The world is becoming highly competitive, and you need proper equipment to get ready. Daniel Akabueze on how HSE University can be the tool for your preparations.


I am Daniel. A Nigerian student studying at HSE University. This article isn't sponsored, I wasn't asked to write it. Neither was I going to be paid for writing it. It came from my observations. And it's aimed at informing you to look critically and inwardly, and probably, you'd be convinced that HSE University might be that dream university you're looking for. Like all the other articles published in this e-magazine, I'll use personal stories to explain some of my points.

The decision to come to Russia or to study at HSE University, wasn't a search for a university, as I was already a student, studying at the University of Ibadan, but rather, my decision was to get access to a more practical education — an education where I'll not only study a thing, but see what I am studying, feel what I am studying, and be shown how to use what I'm studying to contribute in solving the world's numerous challenges. 

And because I've been studying the HSE University since 2019, till when I got admitted in 2022, I realized that while it may not be included as one of the top ten universities in the World, it is a world-class university with a good study environment, very democratic in teaching and learning, purpose-driven, innovative, and scientifically based.

I am almost done with a semester and I believe that my analysis is valid. I've equally spoken with some of the other international students, who voluntarily confirmed my belief.

In speaking with a student from Nigeria, he said, "HSE University met my expectations."

Reward of Intellectualism

In one of my discussions with my friend, Obumneme, I told him how you get the result of your efforts at HSE University very quickly. How do you get a scholarship for conducting and writing good research work? How are your grades and ratings instantly rewarded? 

Although not stated, HSE University believes that reward shouldn't be delayed. You're reading to get knowledge, and as an African, I believe that your reward should be futuristic. But at HSE University, you get scholarships and discounts for doing well. And the scholarships and discounts are so transparent and believed to be so. If you conduct research work, get it published in a journal; not a predatory journal though, but a good and reputable journal, you'll need to upload your evidence during Increased State Academic Scholarship, and if the paper is judged to be of good quality, then, you're good to go. 

You're instantly seeing the benefits of your efforts, and that alone will inspire you to do more. Who doesn't want to get something for doing something beneficial to himself or herself? You're motivated to study. You're not burdened by it. I'm not saying that HSE University isn't demanding academically, every university is. But I believe that its rigorous academic schedule is purposely to prepare students for meeting up with the challenges that come with after school, and the University motto said it more rightly, "Not for school, but for life, we study."

Aside from the Increased State Academic Scholarship, the University organizes research competitions for both its students and students from other universities around the world annually, known as Students Research Paper Competitions, (you can read about it here https://www.hse.ru/en/nirs/) and winners of this Competition are eligible to certain amounts of scholarship. At HSE University, you'd worry less about money, if you're willing to work hard and maximize the numerous opportunities available.

Support of Early Runners

The full name of the university is National Research University Higher School of Economics. The name "National Research" is a symbolic reality. The symbolism is because that is what I stand for, and the reality is because that's what is done here actually. You don't need to be a penultimate or a finalist to be able to get your works published, attend academic conferences, or start writing a research paper, you just need to have interest and work hard, and you'll be guided by your teachers. Academic conferences in and outside of Russia are funded by the university if you have papers to present. Although it takes a reimbursement pattern. 

Can you imagine expanding your experiences, making your curriculum vitae fanciful, and the University paying for it? You can be exposed from your freshman year to the reality of your course. So long you're interested in research and willing to embark on it, there are so many research projects which are done corporately (you can read more about it here https://pf.hse.ru/en/) or you can take your own research. All this can be done right from your freshman year. 

Of course, I'm a member of a research project that deals with International Relations. And one of the teachers, who I wrote about my interest in conducting research, offered to assist me. Teachers are very willing to assist you. Even as a freshman, you have a Research Seminar to take. So, you're exposed very early. If you're committed and consistent enough, you'd be graduating from HSE University as a professional, who is no longer afraid of writing outstanding academic essays or standing and speaking to any group of people, no matter where, when, and how.

Studying on Scholarship

One of the major challenges of international students is paying tuition fees in a foreign country, especially when your country's currency isn't that strong. But HSE University and generally, the Government of the Russian Federation, made provision for that, where you can study having your full tuition covered and some stipends. Yes, I was able to come to HSE University because I study freely. My tuition is covered. I have my stipend. With my stipend, I am able to pay my accommodation fee and subscribe to my monthly metro card. 

