Applying engineering mindset in Edtech company
Fater Akuhwa, 2021 MSc in Energy Systems | Marketing Project Manager, Skyeng
Meet Fater Akuhwa, Skoltech MSc graduate with a passion for innovative environment. He decided to build a career in Russia and after graduation has already got offers from large companies. Enjoy his story!
why I chose Skoltech
I decided to join Skoltech because I was looking for a world-class institution where I could hone my skills and network with other professionals. I had already been in Russia for 5 years studying in Russian language so I wanted to pursue a Master's degree in English. Skoltech checked all the boxes for me and I was happy to go through the rigorous selection process to gain admission into the Energy Systems track.

The future of the global power industry is inconceivable without modern IT solutions in energy system design and control. We combine in-depth IT training (computation, modeling, data analysis) and thorough study of basic engineering approaches to cultivate future industry leaders.

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my career journey
My first work experience happened right after my graduation from Skoltech, I spent a couple of months as an IT intern in Procter and Gamble's IT office here in Moscow. I was quite impressed by the vast scope of the company and the thoroughness of its processes.

However, I realized that big companies are not my choice as I craved a startup environment which is fast-paced with little bureaucracy, much innovation, and the opportunity to wear multiple hats. I got an offer from Skyeng halfway into my internship at P&G, which I accepted. I decided to build a career in Russia because Russia has become a second home to me. I came to Russia as a teenager, and have spent almost 90% of my post-high-school years in Russia. Additionally, the tech landscape of Russia is growing rapidly with numerous opportunities for development.

my current position
Right now I am a marketing project manager at Skyeng. Skyeng is acclaimed to be the biggest EdTech startup in Eastern Europe. I work in a division of Skyeng called Skypro, which specializes in teaching IT courses to people looking to switch careers to IT. I was hired to work in a team working on the international expansion of our product into the Asian market.
my typical day
My day to day activities vary depending on whether I'm working from home or from the office (I have the liberty to work from wherever I want). When I go to the office, I begin my typical day by taking a shower. Next, I take the train for 40 minutes to get to the office in time to sign up for free breakfast. I usually also grab a free latte to boost up my energy. Then I go through my inbox and slack messages to come up to speed with what is going on in the company. On a typical day, I have planning sessions and other meetings to interact with specific teams (like design, marketing and sales). My responsibilities revolve around balancing the priorities of various stakeholders, monitoring the project process to make sure we meet deadlines and managing our project backlog.

what I learned at Skoltech
Skoltech taught me to work under very tight deadlines. Skoltech also taught me to collaborate with different groups of people (I had to do a team project every two months or so). I also developed strong research skills while at Skoltech, learned to work independently and keep my motivation alive. These are attributes that certainly come into play in my daily activities today.

My scientific advisor was Professor Federico Martin Ibanez from the Center for Energy Science and Technology. Professor Federico specializes in Power Electronics and I found his work interesting because his field finds great relevance in electromobility, which I am interested in. I chose a very complex research topic. I had a difficult season towards the end of my thesis because of the disruption caused by COVID-19. Nevertheless, I managed to obtain good results from the research and got an A in my defense. I was also selected to give the Farewell Speech on behalf of my graduating class on the day of our convocation. Some of my fondest memories are from the times when other international students and I played Mafia and other card games on Friday nights while we stayed at Tetris. Those were really fun moments.

my advice to current students
My personal experience of more than 7 years has shown that the average Russian is kind, gentle, friendly, and welcoming. I advise foreign students who want to build a career in Russia not to be hesitant to do so. Russia is blessed with a very rich and diverse culture. If you can bear the pain of learning the Russian language (which might be a difficult, yet exciting journey) and build the right competencies, you will find it easy to navigate through the corporate system in Russia. Skoltech is also a springboard that will easily attract employers to you. You will need to learn the art of selling yourself to these employers.
and now about Skoltech
We are Skoltech. A new type of university in Russia, established in 2011 in collaboration with MIT with the vision of being a world-leading institute of science and technology. From the zero stage, Skoltech has rapidly advanced along the way towards a top-100 young university recognized globally by Nature Index.
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