Supporting young leaders
The Vladimir Potanin Scholarship Program is organized to support the most talented and active Master’s students of Russia’s leading universities. Over 6,000 students from 75 universities took part in the first round of the 2019/2020 academic year contest with only 2,000 of them making it to the on-site and final round.
Lyubov Zavarykina, a representative of the Foundation, underlined that ITMO was in the top-five universities by the number of applicants chosen to take part in the on-site round, with 201 students competing in the finals. The complete top-five includes Lomonosov Moscow State University (241), Higher School of Economics (223), St. Petersburg State University (212), ITMO University, and Ural Federal University (137).
“We don’t reveal the actual tasks of the on-site round, but our experts aim to find leaders who can assess any situation logically and critically and have good self-presentation skills. We are looking for students looking to fulfil their potential in a social, scientific or creative field. Even though only 500 students from a total of 2,000 will receive the scholarship, I believe that every one of them will benefit from taking part in the contest. Our participants get to solve original cases and demonstrate their skills in real-life conditions. Thus, everyone has to be active, has to get involved, and they share their knowledge and skills right at the on-site round, which means that they take something out of the event,” explains Lyubov Zavarykina.
Every participant will receive a number of points based on their performance in the final round. Then, the data from every city will be compiled in a total ranking which will identify 500 scholarship recipients by the end of February.
“We focus on Master’s students because we consider students at this stage of education to be at the top of their creativity and inventiveness while also being aware of their goals in life. Students enter their Master’s programs after having developed a life philosophy of their own and having set their aims and priorities for life – and we want to help them reach their goals. Financial needs often force Master’s students to combine work and studies. Our scholarship can solve this dilemma for the time being, allowing young people to tend to their ambitions and endeavors,” adds Lyubov Zavarykina.
Everyone here deserves to win
All of the participants of the on-site round have a broad professional and scientific background, take active part in various conferences and social events of their universities, but every one of them has different goals and motivation for receiving the highly sought after Potanin scholarship.
“I study innovative entrepreneurship and I already have my own startup in the field of personalised nutrition. I consider this contest a challenge for my fundraising skills: if my leadership and charisma can gain me a scholarship, then in the future I will be able to raise money to develop my business. Innovative entrepreneurs are, in a sense, artists, they create projects and sometimes you just want to stop thinking about the financial side of things and concentrate on actually developing your product. In this sense, financial support is a great chance to spend time not on making money, but on fine-tuning your ideas,” shares Anna Popova, a Master’s student at ITMO University.
“The program is created for leaders, for those who want to realize their potential. Everyone I met today is an active and ambitious student. They are all from different fields, but all of them are successful and everyone deserves to win. It’s exciting to work in a team with these people. But I think that this round is made so that you take a look inside yourself, reflect on your weak points, and assess your strengths to see what you can do better than others. And it is wonderful to be able to analyze your skills surrounded by so many talented students. I want to get this scholarship because I am planning to work in science and enter a PhD program after completing my Master’s. The Foundation offers us an opportunity to work less and spend more time doing actual research,” elaborates Timur Lavrukhin, a Master’s student at Peter the Great St.Petersburg Polytechnic University.
“I enjoyed the tasks of the on-site round. They served as an additional source of motivation for me and helped me realize what I still had to work on. Although I have to admit that every thought about this or the scholarship left me as we delved into the tasks, because the atmosphere of the game took you in completely, everyone was doing their best – it was impossible to think of anything else. So, I’ll have to think back and reflect on that. Naturally, I’d like to win and spend the money on research, studying foreign languages and travelling as much as the next person. If I find a job now, my studies will be somewhere in the background and all of my ideas will stay unfulfilled,” tells us Anton Patsulin, a Master’s student at ITMO.
“Last year, I got into the second round, but couldn’t come to the venue because I was on my exchange semester in another country. This year, I am even more motivated to complete the challenge. I’ve heard a lot about the Foundation and their scholarship program. I would consider winning as a personal achievement. But I have another reason to compete as well: in the fall, I am starting my studies in Hong Kong and the scholarship would help me finance my travel and living expenses. I hope that the judges will notice my leadership skills and determination, my lack of weak points in the sense that I rarely abandon my goals – and I will be among the winners who receive the Foundation’s scholarship,” says Natalya Petrushenko, a Master’s student at the St.Petersburg State University’s Graduate School of Management.