How to relate to employees and organize the workflow in large IT companies

Hello, dear readers of Habr!

I am a former student of MEPhI, this year I graduated from the Bachelor of Applied Mathematics and Mathematics. In the third year, I was actively looking for internships / work opportunities, in general, practical experience, which will be discussed. Inexperience, crooks, mutual assistance.

I was lucky that our department collaborated with Sbertekh, who organized a two-year educational program for future programmers in return for a year of work after studying in a position not lower than an engineer. The course program of Sbertech consisted of 4 semesters, each of which usually had 3 courses. There were teachers at our department who also taught courses in Sbertekh, so when I entered the program, 2 courses from the first semester were counted for me (Java course and a course on software development technologies), I had to go on a Linux course. The program itself was aimed at training big data engineers.
In parallel with the start of studies at the Sbertekh program, I was interested in the course from on neural networks (project TechnoAtom), in the end, I decided to combine these educational programs.

During the training, the difference in courses and teaching quickly became noticeable: the course from Sbertech was designed to ensure that all applicants completed it (students for the program were selected in a pseudo-random manner according to last year's merged test related to OOP and elements of mathematics), and the course from TechnoAtom It was more designed for enthusiasts who were ready for big and incomprehensible DS (out of 50-60 applicants, only 6 people completed the course, three took for an internship).

In general, the course program from Sbertech was simpler and more boring than TechnoAtom. By the end of the semester (the middle of the third year at MEPhI), it became clear that an internship in Mail was much more attractive. And then the fun began.

Termination of the contract with Sberteh, start of work in Mail

It is worth noting that before I decided to tie up with Sbertech and go for an interview in Mail, we, the students of Sbertech courses, were appointed mentors with whom we ideally needed to coordinate our R&D and diploma, as well as whom we would get settled to work after graduation, or maybe at the time, as some managed. Also, combining the writing of the UIR / R&D and diploma with Sbertekh was a pain, because those teachers and managers in our department who did not work in Sbertekh really did not like the combination of diplomas in the department and in Sbertekh. In Sbertech, the organizers of the program knew about it and even talked about it if they were talking about it, but did nothing with it.


The first attempts to liaise with the program coordinators in order to leave Sbertech were unsuccessful. The coordinator of our program answered after 2 weeks something in the spirit of "I quit, call this phone." By calling this phone I didn’t learn anything new, I rather informed a person in a new place that there are students, tutors, courses and more. Also, I called the appointed mentor, who answered in a very perplexing way about possible employment. “Um, yes, we are developing, well, testing, yes, yes, well, I’ll find out from our architect if I can offer anything, basically, something.” As a result, at first, during several telephone conversations, we almost agreed on an interview, but then the mentor said that he did not know anything - how to arrange someone there, and said to wait.
All this dragged on for about a month (November-December 2017), neither the mentors were aware of what to do with the students of Sbertekh, nor the organizing teachers from MEPhI, who called in Sberteh and promised practical experience, nor a connecting link - the program coordinators .
It all seemed strange to me, so I went for an interview in Mail and from the beginning of February 2018 I began working experience in Mail. Already on the second day of work, the team leader threw me a dataset from which it was necessary to build predictions, and from the first days I plunged into work. The organization and involvement in the process amazed me, and all doubts about the termination of relations with Sberteh were cast aside.

Punch line

I figured that I would have to return Sbertekh a scholarship in the amount of 20 thousand for the previous semester + single course (the other two were taught to me as part of the MEPhI bachelor's program), estimated approximately 40-50 thousand, including from the words of those who had already left Sbertekh and according to the teachers from the Moscow Engineering Physics Institute, who, before signing the contract, assured us that “the contract is a formality, if you don’t like it, you’ll leave, you have to try.”

But it was not there. The program coordinator confidently said that I owed Sbertekh 100 thousand. Exactly 100 thousand are 3 courses + some other details - the coordinator told me. In response, I explained for a long time and in detail that two out of three courses were taught to me at MEPhI, so I shouldn’t have to refund the full cost of the program, just not at all, because I didn’t attend those courses with Sbertekh students, I was given a machine for them. Also, during conversations with the program coordinators, I had to talk a lot about the fact that mentors do not know how to work with us (specifically mine, and the distribution of the mentor-student was random and the change of mentors was not welcomed according to the representatives of Sbertekh, my mentor was associated with information security, of which I had no idea), about who at MEPhI was responsible for this and so on, it turned out that they generally had no organization and access to information. But most importantly, in response to the fact that I did not take part of the courses from Sbertech, that I should not pay the full cost, there was a firm no - pay 100 thousand. In the third year, for me it was a huge difference to pay 40-50 thousand or 100 thousand.
At first I did not believe in the need to pay such an amount and went to find out from the teachers who organized the Sbertekh program at MEPhI, but they told me that probably 70-80 thousand is worth one semester of study, but the semester could have risen in price, and that they (teachers) do not know how these contracts work there - it’s logical to teach their business. For a very long time I tried to explain to the program coordinator and to someone else in Sbertekh that 2 courses out of 3 I have taken, read to me at MEPhI, have a record, are closed for four, but the coordinators were firm and after a week or two conversations with the financial department They stated that the maximum that they can go for is installments for 6 months, which was also difficult for me. Also, representatives from MEPhI told me that it was useless to sue Sberteh, there were already 6 such courts - Sberteh won all, so they advised me to stay on the program.

Then, in order to assess the potential work, I went for an interview in Sberteh, but there was no interest from the interviewers, they just told me, they say, “someone is engaged in the bigdata, yes, but we don’t know, listen, there’s neighboring department. "
Also, a representative of the Sbertekh program from MEPhI recommended me to the “center of artificial intelligence in Sbertekh”, but when asked about it in Sbertekh they just shrugged their shoulders and grinned.

Resolution of the situation

Not finding in my pocket 100 thousand rubles and those responsible in Sbertekh who are aware of how the educational program works, I turned to the team leader in Mail in the hope of somehow solving the situation. He immediately encouraged me, saying that it was good that this had happened at the very beginning - the issue was being resolved (I turned to him after about a month and a half of work). A week later, higher officials were already familiar with me, and I was offered the following: transferring 100 thousand to my account, and I partially work it out in the summer, working at full time (during study there was 0.5 rate). All this was decided orally. I was very pleased with such a quick and adequate outcome that it was good for Mail to work with employees in the long run without painful bureaucracy.

The issue with Sbertekh was resolved, and only then, a year later, I learned that it was possible just to not contact the mentors in Sbertekh and ignore them by mail (there was nothing about the mentors in the Sbertekh agreement, it was just a common practice - cooperation a mentor student, but I’m not so strong in the documents and didn’t think up this point) and then Sberteh terminates the contract for his part without paying a student (despite the fact that the student closes all courses). By the way, they didn’t leave Sbertech’s program so intentionally, Sberteh could terminate the contract at any time for any reason.

I worked for 9 months in Mail, gained experience, still keep warm memories of mutual assistance, left to devote more time to studying at a university and enrolling in a good master's program.

In no case do I exclude the possibility that organized and decent employees can work in Sbertekh, but it seemed that everything was very complicated and opaque in the organization itself and its related courses.

Such courses and, in general, close cooperation between the industry and education are a great opportunity for students to develop, and for employers - to supplement the university program to their needs (from my poor experience there is only a positive example from Mail and negative from Sbertech). Only the system of interaction between Sbertech and the university and students needs attention and revision.

I hope this article will be useful for both students and companies offering beginner courses / internships.


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