Student Profile

Igor Dmitriev

Head of Mortgage Products, Marketing and Digital Business, Rosbank, Moscow, Russia

Igor Dmitriev

Meredith Volker, program coordinator of the Engineering Management program, sat down with Igor Dmitriev, a current student in the Engineering Management program, to discuss his thought process about going back to school, learning online and some tips for current and future students.

Meredith: I am happy to introduce Igor Dmitriev, a student in UB’s Engineering Management program.  Igor is going to talk about himself, some of the things he considered before returning to school, and some advice for those considering graduate study.

Igor, can talk about your work?

Igor: Thank you, Meredith. Currently I am head of Mortgage Products, Marketing and Digital Business at Rosbank, a Russian affiliate of the worldwide banking group "Societe Generale". I have more than 13 years of experience in banking and more than 18 years of total work experience. My current role at the company involves leading digital and development projects and project development. Another element of my role is both digital and traditional marketing for the Mortgage and Real Estate Ecosystem Business Line. My previous degree is in Informatics and Economics at Saint-Petersburg State University of Engineering and Economics, Russia.

Meredith: Tell me why you decided to go back to school after you'd completed your first masters degree?

Igor: It's a great question! My previous education was technically-based, with a focus on system analysis. And during my career, I started to feel a gap in my fundamental knowledge about business process development and general management. I completed several courses on online platforms, but it was not enough for rebuilding of my knowledge base.

Meredith: Can you talk about your professional background and how that fits with Engineering Management Program?

Igor: Yes, my first idea was looking for an MBA program. But I decided that this will be the next step of my learning path. The name of the program "Engineering Management" at first, was unclear for me as foreign student - literally I understood it as "Industrial Engineering" only. But when I analyzed the list of courses, I understood that the meaning of "Engineering Management" is wider and deeper. It means management of process, technical development, human, technical and any other resources management, and project management. Also, the program includes amazing Lean Management and 6 sigma courses, which are focused on process engineering. I understood that Engineering Management is what I was looking for. As you can see in my profile, I am not just business or technical leader, I work in two dimensions. And I need deep knowledge in business, process management and IT. And I decided that the Engineering Management program will be the best platform for my education in the field of process development as well as technical and organization management. And as a next step, an MBA will allow me to better monetize strong technical and process platforms, which I will be able to develop with my new E.M. skills.

Meredith: How does the E.M. program fits with work at Bank, or FinTech, or at IT or Digital Projects Development?

Igor: It was my deep insight! Currently I’ve completed five courses "Engineering Management I, II", "Lean Enterprise", "Production Planning and Control" and "Quality assurance". At first, the professors give us a lot of examples from different industries, not only manufacturing, but also service industries, finance, retail, military, and also several examples from the banking industry. Second – my professors have allowed me to use my industry for preparing course projects. And it was very interesting, for example, in the course "Lean Management" to receive comments from Dr. Casucci regarding my project work about the redesign of credit process at bank. And, last but not least, it was very interesting to see how similar management and organizational problems are to the banking, software development, and manufacturing industries. The process of management, resource planning, lean management, and process building often the same. Even more, examples from different industries were more useful, for me, than examples from my industry, because some process which are usual for manufacturing are new for bank.

Meredith: Did you use your new knowledge at your work?

Igor: Yes, for example currently we are discussing "One takt time" is based on my knowledge from the Lean Enterprise course.

Meredith: Ok, but why UB?

Igor: I was looking for University with long history, good feedback from students, membership in a famous association, an interesting program and courses, and with the ability to study with a fully online option. I was looking for a University, that I can be proud of. UB, which was founded in 1846. UB, as a part of Association of American Universities and State University of New York, is a respected and famous organization.

Meredith: You told me about looking for ability to study online. Why you decided to choose that option. Which common misconceptions you can identify about digital learning?

