Archive for the ‘News’ Category


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!


Why is the question that has been crossing my mind since arriving in Madrid, Spain

Written on October 11, 2013 by MRCB Staff & Students in News

Why is the question that has been crossing my mind since arriving in Madrid, Spain to be a part of the Master in Market Research and Consumer Behavior (MRCB).MCC MVM MRCB OPEN 2013 102

Why didn’t I do this sooner?
Why did it take me so long to get here?

There are so many reasons that I’ve used to talk myself out of this in the past:

1)     It’s expensive. What happens when the exchange rate doesn’t go my way?

2)     I work in finance. How do I apply this to market research?

3)     I have been out of school for a few years. Do I even know how to study anymore?

4)     I don’t have any ties in Europe. Will I be lonely?

5)     It’s a big change. Can I handle it?


I’m sure that if you’re reading this you’re also having some of the same circular frenzy going around in your mind.

Let me be the first to dispel all of your worries one-by-one.

First and foremost, this opportunity is an investment in yourself – your future. As cliché as it sounds, if you set your mind to it, then you will find a way to make this happen. I did a lot of research into other schools with comparable programs. There were a few one-year programs in the United States that would have been around $80,000, including all expenses for the year. Depending on the fluctuation of the dollar/euro conversion, you’re going to end up paying less for an education abroad, even when you include living expenses.

There are also the intangible assets – the things that money cannot buy – that come along with being a part of a program with an international scope. A new language, a new culture and a new way of thinking surround you. I can already feel myself being molded by the experiences that I’ve had in Madrid. You truly have the world at your fingertips. All you have to do is take a look at the people in your classroom, and you can feel that the world becomes a little bit smaller and everyone more interconnected.

Before coming to Madrid, I worked in the financial industry. My role was to create marketing materials – brochures and website content – as well as maintain a rapport with clients. I considered myself a brand manager of sorts. Now, how does all of this relate to market research? It took me a while to see how my piece fit into the puzzle. Once I really broke down the components of my job, I began to see how a lot of what I was doing was actually market research. I was looking for relevant articles for clients to keep them informed on market trends and outlooks. With each event that we held, I was creating follow-up emails with questionnaires to benchmark client engagement and loyalty. It was my job to maintain the customer-centric image of the group and stay two steps ahead of other financial teams. That requires a lot of research on current markets as well as potential markets. I know that with this program, my notion of what a typical market research analyst is was challenged. You’ll come to find that market research professional doesn’t fit into a specific mold – we take on many forms and wear many different hats.

Another major concern of mine was figuring out how to get back into the swing of being a student again. I completed my undergraduate coursework a few years ago and have convinced myself that I have lost the kind of discipline it takes to study and prepare for tests and major projects. However, I have to give myself some credit. I have been in the working world for two years and working odd hours in finance. It’s almost like I never left college – late nights working on prospectus plans and cramming for a presentation the next day. It’s easy to tell yourself that you’ve lost your “mojo,” but I don’t think it ever truly disappears, especially if you’ve been working in a position with strict deadlines. Your life hasn’t changed much. You’re actually still operating your life under a similar structure. The transition back into academia will not be easy, but it’s certainly nothing to be afraid of.

Transitioning from work to student is not the only major change that you’ll be going through. You’ll also be leaving friends, family and everything that gives you a sense of home. Just having gone through this transition myself, I can tell you that it was one of the hardest things that I have ever done. However, in being here for the past 2 months, I’ve found that I have a bigger support system than I ever knew. It’s amazing what kind of passion you tap into with other people when you take a chance of this magnitude. You’re not only living out your dreams, but you’re giving others a chance to vicariously live theirs through you as you begin this amazing journey of self-discovery in the MRCB program.

There will be days when you miss home and just need a touch of something familiar. That’s when you find you become closer to your classmates, because we are all in the same boat. Those are the moments when you remember why you’re here and become excited about what the future holds for you.

We are being given the chance to do something that so few people allow themselves the opportunity to experience. We have a chance to pursue a road less traveled and to take our future in our own hands.

By: Cassie Hoz ’14, USA


10 Happiest Cities in the World -Madrid #6!

Written on June 18, 2013 by MRCB Staff & Students in News, Student Life


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