Аnton Prygunov, First Deputy Minister of Finance of the Chelyabinsk Region, is an alumnus of the Department of Economic Theory, Regional Economics, and State and Municipal Management of the School of Economics and Management, who graduated from SUSU 20 years ago. He remembers his student life as one of the best stages:
“It was bright and merry time. Youth, new people, new impressions. And friends for life. The university encompassed both the educational process and communication with like-minded people outside it, who at this moment in their lives are doing and striving for the same things as you are. I think that everyone should study in a full-time mode. If possible, of course. There is a whole life ahead to work and to earn money.
Why did I choose SUSU and the State and Municipal Management programme? Maybe, because I did not see any other options. South Ural State University was and still remains the major university in our region. My sister graduated from it, my friends and acquaintances studied here, so I did not consider anything else. But I faced some difficulties when choosing the speciality.
I dreamt of enrolling at the Faculty of Law, which at that time was very popular among students. I came to submit documents, but having seen the number of people applying for one place in the admissions committee, I realized that the probability of enrolling there equalled zero. I was upset, of course, and started to consider other faculties.
I began to wander from one information stand to another and read about other specialities. As a result, I came across the stand of the Faculty of Economics and Management. I do not remember who of the academic staff was there at that moment, but I do remember that I was highly recommended to choose the new programme of State and Municipal Management, for which students applied for the first time that year. I was told how students would be trained, and what were the career prospects. I was offered a completely new field of study, which I had not even thought about until that moment. Suddenly it became a matter of interest, so I enrolled there.
I studied for five years. Literally just one grade prevented me from obtaining the diploma with honours. There little “good” grades, mostly “excellent” ones. And only one “satisfactory”, which I got in History during the second year of studies, as I remember. At the very beginning of studying one hardly cares about the quality of the diploma. You get “satisfactory” and you are ok with that. You do not pay much attention and easily forget about it. But, at the end, when summing up the results of the educational process, this “satisfactory” ruined the whole picture. I felt really dissatisfied, because, to be honest, I wished to obtain the diploma with honours.
The academics, such as Valentina Antonyuk, Viktor Barkhatov, Irina Danilova, Natalia Motsarenko, and others, fostered interest in the learning process. I still remember all of them.
After graduating from the university, I started working at the Ministry of Finance of the Chelyabinsk Region. Also, I defended my Candidate’s thesis and, for several years, I was teaching part-time at my department. But I think my main professional achievement was the career path along which I worked my way up in the Ministry of Finance. Naturally, like many young specialists, I grasped at any job and took up additional work. I wanted to do my job better than the others. I believed that I needed to stand out namely with my work.
As a result, I passed all the stages from the position of a specialist of the first category to the position of the first deputy minister. In my opinion, to climb the career ladder, you need to have ambition and desire. No less important is the team and leadership you are working with, who value and encourage activity, dedication, initiative, and the ability to effectively solve problems at work. Now, as the First Deputy Minister of Finance, I am involved in organizing the fulfilment of the regional budget and the methodology of the budget process, and in supervising the work of the regional treasury.
Of course, the skills that I had gained during my studies at the university were useful to me. Especially during the first years of work, for example: the experience of public speaking, the ability to immerse yourself in the problem, find and process the necessary information, and the ability to competently build communications with colleagues.
In my opinion, the State and Municipal Management programme is a good training for the activities that I am currently engaged in. And the career that I have in the Ministry of Finance is also the result of studying at the university, the fruits of the system of working with students and their professional training.
And now, after so many years, I believe, that if I had a chance to choose a university and speciality again, I would not change my decision. This is definitely my path.”