‘Vietnam and Russia Have a Lot of Common Values’
Tu Phan is a second-year student in HSE University’s Master’s programme in Strategic Corporate Finance. She is an international student with a lot of experience living abroad: besides Vietnam, she has lived (and studied) in Azerbaijan, Italy, and now Russia. Tu told us about her studies, how her life has changed since moving to Russia, what life is like in the dorms, and even how Russian and Vietnamese babushkas are similar!
— Why have you chosen to study in Russia and in this programme in particular?
— After earning my bachelor’s in Economics at ADA University, I wanted to learn something that is more `practical` but still related to my background. My family loves Russia; many people in my family have studied and speak Russian. Therefore, I got interested in pursuing a Master’s here and getting a deeper understanding of the culture.
I applied to HSE University and got a partial scholarship from the university. Actually, I’ve been living in Azerbaijan for three and a half years attending an international school and did an exchange programme at Universita di Bologna (Italy) for about seven months as well. Then I moved straight to Moscow from there. Before that, I had visited Russia three or four times, so I was fully prepared for this new experience.
At HSE, I studied Strategic Corporate Finance. This programme is designed for those who want to gain a deep understanding of Finance and its many applications. You can take a unique course such as Behavioral Finance, which is not taught in many schools in the world.
Moreover, at HSE, you are encouraged to conduct research in your own areas of interest
Since HSE is a National Research University, it adheres to international standards when it comes to academic papers. I had the opportunity to work as a Research Assistant at the Corporate Finance Center of the School of Finance, where we received guidance in producing high-quality papers based on the standards of top academic journals.
I am grateful to my professors and my supervisor for their support and useful advice
— If you were asked to explain what you study to a child – in simple words – what would you say? What is your Master`s thesis about?
— Well, I study corporate finance. It is about how a company finds and allocates money to produce its goods and services. As for my thesis, it aims to test whether there exists Investor Overconfidence bias in the Russian Stock Market. Russia presents a unique case in the world because it is quite a large equity market, extremely volatile and sensitive to shocks. Moreover, it has recently (2019) become one of the best performers in the world.
— How has your daily routine changed since you moved to Russia?
— The first major change is that I moved into a dormitory. It is my first time sharing a room with other people. You need to adapt to the schedules and habits of your roommates. As for me, my roomies are also Master’s students from Thailand and Morocco. I got lucky—they are super nice and always support me. When I started living on my own, the first thing I bought was a rice cooker—a must-have for all students. You can cook everything with it and save time!
Another big change is that I walk a lot and use the metro as my main source of transportation. I enjoy it very much, because Moscow has one of the most beautiful and efficient metro systems in the world. In Moscow, parks are my favorite places—for example Park Kultury, Kolomenskoe, or Tsaritsyno.
— In your opinion, what is the best Russian souvenir you could give someone?
— I really like Russian scarves and porcelain—Gzhel. There is a Russian cartoon—Cheburashka. I watched it a lot when I was a kid, so I think a Cheburashka toy is also a great present. My grandmother also loves Russian dolls—not matryoshkas but porcelain ones.
— Imagine that you have been tasked with giving a lecture on any topic of your choice. What would you talk about?
— I would probably choose to talk about the similarities between Russian and Vietnamese culture. I think that Vietnam and Russia have a lot of common values—we are both very family-centered people and we care a lot about our communities. I can also say that we both are very hospitable! And babushkas (grandmothers) are the same! They always feed their kids and make sure you never leave with an empty stomach! They will definitely start cooking as soon as you enter their home. They will tell you over and over, ‘Oh, you’re so skinny!’ even if you’ve actually gained a few kilos since moving to Russia.
Admissions to HSE’s Bachelor's and Master’s programmes are now open. International students can apply online. To learn more about HSE University, its admission process, or life in Moscow, please visit International Admissions website, or contact the Education & Training Advisory Centre at: firstname.lastname@example.org, or via WhatsApp at: +7 (916) 311 8521.