and responded to one job posting that marked the starting point in my career journey at SBER. My internship ended with a full-time job and I started moving up the ladder.

When it comes to the banking industry’s perception of ICEF, its graduates are definitely some of the most desired candidates

As in any major company, the first thing to be done is study the internal regulations. Next, you can turn to your colleagues for best practices and ways to optimize the internal business processes. Having studied the basics of Sbergile in parallel, I focused on my IT competencies and started my own project to improve banking support of government contracts. After a month of hard work, my unit have achieved its goal and we were able to start another project, working faster and more effectively. Thanks to SBER’s unique organizational design, I got promoted to my current post as head of projects at SBER Engineering Services Office.

Why teaching can be a useful experience

The thinking behind my decision to start teaching at HSE was simple: for me it was a way to stay current with the knowledge I received during my years of study. I had no time for revising it on my own, so I found a better way – I started passing this knowledge into students verbally.

While designing my corporate finance course, I realized there were a lot of things to be considered that never occurred to be while a student. Each class had to be designed cohesively, with tasks covering everything that had to be covered, with adequately distributed portions of information for completing the tasks, and in a manner that aroused interest. All these things had led me to focus on my second goal – to discover a different side of myself. I was receiving feedback from my students that I used for improving my assignments and to make sure that my classes weren’t boring. I wanted my students to be totally absorbed. And judging by the students’ end-of-course reviews, I have succeeded. Once I was through with improving my course, I realized there were a lot of things that were somehow neglected within the education system at HSE and that we should be more responsive to what students notice.

What students view as important

As someone with university teacher’s experience, I have three major takeaways to share. The first is that studying from home is a waste of effort. An online degree, unless it’s coding, is a pseudo-degree, because learning is about communication, joint training and face-to-face exchanges.

My second takeaway is promote diversity of lived experience. 

Just following professors’ lectures can be boring. It is more productive to have students interact with young professionals who share their spirit

Many professors tend to limit lecturing to reciting their printed notes. To students who seek knowledge of cryptocurrencies and blockchains, the attendance of a lecture delivered by someone who is schooled in paper money and bills of exchange will always be in vain.

And my third major takeaway is there is always a benefit from understanding students’ learning needs. Technologies do not stand still, and those is education are progressing. We all want to be smarter, faster and more technologically advanced. Cheating is seen as outdated, it’s much more productive to get to the core of the matters. Cultivate in students the responsibility and attentiveness by creating online boards to receive feedback from those who wish to remain anonymous, create channels in messengers, add students to meetings so that they receive reminders, etc. It’s important that the teachers are there, assisting their students personally. While harder-working students tend to seek response from teachers, their less hardworking peers often choose to advantage from their aptitudes, which isn’t fair.