How I Got My Dream Job Thanks to IE

Written on January 27, 2015 by MRCB Staff & Students in Careers in Market Research & Consumer Behavior, News

Speaking with Svetlana Aristarkhova, you can’t help noticing the shine in her eyes when she is talking about her job at Gazprom Neft and her studies at IE. She says that she found her dream job and is doing exactly what she was always dreaming about. She also adds that the Master in Market Research and Consumer Behaviour from IE Business School was the stepping stone to her current position and prepared her well for her everyday work.
svetlana aristarkhova

Svetlana, would you tell us more about your job at Gazprom Neft and your responsibilities?

I am leading specialist in Advertising and Promotion department of Gazprom Neft, the fourth largest oil producer in Russia. More specifically, I support corporate sales in the B2B sector.

My position formally belongs to the marketing department, but since our division is still quite young, I was the very first person joining the marketing department and thus have very broad responsibilities. And I love it! Apart from my direct responsibilities, such as developing and implementing advertising strategy, placing adverts, etc., I am directly involved in the strategy and product development. Additionally, I have nine geographical divisions under my supervision, and it makes my job very diverse and never boring! Of course, being the only one in the department means having to deal with the whole workload all by my own, but it is also extremely interesting and makes my brain work non stop.


That sounds great! How did you land this job and what other career paths did you consider after the graduation?

In April this year, while still studying at IE, I sent my CV to Gazprom Neft, had three interviews in total, and when I came back to Saint Petersburg in July, I received a call from the HR manager who invited me to join their team.

Apart from Gazprom Neft, I had several interviews with a leading marketing agency in Moscow, a Swiss luxury brand, a large multinational company and was even considering joining a Spanish startup. But I decided to accept the Gazpom’s offer and never regretted it!

I must say that I began searching for a job very early on – two months after the program’s start. Now, looking back, I think it was too early, and the best time to start sending out resume is approximately two months before the end of the program.


During your communication with Gazprom Neft and other companies, did you have a feeling that IE’s name has a special value? 

Definitely!  For instance, during my interview with the general director, we were talking extensively about the projects I was doing at IE, especially in the B2B sector, and he was quite impressed. He also appreciated the European experience and outlook that I would bring with into the company. Gazpom Neft was built using the best European practices, and so they appreciate having people who share the same values. Also, thanks to my experience and knowledge I gained at IE, I was offered a higher position than initially searched for. So, IE played a very important role in my job search and consecutive employment.


And you yourself, how do you evaluate the knowledge and skills that you gained at IE? Did they prove useful for your day-to-day work?

More than that! Our program was very practice-oriented and well-rounded. It was split into three trimesters, each covering a particular area of market research and consumer behaviour.  During the first trimester, we learned about psychology, in general terms as well as the market and consumer psychology. This trimester was particularly focused on qualitative research.
Then, during the second trimester, we looked at the quantitative research tools and had many statistics classes. And finally, during the third trimester, we had classes that dealt with marketing, management and branding. In total, we had more than 30 disciplines that covered everything around market research and consumer behaviour, which allowed us to get a great insight into our area of expertise.

In addition, at IE I gained invaluable communication experience and exposure to many different cultures. In my class alone, we had people from 37 different countries. It was such an incredible experience! Already in the morning, you received the latest updates from the all over the world just by saying “Hi” to people. If you wanted to better understand some happenings in other parts of the world, you simply had to come up to a person from that country and speak with him or her.

Also, we had an enormous workload at IE and were working on many different projects simultaneously, which required stress resistance and time management. And these are exactly the skills that help me succeed in my everyday work. With so many responsibilities and tight deadlines to manage, I am able to cope it only thanks to my experience at IE.


We haven’t yet discussed why you chose IE in the first place. What brought you to the school?

During my fourth year at the university, I went to France for one academic year, and there I had many Spanish friends. I enjoyed being around them, listening to their language and getting infected with their cheerfulness and positive attitude to life. Funny that while in France I fell in love with Spain and decided that I definitely had to explore that country one day.

As I was approaching the graduation at my university in Russia, I knew I wanted to do a master degree in marketing, and it should be in Spain. So I went to a fair featuring leading universities, noticed the IE booth, talked with the school representative, undertook my research on the program, liked it a lot and applied!


And now that you are almost half a year away from IE, what are you missing most?

I am especially missing diversity that the school is so famous for. Talking to people of different backgrounds is so enriching! Also, I am very much missing that unstoppable flow of information that we were exposed to at IE. I basically had no free second, the brain was working all the time. It was difficult but at the same time so incredibly interesting! And of course I am missing my former classmates. They made the year at IE unforgettable!


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