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‘Success of Data Science Professionals Depends on Training’

Jingtao Xu, a second-year student from China, is pursuing his Bachelor’s in Data Science and Business Analytics, a double degree programme between HSE University and the University of London. In an interview with HSE News Service, he describes the hard and soft skills he has gained at HSE, as well as the ups and downs of studying online. He also told us about his favourite places in Moscow.

Jingtao Xu has been studying and living in Moscow since his 10th grade of high school. Before that, he studied in an international school in Beijing. After finishing high school in Russia, Jingtao Xu was looking for prospective universities in Russia as well as abroad. He first heard about HSE from a fellow Chinese student who was pursuing his Master’s at HSE.

Jingtao Xu
Photo courtesy of Jingtao Xu

When I did my research about the university on the internet and got to know about the institution in depth, HSE easily became my first choice.


To enroll, I simply followed the instructions posted on the HSE International Admissions website. Everything was really well-organised and the instructions were easy to follow. So, I communicated with the Admissions team only once—to ask about the requirements.

Talking about the entrance exam, it was not a challenge for me, because I also prepared for the Russian state exam, which was harder than the university entrance exams.


I would like to describe the past year as challenging, demanding yet quite entertaining. The first year of the DSBA programme focuses mainly on various fields of mathematics and fundamentals of programming. In the beginning, I found the curriculum quite basic. However, things became much more challenging as the year progressed.

Luckily, HSE professors and teachers are always willing to help out students, and most of them would go above and beyond and offer consultations during their free time for students who are struggling. Almost all the lecturers were energetic and not boring at all. I particularly like the teaching assessment system where we get to rate the lecturers at the end of each module, which is a useful tool for both teachers and students.

During the second year of DSBA programme, we are taking some subjects outside the scope of Maths, such as Business & Management and Introduction to Micro &Macroeconomics. Data Science courses range from broad and comprehensive to highly specialized ones, spanning topics like machine learning, business analytics and economics– each of which provides further opportunities for specialization.

I have gained an immense amount of new knowledge and practical skills related to maths and computer science while studying at our faculty. The DSBA programme includes elements from mathematical sciences, economics and business studies. This is an excellent programme to pursue as it offers many viable career prospects.

In my opinion, success of data science professionals depends on training. The data scientists have to perform data processing and analysis on a massive scale. Also, it’s a duty of skilled professionals to convert big data into meaningful information.

I would say that in DSBA programme we learn a lot of things that are relevant in the new economic conditions. For example, in the ‘Business Management’ course we have discussed how firms’ decision-making is influenced by COVID-19.

As for the soft skills, HSE has prompted me to become a more outgoing person. I became more willing to share my opinions and views with other students. I have also gotten more courageous in public speaking, which is something I have always struggled with. In general, university life has better prepared me for entering society.

I truly enjoy such a process of self-development in the pleasant academic atmosphere at HSE.

Online Classes

Although the course materials and teachers remain the same, studying online is, definitely, different from the traditional format of learning. True enough, online learning saves up the time spent on the road. Such a format offers me more free time to invest in self-development and doing what I enjoy. So, the biggest advantage of online studying compared with offline is time efficiency.

Nevertheless, I really miss the vibrant interactions between teachers and students during classes, communicating and meeting up with my peers after lessons, as well as walking in the corridors of Pokrovka. It was a pity that I did not get the chance to feel I really belong to the student community due the wide spread of Covid-19.

Life in Moscow

Moscow is one of the most aesthetic cities that I have ever been in. It uniquely integrates historic sites with modern architecture. The centre of Moscow stuns me every time I drive past: the Red Square, the Kremlin, the Big Theatre, the prosperous Tverskaya street... Another peculiarity that I love about Moscow is its rich nature. I enjoy breathing fresh air while strolling down the alleys of beautiful city parks, such as the Sparrow Hills, Tsaritsyno, Kolomenskoye and numerous others.

I have been living in Moscow for 4 years now, and am still fascinated by its beauty.

