Career Story: Svetlana Prusova, FESCO Transportation Group

May 01, 2017

Professional MBA Project Management student

What stages in your life have had the greatest impact on you and why?

  • The time I worked for one of the leading Telecommunication companies in Russia – VimpelCom – as a communication manager in the external and government relations department. This brought into my life a number of interesting projects and challenges in different parts of the world including Zimbabwe, Algeria, Vietnam and Cambodia (exotic destinations for a European citizen). This time was fundamental for my further professional development.
  • WU Executive Academy MBA – this time period has been very helpful in terms of structuring my experience, gaining new knowledge, growing personally and professionally.

Did you originally want to pursue a different career? If so, what made you change your plans? Initially I wanted to work for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as I considered the work of a diplomat as a very exciting and noble job. After I graduated from the Moscow state linguistic university I started working for an international business environment and enjoyed it. In my current position I have the chance to combine my work with state organizations' duties, including those organizations in other countries which represent the business sector. At the same time, I grow personally by traveling and meeting people from different cultures. So, I think in my current career I am very close to my initial dream. How and why did you come to work for FESCO Transportation Group? They say it’s the people we hardly know, who will improve our lives most dramatically. My candidacy for a business assistant to the CEO of Summa Group (a Russia-based holding, which comprises among other companies FESCO Transportation Group) was suggested to its HR department 5 years ago by a former colleague of mine, who I didn’t actually collaborate much with. After some rounds of interviews and tests I joined Summa Group Holding. During these 5 years, my career within the holding has been actively developing, and currently I hold a position of Head of External and Government Relations in FESCO. What has changed in your career as a result of your MBA degree? Besides the obvious values of the MBA, such as new knowledge, exchange of experience with professors and other students, learnings from the trips to leading Austrian companies (e.g. OMV, Voestalpine, Audi Hungaria, and Frequentis) the program also changed my approach to work.

It helped me structure my work better by applying more project management tools in my daily work. My studies in Vienna took place at the same time as an important professional promotion, which I think is not quite a coincidence; because at the time I was promoted, the WU Executive Academy MBA program had played an important role in preparing me to take more responsibility for my own results and the results of the employees, who work under my supervision. What was your biggest professional/personal success? I think so far my biggest professional success has been the establishment of the department for Government Relations in FESCO Transportation Group from scratch and leading it. This has contributed significantly to the company’s business and has proved to be a successful internal project. Personally, I am proud of myself (and actually of everyone who decides to do an MBA while working) for finding the right work-study-life balance during this rather stressful, but at the same time, very exciting time. What are your goals for the coming year? Your goals in general? Is there still something you absolutely want to do? For the coming year I am very much looking forward to WU Executive Academy's field trip to the USA, which will be my first visit to this country. I am also eager to complete my master thesis successfully. Professionally, I am definitely very much geared towards attracting new, interesting and profitable projects for FESCO and successfully carrying out the current ones by applying the knowledge I gained during the MBA program in my daily work. Rob Hill Sr. once said, “my goal is to build a life I don’t need a vacation from.” I would apply this goal to my life as well; it definitely includes a perfect combination of professional success and personal achievements. What do you consider a “great luxury”? Long hours of sleep and time you spend with your family and friends What was the last book/movie you really enjoyed? ‘Speeches that changed the world’ by Simon Sebag Motefiore ‘Empire of Sun’ by Steven Spielberg How would you characterize your philosophy of leadership? Has it been influenced by a leadership role-model? I believe in leadership that brings results. I also think that empowerment and granting people more responsibility than they expect - and letting them grow and develop by doing so – are very important aspects of such leadership. How do you recharge your batteries when you are not pursuing your demanding career? I do sports on regular basis and organize “weekends away” from time to time. If you could change places with anyone for a day, who would it be? It would be interesting to change places with someone like Larry King or Piers Morgan and invite a successful and famous entrepreneur to a conversation on a similar TV show. That would allow me to learn her or his experience and life principles, which helped them achieve success and I could consider applying them in my life as well. Why would you recommend the Professional MBA of the WU Executive Academy? What did you like the most? I would describe my recommendation by applying the term S.M.A.R.T (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely), which we learned during our project management specialization when setting objectives for the training project we were involved with, however, I would use a different interpretation. I would say that the Professional MBA Program at the WU Executive Academy helped me to become more Successful, Mature, Advanced, Result-oriented and Trained, and thus SMARTer. I also think that when it comes to the project management specialization it was very important to choose the right training projects to work on during the modules. This definitely allowed us to apply most of the project management methods and tools and make most of the course. And of course I enjoyed the visits to the leading Austrian companies; it was a very useful experience in terms of learning the best practices of applying project management tools and finding the way to transfer them into the environment I am currently working in.


My motto in life:
Do your best and the rest will follow.
I can laugh about:
Shortcomings I am most likely willing to overlook:
Behavioral shortcomings which we all have.
I would spend my last money on:
In 20 years, I will:
Be sharing my success factors, expertise and knowledge with those who are just starting their careers.

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