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Alumni Success Story: Oleksandr Ukrainskyy speaks about his studies in the UK

Oleksandr Ukrainskyy, a BISU student's brother, recently visited the Pechersk school to meet our senior pupils and talk about the future. We also spoke to him to hear about his experience of living and studying abroad. 

BISU: What are the majors at your university? 

Oleksandr: I have a Bachelors (BSc Accounting and Finance at Oxford Brookes University) and a Masters (MSc Investment Management at CASS Business School, City University of London) degree.

BISU: Was it the University of your first choice? Why? 

Oleksandr: It was Queen Mary University of London. I was a B student during my A-Levels and I was looking for a BSc in Accounting and Finance. Therefore, this was the best option at the time. However, as I had explained during my visit, I messed up my visa application and was deferred till next year. Without losing a year, I applied to Oxford Brookes University. It was my safety choice. And I am very glad I ended up at Brookes. 

BISU: What did you like most about your studies there? 

Oleksandr: Hard to say, really. Location, Polo and Freedom. Location – because I studied in Oxford and it is just a beautiful town, rich with history and gives you this really authentic atmosphere, which motivates you to grow academically, develop new hobbies, play sports. Polo – interesting sport itself, as they call it “The sport of Kings, and the King of sports”. but the most important part is the events. a lot of formal events black and white tie like dinners or a ball. Personally, I really enjoyed attending them in a nice suit. They are a good diversification from normal clubs. Freedom – you start living in the world where you make all your choices and you take full responsibility for them as an adult. You rely on yourself. You effectively shape your life through making right and wrong choices. 

BISU: What is the most challenging thing about studying and living in the UK? 

Oleksandr: Freedom and Independence. I started studying in the UK at an age of 12 years old. For the first year (I started Year 7 then) there was not a single Russian speaker in the junior school, not a teacher or any kid. I had to adapt and grow my confidence in my knowledge of English. I knew the language and could understand everyone most of the time, but breaking through the fear of speaking out, making mistakes was the greatest at the time. It took me 3 weeks. After then I just couldn’t stop talking. It became easy.

When you are at school you are still chased by teachers or, for the very least, reminded about your deadlines. At University you are completely on your own. Nobody chases after you, everything becomes your responsibility. If you forget your deadline, then it is up to you to talk the lecturer into helping you. Alternatively, you just fail the subject, which isn’t good. Letting studies go by the flow of the river is also not enough. If you want to graduate with good grades then you have to put in extra work, read around the subject and apply that knowledge to give your analysis a different perspective. 

BISU: Did you make many new friends there? 

Oleksandr: Yes! I realised that socialising at a university level is not less important than being academically good. I still stay in touch with friends from both universities and with other people whom I have met through my friends and hobbies. They come from various backgrounds, cultures and industries. 

BISU: What were your favourite subjects in school? 

Oleksandr: Math, Design & Technology (DT), Geography, Economics, Business, Chemistry.

BISU: What was your most essential achievement apart from academic success? 

Oleksandr: POLO! I have started polo at Oxford Brookes. My team (Oxford Brookes) placed 2nd (Novice Level) among 30+ UK universities polo clubs during 2019 winter nationals. Later, my London University team also placed 2nd (Intermediate Level) during the 2020 winter nationals. And I had an honour and was invited to play a match for the Oxford University Polo Club (Intermediate Level).

BISU: What are your plans for the future? 

Oleksandr: I have received a contract from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC). So, for the near 3-4 years I will be very busy. 

BISU: What is the best piece of advice you would give to the BISU current students? 

Oleksandr: Use the freedom wisely – enjoy it and find the time to try something new. Meet new people, they will become you friends or maybe open up new opportunities for you. Travel! traveling around the country or abroad with your new friends is one of the best experiences I had ever had. They are fun and you broaden your knowledge. Internships! I can not stress enough how important they are. When you start looking for jobs, this, and all your extracurriculars, is what will make you stand out and from other candidates. Also, it is usually the companies from your internships that you end up working for. They will invite you back without all those extra tests and so it makes life easier, no need to desperately look for new places.

At BISU, we know that alumni voices have a huge impact on current students’ learning growth. Once they sat in the very same seats, and now they are faced up with the challenges of the world beyond high school. A real-life example of future careers, who but them could better advise, explain, and motivate our current students to pursue their dreams?

We celebrate Oleksandr’s achievements and thank him for giving his personal and professional insights to our students.   

Categories: Alumni

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