Introduction to the alumni board: Nadezhda Serova

Nadezhda Serova, Attorney-at-law (Russia), LL.M, E.M.B.L.-HSG, Legal Advisor at Marcuard Heritage AG and responsible for events within the Executive M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association

Please describe your background?
I started my career in a family-owned law firm in Novosibirsk as a paralegal combining it with the study of Russian law at the Tomsk State University. In 2002 I got a law degree, also a bar examination and became a Russian attorney-at-law. In 2004 I moved to Germany to get my postgraduate law degree (LL.M) from the Potsdam University. After getting the LL.M, I worked for the law firm Luther in Berlin, which was associated with Ernst & Young. In 2007, I moved to Moscow and started my work for the tax and legal department, being responsible for corporate, commercial, employment and tax law advice for German, Austrian and Swiss companies doing business in Russia. In 2008/2009 I did my second master in Business International law (E.M.B.L-HSG) from the University of Sankt Gallen. During 2012, I had an international assignment with Ernst & Young Germany. In 2013 I returned back to Moscow and then in 2014 relocated to Zurich due to private reasons. Graduation from the E.M.B.L-HSG has certainly helped me to find a good job in Zurich. I work as a lawyer for Marcuard Heritage AG, an asset management company with its headquarters in Zurich. I am responsible for legal and tax advice for the CIS private clients.

I joined the board of the alumni in 2014. Before this, I had already participated in arranging the annual alumni meeting in Moscow in 2011. Currently as a member of the board I am responsible for arranging of the annual meetings together with Nikola.

What is your personal mission as a member of the Alumni Association?
I see my personal mission in facilitating and motivating not only the new, current and future members of the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association, but also some potential candidates around the world. Since switching to the English language completely several years ago, the program became very international. Some Russians living in Russia and in Switzerland approach me from time to time in order to get my personal experience from the E.M.B.L.-HSG graduation. I am always glad to share my experience and advise people accordingly regarding my educational and post-educational experience in this regard. I always emphasize that all to me known foreign graduates of this program could significantly improve their career prospects afterwards.

In your personal opinion, what is the benefit of an Alumni Association in general?
Before I went to my first module of the E.M.B.L. program and I was not really aware of the advantages and benefits of its Alumni Association. One of the colleagues of mine from Ernst & Young Moscow said me that she read a book, where it was mentioned that the HSG Alumni Association is really unique and the best among the universities in Europe. A couple of years later I realized what she meant. A special highlight is always attending the big HSG alumni conferences since there are always great speakers and very interesting topics.

The HSG Alumni Association does form local and regional chapters around the word. Before my relocation to Switzerland I met some friends of mine through a local HSG chapter in Moscow. We met each other on a regular basis in Moscow in one of the nicest restaurants, Cafe des Artistes in Moscow, which belongs to a Swiss guy living in Moscow.

After my relocation to Zurich, I started to use the benefits of the HSG Alumni Association more actively. I particularly enjoy the events organized by the Women’s Chapter, like cooking classes, lunches at Hiltl or annual flagship-events. I also actively use the access to other great resources and benefits of the HSG Alumni Association member like for example discounts for some hotels located in Switzerland.

And the Executive M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association in particular?
After attending my first annual event in Athens in 2010, I realized that networking is one of the most valuable uses of my time in terms of return—and not just in monetary terms. It’s a great way to keep in touch with classmates, an excellent way to network with them and establish long-term relationships and friendships. It is always something very special since all annual events are being organized by a member of the Alumni Association, who lives in the particular city, where an annual meeting takes place. Therefore, the members of the Alumni Association have a unique possibility to become acquainted with local lawyers, professors and just to visit some interesting places, which is not possible as a regular tourist.

For me the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association became a part of my life. Arranging of the annual meetings together with Nikola and Patrizia had resulted a lot of interesting discussions and collaborations. I really very much appreciate the level of dedication and commitment of Nicola and Patrizia to the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association.

Two years ago, I had a chance to repeat the Finance module, hosted by the SIX Swiss Exchange. I was very delighted to see how this module is organized and lead by Dr. Stefan R. Sulzer. The content and structure of this module has significantly improved since time of my graduation. Also a big advantage of the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association members is that they have personal access to materials related to all modules and can bring their knowledge up-to-date.

With some of my classmates and other alumnus we still keep in touch and meet on a regular basis not only for the alumni events or lunches in Zurich. For me personally some members of the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association have helped me to integrate to a life and work in Switzerland after my relocation from Russia. People were very supportive and attentive and it was very helpful and valuable for me.

What was the most memorable experience you have had during your membership in the Executive M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association?
Almost 10 years ago, I started to collect many memorable experiences of the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association when I attended various modules of this exceptional program. I got a very close friend Agnieszka Banaszak, with whom we shared many joys and sorrows, the concerns and successesduring our education and after it. The most unforgettable day we spent with our classmates in the Shanghai World Financial Center, a supertall skyscraper located in the Pudong district of Shanghai. Its observation deck offers views from 474 m above ground level. It was really a very impressive view. After the Chinese module, I continued my travel to other amazing places in China like Peking and to the Hainan Island.

What do you especially look forward to in the year 2017 - either personally or in connection with the Alumni Association?
I look forward to the fact that the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association can get more new members not only from the graduates, but also from those, who graduated the program several years ago and never actively participated in the life of the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association. It is a pity that some of the graduates, who are living around the Zurich, cannot just come for a lunch to Belcanto, organized by Nikola, and many members of the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association travel to the annual meeting from abroad each year. From my point of view they lose a lot of interesting opportunities. I really hope that the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association and its active members will “wake up” some “old” graduates. I am sure that they will be really fascinated by participating again or for the first time in various events organized by the E.M.B.L.-HSG Alumni Association and by the meetings and exchanges with each other.