Higher School of Economics is an outstanding university: two interviews.
I was wondering why Higher School of Economics is so popular among people and why this university is highly rated in Russia. I wanted to talk to students, who entered HSE after studying in other Moscow universities and ask them what the main diﬀerence between HSE and the place they studied before is.
Gregory Losev, a ﬁrst-year student of MA “International Business”
Hi! My name is Gregory. Right now I’m a ﬁrst-year student at the “Master of International Business” program of Higher School of Economics, which is at the faculty of World Economy and International Aﬀairs. Previously, I was a student of Moscow State Linguistic University where I studied English and Spanish. I learned quite a lot in linguistics there, but it was not enough for me, so I understood that I needed to connect languages with more practical knowledge. That’s why I went on my studies at Higher School of Economics. I was planning to go to MIB program because it is the best program in business and management in Moscow and even in Russia. Also it is in the top 100 management & business programs in the world, so it’s highly rated not only in Russia, but also all over the world. The knowing that HSE is one of the top universities in Russia and is highly valued by employers contributed to my choice, as I understood that a degree from such a great university can provide me with a lot of opportunities after graduation.
Besides, Higher School of Economics is famous among students and also pupils who dream to enter it after graduating from schools. I was not an exception, I tried to get a budget place at the Department of Linguistics in HSE after passing my state exams at school which was a struggle for me as the passing score at HSE was very high. And I entered Moscow State Linguistics University due to getting a budget place there.
However, It’s been already 2 months from my ﬁrst day at Higher School of Economics at MIB. Studying in a beautiful building with qualiﬁed professors, clever and interesting people creates an outstanding atmosphere and a great environment to acquire practical knowledge that will deﬁnitely help me in my future career.
Of course, it was unusual for me to start learning accounting and economics which are quite diﬀerent from linguistics. As MIB program accepted students with diﬀerent backgrounds, I had an opportunity to change my educational path completely. Although I knew that it would be diﬃcult to change my mindset in studying, I understood that it would be a challenge for me, so I was ready for it.
To be honest, the most obvious diﬀerence is the state of the buildings. I compare a new beautiful building “Pokrovka” to the old building I used to study before. However, if we talk about the education, the appearance is not so important. The most signiﬁcant diﬀerence is another attitude to the education and the control over the educational process at Higher School of Economics. The administration really cares about what students think of the learning process and how knowledge is delivered to students. The fact that each student has an opportunity to evaluate courses and to answer questions about professors is important. It’s a perfect system that helps to ﬁnd gaps in educational process that we can’t always avoid. And that’s how the university is constantly evolving and improving the educational process.
I also prefer a ten-point scale as it lets to distinguish grades more easily. There is a big diﬀerence between having a “ﬁve” and a “four”, which is shown in HSE perfectly. While at other universities you get a “ﬁve” and someone else gets a “ﬁve”, these could be completely diﬀerent marks, but both of you get the same one. And in HSE you can get a “10”, which is excellent, and you can get “8”, which is not that ideally excellent as the “10”. This diﬀerence contributes to the understanding that you can do something for “8”, but you can improve it and get “10”. There is always space for further self-development, which is an agent of progress.
I like the fact that I study at a university that is truly innovative, that keeps up to date and tries its best at being current every day. HSE is building the future every moment. This, in my opinion, is what diﬀers HSE from other universities in Moscow and, probably, in Russia.
Madina Bogieva, a ﬁrst-year student of Economics
Hello! My name is Madina. Now I study on the ﬁrst course at the “Economics” program of Higher School of Economics. Last year I entered the faculty of fundamental physical and chemical engineering in Moscow State University. However, I understood that this course wasn’t suitable for me because the scientiﬁc activity didn’t appeal to me. But in MSU we were prepared exactly for it. I decided to leave the university and not to waste my time doing unloved work. During my school years I preferred classes in social science and economics, so I made a decision to try myself in this ﬁeld. As I’ve been willing to getting more practical knowledge, I’ve chosen Higher School of Economics rather than the faculty of economics in Moscow State University since HSE is known for providing students with practical skills which can be useful in future.
Before entering HSE, I heard that it was one of the leading universities in Russia despite its brief history. This fact couldn’t leave me indiﬀerent. Moreover, lots of my acquaintances are students of Higher School of Economics and they have always spoken about this university enthusiastically. I took a chance and applied for it. The risk paid oﬀ: the educational material is taught at the highest level and I’m surrounded by like-minded people who also strive to achieve their goals. It can’t help motivating.
However, I was really disappointed with a poor level of English taught on my faculty. The English classes are mainly aimed at preparing students for the IELTS exam, and not at acquiring real knowledge. Thus, I have to devote much more time to self-preparation to the prejudice of other activities.
The main diﬀerence between HSE and MSU lies in the graduation system. We have a ten-point graduation scale, which really diﬀers from the traditional one, and also we have to take 4 examination sessions per year. It takes a lot of time and energy to prepare for the exams, nevertheless in Higher School of Economics I have more time for my independent study which is an obvious advantage for me. Last year I used to spend too much time at MSU: classes lasted from 9 a.m to 6 p.m not considering the commuting to the university. It was exhausting and I wasn’t interested in my educational program, so at the end of the day I had neither a will nor the energy to do something else. Today I feel the balance and the will to study again in Higher School of Economics.
To my mind, what really stands out in HSE is that students have a close contact with teachers during the learning process and they communicate on equal terms. What is more, students’ interests are always taken into account by the the university’s administration and professors that is extremely important in the educational process.