Interview of Valeriya Komissarova
Interview of Valeriya Komissarova, a Russian student attending the VATEL MBA in Wine § Spirits Business Management in Bordeaux
What did you study since you graduated from high school?
After finishing a high school in Novosibirsk, I came to Switzerland for a foundation year in Swiss Hotel Management School in Leysin – small mountain village in French part of this beautiful country, where I studied for two years (foundation year and first year). After that, I changed school, and did a direct entry to the second year in Glion Institute of Higher Education from where I successfully graduated in 2011. Passionate about Hotel and Restaurant industry back at that moment I found a permanent job as a restaurant manager in Montreux, Switzerland and worked until 2013 when I took a decision to continue my education by applying to a Master program at Vatel Bordeaux. During past few years I developed a new interest and eventually a big love and passion for wine which I find the most mysterious product made by human being. Someone said: « Through the juice of the grapes we can encapsulate in a bottle the romance, the culture, the story of a people ». The truth is that it is even bigger than that – we can never know everything about wine – that is what attracts me the most in this industry. Therefore the choice of specialization for my Master Degree was made pretty fast – MBA in Wine & Spirits Business Management. Moreover, there are no better place to learn about wine, than a heart of wine business, where it all started – Bordeaux. By that exact moment when I am writing those sentences I already finished the program and will be starting my professional career in a few weeks.
What is your professional project? In which industry and location are you willing to work?
My professional project is to work in a wine trade for a big export, precisely for eastern European and Russian markets. I plan to stay in a wine business as I have a willingness and ability to develop this sector on this particular markets as I have an essential advantage of knowing by heart my own Russian culture, as well as consumer’s expectations and needs, besides my sincere passion for this particular product – wine. In this industry we don’t come accidentally or just by chance, but only by affection and love. All of that does not mean that I completely abandoned a hospitality business, I just made a different choice. However, I have few ideas in my mind how to incorporate my experience and knowledges in wine industry, especially in wine tourism.
How does your educational background pay to reach your professional ambitions?
My student path gave me a lot of necessary theoretical knowledges in order to realize my ambitions. There are lots of precise technical information about a simplest bottle of wine that you can find in a wine shop next door, which explains the contenance, price range, positioning, how and why this bottle happens to appear in this particular shop. All the extremely sharp information about viticulture and vinification must be mastered if one wants to succeed in this sector, as wine is not an ordinary product that one can sell without knowing its origins, it is a different good – each bottle is unique by itself. Moreover, the wine industry is a very fast growing and changing industry, therefore we must be up-to-date permanently, in order to understand and be able to take right decisions. During my cursus in Vatel Bordeaux, I had exceptional teachers who were willing to share their theoretical and practical knowledges acquired during years and years of experience with us, and who wanted us to progress and succeed. I am grateful for everyone and each one of them for that opportunity to learn from them and have them as an example of inspirational success story.
In your opinion, what are the main abilities required to become an efficient manager in the hospitality and/or wine industry?
To be a good manager no matter where, whether hospitality or wine industry, one must be, first of all, reactive and being able to objectively and critically evaluate actual situation as well as anticipate a future in order to take all the necessary and strategically important decisions and to adapt existing strategy to today’s changing business world. A good manager is always open-minded, curious and rigorous. Besides, one must be good at relations whether with his or her staff, partners or superiors. The ability to exchange and share within a team is a key to success of this team.
Can you tell us a story that happened to you since you study abroad?
It has been seven years since I study and live abroad and, of course, I had quite a lot of nice and funny stories. Almost all of them linked to my origins. Generally, after knowing that I actually come from Siberia, everyone thinks that we have a winter all year round, that we all have our very own white bears and we drink vodka on a daily basis. Moreover no one believes me when I say that it is very cold during a winter in Bordeaux, because I am not supposed to be cold since I am Russian and what is more important Siberian. By the way, speaking of Siberia, on the South of France, in the appellation called « Côtes du Roussillon Villages AOC », there is one wine estate producing a very special cuvée named « La petite Sibérie » which literally means the little Siberia. Quite expensive, powerful and fascinating wine that conducts a memorable impression that is worth to be experienced at least once in a lifetime.
What recommendations could you give to Russian students who would consider building an international career?
My advise that I can give to Russian students considering studying abroad or making an international career is to dare and to go outside of their own boundaries, to get rid of the old habits, be confident, open-minded and curious. We have such a huge culture and strong beliefs that may help us a lot in any challenging situations. Besides, to survive no matter what is in our blood. Today there are no limits, we have a pure liberty of choice, therefore we better make good choices, think outside of the box and again, dare to try something new.
Thank you Valeriya.