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'I am very lucky that I accidently end up here' — Law Yi Er.
This is a story about how a coincidence can give a start to new profession you may never have thought about. Yi Er Law is a foreign student of a medical university, who is now developing a Moscow startup on the international market. In the new interview with the business development manager of Impulse Neiry, Yi Er tells about how she manages to study and work, difficulties and success, effective learning of foreign languages, and about the Impulse Neiry team, of course.
You are the first foreign employee at Impulse Neiry. Please, tell us where are you from and why did you move to Moscow?

I came to Russia from Malaysia in 2014, it was 6 years ago. Malaysia is a multiracial and multilingual country, just like Russia actually. I am a Chinese and therefore Chinese is my mother tongue and English is my second language.

I moved to Moscow to study at the Pirogov Medical University and I am supposed to be graduating in July but now nobody knows for sure because of the pandemic.

What is your specialization? And what medium of instruction is used?

I'm about to graduate from the faculty of general medicine. It is my degree and it takes 6 years. After this, I get to choose which specialization I want to proceed with.

The classes were conducted in English for the first three years and the last three years — in Russian. It is important because as medical students we have to communicate a lot with patients and doctors. I speak Russian — read textbooks, I can understand lectures at the university — everything about medicine in Russian. But if we are talking about casual conversation, it could be hard for me.

It is no secret that it is really hard to study medicine. But this did not stop you from finding a job…

I was not really looking to build a career. I was just trying to find some sort of a side job to make some extra money during the summer holidays. I occasionally saw a post on Facebook by a Impulse Neiry HR colleague that she was looking for someone to work for the sales department for two months, someone who knows how to make cold calls, emails, and most importantly, able to speak Chinese. At that time, I thought that I spoke Chinese, the job was for two months only which was also during my summer break. So, why not? Even though I did not have the relevant experience, I decided to give it a try.

I did not know anything about Impulse Neiry when I came in. I thought it was just a small startup but not a big company. When I first came and found out what the company does… I was like 'wow, okay'. I met Tatiana Aleksandrova at the first meeting. She was the Chief Commercial Officer. Everything was all right and soon she texted me and told me that we were ready to start. I thought it was only for two months, why not.

Then I went back to Malaysia for my holidays and before I returned to Moscow, I was thinking that this is impossible — to study medicine and to work. I met Tanya in the office and told her that I wanted to resign because this is my final year and I needed to work hard for my studies.

But you work for almost a year?

Yes, Tanya suggested to compromise with flexible working hours. I can work 4 hours a day and do not have to be at the office all the time, I need to go there only once or twice in a week. Also, I do not have fixed working hours. So, I work whenever I am able to. Since I communicate with the Chinese market, it appears to be even more convenient if I work in the morning like at 6 or 7 am, then attend my classes in the hospitals, finish my university assignments and after that come back to work.

I am a person who wants to do everything perfectly. So, if I have time I work more; if I don't, I work less.

And, yes, unexpectedly… I work here till today :)

What are your responsibilities?

Now I am a business development manager at the Impulse Neiry startup. I am in charge of the Chinese market: sales, business development, customer development, communication and translation at times — everything about the Chinese market.
Is this kind of job new for you?

Yes, I have never worked as a business developer before, but I am not that kind of person who can stick on to just a single thing for very long. I always want to try something new and different. For example, I do not want to have only one job — doctor for the rest of my life. I want to try something else too.

Tanya is really good as a supervisor. She taught me many things and often gives me some extra brief lectures about sales, business, etc. So it is quite useful not for my job only, but for my life as well.

Actually, I've never been employed in any company before Impulse Neiry. I have heard from my friends in Malaysia that there are strict subordinations between employees and employers in companies. So, when I came here, I was quite surprised that it was very different. We're all friends here. Sometimes I do not feel like Tanya is my boss, we can just talk and I can tell her a lot of things. It is so much different from what I imagined.

I know that I am very lucky to have accidently seen the post on Facebook and end up here.

Please, tell us more about your team at Impulse Neiry.

As I mentioned earlier, Tanya Aleksandrova is the head of the department in our commercial team. She is in charge of the Russian market and Aleksey Chicherov works for the US market. He lives in New York. We work tightly with the team that develops BCI-VR games — the product manager and system engineer Lyosha Khalezov, neurophysiologist Sasha Karpman, and technical director Gosha Ivlev.

Our startup works with other departments of the Impulse Nreiry, such as designers and technical specialists. And also, we work with Impulse Machine studio that creates VR content for our brain-controlled games.

Are there any things you are really proud of?

My personal success is the success of the whole team. However, I'm really proud of the China business trip of Tanya Aleksandrova and Lyosha Khalezov last November. I worked hard to make this trip successful and to help setting up the meetings with Chinese VR attraction vendors.

We will change the topic a bit. That is really interesting to ask you about languages. Your mother language is Chinese, you speak English, Russian. Could you please share you experience and give some advices for those who dream to be polyglots as you are or for those who learn at least one foreign language?

It is actually common in Malaysia that people speak several languages. I did not realize it was something awesome… before I came to Russia and everyone was surprised.

I am still not very good at Russian, but I do not think that it is difficult for me as a matter of fact. I think Chinese is more difficult than Russian. I can understand and communicate with all professors and teachers at the university, but the problem is that I am in lack of vocabulary. I do not have time to expand my vocabulary, to watch Russian movies, and I do not understand the slangs and some accents. But I speak Russian better than my other groupmates, who are also international students, because I was always the one who was not afraid to communicate with teachers.

My top 3 recommendations: how to learn languages.

First of all, you have to be brave to speak the language. When I just started to study it was very hard to speak Russian because we did not know whether our teachers understand us correctly. My strategy was to throw all the worries away and just speak, I don't really care if I speak correctly. I guess this is one of the possible ways.

Secondly, the best way to train listening is to watch movies or if you are a beginner — cartoons.

One more thing, to read books. I read plenty of Russian textbooks about medicine. I know that my friends would prefer to copy all the texts from the books and translate them using Google Translate, but I do not do that. I try to translate only the meaning of each word, and then put the words back to the sentence and read them as a whole. Only after that, you begin to understand the real meaning of the contexts. If we simply translate the whole text with translators, we will never understand fully and will not remember the words.

Let`s talk a little about the future. Would you like to continue working as a business developer or do you also have thoughts to work in medicine?

I have been thinking about that for a long time. I always wonder what I would do. In the first few months of work, I thought of graduating and becoming a doctor. But now we have Impulse Neiry and we are doing neuro plus medicine stuff. I am very interested in this field, so now my plan is to continue working at Impulse Neiry and to learn as much as I can about business development and neuroscience.

How does your medical knowledge help you at work?

It helps me to understand easily what we are doing. When they first told me about the product, I am certainly familiar to some terms such as EEG, frontal lobe, occipital lobe, brainwaves, etc. And because of that, I was able to understand the mechanism of our product well, so when I need to explain it to our Chinese partners, I could use some simple words and phrases which allow them to also understand easily, just like how doctors usually explain some medical information to the patients.

What is Impulse Neiry for you?

Fun, creative and friendly.
Исследования ООО «Нейри» осуществляются при грантовой поддержке Фонда «Сколково»