Last year 38-year old Joseph Bakaleynick was a bureaucrat helping to run the Soviet Union's planned economy as an official in a tractor factory.
Now, Bakaleynick, along with three other Soviet citizens, has been admitted to the Business School--where graduates traditionally wave dollar bills above their heads at commencement--to learn capitalist management techniques.
The four students arrived in the United States two weeks ago and will begin at the Business School in the fall, officials said yesterday.
Bakaleynick, who is currently working as a consultant at the Boston office of Braxton Associates, said he "by no means" had any intentions of becoming a capitalist. "I want to be well acquainted with the American way, that is not the same as being a capitalist," he said.
He added that the four Soviets must work for the state for at least five years after they graduate.
Along with Bakaleynick, the Business School admitted Aleksei Maximov, Aleksei Kolesnikov, and Besik Sikharulidze out of 30 other prospective Soviets. The four students will join approximately 256 other international students who attend the school.
Dean of the Business School John H. McArthur said in a prepared news release that the admission of the students represented the school's effort to have an "international outlook and diverse student body."
Each of the Soviets submitted the usual application for the Business School's two-year MBA program and was admitted in October out of a pool of 30 other applicants from the U.S.S.R.
Originally the admissions office contacted a Soviet pre-selection committee in the hopes of accepting only one candidate, but the response was much greater than expected, said Laura G. Fisher, director of admissions in the MBA program.
"The quality of the Soviet applicants was exceptional," Fisher said. "We hope to increase the number of students from the USSR in the future."
Bakaleynick said that he and his compatriots will likely face obstacles in adjusting to America beyond getting used to free enterprise.
Officials arranged internships with American companies for the students, so that they could gain familiarity with the capitalist system, said Fisher.
Bakaleynick said that although he visited the U.S. last year, learning English has been his biggest difficulty so far.
Before setting foot in Business School classes, the Soviet students will take courses at Harvard Summer School to get used to the American system of university education.