“Believe in yourself”

Executive MBA Russia inspires construction consulting venture

Sergey KaparisTake a proven business model, adapt it for a market in which there are few or no competitors and start your own business. It may sound straightforward, but Sergey Kaparis knows what the catch can be. Four years on, he looks back on an intense but rewarding period in which he and his business partner have not only built up a successful construction consulting company, but also created a market.

Entrepreneurship in practice

During the Entrepreneurship module given by Hans Crijns, Sergey and his MBA team partner Evgeny Bogdanov came up with the idea of a consultancy for the construction industry. The task during the module was to develop a business plan for an entrepreneurial idea. At the time, Evgeny was facing problems with the construction of his holiday home. Countless delays in the building process were being caused by a lack of planning, unexpected problems and changes to the building design. Solutions that seemed logical turned out to be unfeasible and it was costly to comply with regulations and get changes accepted. “In the end, we didn’t use the idea for our MBA business plan, but we did develop it further and launched the business soon after graduation. We already had a fairly good network of Finnish construction experts and we went through an intense period of learning everything we could about the building process and construction regulations in Russia.”

Accelerated learning curve

“I’d long wanted to set up a business of my own but I had no idea what it would entail. A friend inspired me to do the MBA at Vlerick and it ended up opening up a whole new world to me. It changed my behaviour and my environment, and took me out of software programming and into a completely unfamiliar field. It gave me insight into how to invest, how to manage and how to develop a business. You can learn on the job, but the MBA at Vlerick covers more areas, shows how they interlock and creates an accelerated learning curve. It made me understand that you have to really believe in yourself as an entrepreneur and keep trying - looking, listening and scouting the market for information to take you forward.”

New business model

“We adapted our business model after the first year. It had got us into a network of senior managers and construction companies and they liked the ideas we were presenting – we were creating a market for modern technology and project planning. But now we not only advise on how a building can be optimised, we also design the building right from the start, applying more efficient design approaches for better return on investment. We draw on overseas expertise and modern technology to change traditional Russian building processes, so that they’re more effective.”

& Rankings

Equis Association of MBAs AACSB Financial Times