Success story


Study level


Year of graduation

AGE: 27
PLACE OF RESIDENCE: varies: currently mostly Boston (USA), otherwise: Moscow, Volgograd, and Vilnius 
WORKPLACE / BUSINESS: workplace: McKinsey (currently on leave for studies); business: Internet project and restaurant business in Russia
POSITION: business consultant at McKinsey
HOBBIES: travelling, reading books, visiting mountains, spending leisure time with family and friends, and fishing in Volgograd
LANGUAGES: Lithuanian, Russian, and English
Sergej Loiter was born in Tcherepovets, Russia (Vologda Oblast). Until seven years of age, he was raised in Khabarovsk (Russian Far East). He attended school and started his studies in Lithuania, later on studying in Norway (BI) and currently in America. You never know where you can be taken by the unpredictable and intriguing paths of business. It is however interesting and worthwhile to talk about the fundamentals of it: science and studies. 
My first lessons in business
My first attempts to create my own business were at school. They were not very successful, but I learned some good lessons. My first business project was growing green onions on the windowsill at home (I was twelve at that time). When I decided to sell my harvest, the price asked by my rivals (the elderly women sitting next to me) appeared too low, so I doubled my price and waited for customers. I did not sell the onions, but I learned that price was an important competitive advantage. 
I started working quite early too. I started with hourly jobs: I was a mathematics and physics tutor (I did not earn much, but I did learn patience), and I entered survey questionnaires on the computer (perhaps the most boring job one could imagine). Later I started writing reviews of political and economic news in the Baltic States. During summers between studies, I worked as a loader on construction sites in Italy and England, and I spent the money I earned on travelling. 
In short, I had ideas about my own business while back at school. All the time I tried, worked, learned and tried again. 
Three traineeships and one choice
Eventually, the time came for practice at serious companies. I completed a total of three traineeships: at first I had a two-month traineeship with a bank in Moscow. Then I spent three months with an insurance company in Vilnius. When I thought I had had enough, a friend recommended the McKinsey business consulting company. Here, I underwent the third traineeship. 
I liked working at McKinsey so much that I decided to stay with them. One nuisance – I had to get them to employ me full time. This company has been among the top employers in the world for many years. The screening is intense, and many dream of working there. However, I was sufficiently lucky and I was accepted to the office in Warsaw. Later I moved to Moscow. There I married and soon my wife and I started our own restaurant business in Volgograd. Why there? Because Volgograd is the native city of my wife, and I still remembered the lesson I received in childhood, so we were searching for a new space with potential. 
ISM - more than lectures
When the time came to choose studies, I knew clearly how I wanted to study instead of what. That is why I chose ISM. I wanted a modern approach to studies and students, new theories, and lecturers who wanted to work with the students. I received all that here. I made new and valuable contacts. Although recently I have not been spending much time in Vilnius, when I come, I always meet with a few people from ISM.
Exchanges and competitions were among the most important events during my studies at ISM. On those occasions, I learned perhaps more than during the lectures. Thanks to exchanges, I saw how people studied at foreign universities, how lecturers treated students, and how students approached learning. I understood what it meant to learn with people of different cultures, how to work with them, and how to adapt. I believe that without this experience working in an international company and different countries would have been much more difficult. 
Competitions in which we took part with the ISM team showed that we could be equal to students from other very strong universities. The Peak Time Competition in Riga enabled us to feel what it meant to be first on an international arena (although our team did not win the competition, after the simulations of the first day, we were well ahead of the other competitors). The overly merry party right before the final prevented us from performing worthily and taking first place. In a competition in Helsinki, we were the first team representing ISM. Incidentally, although many of our team had no expectations, we were singled out to receive a special award from the jury. The experience gained in competitions was very important for the development of self-confidence. It is curious that several years ago I moved to the other side of the Peak Time barricades; that was the first international competition where I wrote the tasks and participated as a member of the jury.
Future plans clear so far
I currently study at Harvard Business School in Boston. I made plans to study there a very long time ago; that was one of the incentives of working for McKinsey, which encourages MBA studies. Harvard is a school and university having a long history and study quality that is known and recognised all over the world. Because I was striving for the best, I tried to enter the best school of business. Moreover, this school was recommended by friends and acquaintances who graduated from there. All that remained was to enter. The process was very protracted. The formal examinations were the easy part, and the presentation (articles, short questions) was the most complex. I was however sufficiently lucky again and I was accepted. Simultaneously my wife and I are expanding our business in Volgograd and developing Internet projects. In short, my plans so far include the completion of studies, further expansion of my business in Russia, the successful development of business projects that are already under way, and the creation of new ones. 


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