One of the many pleasant experiences that I had during my master's degree was the opportunity to develop skills and learn techniques for qualitative research. From the first year, my research focused on migration within the post-Soviet space. In the first instance, I aimed to understand the political and social implications that these migratory flows have in the political relationship of the countries in the region. Eventually, I studied attitudes of the Russian society towards the groups of migrants with greater visualization on social media, such as Ukrainian and Kyrgyz migrants. The methodological development of my research implied a challenge in learning and applying text mining techniques and interpreting unstructured qualitative data, which allowed me to reconstruct the socially dominant discourses towards migrants in Russia and delve into the ways in which the prejudice towards immigration is configured. For this, I had the technical guidance of the HSE Internet Studies Lab and the constant guidance of my academic supervisor, who was a great support for the successful finalization of my research.
At the same time, I had the opportunity to develop a research project on the political values of university students in Venezuela within the framework of the internship programme at the Laboratory of Political Studies of the HSE - Moscow, which implied conducting semi-structured interviews at a distance with young people between 18 and 25 years old and the use of techniques for opinion mining. Both experiences were very stimulating and allowed me to master practical tools for the study of opinions that, for sure, I will be able to use in my future professional projects.
There, I had the opportunity to learn in-depth everything that interested me about Russia and the Eurasian space in general, with professors coming from all different backgrounds, both from Russia and foreign universities.
The support for foreign students is excellent and the opportunities for the students of the programme are great: I was selected at the end of my first year for the Erasmus + programme and went to University College London with a scholarship to study the politics of Central and Eastern Europe from a completely different angle compared to what I knew before.
In addition to the courses, the programme includes an internship period, which I completed in the French Senate, in Paris. This internship greatly inspired and guided me for the writing of my master’s thesis, another major component of the programme “Comparative Politics of Eurasia”.
Finally, life of an HSE student is not just about classes and internships. The campus allows any person with motivation to get involved in associations and to create projects with the constant support of the university. For my part, I have the development of the “Francophonie” at heart and have been able to create a francophone eloquence club thanks to HSE, which provided us with rooms for meetings and helped us with the communication of events. I was also involved in the French-speaking geopolitical club of the HSE, which provides a perfect setting for organization of high-level meetings on various themes with diplomats, officials, writers and scholars.
Thanks to this experience at HSE, my internship, my involvement in associations and my master’s thesis research, I understood that the career I envision will be in the sphere of cultural diplomacy or corporate intelligence/advising for the strengthening of the Franco-Russian relationship. There are a lot of opportunities for foreigners in Russia, and HSE is to me the best place to start your path there!
Finally, Saint-Petersburg is a magical city, where amazing friendships and lifelong memories are created!
Programme Officer, NARUC (National Association of Regulatory Utility Comissioners)
I had some previous political science exposure and was interested in spending more time and intensive focus studying Russia and the post-soviet regions. HSE's master's program enabled me to push my interests into more specific lines of inquiry, especially with regard to my thesis research.
The master's program gave me the knowledge and skills I was looking for, and have definitely better positioned me to find work in international relations and policy. Having a foundation of understanding Russian and post-soviet society has informed both my work and travel. I hope to continue to build on my knowledge of Eastern Europe and Eurasia as a focal point of my career.
It's a really difficult time to be looking for a job. I recommend that students and graduates stay organized and patient. Reach out to your contacts and don't be shy when it comes to asking for advice and information about opportunities.
The main weakness I found is the schedule that left almost no time to do internships or work, developing practical skills and work experience which is the most important thing for future employers. But this is understandable due to the amount of academic gatherings, homework and readings students have to follow. All the projects during my studies I participated in, organised by HSE professors, gave the most important practical skills that I later implemented in my work.
I recommend for incoming freshman participating in all the possible events that appear during studies. Including summer/winter/spring schools, attending conferences, student exchanges and etc. All this will help to gather a network and expand your opportunities in future. Also find experts on topics you need to improve on, learn everything they can possibly teach you, become the new expert!
I believe the best experience about HSE is the amount of invited lecturers and professors from the best universities all over the world. This created a unique and very interesting experience in studying.
To graduates searching for job I may wish to never give up on what your heart tends to. Better to spend more time finding something in what you will enjoy doing, so if you are not sure - do as much different internships as you can to find. Do a personal SWOT analysis, and go with what makes sense for you - something with you’ll feel better and be spiritually and intellectually richer.
PhD student, HSE, Faculty of Wolrd Economy and International Relations
When I applied for HSE in the program “Comparative Politics of Eurasia”, I wanted to expand my knowledge in Russian politics and International Relations. I have studied International Relations before, but this program was a new experience for me. It was interesting for me that program is in English, which gave me an opportunity to engage with people from different background, from different countries and from different Russian cities. Imagine all these people united in one group, and definitely this was one of the most important reasons why I applied to this program.
I always had a dream to study international relations, to better understand political, economic and cultural changes in other countries. Later I wanted to receive some new experiences and I applied to the program on Political Science at HSE. We had great classes devoted to methods. So we experienced a massive investment from our professors on both qualitative and quantitative methods. Then I decided to continue studying International Relations and I applied to IR program in Moscow, HSE.
I worked with quantitative methods during my MA studies. That was pretty complicated, challenging but great indeed! I find that experience useful for me, as we tried to delve deeper into the application of these methods in our final dissertation. This is the main skill I received in the MA program. My academic supervisor was extremely helpful in that.
MA program changed my research focus. Before I wanted to study EU and EU integration, especially Germany. Later I decided to focus on Eurasian region. My MA studies focused on Isolationism of Russian regions and now I focus on the Crimean factor in Ukraine’s foreign policy.
To freshmen I may say that first of all you should be attentive to all courses and to fulfil all the requirements that professors request. And only when you do all the necessary work, then you will be able to achieve the success.
My second recommendation would be to try to do something new, apply new methods and challenge yourself. This program is a great opportunity to meet new friends from different countries and to improve your research skills.
Some skills received at university, I apply at the moment in my work and it is easier for me to cope with orders. Considering the image of HSE in business and academia, I may say that HSE is an excellent university, many people know it and consider it prestigious.
To freshman I may advice not to be afraid of exam sessions and to take active part in university events. If I had to do my MA studies again, I’d spend more time on university events and generally be more active.
To graduates I want to give the following advice. Start looking for a job in your final year and don't wait for graduation because it is not a fast process, make a good summary and don't be afraid of big companies.