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Mikhail Ivanov

The spotlight is on Mikhail Ivanov, Deputy Vice-Rector for Digital Transformation, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Russia

The state-run Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation (Financial University) is one of the oldest Russian higher education institutions, dedicated to preparing future professionals in finance, financial law, economics, information technology, mathematics, sociology, and political science. With eight faculties, more than 40,000 students and more than 2,000 teachers, it is among Russia’s top 20 universities.

Mikhail Ivanov is Deputy Vice-Rector for Digital Transformation, a post involving running the university’s IT systems and teaching database and programming. He has a Master’s degree in Computer Software and Automated Systems from Moscow State Industrial University (MSIU) as well as a PhD in Economics. Returning to MSIU as an Associate Professor in 2009, Mikhail introduced the Oracle Academy program for teaching SQL, PL/SQL, and database systems.

Now, at Financial University he teaches database to undergraduate students in the Faculty of Information Technology and Big Data Analysis. His courses fall under the degree programs of Applied Computer Science and Applied Mathematics and Computer Science.

Oracle Academy: How did you become involved with Oracle Academy?

Mikhail Ivanov: I’ve been teaching math and programming since 2007 and have used Oracle Academy resources right from the beginning. When I joined the Financial University in 2018, I asked our dean to sign us up as an Oracle Academy member. Now three years on I teach Database Foundations in the first semester and in the second semester I introduce Database Design and Programming with SQL and Programming with PL/SQL.

Before joining Financial University, I used only parts of the Oracle Academy curriculum, but here I teach it A to Z. We use the Russian language version of Database Foundations. For the programming courses I speak in Russian laced with English terminology and use the original slides. English, naturally, is of great importance to their careers.

Oracle Academy: How is your teaching structured?

 

Before joining Financial University, I used only parts of the Oracle Academy curriculum, but here I teach it A to Z.

Mikhail Ivanov: Currently, I deliver the theory and concepts in a lecture hall environment with 250 students attending these sessions. This large class then splits into groups of 20-25 for hands-on lab work, using SQL and Oracle Application Express (APEX) to create their first databases and applications. Four other teachers conduct these practical exercises, two of whom followed the Oracle Academy online training in Database Foundations. After the theory, each student works on a major project over two semesters. Examples of projects are online shopping, a medical center, a theatre or other themes. Demand for our courses is strong. Our numbers are expected to rise to 400 next term.

Oracle Academy: Do you often use Oracle Application Express (APEX)?

Mikhail Ivanov: Yes indeed, and will do more and more. It is essential for connecting the database to applications. We have set up our own server with Oracle APEX installed to run SQL queries and for developing web applications, using the university single sign-on.

Oracle Academy: Will you also be teaching data mining technologies?

Mikhail Ivanov: Yes. To date our courses have been for undergraduate students and include Data Analysis and Decision-Making in Economics and Finance. Our faculty and other faculties are increasingly focused on technologies relevant to the financial sector, such as machine learning and data analysis, distributed ledger technology, cryptocurrency, corporate mobility, and more. In other words, everything expected of a financial university.

In my department – Data Analysis and Machine Learning – we have designed a new Master’s degree program for 2022 that will include “NLP and graph analytics,” “Computer vision,” “AI in education,” and “Big data” Master’s degree programs, as well as an “Applied machine learning” Bachelor’s degree program. For these programs we hope to use Oracle Academy materials.

Oracle Academy: What types of employment does graduating from Financial University lead to?

Mikhail Ivanov: As the name implies, we prepare students for roles in finance. By linking math and computer science we aim to supply public sector agencies, banks, insurance companies, and other organizations with people skilled in both.

Other potential employers are a multinational internet company and a large telephone company that are always on the lookout for top graduates. These companies pay good salaries. They often take on our students for internships in their second year and hire them full time after graduation.

Oracle Academy: What impact do you believe Oracle Academy resources have in preparing students for financially related careers?

 

Oracle Academy has become a beautiful name for our students. To every new class I explain that they will become great Oracle experts because Oracle is number one in database, and learning with Oracle Academy resources gives them a competitive edge.

Mikhail Ivanov: Oracle Academy has become a beautiful name for our students. To every new class I explain that they will become great Oracle experts because Oracle is number one in database, and learning with Oracle Academy resources gives them a competitive edge. Students love the program because they get Oracle course completion certificates, which means a lot in job interviews. Some of them say, I don’t care so much about the grades, what I’m after is the certificate!

For us teachers, Oracle Academy has a complete set of resources for teaching database and programming. The resources are well presented, in fact I’d say they are perfect. They really simplify class preparation time. And Oracle APEX is wonderful because students can use it from home, no need to install the database or give them special access to a server. All in all, graduates of Applied Computer Science or Applied Mathematics and Computer Science can find work as financial analysts, risk managers, actuaries/insurers, consulting experts and other roles in any sector requiring the application of mathematical and advanced information technologies.

Oracle Academy: That sounds like a solid future for your graduates. Lastly, what do you like to do outside of teaching?

Mikhail Ivanov: It’s hard to find free time, but what I really love is a good road trip. I have travelled from Moscow to Paris and throughout Europe and the United States. Once, after an Oracle OpenWorld, some of us spent three weeks driving from San Francisco to New York City. I am also a big fan of Formula 1 and have been to events in Azerbaijan, Sochi, Belgian and elsewhere. I hope to do more once I get the opportunity!

Thank you, Dr. Mikhail Ivanov, for your passion for Oracle Academy and for preparing your students to make a positive impact.

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