Russian is one of the most difficult languages, so after living in Moscow for 4 years, I still find it to be challenging. I can clearly understand others’ speech most of the time and can freely engage in daily conversations. Russian is a very beautiful language. Unfortunately, I have not had the chance to read Russian literature and watch movies in Russian, because I want to first improve my language skills before doing so, but have not had the time due to intense studying. I desire to learn it well to make more local friends and to dive deeper into local culture.

HSE University welcomes applicants from all over the world and offers not only different levels of study, but also different formats in English and Russian, online and offline. International applicants can apply for Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes in a separate admissions process for foreign applicants and receive scholarships with full or partial tuition fee coverage.

When applying to a Bachelor’s programme, including five English-taught programmes in Moscow, it is possible to submit international certificates you have received in English and mathematics, such as IELTS, TOEFL, A-Level and other international exams and they will be recognized by HSE University, so taking entrance exams in relevant subjects will not be required.

Undergraduate applicants can test their chances of admission now by taking mock tests. Master’s applicants also have the opportunity to get a preliminary assessment of their portfolio and communicate with their programme of choice online.

There are also ZOOM consulations available for graduate and undergraduate applicants.

See also:

Demand for Master’s Degrees in Data Science Quadruples Since Last Year

According to analytics from HSE University’s online campus, the demand for the Master of Data Science online Master’s programme has quadrupled, and the number of applicants doubled compared to last year (more than 250 students). Data science ranks first in demand among all HSE master’s degree programmes taught online.

‘Today Data Is Processed and Interpreted at a Completely Different Level’

Additional enrollment in the online programme ‘Master of Data Science’ is now open. Daniil Kopylov, 1st-year student of the master's programme, told HSE News Service why an international financial specialist should study Data Science.

‘I'm Excited about the Impact Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence Have on Our Life’

HSE University’s online Master of Data Science programme trains specialists in contemporary data analysis, machine learning development, and research. The applications are accepted until July 19. Students of the programme hail from over 30 countries including Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, India, the USA, Canada, China, Japan, Germany, Great Britain, and Switzerland. Mehmet Namli (UAE) and Alexander Olekhnovich (Russia) spoke about how they decided to become part of the global data scientist community and shared their impressions of studying remotely at HSE University.

Data Science and Business Analytics Students Score the Highest on University of London Exams

Four students of the HSE University and University of London Double Degree Programme in Data Science and Business Analytics received the highest scores on London exams at the end of 2019/2020 academic year. Yunying Pei, Vasily Kireenko, Vladimir Zobov, and Ilya Zisman performed brilliantly in the statistics, business, and management tests.

‘It’s Cool to See So Many International Participants from Different Backgrounds’

The students of the second cohort in HSE University’s Master of Data Science have started their classes. This English-taught programme is offered entirely online on Coursera and is the first of its kind in Russia.

‘I Was Always a Fan of Online Studying’

Students of the first cohort of the HSE’s online Master of Data Science are now completing their first semester. Offered entirely online on Coursera, the programme attracts students from all over the world. HSE News Service spoke with two international students about what drew them to the programme, the courses they have taken so far, and what their online student community is like.

‘Choosing an Online Degree by HSE University Was a Very Easy Decision to Make’

The classes in the Master of Data Science programme started three months ago. This is the first Master’s degree in Russia offered fully online, with all the courses delivered on Coursera. The students of the first cohort and one of the instructors have shared their impressions.

Yandex and HSE University Open Joint Laboratory

The new laboratory will be part of the Faculty of Computer Science. The laboratory will focus on training professional researchers and conducting research in the field of data science.

Students from over 20 Countries Begin Courses in HSE Online Master’s Programme

Classes in the Master of Data Science programme have recently begun. This is the first Master’s programme in Russia taught entirely online on Coursera global educational platform. All classes are conducted in English.

‘Whatever I’m Researching, I Want to Be Able to Put It into Practice’

Md Tahsir Ahmed Munna is a second-year master’s student in Data Science at HSE. He is also one of the international students nominated for HSE’s Silver Nestling Award in 2019. Munna’s master’s thesis focuses on knowledge graph-based recommender systems, and he works as a research assistant at HSE’s Laboratory for Models and Methods of Computational Pragmatics. HSE News Service spoke with Munna about studying Data Science at HSE, working on his thesis, and living in Moscow.