HSE's Master's Programme in Finance: Coursework, Double Degrees, and Careers
The Master's Programme 'Finance' was established at HSE University - Saint Petersburg in 2009. Since then, the programme has received international EPAS accreditation, established double degree opportunities for its students with other universities, and expanded its cooperation with companies in the finance sector. Graduates of the programme have gone on to work in the Treasury Department of Gazprom Energoholding, perform financial analytics at PepsiCo, and start their own business in Chile.
About the Programme
The master's programme in Finance is an English-taught programme with international students making up 40% of its enrolment. Students come from Germany, the USA, China, Mexico, Ghana, and even Indonesia. The programme's diverse student body allows students to acquire skills to work in international teams and gain experience in intercultural communication. As a result, students become specialists who can work in both Russian and international companies.
Though the programme primarily focuses on financial management and corporate finance, students can choose from a variety finance-related courses that include accounting, risk management, and even finance analytics and the stock market. The programme also offers courses that help students develop their digital skills, such as data research and machine learning in finance.
Elena Rogova, 'Finance' Programme Academic Supervisor
'The financial officer profession has different scopes. We do our best to update the portfolio of our courses to give students expertise in the most in-demand areas of financial activities. For example, now financial markets are experiencing a decline due to the pandemic, following the fall in oil prices. The economy is about to witness a major crisis, so areas such as risk assessment and risk management will become vitally important. We are going to introduce new courses related to these skills in the curriculum.
In the near future, many enterprises will face resource shortages and have to search of financial resources and set appropriate budgets. This means that expertise in financial planning and budgeting will be in demand. So we will update these courses as well. Previously, students used Excel for their studies. Now they will work with Python, which gives more opportunities to developing scenarios that underlie financial models. What is happening in the world affects our profession, and we strive to train our students so that they are ready for the challenges of the present moment.
This year the programme is arranging BarCamp remotely. More than 100 students, companies from other cities of Russia, and some international partners, such as Jean Moulin University Lyon 3 and L'Oreal company, will take part in the BarCamp. In May, students are going to present the results of their projects in the format of a poster session online, and then submit their reports to the management of enterprises. Companies, in turn, will provide students with extensive feedback about their work.
The programme has two professional international accreditations. The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (АССА) confirms that our programme trains accountants, financial managers, and directors in accordance with international standards. Programme students have to take only 6 exams instead of 9 to get an ACCA certificate, which is in demand among financial and consulting companies. The programme is also accredited by the Russian Council for Professional Qualifications Development. It includes two fields of activity: financial management and risk management.
Last year the programme obtained EPAS accreditation from the European Found of Management Development. It verifies that the programme trains in-demand specialists and meets international educational standards. Many leading business schools and universities have this accreditation, such as Bologna University in Italy or Kingston University in the United Kingdom. In Russia, our 'Finance' Programme is the only programme that holds international EPAS accreditation.
It took 2 years to obtain it. During that time, many foreign lecturers and students have joined the programme and we have adopted new international practices and approaches to finance. For instance, our master's students went to Rotterdam Business School this year, where they learned to apply the methodology for evaluating the effectiveness of sustainable development and evaluating investments in sustainable development for real companies. The programme has subsequently incorporated this methodology into its curriculum.
Moreover, the 'Finance' master's programme is part of the QTEM (Quantitative Techniques for Economics and Management Master's Network) international master's programme. Its participants travel to foreign universities to improve their quantitative methods skills related to Economics and Management, as well as complete internships in international companies.
The programme has three double degree agreements, two of which are bilateral, namely the agreement with ESSCA Busines School in France and the Catholic University of the Sacred Heart in Italy. Students go to study in Milan and Paris for a year and can even complete internships with local companies if they are proficient in French or Italian. Master's students of ESSCA and Catholic University, in turn, come to study in our programme and take courses together with all the programme's students. Currently, two students from France and two students from Italy are studying in the 'Finance' Programme. They returned home due to the pandemic but are continuing their studies at HSE remotely. Some HSE students also likewise studying at partner universities remotely.
A third double-degree option the programme offers allows students from the University College London (UCL) to study in our programme. HSE campuses in Moscow and Saint Petersburg are part of International Master of Economical and Social Studies (IMESS) University consortium. UCL students can choose a programme for the second year of study, where they complete internships, defend their dissertation, and receive two diplomas - the UCL diploma and the HSE diploma.
Careers and Post-Graduate Study
Graduates of the 'Finance' programme work in large Russian and international companies. For example, while studying, Yuri Krupachev started to work in Maersk and continued working at the company after graduating in 2013. Now Yuri is the Director of the Moscow division.
