Russian London Met Master of Public Administration Programme (MPA) graduate Anastasiya Kichigina was passionate about improving her regional social services which include social care, education and learning, health care, culture and leisure, sport and youth policy. These services are used by all residents in her hometown of Krasnoyarsk in Siberia, Russia. Her vital role in the improvement of these services following her degree is a legacy that will last generations.
Before coming to study at London Met, Anastasiya held a senior position in the Central Government of the city working to develop strategies and long-term targets to improve the quality of social services under her administration. She also worked as a part-time lecturer at Siberian State Technological University. Her remit was to improve the quality of services up to international standards; however, when her team embarked on the implementation of this project they found there to be a lack of staff experience in this area.
What made you decide to study abroad?
“Not everyone in my administration is fortunate enough to have the ability to study abroad. Therefore, I took the challenge to go abroad and gain expertise in the international practice of public administration to bring this back to my region so I will be able to implement changes that will seriously improve our standards of services for our residents.”
Anastasiya took a one-year sabbatical with the full support of her government and managed to secure the Ford Foundation International Fellowship Programme, a highly competitive scholarship covering all tuition fees, living expenses and flights. This scholarship is designed to offer advanced study opportunities for leaders who work for social change and can be applied to any course in the world provided the candidate has an unconditional offer for a place to study.
Anastasiya was given one year to find a suitable course and she started to research appropriate courses for her professional needs.
"I chose London Met’s MPA Programme based on the course content, the work experience component and from reading student experiences of studying here. My purpose in studying abroad was my wish to gain useful knowledge in order to implement what I had learned and train staff back in my home administration.""
She found that London Met’s MPA was the most suitable course for her as it had an international focus and comparative course structure that would allow her to systematically compare national systems with her own national system and draw lessons from this.
Did London Met's diverse student body affect your choice?
She also learnt from reading London Met's student profiles that many people had come from developing countries to study the course and returned home to implement policies for social change. The final deciding factor was the work placement module, something that could prove extremely informative and expose her to real-life situations and examples of managing public services under international standards.
“My purpose in studying abroad was my wish to gain useful knowledge in order to implement what I had learnt and train staff back in my home administration.”
After a long and thorough application process, Anastasiya came to London Metropolitan University and excelled in her master’s programme. With the support of her lecturers and her government back home, she was able to gain the knowledge and skills that she had sought to obtain to improve the delivery of services to her residents.
Tell us a bit more about the work experience on the course
“The work placement module was extremely rewarding and informative. I worked at the London Borough of Havering in Romford and this team is very similar to the one I managed back home. I had a chance to participate in all seminars and meetings with the service providers. I also had a chance to experience first-hand the theories we had learned in the classroom; in particular, the implementation of outcome-based accountability. This approach is not yet used in Russia; however, I have started to implement this to raise our standard of quality to ensure that we are held accountable and seen to be learning and improving from past experience.”
On graduation, Anastasiya returned to Russia to develop and implement a large-scale strategy and a long-term development programme.
A year on from this work, Anastasiya decided to further her research into this area and applied for a PhD at London Metropolitan University. She received the VC Scholarship to study a PhD in performance management and the challenges of implementing performance management system to the Russian Social Services, using Krasnoyarsk as a case study. Although Anastasiya is no longer employed by the central government, she still keeps in touch with them and advises them on developing and managing the procedures that she put in place.
How has the course helped you in your career plans?
“I am a woman who is responsible for improving my native country. I feel like a host on whom the future of my native city depends. It is difficult for everyone to have this opportunity to push for social change and I feel that I have a unique chance to really make a difference. I am so grateful to London Met for this opportunity. I feel like I am a vehicle through which social policy is transferred from one country to another”.
Whilst studying for her PhD, Anastasiya works as a part-time project manager for a project funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). The operator of the project is Media Diversity Institute (MDI), a London-based charity which supports media around the globe in their efforts to provide public debate on all issues relevant to all citizens, regardless of their political, social or cultural background. Anastasiya manages a project designed by MDI to fight discrimination in Russia through tolerant and inclusive reporting. The project is a part of the wider FCO Human Rights and Democracy Programme (HRDP) 2013-14 which aims to make a difference to people’s lives, helping to build infrastructures for governments and civil society to promote and protect human rights.
Anastasiya’s achievements to date have been phenomenal and very valuable. There is no doubt that she is an exceptionally bright and academically gifted individual and her dedication to use this for the further improvements of her country is inspirational.