Alumni Portraits

  • Reaching Out From Russia

    Alexander Gorsky (KH EMBA 2013)
    24 Mar 2014

    It is a 10-hour flight from Moscow to Hong Kong, but Alexander Gorsky, Partner and Head of Retail Advisory for Ernst & Young (CIS), was ready to fly in for weekends in order to attend the Kellogg-HKUST Executive MBA Program.

    Previously a finance student with mostly management consultancy working experience, Alexander had applied and been accepted for an MBA at London Business School in 2004 while in his mid-20s. But with the exciting work in Russia at then employer Deloitte, he decided the opportunity cost was too high at that point.

    After moving on and up over the years, Alexander also saw the economic focus changing and thought it was time to gain greater insight into Asia. "Business-wise, Russian companies are more integrated with Europe and Asia than the US and, obviously, Europe is not such a hot market at the moment. When I found this very exciting top-ranked program in Hong Kong and a secondment opportunity in Hong Kong came up at work, I thought why not do both at the same time."

    Despite being based in Hong Kong for most of the program, Alexander's work took him back and forth to Moscow, as well as other places. "It was a difficult year requiring a lot of effort – and I definitely had more air miles than any previous year of my life. My work involved long business hours and I still had to deliver on the academic requirements for the program and balance it with family time, which was probably the most challenging part. "

    "But I was very happy about the way it worked. If I was asked whether I would do it again, yes, I would. No regrets. The lifestyle was hard, fast, exciting and interesting; and I gained a lot of energy from new friends and ideas."

    He also gained impetus from his brother Igor, who by a twist of fate was taking the course at the same time. Igor, involved in the aircraft engine industry, had become interested in learning more about the region as business expanded with China. The brothers shared information about the Kellogg-HKUST program and both decided to apply.

    "However, it was totally coincidental that we ended up studying together. If my secondment hadn't come up for this year, I would probably have taken the course the following year," Alexander recalled. "But I'm very pleased it happened this way. We supported each other through the program and I believe both added to the unique character of the KH15 class."

    In June 2013, Alexander came back to Hong Kong with his wife to attend his graduation and enjoy a celebration with his classmates. "I wouldn't miss an event like this," he said. "My greatest memory is the people. Name me any other way to make friends with 50 global executives focused on Asia."