U.S. Education Reaps Rewards
Director, Universal Bank of Ukraine, EFG Group, Kiev
As much as colleges dislike the idea of rankings, students demand it: they’re paying tens of thousands of dollars in tuition and they want to know that the school is academically excellent and its MBA degree will help them reach their goals.
Yannis (John) Volanis, MBA99, read Which MBA?: A Critical Guide to the World’s Best Programs, a book published by The Economist Intelligence Unit. Because he hails from Greece, his possible educational choices included reputable European institutions, which would have cost less than a U.S. institution, he says.
“Nonetheless, I appreciated the case-study approach to teaching in the United States as compared with the research-oriented European teaching method,” he says. “Since I had traveled to many European counties and was familiar with European business style, I knew I would benefit from studying in the United States, since I’d never been there.”
While in the Tippie College, Volanis was one of 10 students who served as managers of the Henry Fund during 1998-99, a year that included the 1998 Russian financial crisis.
The stock market was extremely volatile at that time, Volanis says, including a 3,000-point rise in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, which in April 1999 topped 10,000 points for the first time in history.
Shortly after graduation in 1999, Volanis joined the Bank of Cyprus, where he helped structure and introduce the first international equity-linked product in the Greek mass retail market.
“Back then, such products were only structured abroad and sold locally to private banking clients,” he says. “It was a five-year placement, which guaranteed the investors’ funds, like a long-term deposit, and its return was based on the performance of the Dow Jones’ EURO STOXX 50 index,” Volanis explains. “As a retail product, it was innovative and extremely successful.”
In addition, his interest in derivatives led him to offer corporate clients structured solutions to hedge currency or interest rate risks.
“That was a significant value-added component in the Greek market,” he says.
Today he is a director who heads corporate banking at Universal Bank of Ukraine, EFG Group, in Kiev.
“It has been my pleasure to team up with successful professionals to develop an international bank in Ukraine, almost from scratch,” he says. “To understand the environment, to be flexible and adapt, to propose business consistency and trust in a young but demanding market has been exciting.”
Volanis says his Tippie education made a significant impact on his career. His overall Tippie MBA experience plus the opportunity to be a Henry Fund manager “had a positive professional impact on me,” he says. “It delivered results and boosted my career,” he says.
“The opportunities following my MBA degree have been greater in number and more interesting than before. I like the way the ‘market’ confirms a good school choice!”