Yuri Krupachev, '13
'I started to work in the logistics sector during my undergraduate studies when I was a student in the 'Economics' Programme. When I was a graduate student, I started to work for Maersk. I started as an assistant in the Sales Department, and now I am the Director of the Moscow division of the company. During my work, I have travelled to a dozen countries and worked for a year and a half in China as a commercial representative of the Russian cluster. Now my work mostly focuses on commercial issues and administrative and representative functions.
The Master's Programme in 'Finance' substantially strengthens your analytical skills as well as skills in working with data. It helps you quickly make fact-based decisions and competently evaluate the project profitability. Even while studying at HSE, you develop soft skills, especially through teamwork and various group projects, including international ones.
I believe that when you have the opportunity and the time, you must study! The Master's programme is a good way to deepen your knowledge and skills and get more practical experience. Why did I continue my studies at HSE - Saint Petersburg? There are several reasons, such as my positive undergrad experience, the faculty, the course timetable which is convenient for working students, and an interesting curriculum. From my viewpoint, HSE University is one of the best universities in Russia, and it is developing rapidly. Is there any better place to study?
Oleg Baglyukov began working during his last year in the programme in 2017. He got a job at ITSK, an IT subsidiary of Gazprom Neft, following an advertisement on the master's programme group page on Vkontakte. He started his career at the company as a data analyst. Now Oleg is the Сhief Specialist of the Treasury Department of Gazprom Energoholding.
Oleg Baglykov, '17
'My colleagues and I spend most of our time as curators of the financial blocks of our generating assets. I interact with other subsidiaries and I am also involved in a coal mining asset in Kazakhstan. My responsibilities include various tasks, starting from forecasting cash flows and consolidating them into the general financial model of Gazprom Energoholding, to analyzing and approving business plans and other management reporting forms. I also participate in IT systems development and implementation, automation of routine tasks through the VBA language, Excel, and other tools.
I believe that the programme helped me get on this path in many ways. It was not just the job advertisement that I found in some group on social media - it was placed by Dr Rogova. The programme provides excellent knowledge and skills. Our faculty was excellent as well - our professors taught us not only theory from textbooks, but also shared their personal practical experience. It helped me move faster from 'study mode' to 'work in a company' mode. I had been working for ITSK for more than a year, and then I received an offer to move to the Treasury Department of Gazprom Energoholding, and I decided that it was a good option.
The younger you are, the more you should take risks and make mistakes to learn from them. A good specialist will always have time to get a job in a company or corporation, and even change the professional direction. That is why your university years are the best time to explore the business if there are any opportunities.'
Graduates of the programme also start careers abroad. For example, Olga Nikonova lives in Chile, where she works for El Manzano, a local company that is engaged in permaculture. Permaculture is a branch of organic farming where agricultural space is designed in conjunction with natural ecosystems. Olga is also starting her own business. She managed to open a small loft on the company's lands, where she organizes various cultural and educational events.
The programme also opens doors into the world of finance for international students.
Elchin Gasanov, '18
'I am from Baku, but I have been working for PepsiCo in Moscow since 2018. I started as an intern, and now I am a financial analyst specializing in capital and economy. This is a sectoral position, and in addition to Russia, I work in the CIS and Eastern Europe. Our team organizes the approval process for large projects in committees and works to optimize it. As an analyst, I create reports on the facts or forecast, reasons for project rejection, and make presentations to committees and meetings. In addition, I sometimes provide assistance to colleagues at the regional level on investment projects. There are always different tasks to do in a large corporation. You just need to take initiative.
When I was in the second year of my studies, I was actively looking for a job, and I really wanted to work in Moscow. Since I was an international student, I did not have the documents to get a full-time job during my studies. That is why I set my sights on internships that start in the summer or fall. So I got into the PepsiCo Go programme, where I had a chance to prove myself.
My work is similar to what I was taught in the 'Finance' Programme. The company uses all known financial indicators for evaluating projects, such as NPV, IRR and EVA. The skills and knowledge I gained during my studies helped me read data not as a set of numbers, but as a history, and see the cause-and-effect relationship behind the indicators. It is also great that the programme is taught in English because English is my working language now.'
Some graduates continue their academic career and enter the HSE doctoral programmes.
Meriam Cherif, '18
'I am from Tunisia. In 2016, I came here to study in the master's programme in Finance. It gave me various opportunities after I started my career in management, and I also pursued my studies after graduation. Currently, I am doing my PhD at HSE - Saint Petersburg, where I study Management.
It is great that HSE University accepts so many international students. I had the chance to study with different students from different cultures and backgrounds coming from different countries. Moreover, we studied according to international standards such as ACCA and others. The university is well-known in academia for its extensive partnership with other international universities.
I like that HSE professors focus on group projects and ask students to make presentations, I learned a lot from it. We had courses on different subjects: Accounting, Investment, Finance, Management, Economics and Data Analysis. When it comes to the city, Saint Petersburg is a wonderful place to live in. This is really the cultural capital of Russia.'