Graduate Management News

December 2015

The Newsletter of the Graduate Management Admission Council

AINP Recap: Q & A with Natalia Antsiferova

After a successful first edition in 2014, AINP Europe returns to Brussels in February 2016 in partnership with EFMD.

AINP Europe

This intensive 3-day program is designed to help new admissions professionals with six to 36 months experience to master the art and science of admissions, recruiting and outreach. Graduate Management News caught up with Natalia Antsiferova, MSc Programs Manager at the Stockholm School of Economics, who shares her experience and key takeaways from the 2014 program.

Registration is open for the 2016 AINP Europe event. 

Natalia Antsiferovat

1. Why did you register for AINP Europe in 2014? What did you hope to get from the program?

I had been in my admissions role for just under 18 months and felt that I lacked structure in my work as well as specific knowledge about the graduate management education industry. I knew that a better understanding of these skills would enable me to reach my full potential in my role and add value to my school. I had been to some conferences but found most of the content too broad to implement in my everyday work, so the workshop delivery format of AINP Europe was very appealing to me.

2. What was your favorite session and why?

To be honest, I liked all the sessions and have found them very relevant to all I do at work. But if I had to choose, my favorite sessions were “Strategies for Crafting a Class” and “Power in the Ranks”. The Crafting a Class session, where we participated in a mock admissions committee that evaluated several candidates from a stakeholder point of view (i.e. from Admissions, Career Services, Alumni, Faculty, etc.), was very practical and I was able to immediately apply the learning in my work. The “Power in the Ranks” class provided me with a structured overview of the most relevant rankings and that deeper knowledge has enabled me to speak, almost as an expert, about the rankings to potential students.

3. What was your biggest “aha” moment and why?

For me, the ‘aha’ moment came in discovering that I’m not alone in my thinking. Although there were many different schools represented in the class, we all had similar problems and questions regarding the gaps in our knowledge. Before I came onto the program, I thought the issues facing my team and school would be drastically different from my classmates’ but when we spoke to each other it was clear that we were all sharing similar experiences and problems. I really appreciated having the opportunity to share these thoughts with my peers within the industry.

4. What changes have you implemented as a result of the program?

I’ve implemented a lot of the learning from the program at work.

When it comes to the rankings, I genuinely feel that we got a thorough understanding of how they work and how we’re [SSE] positioned in relation to the marketplace. I use the learning from this session constantly at recruitment fairs and when meeting candidates on campus.

We also received good career coaching skills and advice in the “Career Coaching Skills for Admissions” session. Knowledge about careers in Financial Services, Consulting and Industry has helped me to have valuable conversations with applicants. I don’t “sell” our programs when speaking to applicants any more. Instead, I help advise them and ask them to think about the career path they wish to take before deciding on a program. I feel this type of thinking has not only benefited the applicants, but has also been useful for my own everyday life.

I also got inspired a lot by AINP Europe to improve the graduate admissions process at SSE. My goal has been to build a straightforward application and evaluation process that is very clear for the candidates. Also improving the overall evaluation of the applicants is my first priority. That process is underway and I expect very good results in the future.

6. What feedback have you received from your boss/manager as a result of the program?

During my annual review I received feedback that I was very respected by stakeholders across the school. I also noticed that more people started consulting me on matters relating to admissions and I too now consider myself an expert in the field.

7. How have your peers reacted to your AINPE experience?

I have recommended the program to a colleague (and our mutual manager) who has taken on a new role at SSE. I believe that she will profit from attending the program in 2016, and will be inspired to use her experience to positively implement improvements when she returns, just as I have been able to. 

8. Have you kept in touch with your AINP peers? In what ways?

We all connected via LinkedIn straight after the program and I know that if I ever have a question, it wouldn’t be a problem to connect with any of them. I know I have that network and group of friends for life.

9. Would you recommend this program to others? Why?

I would most definitely recommend AINP Europe to others. The main reason being that the program transforms intuitive knowledge in the area of admissions into something more scientific. You get the structure and understanding of the profession, but also the tools to practically implement ideas in a robust and structured way that will yield growth. I certainly feel more confident in my role and would sign up for the program in 2016 if I could!

Registration is open for the 2016 AINP Europe event.