‘HSE University Gives You Everything You Need to Manage the Research Process’
Ion Frecautan chose to pursue his doctoral studies at HSE University because of its reputation as a leading research university and its extensive academic infrastructure. With the latest enrolment campaign for doctoral schools now underway, we spoke to Ion about his green finance research at the Faculty of Economic Sciences, his activities as a lecturer, and more.
Choosing HSE Moscow
For me, the Russian academic environment was always an important educational objective to pursue and to discover because it is multicultural and makes an outstanding contribution to global scientific heritage. I was curious to find out more about the economic and financial mechanisms of a country which has a resource-driven economy. My decision was quite simple and pragmatic—according to different rankings, HSE is considered a leading national research university in Russia for studying economics and finance.
When I contacted the head of the School of Finance directly, I was really surprised at their openness to give additional information on the research direction, which ultimately fit my research aspirations perfectly.
Later, I found out that HSE also has a modern academic infrastructure and that students have both online and offline access to rich academic resources and facilities for non-academic extra-curricular activities. I was also surprised discover that the study and academic culture at HSE has both advanced English and Russian directions.
The Admission Process
The admission process was straightforward and very intuitive. As a foreign student, I applied through a study platform and also benefited from full support from local representatives of the Russian Centre of Science and Culture in Bucharest. I had two interviews with representatives of the centre and with representatives of HSE University. In general, every student should have a strategy to succeed in the admission process. My strategy was to determine whether HSE could be my best choice and provide me with everything I need to be successful in my research. I used online resources and contacted the School of Finance directly to make sure that my research interest fit with HSE.
My discussion with Prof. Irina Ivashkovskaya inspired me even more to join Faculty of Economic Sciences and undertake my research in finance with the School of Finance.
My general research is about the way green finance can and will help companies to turn their business models towards sustainable development, especially in emerging capital markets. Specifically, I am researching the performance drivers of green bonds in emerging economies, looking into a wide spectrum of countries’ characteristics such as dynamics of policy changes, regulatory specifics, level of development, etc. This research area has both academic and practical implications for companies and governments as a demonstration of the proper regulatory construction to accelerate national and corporate sustainable development through green finance, more specifically through green bonds. This research area is complex and quite new for developing countries (for example, the first issuance of green bonds in Russia was in 2018), which brings novelty to the research. For me, research activity in the Laboratory of the School of Finance also means participating in the creation of ‘academic contributions/content’ for the Springer book series Advanced Studies in Emerging Markets Finance.
A Collaborative Culture
The university gives you all the instruments you need to correctly manage the research process, including training (mandatory and additional courses) to get in depth theoretical knowledge. I also had the luck to work with colleagues from the Corporate Finance Centre on a project about non-financial reporting, ESG, etc. The faculty-level research seminars organised by Professor Olga Demidova were a true academic platform where we students had the chance to see our peers’ research projects, brainstorm, and get feedback from colleagues about our own work. The division-level research seminars supervised by Prof. Ivashkovskaya were another platform where we engaged in research discussions about the achievements of our colleagues and shared our own achievements.
For me, HSE is a dynamic outlet where students can continuously enrich their knowledge and academic capabilities.
At the School of Finance, I also have the chance to run seminars in ‘Sustainable Finance’ for master’s students. I have gained valuable knowledge about this subject from the students while obtaining valuable pedagogical experience. One challenging project occurred during the pandemic: I had to prepare and record an online course in Sustainable Finance for the online 'Master of Business Analytics' programme with some HSE colleagues and experts from Russian companies. I learned about participating in a project that efficiently combined technologies, modern and novel teaching practices, and practical case studies from real businesses.
My peers from HSE University are always open to share ideas and help in the educational process, which is a big part of the university culture. A special person to mention here is Elena Norkina, the Manager of the Office of Doctoral Studies, which gives valuable support to students. I also want to say many thanks to my academic supervisor, Prof. Irina Ivashkovskaya, who is continuously supporting me with valuable insights on the specifics of my research as well as the research activity itself, and who is basically preparing me to become a researcher with international exposure.
I actively interact with my colleagues; we help each other a lot, and I am happy to say that the interdisciplinary academic culture at HSE University is built on the principles of openness and cooperation.
