Can you tell us something about your present job, Sergey?
I'm Organisational Development Director at ProfMedia. My task is to seek and exploit opportunities to improve the holding company's performance, and the main ways of doing this are introducing best practices, streamlining processes, creating synergies, optimising organisational structures and implementing company development projects.
What key skills are required in your work?
The ability to identify a problem or opportunity and find the best solution. In fact, my job involves a whole arsenal of management skills. The media-business is very much people-based, so you need to be open and effective in dealing with people. You also need to be able to get to grips with a task quickly and to be ready to lead others.
What did you learn in your time at KPMG? Are you using it now?
My consulting work at KPMG gave me a lot of things for my future career. Firstly, it was a chance to see how an organisation ought to work. In no other company have I seen such clearly established processes as in KPMG: recruitment, induction, goal-setting, teamwork with predefined roles, assessment, mentoring. All this creates an atmosphere where work can be productive and potential fulfilled.
Secondly, at KPMG you're always growing and developing: you study programmes selected by HR, learn from your colleagues, and, of course, gain valuable experience working with clients. You also develop flexible thinking and the ability to think outside the box and to come up with practical solutions. In three years, I had dozens of clients, and each company had its own corporate culture, operating principles and expectations. As a consultant, you have to take all that into account and come up with a solution that is appropriate for the specific case. This skill is useful in any job, and in life as well.
Furthermore, I often say the Big Four are a career springboard and recommend working at KPMG to my friends who want to grow professionally.
What does it mean to work for the biggest media company in the country? What do you find most interesting, important and appealing about your work?
It's a huge responsibility knowing that you're working for tens of millions of people. Most of our assets are entertainment-related: four radio stations, the television channels Pyatnitsa, TV3 and 2x2, the film company Central Partnership, and 30 cinemas. For many people living in Russia, they are an important part of their leisure time, entertainment and feeling good. This is a great source of inspiration and motivates us to make an extra effort.
There's a line in the cult film Moscow doesn't believe in tears that goes: "The future belongs to television. There won't be any newspapers or books or cinema or theatres; there'll just be wall-to-wall television." How do you see the development prospects for the media market in Russia?
The media will evolve, offering people more and more possibilities. Even now, television in Russia is better than in many countries, offering a broad range of free-to-air channels. There's an interesting situation developing in Russia with the Internet, which is no less advanced than in other countries. Moreover, the diversity and choice of platforms is increasing: everyone will be able to read, watch and be entertained, whenever they want and wherever they want.
Tell us about your e-commerce platform. Are you going to continue working in this area?
About a year ago, I launched a vehicle hire search service in Russia. From my point of view, it was an opportunity to move up to a new level –to see how I would do as an entrepreneur and business leader. In a few months, I went from an idea to servicing clients. With regard to the Internet, I ought to say that this project is entirely virtual. For example, the domain registration, recruitment of the team, collaboration with programmers, designers and partners –everything is done over the web, I had programmers from Tashkent, a designer from Almaty and freelancers from all over Russia working for me. The project showed the unlimited opportunities for doing business in this day and age. From my point of view, it was a kind of test for my next career step, one that I enjoyed taking. Now I've left the project in order to apply it on a bigger scale in the company where I work.
What, in your view, are the difficulties in terms of the development of the e-commerce market in Russia? What potential does it have?
I'm a seasoned e-commerce consumer myself, and I've seen the market from the inside, when I lived in London, and I believe it has a bright future ahead of it. Now it's a question of trust in online sellers, a question of logistics and the level of service. When major players come along, things will change. On our economics course at Moscow State University, we studied the concept of perfect competition, where the consumer wins, and e-commerce is the purest example of this.
Do you have any free time left over?
I think that when you do something you love, you are free. In addition, the time I spend among friends is precious for me, as is the time I spend on self-development. To be in demand as a professional, you need to keep up to date with the latest news and to understand what is going on in the country and in people's lives.
Could you tell us about your hobbies and achievements outside the office?
A few years ago I got seriously into running. Now I go running several times a week, and I've done several marathons (I did the last one in under three hours, finishing in the top two percent of the field), and I've completed an extremely tough Ironman event. For me, it is an opportunity to expand my physical capabilities and then to transfer those achievements to other walks of life. In a marathon, you overcome yourself; you achieve something you'd only dreamed of before –and that's a very valuable skill.
What would you say is the key to success?
Everyone has their own, and that key works anywhere, whether in a complicated project at work or in a multi-day race. I believe that it is important to define your goal clear, to develop a realistic plan, and then to work long and hard to achieve it. I’ve done it, and it works!