The cliff of Stepan Razin on the Volga River in Saratov Oblast, Russia, is a beautiful location near Ekaterina Pomazunova’s birthplace.
Courtesy Ekaterina Pomazunova

Ekaterina Pomazunova Develops Entrepreneurial Goals through Joint Degree

By Sue McMurray

Ekaterina Pomazunova began learning the art of hospitality as a child. Her parents commonly held feasts on holidays and special events at their home in Saratov, a provincial city in the southeast European part of Russia.

“My mother instilled in me this special culture of Slavic hospitality, and I loved it,” Pomazunova says.

During her childhood, when her family traveled across Europe, Pomazunova admired the decor of the hotels they visited. She remembers talking and playing with hotel staff who treated her with sweets.

“Growing up, I realized the atmosphere is created not only by the building but also by the hotel staff,” she says. “As an adult, I didn’t hesitate to choose to study this particular industry.”

Pomazunova enrolled in the WSU/César Ritz Colleges dual bachelor program in 2019.

“I was impressed with the program’s price, quality, and reputation as one of the best in the hotel industry,” she says. My education helped me to learn how to study and predict markets. It ignited in me the mindset of a leader and entrepreneur. I stopped being afraid of my crazy ideas and put them into practice.”

‘Difficult doesn’t mean impossible’

Pomazunova dreams of opening her own wine business.

She believes there may be potential for opening a chain of wine bars in the East or Middle East, after recent geopolitical changes led people in the Commonwealth of Independent States countries to move to eastern countries. Many expats among them are already familiar with the developed wine industry.

“Since there is a demand for such businesses in these eastern countries, there is a possible niche,” Pomazunova says. “In some countries it is difficult to get a license to sell alcohol, but difficult does not mean impossible.”

Program fosters entrepreneurial spirit

The dual-degree program trains students to understand processes in a fine dining restaurant and buffet. A little later, they study finance, law, and operations. At the end of the training, they write a business plan for their own business venture. During this time, Pomazunova gained waitressing experience and completed an internship at the Lotte Hotel in Moscow. She also studied wine in classical tasting environments.

“Through this training process, you grow from an ordinary waiter to an entrepreneur with your own unique vision and goals,” she says. “This is an amazing path that allows you to achieve success in the hotel industry.”

Since graduating, Pomazunova completed a food and beverage internship at the Brans Ambassador hotel and spa and has starter her master’s in wine management.