As part of the QS Scholarships scheme, BI Norwegian Business School offers an annual scholarship exclusively for attendees of the QS World Grad School Tour. This year’s recipient is Russian student Maria Kukhtina, who is preparing to start the school’s MSc in Business, with a specialization in logistics, operations and supply chain management.
Having already spent a semester abroad during her undergraduate degree, Maria was keen to repeat the experience – but feared that completing her master’s abroad was simply “impossible” given the costs involved. The QS-BI Norwegian Business School Scholarship will cover her full tuition fees, and Maria says the award has also boosted her motivation levels: “The scholarship is not only financial support, but also an extra motivation to do my best, be proactive and fulfil the school’s expectations.”
Developing a clear career plan
Maria’s story is an inspiring tale for anyone struggling to decide on a career path; while she now has a very clear idea about what she wants to achieve, this wasn’t always the case. When first enrolled at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow, Maria recalls lacking “a clear understanding about my future”. She changed specializations several times, moving from advertising to marketing and then public administration, before deciding to start again with a major in international economics at the Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation (previously known as Moscow Institute of Economics and Finance).
This decision to change track, Maria says, involved ignoring advice from family and friends about “what is good for a girl”. However, she was now confident in her choice, which allowed her to combine her love of mathematics with the opportunity to learn a third language. She also had the chance to spend a semester at Spain’s University of Cadiz, after receiving a scholarship from the Santander Group.
Having graduated in 2015, and gained some professional experience in supply chain management and logistics, Maria is now keen to develop her expertise in this area. So far she’s taken on a role in business development for Dutch flower auction auction platform FloraHolland, as well as completing international procurement internships in Russia and the Dominican Republic. “I realized that I need a deeper understanding of supply chain management and ‘hard’ skills in logistics in order to proceed with my career,” she says. “A master’s degree in logistics and supply chain management at BI is a logical step forward that will broaden my horizons and give me the necessary skills to achieve my career goals.”
Invest time to find the right program
During her time at BI Norwegian Business School, Maria says she hopes to have opportunities “to apply theoretical knowledge, solve real business problems, and study in international groups.” She adds: “International experience along with the strong scientific approach of the school will let me develop an international career in supply chain management.”
And finally, what advice would she give to other students seeking funding? The most important step, she says, is to thoroughly research “the program, the school, and the country, exactly in this order”, and then make a shortlist of three to five target programs that match your criteria. Investing the time to ensure you have “a perfect understanding of the programs”, she says, will make it much easier to apply for scholarships, as you’ll easily be able to explain your chosen pathway and express your motivations.