The MGIMO School of Government and International Affairs

Alumni Interviews

Richard Cop

Richard Cop

Slovakia, Class of 2019

1. Why did you choose to study Government and International Affairs at MGIMO?

I decided to apply to MGIMO due to first-hand knowledge I had from a friend of mine who was studying at the University at the time. I found the University fascinating and realized that getting accepted to such an institution would provide me with a lot of possibilities, career-wise, and on top of that, I would be able to establish international relationships, due to high concentration of foreign students at SGIA.

2. When you think about the years spent at SGIA, what are your memorable experiences?

I remember all the special guests whom MGIMO would often host and who spoke in the large conference hall. Among others, these were Russain Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, Slovak Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajcak. I enjoyed their presentations and loved the idea that the University is constantly creating these memorable moments for its students who are able to ask questions and discuss international issues with world leaders. Opportunities like these had convinced many of my peers to join public service in their respective countries.

3. Was the knowledge and skills that you acquired at MGIMO helpful?

Absolutely, I will never regret my decision to spend four amazing years in Moscow among world-class professors and tutors whose classes prepare you for tackling the real-world issues.

4. What are your career goals? How do you hope to use your experience of studying in Russia?

I plan on focusing more on real estate development, as I already do, and try to gain as much experience as I can in order to be as good and successful as possible. My experiences from Moscow have helped me to establish professional contacts all around the world which puts me in a very good position career-wise as I have opportunities to do business in places where others don’t possess this advantage.

5. How does the Russian system of higher education compare to the one in your country?

It is a little bit less flexible, I must say. Compared to western countries where there is rarely mandatory attendance, at MGIMO we had to attend every class, otherwise, it would have negatively affected our performance. I am not claiming it is not important to attend classes, it surely is, but sometimes students can use their time in a more effective way—for instance, for self-study. Unfortunately, the Russian system does not very much allow students to do this.

6. What improvements would you recommend to SGIA?

Overall, SGIA was a very positive experience, taking into consideration that it is a young school. There certainly is room for improvement, but where isn’t? I know some of my classmates had troubles understanding Russian at the beginning of the program of study, so I would recommend the University to focus more on expanding the use of English language in its day-to-day business and hiring more native English-speakers to the faculty.