THIS young Siberian loves the heat. Dmitri Borisenko, head of public relations of Home Credit Philippines Inc., admits, however, the transition from being assigned to the Philippines from Russia was not a walk in the park.
Nevertheless, he notes the multicultural environment in Home Credit made it easier for him to familiarize with the new working environment.
Fondly called Dima by his friends and colleagues, the 29-year-old native of Omsk City, Siberia, enjoys the warm and humid Manila weather and the country’s fruits, especially mangoes. The BusinessMirror chatted up Borisenko to learn more about the young man from Siberia.
How did you develop the love for communication?
Well, I am not the most communicative person in the world, probably I am an introvert. It means that, when communicating or presenting, I usually tap on facts rather than emotions.
At school I was practicing my communications skills by making and maintaining good relationships with various groups of pupils—geeks and hooligans. It was crucial for survival. I was never with neither good guys nor with the bad guys, but I was always able to find the common topics and keep the conversation going with the both groups.
After school I have entered the university and started a blog and was writing something for myself and my close friends—like describing my day or sharing impressions about the latest movies. At this moment I have discovered that I am really bad in writing.
I was surprised that I couldn’t even put words into sentences well and freely express myself. That challenged me, so I started to exercise every day and soon even started writing short stories, which, however, I have never finished or shown to anyone. But that helped me to develop my writing skills.
So by the time I was finishing university, I was even capable to handle a student magazine as an editor.
Aside from being awarded the best communication employee in 2014, what are the other things you consider milestones in your work in HCPI and Finance Bank Llc., Moscow (Russia)?
I have had a lot of important responsibilities in various areas from media relations and events to social media and presentations.
Most of all, I appreciate the trust of the top management, which I had in Home Credit and Finance Bank and possibilities to get the precious experience.
Please describe your working experience in Home Credit Moscow. What were the valuable experiences you have acquired while working with the company?
I was fresh after the university when I have joined Home Credit, so, most professional skills I have I got in Home Credit. Home Credit Group (HCG) is very result-oriented company, and my Moscow colleagues, as well as my colleagues in the Philippines, truly embody this quality.
During my work for the HCG I have learned to set the goals and strive to achieve them. It formed the mind-set I have now. Also I have had a great experience of the team work.
Another important thing I learned was to read financials and understanding the value of the company efforts estimated in money. I was responsible for announcement of the official financial results.
Based on the several awareness campaigns you have conducted with Home Credit, how would you assess the impact of social media?
In the Philippines social media has much more influence comparing to Russia. Back there, people very often don’t care about the brands online. But in the Philippines social media is a big deal and you as a communications practitioner has to attend to social media. And it is a very pleasant experience since Filipinos are mostly very positive people, which reflect on their social-media reactions.
My team did a good job to create our own style in social media, but I realize that we have a lot of work ahead to improve the customer experience of Home Credit social-media fans.
Do you think that you have gained the best of both worlds in education after your studies in Omsk State Transport University, Omsk and Russian State University of Trade and Economics?
I have studied in several universities. I started my higher education in Omsk. It is a city in Siberia.
The climate there is characterized as sharply continental—with hot summers and cold winters. During December to February the temperature might be as low as 40 degrees negative. Which might seem a challenge, but you get used to it—you just need to wear some extra warm clothes.
Omsk is a big transport hub on the way from European part of Russia to Mongolia and China.
I studied in the Transport University. It gave me a strong background and basis to learn communications—I have had a good teachers of social and political sciences. However, I have felt that I am capable for more and I wanted to live in a big city, I demanded a challenge, so I left my parent’s house and moved to Moscow. And that was great—one of the smartest moves of my life. For sure at first I was missing my family and friends but the level of leaving and job opportunities are much better. In Moscow I could have studied the latest practices in communications and meet many experienced people, could learn a lot from them.
How do you describe the transition from working in Russia to the Philippines? As a follow up, was there a need for you to make major adjustments?
I won’t say that transition was easy. It took some time to adapt to local business specific.
However, what is good in working for a multinational company with a global corporate culture like Home Credit, is that people in the all branches around the world from the US to the Czech Republic and moving forward to China, Vietnam, Indonesia and the Philippines, adhere to the same values.
That makes understanding between your colleagues much easier.
I really enjoy the climate in the Philippines and I don’t miss winter at all. The fruits, especially mangoes, are awesome. And I can’t say that traffic is a challenge for me. Moscow is a mega polis, as well, with similar illnesses of fast growth as Manila, so I got adapted fast.
The thing I miss in Manila the most are the public spaces, such as squares, parks, avenues, where you can walk, sit on the grass, enjoy nice day. The mall can’t give you this nice experience.
Based on your observations, what are the similarities and differences between the Russian and Filipino consumer?
Actually, there are a lot of similarities. Russian consumers want to have the things they still don’t have and they actively use different lending facilities, like consumer finance loans, cash loans and credit cards.
The level of financial inclusion in Russia is much higher. However, promoting financial literacy is crucial in Russia, as well as in the Philippines, especially when it comes to understanding consumers’ own capacities to repay the loan.