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On How to Win the Leaders of Russia Contest

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© предоставлено Анастасией Лебедевой

A fifth-year student of St. Petersburg Mining University became the best among 15 thousand students in the project of the Presidential platform “Russia - the country of possibilities.”

This year Russian students got an opportunity to take part in the annual open competition Leaders of Russia for new generation managers. The new track provides an opportunity to identify the most promising young personnel with managerial potential. The selection took several months. Tests, recordings, questionnaires, video appeals, tests again, retesting: all this had to be overcome to reach the final.

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A 5th-year student of St. Petersburg Mining University, Mineral Processing Department, a future mining engineer Anastasia Lebedeva spoke about what character traits a future head of a corporation should have, how volunteer and student life helps to hone leadership qualities, and about the dream to conquer the North Pole.

Why did you decide to take part in the contest?

I have been watching Leaders of Russia for a long time, but it always seemed distant and inaccessible to me. Later, I got to know one of the winners, who talked a lot about this competition on his Instagram page. This year, for the first time, university representatives were invited to participate, and the “Students” track appeared. I thought that such an opportunity should not be missed.

What did you have to do to qualify?

Initially, I had to fill out a questionnaire and talk about my managerial experience. This questionnaire, according to the idea of the organizers, allows you to reveal professional and personal qualities. Already in school, I was an activist, the teachers channelled my energy in the right direction: sent me to the Olympiads, competitions, and I won several prizes. In high school, I began to implement social design. Together with my teacher, I created projects that began to be applied at the city level in St. Petersburg. I have experience working as a counsellor in a children’s camp for teenage leaders. At university, most of my life was spent working in the student council. For two years I was chairman of the faculty and a member of the praesidium of the entire university. And I also launched the project “Okay, Mining,” a club to help freshmen adapt to the university, thanks to which new students can easily prepare for their studies and learn everything about our university. I was the creative director of the School of Activism (Editor’s note: the School of Activism of Mining University is a platform for the development and training of active students who want to participate in the work and life of the Mining Student Council). I participated in the organization of the Victory Volunteers forum, carried the banner at the Victory Ambassadors. I also took part in the “Russia – a Land of Opportunities” forum. In 2021, I started combining work and studies - I ran online schools. Now I am working as a trainee, I was hired by Sever Minerals Company. We, students of Mining University, have been living under the motto “The more you do, the more you succeed” since our first year.

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How did the contest itself take place, what was the format and how many stages were there?

The main thing in the whole competition is to test the managerial and intellectual abilities at different stages of the selection process. The manager can be strong in different areas, and somewhere not quite enough. But if in the overall concept you are at a high level, then you pass to the finals. The first intellectual stage assessed the numerical, verbal, logical thinking, knowledge of Russian. It was common for all, not just for students. The following stage was depending on the track, which for us, was an examination of intellectual abilities in the sphere of art, culture, geography, economics and law, and also information technologies. Here the level of general education was tested, and the right to error was minimal. At the retesting stage (repetition in a face-to-face format of what you have already proved online) dropped out 30% of the participants.

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What tasks had to be done in the finals?

Unfortunately, it is impossible to divulge what was in the finals. I can only say that the work was a team effort, and we were evaluated by professional observers. Tasks were set differently: this was the solution of situational sketches in the company, these were proposals and hypotheses at the country level. In general, they touched upon all spheres of life. It was difficult but interesting because the guys who came there were quite sophisticated, but the atmosphere was comfortable. All the participants are decent, intelligent, have no aggression, and are open for competition, everyone communicated with each other within the team and outside the team.

Out of more than 15 thousand students, you were the winner. In your opinion, what allowed you to do it?

Probably all the experience I already had. In the competition I behaved the same way as in life, I did not build models of behaviour in advance, I was myself. As the observer noted, the ability to work in a team, to notice in people their positive sides, and to direct them in what they are strong, “became my distinctive feature.” That is, teamwork with a focus on each person has helped me tremendously.

In your opinion, what are the five distinguishing characteristics of a leader and manager?

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For a leader, it is important to have an active life position, when you can lead people and take responsibility for the result, whatever it may be. The second is the ability to work in a team because a leader can’t do anything alone. It is important to think systematically, which allows you to think ahead and look for not the most obvious ways to solve the problem.

Equity is also important because the person responsible for the team must be interested in the final result. Confidence is an essential trait of a leader, but not self-confidence, which can only hinder.

What did the winners of the competition receive?

There are different prizes - internships in large companies, corporate library, training. I have already received a call from SIBUR Holding with a job offer. The contest made me realize that being surrounded by strong people drives growth and they should be viewed as allies. I got acquainted with a lot of guys with whom we established professional contacts and agreed on cooperation with some of them. At the contest, I got to know a participant, a future teacher, and together we plan to launch an educational project, something like Soft skills.

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The graduation year ahead, what are your dreams?

I want to go to the North Pole as a member of the expedition - this is the goal, which I move towards slowly but surely. And in any case, I'm going to do my projects, because I can’t stand monotonous work. I am interested in the mineral resources complex and I see that there are a lot of opportunities to implement my plans.