A Full and Glorious Circle.

He tried to avoid taking my class, but when his friends registered he did too. Andrey Pavlov figured it would be worse to take his capstone course alone than to suffer through me. That was nearly 16 years ago, and was the spark of glorious fellowship.

After he completed his BS, Andrey was accepted into Marist’s MBA program, where he would likely “suffer through Rothberg” again. He came to see me with a surprising request: “You shred our work to pieces and all we want to say after that is ‘thank you.’ I want to learn how to do that.” How do you respond to that? There was nothing I could do other than hire him to work with me on a project.

After Andrey graduated, he went back to Moscow and worked in Finance. When my conference travels would bring me to Europe, Andrey would fly in for a day or two to share some cheese, good brandy and great conversation. At one such conference a colleague asked me for a nomination to a competitive PhD fellowship at Cranfield University outside of London. Andrey earned this opportunity and in 2010 defended his dissertation and became Dr. Pavlov, teaching strategy and performance management in the Executive and traditional MBA programs at Cranfield School of Management – one of Europe’s Top 20 Business Schools. His excellent teaching, research and current book has secured his place there.

Andrey read many versions of the Perfect Mix: Everything I Know about Leadership I Learned as a Bartender, and when he heard that I would be a keynote speaker at the European Community Management Leadership and Government Conference in London, invited me to Cranfield to speak to his students. Truly an honor.

I was emotional walking into his office. Here was the desk, the articles, the artifacts of my student, the well-regarded professor, the wonderful friend, sharing his expertise, his accomplishments with me. Maybe he didn’t suffer too badly after all. The circle is complete.


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Written by Helen Rothberg