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Alumni Feature: Vladislav, from Russia

Vladislav, originally from Russia, graduated from EF Academy New York in 2017. We caught up in September 2019 to chat about transferring universities and starting a business at school.

Where did you go after you graduated?

I started at Fordham University in the Bronx, then transferred to the University of Virginia (UVA) last year. Originally when I was applying for college I was aiming for really top schools. I knew that I wanted to go into the business field and study finance but when I was applying to colleges I didn’t have the prerequisites for the top schools that I was looking at. I got into Fordham University but I knew that I didn’t want to settle there.

What I realized early on is that what really matters in different colleges is the people you surround yourself with and your community. The people you get to exchange ideas and work with makes a big difference. Once I had decided to move on I took the hardest classes I could and got the best grades I could in order to transfer. Originally I was planning to go to Vanderbilt because of its rankings but I settled on UVA because its record for recruiting for finance jobs out of university is better, and the alumni network is really strong.

I’ve loved being at UVA, I’ve definitely found my fit. I love all my friends here and it’s a really great environment. The town is a little quiet after living so long around New York City but I like it. Having the opportunity to just do anything in New York when you want to is pretty great and you don’t realize that until it’s gone. Moving to a pretty small, traditional college town is definitely an adjustment but I’m so busy with school and extracurriculars that it doesn’t faze me.

Were you involved in any extracurriculars whilst you were at EF Academy?

I tried to be as involved as I could, particularly in the student cafe. My first year it was relatively non-existent. It was pretty empty, there was nothing really there. In my senior year I got a group of 5 friends together and we came up with a plan, pitched it to the administration, and they gave us a loan of $1,500 that we used to buy all the different equipment and the stock for food.

After a month or so everything was ready and we opened it up. It was a huge success. We were bringing in a lot of revenue and the students were happy with the products. We were trying to do our own thing rather than just selling prepackaged goods that weren’t necessarily on campus, like the school shop did. We were making and cooking our own things like noodles, milkshakes, and coffee. I think in our first month we brought in about $3,000 in revenue. It was so fun and students were loving it. It was great to learn and to have the opportunity to run our own business while in school.

Do you have any tips and advice for current students?

  • Start prepping for the standardized tests like the SAT and ACT as early as possible. It’s not even just important for college it’s also important for jobs as employers still look at your SAT and ACT results straight out of college. It’s very important and the earlier you start your preparation the better.
  • Focus on your grades, focus on your extracurriculars and do really good college research. You’re aiming to find somewhere that feels like home and seeing which colleges are a good fit for you or not.
  • In terms of thinking about what you want to do with your life, it really helps to reach out to alumni to understand what they’re doing. It’s something we really didn’t have whilst we were at school and now that we have the option I would highly encourage you. That’s what you do at college, you just reach out to alumni for advice and help. Having all of that from school to start building that network is really beneficial for students.
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