Our August Student of the Month is Maxim Voltchenko.
Maxim is a lawyer with Coudert Brothers. We chose Maxim as Student of
the Month for several reasons:
First, Maxim scored 730 on the Mathematics section
of the GRE. The GRE score is written in three separate numbers—Math,
Verbal and Writing. Maxim didn’t do bad on the verbal and writing
either, but the Math score is especially exciting because Maxim went
into his studies saying “I don’t remember any Math!”
He was right because in his first practice tests he scored only 5%.
That’s why we think his 730 is so great! He persevered to revive
those long math formulas—sitting through our GMAT math classes,
lots of home study, and a couple of individual sessions with our Professor
Ali, and in 4 short weeks he brought his score up so high!
Second, we applaud Maxim for his tenacity in pursuing
his goals. You see, Maxim now has the option of going for a J.D. (Doctor
of Laws) program in the US, and it’s rather unexpected for a J.D.
candidate to take the GRE. What happened with Maxim is that he took
the LSAT about a year ago, and he bombed it. (Well, no one can win them
all—and the LSAT, which is rarely taken by non-native speakers,
is a very tough verbal test.) But the problem, you see, is that the
LSAT is a paper based test that is only rarely offered outside the US.
So it looked hopeless for Maxim to pursue his dream of starting a J.D.
program this year. But Maxim again persevered and started thinking creatively.
He didn’t give up but started negotiating with the admissions
directors of all the schools he was interested in, and he found one
that agreed with him that the LSAT was a tough test to impose on foreign
J.D. candidates. The admissions director at Rutgers talked to Maxim
about going through a pilot project to allow some students to enter
Rutgers J.D. program with the GRE exam. So Maxim jumped on this chance
and took the GRE. By now he should have his formal acceptance letter
Finally, Maxim was selected because of the general
seriousness with which he went about his career plans. You see, Maxim
already has an LL.M. from Temple Law School, and already has a great
job as an Associate at Coudert, so his career was already pretty much
assured in Russia. For professional and personal reasons, however, Maxim
needed to relocate to the United States, and he knew that an LL.M. degree
might not be enough to make him competitive on the US legal job market,
but he also knew that J.D. study would be expensive. He wisely chose
to pursue Rutgers because it is one of the few US law schools that has
both a daytime and an evening JD program, allowing him to work at daytime
and study part time if needed. Maxim hasn’t made his final study
and work decisions yet, but because of his careful planning and perseverance,
all his options are open to him.
We think Maxim’s story is one of the most inspiring
Student of the Month stories we have had in a long time. Maxim’s
experience shows that if you work hard in your job and studies, then
you needn’t give up your plans because of one little setback.
Set your goal, and, if you really want to achieve it, talk seriously
to the people who matter. Think ‘outside the box’ and see
what options might really be open to you. And realistically evaluate
your educational and career plans to keep all your options open for
achieving what you want.
Congratulations, Maxim, on a plan well executed, and
best of luck with your new country, new work, and new educational plans!