- Programme studied: MSc Human Resources and Organisations
- Year of Graduation: 2019
- LinkedIn profile
Meet our new Alum of the Month, Peter Rizov. Peter studied his third degree at LSE after eight years in consulting and international development, with a new desire to better understand people. After graduating from MSc Human Resources and Organisations in 2019, Peter spent a year with KPMG’s People Consulting practice in London before re-joining United Nations, where he had worked prior to and during his time at LSE. At the start of 2022, he joined PATH, an international NGO working to solve the world’s most pressing health challenges.
Here, he shares his thoughts on making decisions that influence the UN’s impact on communities, the science of understanding people and the mindset to approaching changing career.
Tell us about your career journey since graduating from LSE.
After completing my bachelor’s in business and a master's degree in International Relations and Economics, I joined a boutique Canadian consulting firm specialising in infrastructure and transportation strategy. While I had the opportunity to work on a number of interesting projects, I decided to make a bit of a career change and transitioned into working across various roles in management, oversight, and partnerships with the United Nations in Copenhagen, in New York, and eventually on a work-from-home basis. This flexibility allowed me to cross a few things off the ‘to-do’ list and I eventually found myself in London, joining the LSE MSc HRO programme.
What inspired you to come to LSE to continue your studies after completing two degrees already?
Over my eight years in consulting and international development after my first master's degree, I noticed that the most common factor between the social, organisational, and strategic issues that I encountered was the human one. That is, most of the problems that I kept running across were largely a result of a misunderstanding, misallocation, or mismanagement of people. Great reform ideas failed because the people who were supposed to implement them did not believe in them, or important infrastructure projects were undertaken with little regard for the psychology of the people who would use them. I thus came to the HRO programme to build a better grasp on the science and practice of people’s motivations, behaviour, and decision-making, both in the organisational and the broader societal contexts.
How has the programme you studied at LSE helped your career since you graduated?
The HRO programme at LSE helped me better ground my work in the science and practice of organisational behaviour and gave me salient examples and reference points that inform my thinking and my approach to solving organisational problems. Most importantly, courses like Organisational Theory, The Dark Side of the Organisation, and Decisions Biases and Nudges, to name a few, gave me a more rounded and nuanced understanding on how people interact with their workplace and social environments and a set of theories and vocabularies that I could tap into when working across a range of assignments in human resources, change management, strategy, business process redesign, system implementation or social policy.
Can you tell us more about your current role as Manager at PATH and what is important to you?
Like much of my previous work at the United Nations, my current role at PATH focuses on improving systems, processes, and decision-making mechanisms with the end goal of increasing efficiency, reducing red tape, and freeing up staff time to focus on their core work. This requires that I understand the organisations’ business practices, have strong working relationships with senior leadership, and can work across divisions and teams. My day-to-day responsibilities cover a wide variety of work including working with business system teams to manage and enhance critical systems, leading critical organisational change projects, working with teams to analyse and develop solutions to pressing business problems, and carrying out strategic analyses using imperfect datasets. I find this behind-the-scenes work fulfilling, both at the UN and at PATH, as I can have a real impact on the way the different parts of the organisation conduct their work and consequently have an outsized, if indirect, impact in helping deliver results. I also find it to be intellectually challenging as it requires solving the complex puzzle of improving the status quo while untangling path-dependent processes, legacy systems, and entrenched personal and political interests.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced in your career, and what have you learned from it?
I don’t think I can identify a single ‘biggest’ challenge that I’ve had to overcome, but there certainly have been many challenges along the way. I think that’s been the key lesson: it’s rare to find the perfect job in the perfect workplace with the perfect boss and the perfect colleagues. There’s almost always going to be something that isn’t quite right or that isn’t going perfectly. I’ve found that the answer isn’t to disconnect but to keep trying your best to fix the things you can change in the short-term while living with the things that will take longer. And if that’s not working out, then it’s time to move on to something else. What I’ve learned in my journey is that while leaving any job can be painful and frustrating, regardless of whether you loved or hated it, it should never be seen as a defeat. It’s another opportunity to challenge yourself, do something different, explore new ideas, and meet interesting new people.
Share with us your fondest memory of the Department of Management.
One of my fondest memories from the Department of Management came toward the end of the second term when the class got together for an end-of-term social at Bounce in Farrington. It was a fun evening of silly ping-pong and beer that was a great way to mark the end of our class’s time together. More importantly, it really helped me to connect with some of the classmates and professors that I hadn’t yet gotten to know better and very much left me wishing that the year could go on just a little longer.