Liubov Ilina: Doing education her way

Victoria Rusnac
03.02.2020·4 min read

When you want to be a neurosurgeon and an entrepreneur, there’s no obvious path to take when you leave high school. Which do you focus on first? For Liubov Ilina, this choice is soon to become a career.

“When you’re in a field like medicine, you focus on textbooks,” says Liubov Ilina. “Studying medicine mostly requires memorizing. More so than problem-solving.” Thinking is something this Germany-based Russian native wants to hone.

Unhappy with the way her first university in St. Petersberg taught their medical students, she decamped to Germany after three semesters to study bioengineering. “I wanted something a bit more scientific,” she says. “My brain had grown fat and lazy.” But the notoriously intense degree still left Luibov thirsting for more. “It turned out to be quite ordinary,” she laments.

Freedom to excel

Luibov wants to be an entrepreneur, and she doesn’t want to wait too long to get started. For her, pressing pause for four years while she finishes a degree was unthinkable. Enter Nexford: “I have a project I’ve been working on for six months, but I realized that I lacked business knowledge, how to find investors, how to manage finance and how to do sell. I hate marketing. ‘Hey look at me! Why don’t you come and buy this?’ But I understand it’s a powerful tool that I have to use if I’m going to be a businesswoman.”

The Bachelor of Business Administration Liubov is studying at Nexford means she can earn an American degree while starting up her business. She says that Nexford matches her philosophy because it doesn’t believe in rules for the sake of rules: it’s a university that doesn’t stick to conventional, outdated ways of doing things that no longer make sense. “Nexford allows you to accomplish tasks on your own, to do them whenever you want. You don’t have to stick to some specific pathway.

I hate unnecessary rules, when other people design the way you need to learn. Nexford gives me flexibility.”

Standing up for learning

Learning online was new to Liubov, but it fits her quirks. Through one of her first courses at Nexford, she discovered that she’s a ‘tactile’ learner: someone who learns best through movement. These are the kids who could never sit still in a classroom. For many of them, the trait persists into adulthood. “I’ve realized that I have to stand up while I’m studying,” she says. “It’s actually very hard for me to sit. Learning with Nexford enables me to stand. Now, I can stand and be comfortable – and I can focus for hours!”

When purpose is enterprise

Nexford designs learning around purpose, which was irresistible for this goal-driven high achiever. “First, Nexford orientates you towards your goal. Not your goal of getting a degree, to your own personal goal. The course is organized around that. It’s very smart.”

Liubov’s goal is to run a consultancy for high-school leavers who don’t know where to go next: a problem she’s familiar with.

“Students are lost. I was also lost, but the difference is that I was confident in my own interests. There are many problems that make students drop out, but a big one is the wrong choice of major.” She’s developing a program that – through counseling, consulting, and immersion in a potential workplace – allows students to choose their major more consciously. “There are many companies that do the consulting and the counseling, but what they lack is the practical involvement of students in the workplace.”

Students will be able to visit a workplace, but Luibov also plans to put the experience online, making films inside universities and organizations to send to students who can’t experience them in person. “I have a mentor who has plenty of businesses. He said, ‘That’s going to take 10 years and you need assets. What assets do you have now?’ I don’t have anything!” she laughs. “So I’m going to do it step by step. I’m going to show students all over the world what they can do globally.”

A university you can believe in

Nexford offers new learners their tuition back within 30 days of starting a new course if they don’t fall in love with the university, meaning they have nothing to lose financially. This was a great push to starting her BBA, notes Luibov. But she’s adamant that there’s a much more important element to studying at Nexford that made her take the leap: a meeting of minds.

Compared to Nexford, Liubov thinks other universities are “just ordinary”.

She says Nexford is working for her because their philosophies align, and she can develop at her own pace. “Nexford listens to learners. At normal university development is slow. You have an idea and they say ‘That’s nice, hold on to it. See you in a decade.’ Beliefs matter to me. It’s only now I’m at Nexford that I realize how important it is to match with a university’s beliefs.”

If you want to put your innovative mind to work, and you hate unnecessary rules, learn more about our BBA degree program here.

About the Author

Victoria Rusnac

Victoria Rusnac is the director of marketing at Nexford. Originally from Moldova, Victoria began her career in FMCG with Nestlé, where she managed an assortment of popular brands, including Nescafé, KitKat, and Nesquik. She then moved on to working in telecommunications in the UK at Orange and subsequently EE, leading on the marketing strategy, customer acquisition and the retention of millions of customers.

Join the discussion

Sign up to NXU Insights – the latest thinking and news on the issues that matter most – delivered straight to your inbox.