Zakhar Lanets: University of Tyumen helped me grow as a specialist

Zakhar Lanets: University of Tyumen helped me grow as a specialist

Zakhar Lanets started working at University of Tyumen after completing his master's program under the presidential program "Global Education" at the University of New South Wales (UNSW, Australia).

– If you don't mind, let's start from the top: why did you choose University of Tyumen? You could have picked any employer out of the 550 leading Russian companies, organizations, scientific and educational institutions...

– Well, it is important to note that when I went to study abroad as a graduate student, I went as a University of Tyumen student. I was also aware of the upcoming big changes here due the 5-100 Project. I also knew that UTMN was actively engaging with oil and gas sector, for example, launching Polytechnic School, cooperating with enterprises of the HMS Group and making other developments in this direction.

It’s safe to say that my move to Australia was initiated by the former rector of the University of Tyumen – Valery Falkov. He personally met with potential fellows, offering support and subsequent employment with sound terms upon graduation. Of course, I’ve heard about Global Education before, but decided to enter the program after meeting with the rector. Moreover, after I’ve got the scholarship, the rector met with me personally, discussing future employment at UTMN and wishing me luck in my studies.

Also, I remained in touch with the UTMN Vice-Rector for Scientific Work and concurrently curator of the Global Education program at the university, Andrey Tolstikov. He always offered advice and was ready to help if any issue arouse.

Frankly, seeing this kind of support and care from the leadership, secured the decision to return to the University of Tyumen State. Although, I must admit, there were enough employment options, especially in oil and gas companies. 

It also helped that the employment conditions offered by the University of Tyumen were one of the best. I really value the opportunity to continue doing what I love.

– Before leaving for Australia, you received a master's degree in management in the UK. Before that, you graduated from the UTMN Financial and Economic Institute. Why did you chose to study engineering in Australia next?

– After returning from Great Britain, I worked as an engineer at a research institute, Gazprom's subsidiary, TyumenNIIgiprogaz for two years. It’s important to note that the list of specialties for which it was possible to receive a scholarship was carefully curated. Candidates were selected based on needs of the sector and the priorities of the country. At that time, economists with foreign degrees were quite uncommon, but petroleum engineers were in great demand. The combination of all these factors predetermined my choice.

– Your resume is quite impressive. What is the root of your ambition? Love of education, desire to find your calling, or, the opposite, accumulation of competencies to achieve a specific goal?

– Yes, I love to learn, constantly working on deepening my knowledge. My education and experience in the field are pointing me towards the oil and gas business. As for my management degree, I hope, it will come in handy eventually. Any leadership position implies having management expertise, and I have already acquired them.

– Was education at the Australian university fruitful? How are you planning to apply the skills you acquired? 

– While studying in Australia, I managed to acquire some scientific connections at UNSW. I’m currently working on several scientific projects in collaboration with the academicians from an Australian university. Thus, I hope this will solidify the relation between two universities prompting for further scientific collaboration.  

I would like to note that during my studies in Australia we managed to create a small research group of our own at the University of Tyumen. It included an associate professor of the Department of Mechanics of Multiphase Systems, Alexander Zhuravlev, a graduate student of Technical Physics, Natalia Khoperskaya and me. Alexander’s level of knowledge and qualifications can match up to the leading professors of an Australian university, if I say so myself. Natalia is also very talented, she graduated with a bachelor's degree with honors, her graduation thesis being the best among peers. As a team, we have already prepared a number of articles for publication in leading foreign journals. Currently we are waiting for the works to be approved.

In the future, we plan to work on projects together with UNSW, engage in independent research, industrial projects and, if the management gives us such an opportunity, create a separate research group.

– Did you find any great differences between the educational processes here and there?

– Of course, there are many differences. I only needed to pass four subjects to pass the semester. There are several compulsory subjects, and the rest can be chosen from the extensive list of courses. A lot of time is devoted to self-study, independent work with scientific literature. Also doing a lot of group work on various projects is encouraged. Almost every course includes some kind of research project.

In order to pass the semester, a written examination should be taken. There is a strict no cheating policy. Also, students have access to a portal called "moodle", where the materials for each course are posted. In general, education costs are much higher. A year at UNSW costs about two million rubles –the difference is huge.

UNSW dedicates a lot of funding towards attracting the best teaching and research personnel, and getting first-class innovative equipment. All this allows the Australian institute to produce first-class research and highly rated scientific publications.

When I went back to Tyumen, I was pleasantly surprised that our university also invested in equipment for the oil and gas sector. In addition, world-class research laboratories are being created today at University of Tyumen, up to par to UNSW ones.

– During your studies abroad, you were still an active member of UTMN. You even held seminars and presentations here. Was it caused by nostalgia, a heartfelt impulse or done out of an obligatory to "Global Education"?

– No, I wasn’t obliged to do that. I was simply glad to share my experience. I believe that our university has a huge number of students who could successfully study and work at the best global universities. Studying abroad has its challenges, but they are manageable. Yes, studies are conducted in another language, there may be some day-to-day difficulties at first, but the knowledge provided at University of Tyumen is more than sufficient to enter any global university.

– The Global Education program is fairly new, but already well in demand. It’s quite a tough competition. You are the first fellow on behalf of UTMN to enter. Share your experience with future participants. How to apply? What kind of professional qualifications do you need? What about personal qualities?

– I’ve participated in Global Education, when it only launched. It wasn’t so widely known, so I had a better chance winning the scholarship. Nevertheless, it was still necessary to enter one of the universities, that "Global Education" chose, which was a feat on its own. Also, a few factors determined the winners, such as relevant work experience and published work in scientific journals (Higher Attestation Commission, Scopus and Web of Science). Next came the usual bureaucratic measures: certificates and documents submission, their translation, etc. In general, it wasn’t too complicated.

Here I would very much like to note how professional the Global Education team was. Fellows of the program could get the necessary help and advice at any time. Global Education team provided updates through groups in VKontakte and Facebook, and consulted through a hotline. In conclusion, I know for sure that a lot of work was done to employ the graduates of the state program. Although I didn’t need extra help with employment, because I’ve already decided to continue my career at University of Tyumen.

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Marat Shems
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