It’s All About Teamwork
A former rower who majored in business and economics, Mikhail Zaborskiy ’11 recently completed an MBA at Harvard.
For Mikhail Zaborskiy, a Russian-born student who moved with his family to Thailand at 14 and then enrolled at Washington College at the tender age of 16, the most valuable lesson he learned in college was how to be part of a team. It happened on the Chester River, in a narrow shell with eight young men dipping their oars out of sync, wobbling and bobbing in the current.
“When your timing is off your momentum is hindered, but when you have eight guys striking the water at the same time, and you are in the right headspace, you get into a groove. You start to glide along the water. Being part of the rowing team was definitely a highlight of my college career,” says Zaborskiy, who steals time away from his MBA studies at Harvard Business School to row as part of a club team.
The analogy between rowing and business success is easy for Zaborskiy to make and, for someone with an individualist, analytical bent, his studies at Harvard have served to reinforce that lesson of teamwork. “What I’ve learned is that it’s all about the people. It was a novel concept to me, as an analyst. But what makes a successful manager is being able to empathize with people.”
A business and economics major, Zaborskiy launched his business career with ChemTreat, an industrial water treatment company in Virginia; through a pipeline established by Board Chair Larry Culp ’85, he was one of the few graduating seniors to be considered for a position at a Danaher subsidiary.
“I was looking at forecasts, tracking company performance, and helping draft budgets. It was also my job to analyze how each department could contribute, and then channel that information up,” Zaborskiy says. “I had my finger on the pulse of the company, from product manufacturing, to sales, to the corporate office, so I became this conduit between the people on the ground and the people who were making strategic decisions.”
That ability to see the big picture and to understand every stakeholder’s perspective will undoubtedly serve him well. Upon graduation, Zaborskiy plans to join a consulting firm where he can help clients in any field. “I am interested in film and television, but also in energy and in political and social issues. I am not sure what the future holds for me, but this path will allow me to experience a lot of industries in a short period of time.”