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‘Enrolling at HSE University Is One of the Best Decisions I Have Made’

‘Enrolling at HSE University Is One of the Best Decisions I Have Made’

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Nargiz Mammadova, first-year Master's student of the Economics: Research Programme, chose HSE University based on the strength of its reputation and its placement in university rankings. In her interview, Nargiz talks about her passion for economics, her impressions of the programme, her career aspirations, and more.

Nargiz Mammadova

Choosing HSE

Exactly a year ago, I was looking for Master's programmes that offer not only full state scholarships but also prepare students for PhD programmes with advanced courses. Russian universities are not that popular in Azerbaijan, and graduates prefer to study in Europe, especially in Italy, Germany, the UK, Poland, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.

In view of this, my groupmates were strongly against my decision to apply to HSE and accept the offer. However, all of my professors and especially Dr. Elkin Nurmammadov, Dean of the School of Business at ADA University, encouraged me to enroll at HSE University as he truly believes that HSE is one of the best universities that can help me achieve my professional goals. I would say it has been one of the best decisions I have made in my life so far.

HSE is among only a few prestigious universities that offer a research-focused programme in economics, which is a stepping stone for Ph.D. studies

Being the highest ranking university in Russia in economics, HSE not only offers a wealth of opportunities to implement one’s analytical toolkit in an array of research-oriented classes but also offers specialized courses that add extra flavor to the Economic Research Programme, which, in turn, optimizes your career prospects.

The economy has always held its vital role by ensuring the security, stability, and welfare of states throughout human history

Therefore, studying economics in depth is as vital as its proper implementation, considering the challenges, interdependence, and flexibility of modern economies. This has been my main motive in choosing my study path both as an undergraduate and a graduate student.

Studying Online

At the moment, I am in Baku and all of my classes are online, which has its advantages and disadvantages, yet I have to say that the former dominates the latter. The advantage is that I can participate in 2 different internship programmes, one at the Embassy of Pakistan in Baku as an economic analyst and another in the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade (IFAT) in Budapest (remotely) as a research intern while attending my classes online from my cozy home office. All lectures are recorded so that you can watch them at any time that pleases you. You can also arrange an online meeting with your professors to ask as many questions as you like without having to visit their office. The only drawback is that you cannot visit breathtaking Moscow.

I received and still receive support from Ms. Oxana Budjko who is always there for students and answers all questions in the blink of an eye. She has been a great help in navigating certain aspects of the programme.

The First Semester

It was quite tough and full of challenges I would say, and indeed, that was expected as we were dealing with, and are still dealing with, advanced level courses that are more math-related and proof-oriented. The most difficult course that made me even consider dropping out of the programme was Advanced Microeconomics. During the lectures and seminars, I felt like I was in a dark endless tunnel in the middle of nowhere.

Fortunately, I have great study buddies among my classmates. We work on homework assignments and study for final exams together

Our professors, such as Dr. Okulicz, are helpful, too.


I am incredibly motivated to study macroeconomic diagnosis, macroeconometric forecasting, and the evolution of economic growth models. On this basis, I find ‘Advanced Econometrics’ with Cemal Eren Arbatli the most interesting, productive, and useful in terms of my career interests.


My childhood memories are full with the poems by Pushkin and among them, ‘The Tale of the Fisherman and the Fish’ («Сказка о рыбаке и рыбке») has a special place in my soul as it gave me an everlasting life lesson when I was just a 6-7 years old.

I learned to be grateful, satisfied, and happy with whatever I am initially given and yet always try to be the best version of nobody but myself. I am in a competition with her—the person who I was yesterday   

I have always wanted to be like the little fish of the story. Like her, I have my own golden rules which even I do not have a right to break: mutual respect to people from all walks of life and an appreciation of each and every bit of endeavor are two main ingredients of a meal known as ‘collaboration’ that you can share with your loved ones, friends, and groupmates.

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.

Master’s applicants have the opportunity to get a preliminary assessment of their portfolio and communicate with their programme of choice online.

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: inter@hse.ru, or via WhatsApp at: +7 (916) 311 8521.

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'HSE Paved My Road to Harvard'

Nargiz Mammadova, from Azerbaijan, is a 2022 graduate of the Economics: Research Programme and a finalist of the Global Essay Competition in St. Gallen. As she prepares to start her Master of Public Administration in International Development programme at Harvard in August 2023, Nargiz reflects on her time studying at HSE University during the COVID-19 pandemic, talks about her work for the State Oil Fund of Azerbaijan, and shares an important message for future students.

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