Grigorii Geskin

Management BSc

Seminar leaders go the extra mile to help their students.

What attracted you to studying at Kent?

Quite a few friends studied here, before I came here. And then, when I went on a university trip across the UK, Kent was probably the most modern, as well as the most appealing in terms of its architecture, that I visited. What I heard from my future lecturers was appealing too, because I managed to speak to them as well.

And how is your course going?

I’m enjoying it a lot. I haven’t doubted my choice once. Studying Management covers a really broad spectrum, from finance to HR to new enterprise development, meaning that later on in life you could use these skills. And already, with the internship I did over the summer, I’ve realised that I used these skills that I’ve learned. So, yes, the course is really good.

Tell us more about your internship and how you used your skills.

I helped to open a café back home – I’m from Russia, from Moscow – and I’m a co-owner now. It used to be a bank in the past and we’ve transformed it into a café along with an event centre. It’s made up of three rooms. The first room is the café itself. The second room is a bookshop on contemporary art and the third room is a stage. Once every two weeks, we have actors come in and do their plays or have exhibitions going on there.

I was in charge of finding personnel, and in charge of online and physical marketing. The knowledge I’m gaining on my course about HR, how people think, how they choose where they work, as well as the finance part has helped a lot. And every day, if we learn something new, I call back home and say, ‘OK, how about we try this?’ And most of the time it works. I’m seeing how the theory works in practice in my own experience.

It’s harder than running a normal café, because there are a lot of things that we have to balance so that people don’t just come to have coffee, or don’t just come for the exhibition, but also come into the bookshop or join the loyalty programme, and things like that. The loyalty programme was something that we’ve been taught in marketing, to motivate people to come back again and again. So, I’ve applied the knowledge in a lot of places, and right now we’re actually doing quite well.

It sounds pretty impressive. Are you planning to do a placement year next year?

I’m still thinking about it. I’ve had quite a few meetings with the placement team regarding my CV and the choice of work that I could be doing next year. As I’m an international student, it’s been really helpful because I wouldn’t have known how to go about setting up a placement here and they have the experience that I lack.

Tell us more about your course. What do you think of the teaching and the support you get for your studies?

The lecturers are great. Some modules are harder than the others for me because I’m a lot better with writing essays than doing calculations. But I’ve been given a lot of feedback and support from my seminar leaders. I’m grateful for all the work that they do; they go the extra mile to help their students.

Do you have a favourite module?

Yes, I do, in fact I have a few. My absolute favourite is a module about start-ups: we learn how to evaluate risks, how to build your own company. And then, also, we have people come from the Careers and Employability Service to tell us how we can actually bring it to life with their help. My second favourite module is on human resource management, just because I can apply it on virtually a daily basis. There are certain modules that are preparing us to work in a big corporation or a big company. I’m not planning on doing that – obviously, I’m still doing the work – but there are modules that I focus on a lot more in terms of additional research, because I know I will be using it in a couple of years’ time.

What are your career plans?

I really want to go into start-up businesses, and actually have something of my own. I’ve had a few experiences of working for big companies, either back home or in Latvia and it doesn’t really appeal to me. In a start-up business you can grow with the company, making mistakes together with other people, learning about each other’s strength and weaknesses. With the café, for instance, the further down the line we go, the more unique the issues we get, and the more you’re forced to think about them. Then the satisfaction is greater every time you solve the problem.

Tell us more about your experience here as an international student.

Finding friends wasn’t really an issue because there is a lot of group work on my course. You’re sort of forced to talk to other people, and then whenever you meet with them, say, on the weekend, maybe you go to play football with them or do something else outside of the normal university routine. So, settling in wasn’t that much of an issue. I’ve met people from all over the world, from Syria to America, to anywhere else as well. You learn a lot about various cultures and then you become a part of that group. Now I’m in my second year, and every time I walk through campus I see someone or talk to someone that I’ve met, like, three months ago and we still remember each other. That’s cool. I’m a student rep for my course too, which is another way of getting to know people – it’s my role to raise any issues that fellow students have, share life hacks, as they call it, for revision or doing assignments, and congratulate people if they’ve achieved something above average.

What do you think of the facilities on campus?

We’ve got everything that we might need. I especially like the K-Bar and Dolche Vita in Keynes; it was always the place for me and my friends to go when I lived on campus, and I like the views from there, it’s really nice. I like the fact that the library is split into silent areas and group work areas. It’s useful to be able to reserve group study rooms in the library online, because even at busy times you know that you’re going to have a space where you can meet up to work on your group projects.

Do you belong to any societies or clubs?

I was a part of the Kent Investment Society for a while, and I’ve also done Model United Nations (MUN) in the past year. I love it. I’m really into debating and I’m really into politics as well, aside from business. The way it works is that you’re given a country and you have to imagine that you are the delegate of that country. So, you research it and then represent that country at whichever council or conference you are chosen to be in. For instance, I was the ambassador of Turkey on one of them. It helps with your research skills as well as your public speaking skills, because if you’re in the Security Council, for instance, you’d be speaking in front of 50 people; if you’re in the General Assembly, you’d have to pitch your ideas to over 500 people.

Have you used the University's Careers and Employability Service?

Yes. One of our modules is closely linked with them, because in order to get a pass in that module and get the five credits, we have to find a job description and pitch ourselves to the careers team as if we are in an interview. I’ve just done mine four days ago and it was really good. I got feedback on it, which I’m going to be using in interviews for the year in industry. It’s really helpful.

As the final question, what advice would you give somebody thinking of coming to study at Kent?

Choose the course wisely, because you’ll have to spend a lot of time doing it. Unless you like the subjects, the modules, the lectures and the people around you, you’re not going to enjoy the time at Kent, or at any other university. Apart from that, talk to other people, socialise, and do the extra research, because that extra research helps, not only in seminars and lectures, but also in placements and just having the overall knowledge that you can then use at any point in time.