Russian Entrepreneur Plans To Launch Bakery Business After MBA In UK
Artem Khachikyan has gone from investment banking in Russia to baked-good entrepreneurship in the UK. But after starting an MBA at Aston, he has many more tricks up his sleeve.
While on business trips to Germany, Artem Khachikyan used to sample sweet treats at baked goods. But the quality just couldn't compare to the bakeries near his investment banking offices in Moscow, Russia.
"I like baking, and I like to eat these things even more," says Artem with a grin. "I've been to Germany many times and tried many different types of bakes, and I realized that we just don't have these types of things in Russia."
At the time he was working for a top investment bank in the Russian capital. And although he had a successful career in finance for over six years, he always knew he wanted to become an entrepreneur.
"It's not just baking," he continues. "I'm interested in the whole food industry. I had a lot of opportunities in Moscow but I've always wanted to do something more, to have my own business and do something for myself."
So when he quit his job and moved to England to begin an MBA in the UK, Artem had a pretty good idea of what he wanted to do. After studying at the Moscow State University of Food Production back in 2007, he had a path planned out: move to Britain, get an MBA from a top university, find business partners and start a factory-business making baked goods.
That was until he set foot inside Aston Business School. It blew his mind wide open.
"I had no idea an MBA would change my mind this much," says Artem. "I learnt so many new things and even after just two months, all the modules on the programme helped to change my mind and what I want to do in my life."
Now, he has a plan to launch his own car-servicing company. A bakery is still his "plan A", but his entrepreneurial possibilities are now endless.
The two sectors - automotive and foods - may seem a world apart. But Artem holds them both in high regard. To finance his studies in Moscow, he worked in a mechanical role at a servicing center and his Masters degree was split into engineering and food production machinery and equipment.
"I was interested in car servicing and food facilities, and I knew these were the two sectors I wanted to be involved in," he says. Yet he joined FINAM, a prominent banking giant in Russia, where he rose to a sales manager position.
"My main goal was to gain an understanding of business," Artem explains. "But I realized I had a lack of basic management knowledge, and that's why I decided to begin an MBA."
Germany was not just where he found his passion for baking - he almost went to b-school in the country. Russian universities have a heavy focus on engineering and medical studies; for business management, Artem felt he had to go abroad.
His most ambitious step was a move to the UK last year.
"I realized that if I wanted to create a business, and not allow it to fail, I needed to learn about business internationally," he says. "My main motivation was originally to avoid critical mistakes. But this MBA teaches you such a huge amount of things."
The Aston MBA has completely changed his outlook. Artem's plan B is just as daring as plan A.
On marketing module a few months' back, he had to critically analyze a car servicing company and suggest ways to improve its development.
"I realized that in Russia we have huge possibilities for development in this sector," he says. "But the rules and regulations there can make business difficult at times. And that's partly why I decided to do an MBA here; I would love to organize a business in the UK. I'm happy with the choice I made."
Setting up a business in the UK comes with its own challenges, however. An MBA has given Artem the network to build a business in a foreign country. Only a few months' into the programme, and he already knows that networking will be his greatest benefit.
"Every week I learn something new and I feel confident that I have a strong network. It's a good way for me to find potential business partners and many of my peers are very experienced. This network gives me a strong base."
Artem knows it will be a challenge, but it is one he is relishing. "It doesn’t matter what I do," he says. "With a strategy and clear mission, I know that I can achieve and succeed.
"It doesn’t matter what kind of field. It doesn't matter what sector. I have always just wanted to develop a business for myself."
It has been a few years since Artem was last in a Germany bakery. But he is still hungry to achieve.