Mikhail Khomich is probably one of the youngest among students on EMBA program. Mikhail in 27. But as very typical for SKOLKOVO, perspective candidates are being selected based on their spirit and life attitude, rather than their age. Talking about the spirit, in Misha’s case there’s plenty of enthusiasm and ardor to surely make it to the School. But even more than that, it is not only his inner flame that catches, but also his ability to light up others with his ideas and actions.
I need to admit, that it has been quite a while since I realized I want to meet this person, as I was intrigued with different stories I’ve heard of him from other people. Just to give a couple of examples of those stories: Mikhail is an active participant of entrepreneurship community; he helps to produce radio shows for Kommersant FM, covering SKOLKOVO and some of the other topics; he is also involved with SKOLKOVO Startup Academy as a coach, where he periodically has his own master class sessions. All these and many other initiatives Mikhail shares with his friend and partner Uriy Mitin. They both have graduated from MSU, both help growing MSU incubator, both get their EMBA at SKOLKOVO.
It is fair to say, that many of those who follow SKOLKOVO’s activity often have a chance to come across a word play: “Mitin & Khomich”. I would also agree that “Mitin & Khomich” is quite a phenomenon which is a part of the School’s ecosystem.
I personally got a chance to meet Misha at a chess tournament about a month ago. It was him, who acted as initiator and one of the main people on the organization committee for the tournament. For me that was a point of first respect and appreciation, as I sincerely admire people who are active in creating things others can enjoy.
— Why did you decide to run this tournament? And why chess?
— I think that chess blitz tournament strongly reflects the spirit of the School. It’s a combination of excitement, intellectual activity and adrenalin due to severe time constraints you face playing blitz games. I also personally am a fan of chess. So, basically for me it’s a chance to share my hobby with friends.
Getting a chance to run across Misha and talk him into this interview was a hard task. Several times he rushed away with a speed of a sound with sparks in his eyes and mind full of ideas. At last I had to make a radical move and basically crossed his way with a question: “Misha, I’m EMBA-1 grad. I write about SKOLKOVO students. I really want to interview you!”
To shoot out those three sentences were pretty far from an elevator pitch, as I felt more like jump-from-the-plane pitch type of thing. It really felt like making a parachute jump with a person, trying to urgently discuss something I had in mind.
Just to give you a brief idea of how it was.
— My name is Misha, good to meet you! Tell me what you do. Let’s try Monday.
That was basically the way we got acquainted. Next time we met in a couple of days. And, luckily, had more time.
As I’ve mentioned before Misha graduated from economic faculty of MSU. While a student he made his first steps towards starting a business with Uriy.
— Running your won business, teaching at University… How did you manage to combine all of that with classes?
— Well, — Misha smiles, looking down at the table. – At the time when I had two years of career record with Unilever as a brand manager, I had to combine full time job with deep commitment to making a live show on TV Rain. You can always find ways to handle several things at the same time, when you have the right motivation. In addition to that, I’m pretty self-aware, so I understand how much of my time is simply wasted because I don’t optimize it. So, basically my idea is to get done as much as I possibly can and have time for.
— What about personal life?
— That also applies here. Work usually takes up all the allocated space. I’m strongly focused on family values too. This is very important for me. As a matter of fact, I would say, it’s far more important than all the rest.
Misha mostly teaches innovation related subjects, as well as entrepreneurship and startups methodology. Just to illustrate that, recently he was invited to Munich Business School to give lectures on managing team in startups.
It’s fair to say, that a lot of Misha’s efforts are spent on making entrepreneurs’ lives easier and growing their number as a proportion to traditional corporate employment. He lectures, writes books, holds master class sessions. As mentioned before, he also took an active part in starting an MSU incubator, along with his friend. Currently the incubator provides more than hundred jobs and has raised more than 100 million rubles.
Talking about Misha’s activity in SKOLKOVO, together with Uriy Mitin, he is focused on raising a new fund for startups. Misha also dreams, that some day there will be a separate TV channel just for entrepreneurs. It’s very important that TV should not only be about entertainment and high ratings, but also could solve educational tasks. “It’s not about me wanting someone to change his or her attitude to life or business. But if I see someone who is really committed to making new impressive things, I really want to help. In the end, it is entrepreneurship that moves this country forward.”
Saying that, I’m still pretty confident that innovations are the main topic ере occupies Misha’s thought all day long. He also likes squash, chess, travelling, cycling, and hiking in the mountains. “Last year my friends insisted that we go and climb Elbrus. And I’m really ертлагд to them.” After this experience, Misha dreams of reaching a peak of seven of the highest mountains. In January he reached Mount Kosciuszko (Australia, 2228m). His New Year plans include a trip to Aconcagua (Argentina, 6962m). Saying that, Misha admits that on average he would prefer comfort over a camping tent. But it’s his way – to set goals and reach them. Reach the mountain peak. Visit ten new countries. Learn photography. Put together a chess tournament for SKOLKOVO…
This May Misha intends to participate in Lisbon triathlon…
— I must confess that I love learning – Misha says. – It’s very impressive that being a part of SKOLKOVO EMBA I found people I can learn from. There are plenty of examples. In particular, acquaintance with Uriy Belonoshenko was so awesome; I can hardly describe its impact in simple words. As a result I started to transform my life attitude and have grown as a person since. Or if you take any conversation with Anton Khodarev – it’s actually a new look at your life every single time in terms of knowledge and experience. Those examples are numerous. And I’m really grateful to SKOLKOVO for them.
— I like SKOLKOVO program for various reasons. First of all it’s a concentration of people, who have sparks in their eyes. Second, it’s outstanding faculty. To tell you the truth, I often find myself learning their tricks and techniques on how to deliver information, maintain contact with people. This way I become a better lecturer myself.
— The other thing that is very important is that for people who don’t complain every day about their lives, weather, other people and similar things on Facebook, for those people who are actually ready to do something, SKOLKOVO is a great experience. Start and do something if you want to make a difference. And the School has unique environment for that. There’s plenty of criticism outside, but it’s normal for those who simply observe.
While listening to the story of Misha’s commitments and wins, I could not, but stare at him from time to time to make sure he is a real person. May be he doesn’t eat, sleep or can walk on the water? I didn’t notice a nimbus though. And in addition Misha confessed that he really enjoys a good meal as well as refreshing sleep. “I love meat, especially steak. Also Finnish salmon soup is simply delicious. Tartate. Usually I try to sleep for six hours on average. But, frankly speaking, I’m lazy, and if I have a chance I could sleep all day.”
Mikhail Khomich – enthusiastic, inspiring and creative. SKOLKOVO EMBA 7
TrANSLATION BY MARIA FOMINA FTMBA2