Dmitry Lobanov on his transition from aerospace engineer to consultant.
Dmitry Lobanov is a Russian national and alumnus of the MBA programme at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford. Prior to enrolling at Oxford, Dmitry worked at Boeing as a stress engineer, where he developed and implemented stress and fatigue analysis processes for aircraft and worked on the design of the Boeing 777, the world's largest twin engine jet. He then led the development of the company’s Russian fleet support department, a role that saw him work with numerous international airlines.
Despite his success at Boeing, Dmitry always harboured a desire to continue his education. After applying to several masters in management degrees and receiving acceptances and even the offer of a full scholarship, he realised he could aim higher, and researched international MBA programmes.
‘Diversity and networking were my priorities,’ said Dmitry. ‘US schools offer great opportunities, but they are very US oriented both in terms of class profile and job prospects. The fact that Oxford Said’s student body represents more than 50 countries was a big plus. I was also looking for a one-year programme, as leaving an industry for two years is not always a good decision. And of course, Oxford attracted me by its beauty, history and traditions: orchards, libraries, towers and halls – when I visited the city for an interview I knew I wanted to stay there.’
It was not until Dmitry was in the midst of his MBA that he considered making a career change into consulting. ‘I wanted my job to be both entrepreneurial and corporate, to try new functions, industries and geographies and at the same time access the knowledge and expertise that are available at large companies. I applied to McKinsey & Company, Boston Consulting Group and Bain & Company and after interviews, I chose McKinsey & Co, where I am now an Associate. I love my job – it is strenuous but extremely rewarding in terms of personal development and networking.’
Reflecting on his time at Oxford, Dmitry states that the MBA exceeded his expectations. ‘Having trained as an engineer I found the knowledge I gained very useful. Marketing, strategy, finance – all these skills are indispensable for a career in consulting. With regards to the most important lesson, well, I guess it was self-belief. Oxford taught me that I can achieve the goals I set for myself. As we say in Russia: “It does not take gods to make pots.”
As well as improving his knowledge and expanding his skillset, Dmitry also enjoyed a diverse and busy social life at Oxford. He attended talks by speakers such as Michael Bloomberg and the late Stephen Hawking, enjoyed dinners at ‘breath taking’ college dining halls, took up rugby and squash, participated in the European MBA tournament, attended balls and enjoyed early morning runs through Oxford’s ‘magnificent parks and winding streets.’
‘140 Oxonians came to my birthday BBQ and I have been to a countless number of birthday parties myself,’ recalled Dmitry, ‘I travelled to Wales, Paris and Cape Town with Oxford friends. And this is only a small part of the Oxford social life.’
When asked if he had advice for prospective MBA applicants from Russia who were unsure if Oxford was right for them, Dmitry was unequivocal: ‘I would advise them to come to Oxford for a weekend to see for oneself how much Oxford has to offer. Connect with the School or current students and come for a lecture, Oxford Union talk and formal dinner and you will have no doubts left,’ he said.