A Conversation with Minerva Graduate Student Anastasiia Makareva

Oct 24, 2022

This is part of a series of profiles introducing students from Minerva’s incoming Fall 2022 graduate class. If you would like to learn more about our programs, please visit our website.

Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, Anastasiia Makareva has devoted most of her life to education. In the early stage of her career, Anastasiia completed her Bachelor's degree in International Relations and earned several certificates in education and psychology. A concentration in Economics gave her an opportunity to become exposed to various non-governmental organizations and allowed her to analyze their business strategies. During that time, Anastasiia received a merit-based scholarship to concurrently pursue a second Bachelor's degree at the London School of Economics (LSE), and later also completed a Masters degree in Diplomacy at Lancaster University.

Participating in a number of academic events as a member of the Lancaster University Student Council, Anastasiia found a way to create a strong network while gaining valuable student experience and familiarizing herself with decision-making procedures. After graduation, she started working as an Analyst at the Higher School of Economics in Russia, where she has been contributing to empowering and facilitating access to education and fighting educational inequality alongside collaborators from abroad. Anastasiia highlights this experience as particularly enriching for her personal development as it has enhanced her open-mindedness and sense of diversity.

Anastasiia's passion for educational, professional, and personal development serves as an inspiration to impact her broader society by applying her expertise to enhance people’s self-development. Currently, she tries to incorporate her learnings into the sociology and argumentation courses she teaches as a university instructor.

"I often repeat it [to my students]: Try to think outside of the box. Try not to judge immediately. Try to think from a different angle and stay open-minded. Be open to opportunities, people, and everything surrounding you—and use it for your own benefit, as well as a benefit for your society."

Even though Anastasiia had already completed a Master's degree, a strong passion for learning made her goals something unconventional. She started looking at programs that combine theoretical research with practical experience, which is how she found out about Minerva's Master of Science in Decision Analysis (MDA).

"Minerva is a bit different from any other institution I have been a part of. I am experienced in analytics and data analysis, but I learned everything independently. As I have never been taught those concepts, at some point I realized I needed guidance.”

What impressed Anastasiia about Minerva is that a certain amount of preparation is required before the semester starts. The fact that students at Minerva discuss real-life problems, as well as the diversity of the cohort and faculty, intrigued her and encouraged her to enroll as a member of the Class of 2024.

"I am impressed by how diverse and, at the same time, like-minded everyone is. Particularly in the context of how they view each other’s objectives and talk about things they are passionate about, everyone is willing to share their experiences and learn from each other. I am also utterly grateful for the coexistence of diversity, openness and tolerance, which makes Minerva a safe space to share ideas without being judged by nationality or country of origin."

Anastasiia wants to collaborate with fellow students and incorporate what she learns throughout the MDA program to ultimately help people reduce the risk of anxiety or depression caused by social media by combining the power of social networks with artificial intelligence.

Anastasiia notes that the modern world is flooded with excess information and fact-checking is necessary, since misinterpretation of existing data is increasingly more common. Therefore, it is important to analyze and approach data carefully, and understand that the way we perceive information may differ from reality, in order to make well-balanced rational decisions.

"[To anyone considering applying to Minerva’s MDA program] If you feel that this opportunity fits you well, do not hesitate to take a step towards it. You do not know if you will succeed without trying, and if you decide not to try, you will never know the outcome."