Tatiana Khoffman

first-year Master’s student at the Faculty of Biotechnologies, Protein-Based Food Products program 

Tatiana Khoffman. Photo courtesy of the subject
Tatiana Khoffman. Photo courtesy of the subject

International Research Management Essentials

As I wanted to take a course in English, I had to choose between International Research Management Essentials and Negotiation, Influence and Conflict Management. And one of the decisive factors for me became the teaching staff: the first course included training by visiting lecturers from the USA, Ireland, and Turkey.

I had a chance to talk to native English speakers. Also, this course introduced a new format of teacher-student interaction: these were not our typical lectures but friendly communication, buzzing with a calm and friendly atmosphere.

At first, I felt like the program was too intense but then realized that all disciplines are centered on self-education. Lecturers used specific cases and posed problems clearly to help us explore career management, intercultural interactions, business models, and SWOT analysis.

SWOT analysis
SWOT analysis

I noticed that many of my classmates were skeptical about classes – they thought they knew it all but, for example, in my group, most people were new to SWOT analysis. And thanks to Adrian Brown, our lecturer, we learned what it is and how it can be used. 

I’m glad I had such a great group. We all become good friends and still keep in touch with each other, and I’m so thankful to have met such wonderful people.

It's impossible not to say many thanks to our professor Mikhail Kurushkin. He found a way to make the subject exciting for us and invited top-tier lecturers from all over the world. These are the most pleasant and selfless people who, despite the time difference, got up at six am to share their experiences and knowledge, as well as help us become better. 

Liudmila Goloborodko

first-year Master’s student at the Faculty of Applied Optics, Applied Optics program

Liudmila Goloborodko. Photo courtesy of the subject
Liudmila Goloborodko. Photo courtesy of the subject

Effective Team-Management by Antonina Fedorova

I decided to study effective team management because I had a lot of teamwork experience and also I had been the head of my group for two years and enjoyed it (hopefully, so did my classmates). I love to unite people and create a supportive environment within a team. But I wanted to learn how well I can build communication and what I can do to expand my knowledge and skills.

It’s not only a chance to master knowledge on your own but also to gain a new perspective on problems during teamwork. Thanks to the course, students will be able to easily fit in any group, launch their own startup, and build a healthy relationship with employees.

Now I feel more confident to take responsibility and know more ways to resolve any conflict. The course showed me that it’s essential to think about the interests of the other person when initiating a dialog. And of course, you shouldn’t forget about yourself, your interests and goals. 

I’m really trying to apply this knowledge and skills in communication with other people, both at home and at work. Insightful information and people made this course extremely useful. I think that this knowledge may come in handy in my education and future career.

Anna Kuznetsova

second-year Master’s student at the Faculty of Software Engineering and Computer Systems, Web Technologies program

Anna Kuznetsova. Photo courtesy of the subject
Anna Kuznetsova. Photo courtesy of the subject

Effective Team-Management by Yulia Romanenko

I studied course descriptions on the ITMO.STUDENTS website to make a choice. Moreover, I watched all the intro videos of the lecturers. I chose Effective Team-Management because I knew I was not that good at teamwork: I used to rely on myself and couldn’t delegate responsibilities and tasks. I also wanted to improve my leadership and communication skills. 

Another reason was that this course includes multifaceted topics and a full spectrum of soft skills that I wanted to study. 

Actually, I didn’t think much of the soft skills at the start. I think it has something to do with the fact that I studied at a classical university, had a tech major, and focused mostly on my hard skills. But gradually my skepticism started to fade away: we applied theory in practice and then could see the real results. 

We studied not only the ins and outs of effective management but also personal development and communication. I discovered new methods of goal setting, conflict resolution, and started to learn to delegate tasks and feel more confident in conversations. 

ITMO University
ITMO University

It may seem that you already know some things but there is always something you’ve never even thought about. The most useful and important for me were classes on motivation, communication, feedback, negotiations, and conflicts. I was surprised to learn how little I know about right motivation and competent feedback – even though together they work wonders.

The new skills are vital in all areas of life. They raise the efficiency of teamwork and take communication to a completely new level. For example, following simple guidelines for providing feedback has a positive impact not only on communication with friends and family but also on joint study projects. Now I can say that feedback is one of my key principles.

I should also mention the skills of negotiation and conflict resolution. I was not good at dealing with conflict, for the most part, I just avoided them altogether. But this course helped me overcome my fear and I learned how to behave in such cases.

Nikita Momot 

third-year student at the Faculty of Applied Optics, Optoelectronic Information-Measuring Devices and Systems program

Nikita Momot. Photo courtesy of the subject
Nikita Momot. Photo courtesy of the subject

Emotional Intelligence by Yulia Romanenko

This year, we had a rather interesting choice of subjects. I chose a course on social and emotional intelligence because I was interested in it. Generally, I wanted to improve the quality and efficiency of my communication skills. This would make it easier for me to solve issues and meet new people. 

Before the start of the course, I had a rough idea of what it’d be about. However, I wanted to dig more into the topic and put this knowledge into practice.

We started off with the basics (types of emotions, what causes them, and how they affect us) and then switched to various handy principles, techniques, etc. Most of what I picked up was active listening techniques. The course turned out to be quite interesting: no boring lectures but numerous practice-oriented tasks.

I learned to identify other people’s feelings and emotions, as well as to provide the support they need. But I still have to work on my own emotions as it’s much harder to understand yourself. 

However, on the negative side, I experienced some difficulties with homework that we had to upload on the Moodle platform. Some tasks seemed unobvious, expansive, or rather boring to me. 

But overall I enjoyed the course. For six weeks, every Friday evening I had pleasant conversations and experienced only positive emotions. Such classes are invaluable for personal development. Each and everyone will find it useful. Whether you talk with your relatives, colleagues, or friends, it’s crucial to be able to have quality communication. 

Vyacheslav Abdullaev

third-year student at the Faculty of Technological Management and Innovations, Technological Innovations Management program

Vyacheslav Abdullaev
Vyacheslav Abdullaev

Public Speaking by Maria Ososkova and Daria Khelshtein

The most valuable thing is practice. Everyone knows the basics but it doesn’t mean anything if you don't apply them in your life. You can notice it when students present their projects at university. That’s why it’s important to always put new knowledge and skills into practice. 

Studying soft skills, even online, was quite interesting. There were many practical tasks, and we constantly practiced speaking in different forms: presenting yourself, your project, storytelling, and so on.

Personally, I’m most grateful for the high-quality feedback I got in the class. Lecturers talk about students’ work in a very kind manner. We could see that they didn’t want us to think that there is something wrong with us but only encouraged us to believe in ourselves and improve our skills. And for this, I really want to thank our lecturer. 

Vyacheslav Abdullaev
Vyacheslav Abdullaev

Most of all I remembered one trick. One of the ways to beat pre-performance nerves is to learn by heart the first few pages of your text so that you know exactly what you’ll talk about in the first three to five minutes. Because we are usually most worried at this time period. It will help you stay on track at the beginning and then you can begin to improvise. 

Our lecturers also showed us how to make our performances more interesting and creative, as well as advised what we can add and what we should emphasize. Besides, observing other people and their presentations helped me analyze my own shortcomings and realize what I should work more on. 

I have to speak a lot: I am the head of the Hult Prize project at ITMO and the former ambassador of the Changellenge >> project, and I also participated in the Territory of Senses youth forum. I think the classes definitely helped me achieve such great results.

Learn more about soft skills and ITMO’s courses in our recent articles.