I was born and raised in Kislovodsk, a resort town in the Northern Caucasus region of Russia. I always wanted to come to the U.S. and build a better life for me and my family. During the past 20 years I received a great education, built a career in banking, and now have the opportunity to help St. Ambrose University business students gain valuable practical experience while helping build the economic future of the Quad Cities.
My American experience began when I came to the US in 1991 as a part of the Sister Cities exchange program in Muscatine, Iowa. After graduating from Muscatine High School in 1993, I entered Marycrest University in Davenport where I majored in International Business. While at Marycrest, I played volleyball under Coach Bruce Billingsley, who is now the women's volleyball coach at St. Ambrose. I had a privilege of being Bruce's assistant coach at St. Ambrose while pursuing my MBA degree at St. Ambrose.
The St. Ambrose MBA provided me with a solid theoretical background in the areas of economics, finance, marketing, organizational theory and accounting that helped me every step of the way in my professional career. The program gave me the right tools to succeed in professional life as a commercial banker. I also took a few courses in the DBA program that provided me with a solid perspective on business and education in the United States.
After receiving my MBA I spent the last 12 years pursuing a career in commercial banking. Starting at Quad City Bank, I then traveled to Chicago where I worked for Harris Bank, Fifth Third Bank and Associated Bank. I returned to the Quad Cities in 2011 to work for US Bank as a Vice President/Relationship Manager in the Middle Market area of the bank. I am hoping to stay with US Bank in the Quad Cities for the foreseeable future because US Bank is a solid financial institution that promotes community involvement and recognizes individual achievement.
I came into the MBA program without any practical experience and always felt that business students can benefit from practical application of the theoretical concepts learned in their classes. With that in mind, I always wanted to help St. Ambrose business students with the real life application of their studies.
I entered the Quad City Leadership Academy (QCLA) program headed by Ginny Wilson-Peters in early 2011. The central theme of the Academy was to connect young local professionals with the Quad City community. As a part of a small group of QCLA participants comprised of Nicole Freise of The Community Foundation of the Great River Bend, Carol Wooten of Genesis Systems and me, we uncovered a project completed by prior St. Ambrose student Brad Cook for the City of Bettendorf. The project was aimed at developing a system to discover national businesses that may benefit from relocating or expanding into the Quad Cities Area.
We worked closely with Steve VanDyke of the City of Bettendorf to reintroduce this project to the St. Ambrose University College of Business. Our idea was to involve St. Ambrose business students into community life by applying their theoretical cross-disciplinary knowledge acquired through their academic study to the real life issue of economic development for the Quad Cities Area.
The idea of the project was embraced by David O'Connell, Dean of the College of Business, and Art Moreau, Chair of the Finance and Decision Sciences Department at St. Ambrose. This semester several College of Business students are in a multidisciplinary, independent study course to develop a comprehensive method to research and attract businesses to the Quad Cities Area.
The students will be working in close cooperation with the Quad City Area economic development community, gain insight into the Quad City Area business world, and apply their academic knowledge to develop solutions to real life community issues. The class will provide practical application of the academic studies while developing important community and business connections between St. Ambrose students and the Quad Cities Area.
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