Following questions and answers are presented in an interview format of a recent program graduate:
Roman Dobrianskij was a student at VSE from 1997-1999. He studied at Bradley University from 1999-2002 when he completed his MBA. Since 2002 to the present Roman has worked for Hewitt Associates/Hewitt Investment Group as an Investment Research Analyst. He responds to hypothetical questions you might ask.

Question: So, what is Bradley like? Is it a good school?
Roman: Yes. Bradley is a very well respected school. It is not that well known nationally but it is well known in Chicago and the Midwest (it works a little differently in the U.S. with something like 3000 colleges and universities). It could be categorized as a fairly selective smaller private school. None of your classes will have hundreds of people in it, more like 15 or 20. Your professor will know your name and you will know (and work on projects with) a lot of your classmates.

Question: Yeah, how about my classmates? Who would they be?
Roman: There is more of a distinction between being a graduate and an undergraduate student here than you are used to. As a graduate student, most of your classmates will be relatively older part-time students with regular full-time jobs, their own families etc. Another portion of your classmates will be more like you - full-time students, typically still in their 20's and often times graduate assistants like yourself. This crowd is also more international.

Question: That whole 'graduate assistantship' thing sounds a little scary? How can I be an assistant at an American university? What do you actually do?
Roman: It may sound a little intimidating but there is nothing to worry about. Heck, I had no real job experience and only completed two years at VSE, and I could do it. You basically help out a few professors with whatever they need. Often times it is a mixture of research- or teaching-oriented duties, such as helping professors locate articles for their research papers or helping them prepare for classes, as well as some more administrative-type duties such as monitoring and grading exams. Lately, some students have taught an Excel class or worked for departments or centers at Bradley that deal with outside clients and 'real life' projects. As far as I know, none of the VSE students ever had any problems with their assistantship. Bottom line, don't worry about it, you will be just fine.

Question: How about the academics? Are the studies hard?
Roman: Yes and no. You will be made to work pretty hard throughout the semester on projects, papers and other assignments. So you will generally be pretty busy. On the other hand, compared to VSE your grades will reflect much more accurately your effort and what you probably learned in the class. It won't depend just on one exam at the end of the semester and it will be less subjective than what you may have experienced at VSE. You will have an edge over your classmates in that you will have already heard and known some of the subject matter. Other classes will be brand new, for example the Legal Environment of Business. That is one of the most demanding but also rewarding classes. Overall, Czech students are doing really well academically at Bradley.

Question: OK. I heard that you can live on the stipend that you get as an assistant but I also know that I need to prove that I have additional funds. What's the deal?
Roman: The stipend doesn't cover all your living expenses as estimated by Bradley so you need to prove that you can pay for the difference. That said, if you are frugal you can get by on the assistantship and don't really need take on debt or dip into your or your parents' savings.

Question: Sounds good. What about Peoria?
Roman: I believe Peoria itself has a population of little over a hundred thousand, with the broader metropolitan area reaching something like 350,000. Don't let that number mislead you, though - the feel of the city is similar to that of a 100,000 Czech city. It doesn't quite have the cultural diversity and richness of Prague but if you miss the glitz of a major city, you can always go to Chicago, which is about 3 hours away (in America, that's close :o). There are a few Czech Bradley alumni living in the Chicago area, including myself, who are generally happy to put you up and show you around.

Question: Why did you decide to go to Bradley?
Roman: Several reasons. It was a great opportunity from a career perspective and it was a good deal - free education and enough stipend to live on. I also wanted to live abroad for an extended period of time and really get to know another culture and way of life.

Question: So, did you?
Roman: Yep. You obviously get to know the student life pretty well. It's mostly up to you how much you learn about the world outside of campus. If you are open-minded and not too shy, there will be plenty of opportunities to meet new people, make friends, argue politics, travel and so on. If you stay in the U.S. after graduation and find a job, you can experience life as millions of Americans live it - corporate job, paycheck and a retirement savings plan, but also more hours in the office than you would probably care and not enough vacation. Either way, you will definitely get a sense of what life is like in America.

Question: How about the other thing - was going to Bradley a good move career-wise?
Roman: Definitely. Good education is a foot in the door to a great job but you already know that. As you can see from other people's essays here, we are generally employed by respectable companies and have interesting jobs. Being marketable professionally gives you more options in your personal life, too, including living in different countries. Some went back home after graduation, others stayed here in the US, yet others stayed in the US for a while and then moved back home or elsewhere in Europe.

Question: So, what are you doing for living?
Roman: I work for an investment consulting group. We help large institutional investors, often times corporate pension plans, with their investment decisions such as asset allocation, investment manager selection and performance monitoring. As an independent advisor, we monitor hundreds of investment management firms and their funds, and make recommendations to our clients. I also have research-type responsibilities so I do things like writing market commentaries and responding to research requests from our consultants, both U.S. and non-U.S.

Question: Cool. What can I do if I have more questions?
Roman: Just shoot me or anybody else here an email. My address is moc.liamtoh|jiksnairbodnamor#moc.liamtoh|jiksnairbodnamor

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