Igor: Yes, I also had a lot of fears about my ability to learn.  I have a list

  1.  Is it possible to study in a   Masters Degree program if you work hard at a full-time job and you have family with kids? Is it possible to find a program with enough flexibility to accommodate my inflexible schedule/obligations?: This was my basic question. Because I work more than 50 hours each week, and I am unable to attend lectures at strict times. Because of this, the online version of the masters program was the best option for me. Because I can decide how many courses per semester I need to take. With my experience (for me, as a non-native English speaker), I spent 10-15 hours for 1 course each week. Currently, I take 2 courses each semester, including the summer semester, and I am going to finish my program in 2 years. When you study online, you have mandatory deadlines for taking exams and work, but you are able to choose any time and place to complete the work.
  2. An online program is not real and hard-working education: Oh, no, please trust me or ask my wife. We are working very hard: lessons, lectures, materials, and tasks. It is the same degree as the on-campus program. And our diplomas will be the same.
  3. An online program does not allow you to feel the real University experience: False. If you able to study on-campus, I agree it's the best option. But in my case as a foreign student with an inflexible schedule - online learning is the only option. We study in groups which combine on-campus and online students, we are able to attend live lectures on campus and speak with professors and other students, we work in groups to prepare cases and course projects, we are able to speak with professors in office hours, and we study based on the same materials and books. And even more, I will be able to attend graduation.
  4. If you study online, you will be unable to make friends and build useful contacts for your career: As I said, in our classes we need to work in groups, and attend to live sections. In our groups also we use chats, video calls and phone calls for collaboration. In my first year, I met a lot of interesting and good people – both my class-mates and my professors. For example, one of my best my friends is Thomas Ryan, an experienced engineer, a wise person, a patriot, and a father of several beautiful children. I also had the experience to work in groups with students from different countries and cultures, and that opportunity give me one more important understanding – no matter our nationality, race, country of living or orientation - we all the same. We all want to love, create and live at peace.
  5. You need to live in the USA in order to get a Masters Degree at a University in the USA: No, you are able to study fully online. For example, I am student from Moscow, Russia.

Meredith: How has your experience been with the Online Engineering Management Program at UB?

Igor: The classes were very useful for me, the online program has the same interesting content and as the traditional learning methods. Regarding UB, I really like my university. I am proud to be a student of UB. The materials have been deep and interesting. The level of education is high. But what really matters is- the outstanding team at UB. I want to use this opportunity to say "Thank you" to the Professors of my classes - Dr. Sabrina Casucci, Professor Johnson Fadeyi, Professor Harrison Kelly, Professor Chi Zhou. Also, I want to highlight the care of the educational coordinators, Thank you to you Meredith, and to Sean McCabe. And I very grateful to my university for changes to my mindset and for the useful knowledge and tools.

Meredith: What are some tips/tricks/hacks/advice you want to give to other EM students? (especially students starting in the program).

Igor: Yes, I have a list of them:

  1. Be proactive as a student: You don’t need to wait for the beginning of instruction to start learning the systems.  Just try to use UBLearns, Student Hub, and other resources. You will be able to get a lot of interesting information.  
  2. Be proactive at your education: For example, after I enrolled in my last course, I emailed the professor (or you can email to coordinator or TA) and asked about the syllabus. Reading course books before the start of class allowed me to meet deadlines.  
  3. Manage deadlines: Each week I update my own table with deadlines. I check syllabi for each course, important announcements, I check each UB Learns course for new information from modules. And I update my table with group tasks, personal tasks, and modules for learning. It allows me to understand my workload and plan it. I use Evernote to create my weekly schedule.
  4. Really you have a lot of time: At one hand I have no time. At other hand, if I allow myself to play computer games, I can play 10-15 hours per week even with a busy work schedule. If I spend this time on my education, I can learn and advance my career. Also, I use time I spend waiting, or on the way from home to work (on the subway) for study.
  5. Be motivated: Really your new level of education allows you to improve you career, but more importantly - it will change your mindset and help you become a more successful person.

Meredith: Thank you, Igor! I hope your answers will help other students as they think through the decision to return to school. Of course, we’d love to see them in the Engineering Management program at UB!”

Igor: Thank you, Meredith, I hope so too!