The metro card, which is a subsidized means of using the underground railway for one month, will enable you to save some money. Then, how do you get this Scholarship that will enable you to come and study at HSE University, which is a bastion of academic excellence and higher intellectual development? The process is different for each stage of study; bachelor's, master's, and Ph.D. 

For Bachelors: You'd like to apply and compete through the University Olympiad formerly known as HSE Global Scholarship Competition, but now HSE International Olympiad. You can read more about this competition at https://olymp.hse.ru/en/inter/ and see what it entails. I was among the contestants last year, and I won. Unfortunately, the application for this year closed on the 18th of December 2022.

Also, you'd like to compete directly through the Russian Government Scholarship website. You can check the website of the Russian Embassy in your country, and you're likely going to see information about it. I benefited from the first, which is the HSE International Olympiad. 

For Master's and Ph.D.: The most popular is competing through the Open Door platform. The Open Door scholarship award is for Master's and Ph.D. programs only. You can read more about it here https://www.od.globaluni.ru/en/?needRussian=0 and the process is transparent enough. I've met people that got into HSE University through Open Doors. And you don't necessarily need to be a genius or a nerd. You just need to work hard and work smart.

Now, you'd like to know that participating in Open Doors or Russian Government Scholarship, allows you to choose varieties of Russian Universities, and then, the best decision is to do your research well, check the University website, check its ranking and the impact factor of its graduates, and that is where choosing HSE University can be the right choice to make.

You can equally study on scholarship through Masters Portfolio Competition. You can get that on the HSE University website, or through the MAJOR LEAGUE Olympiad, which can be accessed here olymp.hse.ru/ma The application is still ongoing now and you'd like to utilize it.

Cultural Diversity and Equality

One of the worries of my family and friends, while I was planning to come to Russia, was racism. They were worried about how I'll be treated and all of that. I've been here for months now and I have not encountered discrimination based on my skin colour. In fact, it was stated in the university constitution that no one should be discriminated against based on gender, age, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Everyone in HSE University has equal rights but no one has a higher right. The beauty in cultural and national diversities makes it so beautiful to be here.

International Connection

HSE University is global. The University has a network of many universities in different countries. For instance, I am studying Political Science and World Politics, and my program has a double degree track that will enable me to spend a year at the University of Tor Vergata in Rome, Italy. So do many programs. And academic mobility is very well valued at HSE University. This mobility will enable you to spend a semester abroad, either in The USA, the UK, Italy, Switzerland, or the Netherlands and many others. And the only thing that will guarantee your travel is your academic performance and your extracurricular activities.


Yes, you'd be worried about language and how to communicate with people. The truth is that communication isn't a big deal here in HSE. Most of the teachers I've encountered speak English. And even if you're not so fluent in English, no one is going to put you under undue pressure by unnecessarily trying to analyze your English and making a mockery of it. 

If your course is taught in Russian and you're a recipient of any of the scholarships except MAJOR LEAGUE and PORTFOLIO COMPETITION, you'd have a one-year preparatory class covered by the scholarship, and that will enable you to learn the Russian language. Remember the story I told about the passport control officer in my first and third articles in this magazine? People are kind and don't want to embarrass you unnecessarily.

Teachers' Openness, Friendliness, and Professionalism

These are the qualities that I'll use to qualify HSE teachers. Apart from the fact that there are visiting professors from other countries, and that some HSE professors are also visiting professors to other Universities abroad, the kindly tenderness with which the teachers deal with the students is charming, despite their professionalism and academic achievements. Teachers at HSE University will encourage you to speak to them, not you beg to speak to them. They're student-oriented, not just career-oriented.

There are so many things to tell you about HSE University, but this is the first semester examination period and I'll not have enough time to give you more information on why you should choose HSE University and also encourage your friends to do that. I did not even say anything about sports and other things. We'll discuss them next semester.

HSE University isn't just a university, but a metaphor for endearing and undisputable academic excellence.

Make sure to use all the links included in this article, and I'll be glad to welcome you if you happen to choose HSE University, and more narrowly, if you choose the HSE University campus in Saint Petersburg.

Text by

Daniel Onyekachukwu Akabueze