‘I am a Professional’ National Student Competition Takes Off

Today marks the start of the registration process for the ‘I am a Professional’ national competition for students. For a second year in a row, students from all over Russia can try their hand at the competition’s challenges in a bid to win an internship in a major company, a money prize, and easy access to Master’s and PhD degrees in leading Russian universities. This year’s competition consists of 54 tracks, five of which are coordinated by ITMO University. 

Why participate?

Aimed at creating new opportunities for promising young people, the first ‘I am a Professional’ competition was launched last year. The competition organizers see it as a social elevator for talented and ambitious Bachelor’s and Master’s students from all higher education institutions countrywide. Following last year’s competition results, 434 finalists were given a one-off opportunity to intern for a leading Russian company. Employers searched for and selected participants via the ‘I am a Professional’ national database that works like a recruiting agency. Here's what last year's participants say about their life-changing competition experience. 

In 2018, 97 Russian companies opened their doors to last year’s competition winners. Among them were many industry big namers of the likes of Sberbank, VTB Bank, Rosatom, Yandex, Interfax, Nornickel, and Kaspersky Lab. But it was the opportunity of getting into their dream education destination on special terms that was the first source of motivation for 25% of competition winners. More than 750 successful contestants used their admission bonuses to apply for a Master’s or PhD degree. The Top-10 most popular education destinations included Lomonosov Moscow State University, St. Petersburg State University, Higher School of Economics, ITMO University, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, Ural Federal University, First Moscow State Medical University, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Tomsk State University, and Kazan State University of Architecture and Engineering.

First 'I am a Professional' awards ceremony
First 'I am a Professional' awards ceremony

As in last year, the 2018 competition is organized by the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs and the ‘Business Russia’ national public organization in collaboration with Russia’s leading universities such as Higher School of Economics, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration, Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology, First Moscow State Medical University, St. Petersburg Polytechnic University, Tomsk State University, Ural Federal University, Tyumen State University, among many others. Russian tech giant Yandex will serve as the event’s technical partner. Organizers will pool their efforts to ensure maximum involvement of the industry and business communities and provide the participants with high-quality educational and methodological support.

New education tracks

The 2018 ‘I am a Professional’ participants can try their hand at any of 54 competition tracks, which is double the number of 27 options offered last year. From physics and engineering to medicine, psychology, design and journalism, there is a track for students of any major.  

All competition tracks correspond to careers most sought-after on the labor market and are implemented by a group of universities with one of them appointed as head coordinator. ITMO University coordinates several tracks: in addition to last year’s ‘Programming and Information Technologies’, ‘Photonics’ and ‘Informational and Cyber Security’, there are two new options: ‘Big Data’ and ‘Robotics’ (which is co-organized by Far Eastern Federal University). The Director of ITMO’s School of Translational Information Technologies Alexander Boukhanovsky will be the head of the ‘Big Data’ track, while the ‘Robotics’ track will be represented by Sergey Kolyubin, Head of ITMO’s Department of Mechatronics.

Internship opportunities

Each competition track was assigned its own set of academic and industrial partners. The former consist of universities ready to admit ‘I am a Professional’ winners hors concours, while the latter will provide them with internship opportunities. The ‘Big Data’ track will have MTS, Speech Technology Center, Diakont, Gazpromneft Science & Technology Center, Mail.ru, Delovye Linii, ER-Telecom, Siemens, and Bank Saint Petersburg as its industrial associates, while Far Eastern Federal University and Syktyvkar State University will take on the role of academic partner. ‘Informational and Cyber Security’ tracks’ partnerships include Sberbank, Echelon Information Security, CheckPoint, InfoWatch and Kaspersky Lab from the industry’s side, joined by Bryansk State Technical University, Southern Federal University, the North-Caucasus Federal University, Volga State University of Technology, Tomsk State University of Control Systems and Radioelectronics, Ural Federal University and St. Petersburg State University from the academia. Sberbank, Yandex, Mail.ru, NetCracker, and IBS have partnered with Syktyvkar State University, Ural Federal University, North-Eastern Federal University and Samara State Aerospace University to represent the ‘Programming and Information Technologies’ track.

Competition preparation

Apart from numerous contests, the competition organizers have prepared an extensive educational program that includes three webinars per each educational track. Taught by lecturers from Russia’s top universities, these online classes will give participants the opportunity to practice last year’s tasks and ask the experts questions.

In their turn, leading HR specialists, business coaches and partner companies’ representatives will host a series of workshops and webinars to help participants boost their soft skills with a special focus on business communication, self-representation, prioritization and teamwork.

ITMO University's 2018 winter school
ITMO University's 2018 winter school

Winter schools

In February next year, subject-specific winter schools will be held for high-achieving contestants. These high-profile education forums will give attendants a chance to meet top industry experts, learn about the latest industry trends, and network with their future colleagues. ITMO University’s own winter school will take place on February 19-22, 2019.

‘I am a Professional’ online qualification round will launch on November 24 and conclude on December 9. The results will come in at the end of December. Those who passed the qualification round are admitted to participate in the final round, which is to be held in February 2019 on-site in Russia’s largest universities. The final results will be announced in March-April 2019. Participants will be sent back their works appraised and commented on by the judges and, if successful, invited to the awards ceremony.

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