“It seemed like I never left ICEF in Tilburg”
In his second year of studies, ICEF master’s degree student Denis Tetyuk joined the HSE-run academic mobility program. Now a student of Tilburg University in the Netherlands, he follows a learning path that includes, additionally to the course units at his home university, Corporate Financial Reporting, Data Sсienсe Methods, Financial Analysis and Investment Behavior. We asked Denis to share his impressions and why he chose Tilburg University
Why did you choose exactly this academic mobility program?
It attracted me by its wide array of optional course units, in the first place, and its short duration of three months. This timeline is more than sufficient for me to receive the experience of studying abroad and being a member of international student community. I wouldn’t want to leave Russia for longer time, I want to stay relevant with the academic life on my MSc progrmme at ICEF. As soon as I am back home I will continue working on my master’s thesis because there isn’t much time left before the defense date. Also, I’d welcome the opportunity of doing a traineeship at a large company, so I am sending out my resume already now and getting myself prepared for the interview in English. I would say that Tilburg University is a perfect choice for those who are totally new to international experience but would like to get some. At Tilburg University, candidates choose duration of their program by opting for one or for two blocks, each block lasting for half a term. If you are planning to build career abroad I recommend you do two blocks, while if you, like me, choose to receive most of the training from your home university, go for Block One only. It offers an extensive list of course, luckily, as diverse as data science and international business administration.
How does the knowledge you received at ICEF help you adapt academically to the new setting?
My syllabus at Tilburg University matches perfectly the knowledge I have received while studying for my master’s degree at ICEF. There wasn’t any gap to overcome or cardinal difference learning-wise. Quite the opposite, it seemed like I never left ICEF, especially when I was studying Financial Econometrics. At Tilburg University, I enrolled in Big Data Analytics. They use a different name for it at Tilburg, but the way the course is delivered is identical to that at ICEF: The lecturers skillfully combine theory and practice. Notably, both the schools use similar academic credit system, which is very convenient. For the three electives I am currently doing I will earn 18 credits, so there’s a certain level of freedom to be enjoyed in adjusting one’s plan of studies.
Were there any difficulties you encountered in the beginning of your studies at Tilburg University?
I used my time to prepare for the trip, so there have so far been none. But let me warn you that finding a place to stay for the duration of your studies can be problematic. Holland is known to have a limited housing market, so start searching for accommodation well in advance. In my case, the search took some two months.
What is your typical academic day like and how does it differ from your schedule at ICEF?
Of interest is academic scheduling. While Tilburg operates with a period consisting of two 45-minute classes and a compulsory 15-minute break between them, our system uses 80-minute periods. It is noteworthy that 45 minutes’ time affords sufficient scope for the topic, and 15 minutes are just enough time to digest and have rest. This scheduling fits me perfectly. As for class times, we are free to choose the courses that fit our daily schedules best, but for me personally it doesn’t matter because I dedicate all my time to studies. There can be long spaces between in my schedule but there’s always something to fill them in – library, talks, home assignments. Interestingly, most of the home assignments we get here involve teamwork. And in this regard the orientation week we international students had in the beginning was of huge help. We didn’t have classes, we were doing a lot of things together just to get to know one another, and this had largely eased things for us in our subsequent academic work.
Which courses at Tilburg University do you think are most informative and benefitting you personally?
Tilburg University offers a selection of at least one hundred courses. I chose three and here’s why. Corporate Financial Reporting, a highly hands-on course in accounting, gives knowledge of the international financial reporting standards (IFRS) – the standards that are obligatory to follow in some of the European countries and in Russia as well, particularly, in large corporations. Data Sсienсe Methods is what I like best because it deals with data analysis and econometrics. Earlier, when I was working at Sberbank Treasury, my work involved a hefty amount of data analysis and empirical modeling. Though, it’s more of a hobby rather than what I see myself doing professionally. Data analysis skills come more as an asset. Financial Analysis and Investment Behavior, I was led to choose it by its captivating description. This course will take my basic knowledge of portfolio structuring that I received at ICEF to the next, more advanced level.
What student services does Tilburg University offer?
Tilburg University operates a career guidance center with agenda very similar to that of ICEF Career Services. One of the upcoming events is the CV writing workshop which I am going to attend. Also, the Economic Business Week Tilburg will soon be hosted in spring to introduce students to more career opportunities on offer at large corporations including The Big Four.
I spend some of my free time conversing with my neighbor and the owner of the flat I rent. They have great personalities and are very nice to talk to. A lot of free-time activities are offered by Erasmus Student Network. Its team supervises exchange students throughout their orientation week and keep us socializing afterwards by arranging get-togethers, cinema outings, board game session, dinner get-togethers. Apart from nice communication, the academic and extra-curricular activities as diverse as this are a wonderful opportunity to improve your English language skills. Aren’t they a purpose of going to study abroad, too?