Life in Moscow
Moscow is a modern and complex city that adds more colour to the study process. It is a multicultural city where you can meet people from around the world. It is also the most important cultural centre in Russia—you need years to understand and assimilate it. As a student, you also have a wide range of opportunities to participate in social events, concerts, and parties, which is always great and helps you to get to know people. My favourite places are VDNH and the State Tretyakov Gallery (especially the New Tretyakov Gallery), but of course there are many more places left for me to visit. Hopefully, I can see an unforgettable performance at the Bolshoi Theatre.
After graduating from the PhD programme, I will create a second pillar for my further professional development: research activity. From my previous experience, I realised that professional and educational practices should go hand in hand. Moreover, the present and the future development of our society, from my point of view, is developing based on knowledge-based rules and principles. Pursuing PhD studies at HSE will strengthen my professional expertise in corporate finance and management. In addition, I will have a strong baseline to continue my academic research activity in finance, specifically studying the influence of non-financial capital on a company’s value creation process.
My exposure to different educational and professional events (conferences, PhD workshops, roundtables, PhD seminars, etc) in sustainable finance, the green economy, and ESG show that research directions at HSE University are in line with the problems humanity is currently struggling with.
Additionally, I can say that based on the projects we have been working on in the Laboratory of Corporate finance, the research direction at HSE University is on the right track to increase competitiveness through innovations and sustainable development in the future.
On February 1, 2023, HSE University will open admissions to its doctoral schools. The Doctoral School of Economics has held a webinar for prospective students, which attracted participants from various parts of the world. Materials and feedback from the webinar, as well as information on applications, are now available on the Faculty of Economic Sciences website.
The first stage of the Open Doors: Russian Scholarship Project for prospective master’s and doctoral students has concluded. The winners of the competition get an opportunity to study at Russian universities for free. HSE University is among the most popular universities on the project.
The MendiT Research Lab, based at the HSE University Doctoral School of Arts and Design, will become a resident of the GES-2 Cultural Centre for a month from June 5th. The researchers will introduce members of the urban community to the lab and explore the practices of mending clothes together with them. Some of the lab participants told the HSE News Service what it's like to be searching for a method and object of research.
Doctoral Students Need the Support of Not Only Their Academic Supervisor, but Also of Other Faculty Staff
To successfully defend a doctoral dissertation, PhD candidates need not only the support of their academic supervisor and close friends and relatives, but also system-wide assistance from the university department or faculty where they study. However, HSE University researchers have found that such support can take different forms and that each has a different effect on how confident a student feels in their ability to successfully defend their dissertation. The results of their study were published in the journal Higher Education Quarterly.
Abdul-Raheem Mohammed from Ghana has recently defended a PhD dissertation in cognitive psychology at HSE University via remote procedure. Abdul-Raheem and his academic supervisor, Dmitry Lyusin, talked to the HSE News Service about their cooperation, the advantages and complications of remote PhD defence at HSE University, and the prospects of cognitive science in African countries.
International students interested in joining HSE University can apply for full-tuition scholarships from the Russian government. Applications for the 2022/23 academic year are open from March 1–11. We spoke to HSE University doctoral students about their work and about how scholarships have helped them pursue their research goals.
‘Gaining Practical Knowledge and Learning to Do a Lot in a Short Time’—The Life of an HSE PhD Student
Milica Simonovic, from Belgrade, Serbia, is a doctoral student at the HSE University Faculty of Economic Sciences. She is currently working on her doctoral thesis on corporate governance and intellectual capital disclosure. We interviewed Milica to find out more about her thesis and her experience of the university’s application process for PhD students.
Alaa N. Assaf is a doctoral student at HSE University’s Faculty of Law. In addition to doing research for his PhD thesis, he teaches undergraduates. Alaa has shared his thoughts on studying international law, life in Moscow, and what he misses about teaching in person.
HSE University continues to develop its new study format for students embarking on a research career: the Combined Master's-PhD track. This year, there will be 75 places for Master’s students on the track—two thirds more than last year. HSE Vice Rector Sergey Roshchin talks about the appeal of the combined-track option, how to enrol, and the achievements of last year’s applicants.
'When We Find Something That Doesn’t Work Well Enough, We Replace It in Order to Develop a More Effective Approach'
The winners of the third annual Ilya Segalovich Award were recently announced in Moscow. Established by Yandex, the award promotes the scientific endeavours of young researchers from Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan in the field of Computer Science. Among this year’s winners were three HSE students, including Alexander Grishin, a Doctoral student of the Big Data and Information Retrieval School of the HSE Faculty of Computer Science. Alexander spoke to us about his work, research challenges, and why he was surprised to receive the award.