Vanderbilt MBA 2011
Director of Global Media and Advancement at Starkey Hearing Technologies
After practicing law in his native Russia, Yuri realized his passion lay elsewhere. So he relocated in 2004 to the United States, where he had spent several previous summers working with children at a summer camp.
In Washington, D.C., Yuri established the Real Russia Project, an educational and consulting program at the Discovery Institute. As director, he organized conferences, published more than 1,500 articles, and consulted with Congress and the State Department. Meanwhile, taking advantage of his years of training in classical piano and music theory at a Soviet music school, Yuri composed more than 100 songs and produced three CDs, which turned a modest profit.
Seeking the concrete management skills that would help him move from the non-profit to the for-profit business world, Yuri decided to pursue an MBA. He chose Owen, he says, because of its welcoming atmosphere, “top-notch” students, small class size and, not least, because the school is “only two blocks from Music Row.”
Owen (in particular, classes with Professor Tim DuBois in business and entrepreneurship in the entertainment field) enabled Yuri to think about a music career not just as a “crazy dream” but an actual possibility. The possibility became even more real when Yuri won a summer enterprise grant and established his own music company, Technopraise, LLC.
Yuri’s work with Technopraise artists and the training he received from Professor of Internet Marketing Erick Goss led to the launch of another profitable business, Breakthrough Social Media, LLC, a social media agency now serving multiple artists (including ones signed to “American Idol” producer Randy Jackson.)
Yuri, who was chosen president of Owen’s Student Government Association, credits his classmates, professors and career adviser with the support that “helped me make the right, even if risky, decisions,” he says. “Owen encourages you to pursue your dreams. It literally shaped my world by connecting all my prior life experiences into one. For the first time since I was a kid, my life entirely makes sense. I know how, where and when to employ all of my skills, and Owen has been there to help me with every step.”