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‘HSE University Does Not Settle for Mediocrity’

‘HSE University Does Not Settle for Mediocrity’

© Daniil Prokofyev/ HSE University

Joseph Naquentera from Ghana recently completed the HSE University Master’s programme in Applied Economics and successfully defended his thesis on ‘Effect of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy on Employment’ at the Faculty of Economic Sciences. He shared his impressions of studies in Moscow with the HSE News Service.

Joseph Naquentera

Choice of University

Coming to Moscow was based on several factors. For example, I considered the academic rank of the university in terms of Economics and the cost of living in Moscow compared to other big European cities. I finally settled on HSE University in Moscow because those factors were comparatively better than the rest of the options.

Organisation of Studies

After two years of study, I can boldly say that HSE University is a well-structured international university with world-class facilities and a serene environment for studies with renowned professors. HSE University is a university that does not settle for mediocrity in studies.

All lecturers and professors have office hours, where students who need further clarification about a lesson or topic can book a slot and meet with the respective lecturer either online or offline. I realised that some non-international students were a bit reserved, but they were always ready to assist international students when approached. So, over the course of my studies, I have made a lot of Russian friends among my group mates, study mates, etc. The intriguing aspect of it is that some of these friends will be visiting my country to explore next summer.

My favorite subjects were Advanced Macroeconomics, Financial Market Regulations, Tax Policy and Labor/Personal Economics. Advanced Microeconomics was a tough subject for most students, since it required an advanced mathematics background together with analytical thinking and reasoning.

I loved Economics and Law, where math models and arithmetic were used to address litigation cases and problems

Interestingly, almost all lecturers and professors that I came across became my friends and I liked them very much. 

As a person interested in student politics, I contested and won the vice-chair slot of the Council for International Student Association (CISA) from 2020 to 2021. I really enjoyed all the time spent helping fellow students.

I did not take any foundation course in Russian language prior to my studies. However, with the help of my Russian friends, I am able to at least speak and understand normal and everyday conversations.

A Useful Thesis for Policymakers

Writing my thesis ‘Effect of the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy on Employment’ under Sergey Solntsev’s academic supervision was like a continuous session of a subject (Econometrics of Project Evaluation) I took during one of the modules.

I assessed a poverty programme that was implemented in Ghana around 2005 and its impact on employment with regional individual datasets

This paper was interesting, since the findings were quite different from an earlier narrative posed by policymakers in Ghana. The difficulty in this paper came from a lack or unavailability of certain individual labour variables. In spite of these challenges, my supervisor was always available to direct me. Most of the meetings with my supervisor were held online and sometimes through email. These methods of communication really saved me a lot of time.

With this Master’s degree, I will continue with my banking job in Ghana for at least a year before pursuing a PhD. In the next ten years, I see myself becoming an astute economics consultant running my own consultant firm

Living in Moscow

Moscow has numerous interesting and beautiful places to visit. I had the chance to visit the famous Red Square, which attracts a lot of tourists from all over the world each and every day. I also visited a lot of social parks such as Gorky Park, Dream Island amusement park, etc. With the assistance of Google Maps and the metro, getting to these places was quite easy.

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