The MGIMO School of Government and International Affairs

Alumni Interviews

Alina Polyakova

Alina Polyakova

Russia, Class of 2019

What do you think about SGIA?

SGIA is an innovative attempt to conduct integrated studies for Russian-speaking and non-Russian-speaking students alike. The administration is working well, it is a small school, and that makes it easier to manage. They are always helpful and willing to give advice.

SGIA is a multicultural program. I studied two foreign languages, Arabic and Spanish. Not all MGIMO schools offer those languages. There were many international professors on the SGIA faculty, such as Chris Korten and Tim Portier.

What did you learn at SGIA?

I learned languages, Spanish and Arabic. I received a broad understanding of the current issues in international relations and also obtained practical skills, such as event management or coping with stress and workload. I also learned being flexible and devising different approaches to communication with different people. As for the curriculum, I enjoyed the international relations and negotiations courses. Professor Troitskiy taught us core research methods and he recommended some useful literature. MGIMO does have the capacity to make you a decent professional, but you need to work hard as well.

What did you decide to do after graduation?

I now study international finance, trade and sustainability in Geneva. I already had basic courses in economics at SGIA, but the program was not focused on trade or finance. Therefore I need to study to catch up with the rest, but I received basic knowledge of the subjects I major in now from SGIA. I enjoy being challenged by my current study program in Geneva.

What do you think about social life at SGIA?

I was a member of the student Negotiation Club. I greatly expanded my network through participating in and organizing events, which is not difficult to do in MGIMO. There is a lot going on almost every day, with ambassadors and other important guests visiting us and delivering lectures. I really enjoyed that. I didn’t go on any trips together with my groupmates, but would commend the Russian transport network which is extensive and relatively cheap. When in Russia, I usually take my international friends on train trips.

What would you like to see improved at SGIA?

I want less weight to be assigned to exams, and more weight to be assigned to class participation. At SGIA I would have enjoyed a broader selection of courses in addition to the core curriculum. I would also suggest cutting down the number of courses, but instead making each of them more intense and demanding in terms of assignments.