Tatiana Lialina wants to help her family's business—a bread factory in Vladimir, Russia—to grow. But she needed to learn how to make a company thrive in international markets.
She says she's been inspired by her father's work running and modernizing the business over the years, but after working at the company as an intern during college and for two years after graduation, Lialina recognized that she needed to broaden her business acumen in order to help the company expand outside Russia—specifically how to launch new products and make its brand more recognizable. Though the company sells products in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, Syria, and Canada, the majority of its business is domestic.
Lialina wanted a flexible business program in which she could learn how companies outside of Russia operate and compete in the global economy, as well as how to build marketing campaigns. She found what she was looking for at the D'Amore-McKim School of Business, where she completed a graduate certificate and is now finishing her MBA.
“It's really helpful that I can now share this knowledge with our staff,” says Lialina, who is following in her father's footsteps by earning her MBA.
Lialina says that when she was looking at colleges and universities in the United States, specifically the Boston area, D'Amore-McKim stood out from the pack because of its strong reputation and flexible programs through which she could map out her path and immerse herself in a variety of fields.
“I learned more about different countries and their approaches to business and solving problems. It was helpful to understand how people across the world think about business.”– Tatiana Lialina, Graduate Certificate in Business Administration'18, and MBA'19
She enrolled for the fall of 2017 and began earning her Graduate Certificate in Business Administration, a program designed for working professionals and international students to gain the knowledge and skills that they can put to use immediately on the job.
Once she'd completed the graduate certificate, Lialina was admitted into D'Amore-McKim's Part-Time MBA. She applied the credits she earned in the graduate certificate program toward her MBA.
“It was very customizable,” Lialina says of her MBA program. “I didn't want to get only a marketing background. I really enjoyed several classes in supply chain, marketing, finance, and human resources.”
Taking classes at night has allowed her to consult remotely for the family business during the day on various projects, including refreshing the company's brand and website. She says she's already begun developing a new logotype.
She says that through the MBA program she learned how companies build their brands, develop marketing campaigns, create new products from scratch, and protect against the latest cybersecurity threats. One project in her marketing class, for example, required her to analyze how to bring a product from Peru to the United States, and how to adjust the branding and marketing to a new market.
“I could see how everything in practice works and how I can combine the theory and practice,” she says.
Another skill she mastered in both her graduate certificate and MBA courses: teamwork. She says the emphasis on group projects taught her how to collaborate with and learn from her classmates. As a result, she became more confident working in teams and knowledgeable about how people from other countries think about business.
“I'm really excited that I was able to work with both international and American students,” she says. “I learned more about different countries and their approaches to business and solving problems. It was very helpful to understand how people across the world think about business.”
After completing her MBA at Northeastern, Lialina plans to work for another year or two in the United States before bringing what she learned back to Russia to work for the family business. She's finishing up her coursework this summer and expects to graduate in August.
All this while her family is growing. She and her husband Levan Mandzhgaladze, whom she met in Russia and who is also earning his MBA at Northeastern, welcomed their first child this spring.