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National Research University Higher School of EconomicsNewsOn Campus'HSE ICEF Has a Diverse Team of Enthusiastic People'

'HSE ICEF Has a Diverse Team of Enthusiastic People'

As described by one of the original ICEF team members, Oleg Zamkov, ICEF Deputy Director and Academic Head of HSE and University of London Double Degree Programme in Economics, the success of ICEF was in choosing the right moment for the start and finding the right people, both academics and administrators. It would also be unimaginable without the advice and support from London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE), especially Richard Layard, who helped design several key elements of the curriculum for double degree programme, Richard Jackmanand Amos Witztum who made a significant contribution to ICEF idea implementation.

Today, ICEF is proud to be academic home to over 20 international researchers with PhD degrees in economics, finance and social sciences, representing different countries and continents: Russia, Germany, France, Italy, Greece, Ukraine, Argentina, Australia, and India.

Emiliano Catonini, Assistant Professor

When I applied to ICEF, I was interviewed first at the conference which both I and ICEF colleagues attended, and I got invited for a presentation of my research and lecture to Moscow. I saw that ICEF was a good place to work at because they really invested the time and effort in understanding my work, which can be very technical at times and even though they work in a different area of economics and finance. This spoke to me of a good and lively research environment which strives towards excellence, and this impression came to be true. I teach two courses that I like, namely Game Theory for ICEF Bachelor programme and an Advanced Microeconomics course for Masters’.

We have many people at ICEF who do great research in different fields and students who are interested in doing more than just learn during the classes, so we try to pull these two resources together in order to get students do quality research. We can show to the students where the research frontier is, but the direction in which to cross it is to be found by them. They acquire the tools to do something new, both at the very practical and technical level. Our students pursuing PhD studies and academic careers at the best academic institutions will help ICEF to have a stronger connection with the rest of the world not only through our faculty members, but also through our students as ambassadors of ICEF and its research reputation.

Udara Peiris, Tenured Associate Professor

Given that I had the privilege to teach very motivated and brilliant students at Oxford, I was looking for a similar environment with students who have the potential to be world leaders in whatever they do. My PhD advisor, Prof Dimitrios Tsomocos, is a long-time friend of ICEF, and I had come across several ICEF graduates in the UK, so I knew how strong they were. It was very important for me because I did not want to be in a place where I had to simplify what I taught but wanted to be in a place where students would be pushing me to learn more and be at the cutting edge. I think that leadership of HSE and ICEF has a great strategy for making them a premier research institution, and it gives me a lot of confidence in the research potential of ICEF. I feel that this environment will support and encourage me to pursue my research interests and ultimately grow with the university, and, in turn, help it grow.

I've been involved with Advanced Research Programme at ICEF, which is a project we set up three years ago, and ICEF Director Sergei Yakovlev was very supportive and encouraging of this endeavor. We wanted to encourage ICEF students to think seriously about going on to PhD programmes, because they are definitely among the best in the world, but more importantly, to start seeing their institution as a place where you learn how to learn.

The Advanced Research Programme holds several meetings and conferences for the students around twice a year where they present their research and get feedback from other students and faculty. They work closely with ICEF faculty and do quite outstanding research, which would be suitable for a PhD thesis. Even if they go to work in the industry, these analytical skills will be useful.

Kosmas Marinakis, Assistant Professor

ICEF is a very good part of HSE, which is a good university – it has goals, it has people who look ahead and try to make the university better. I am glad to play my part in promoting ICEF and HSE through research, thus contributing to its advancement. I like that we are an active group of researchers, and we have a very good research climate, and ICEF cares about the results and actively tries to help us. I was lucky to have mentors from top European universities which were brought to ICEF and who help us improve on both teaching and research. I would say that it is difficult to find better students than the ones at ICEF. I’ve taught in top universities in the U.S. and Europe, but ICEF students are amazing. One would have to teach at Harvard or similar level institutions to get a comparable level of students.

Alexei Boulatov, Tenured Full Professor

First of all, I liked the spirit and atmosphere, as ICEF has a diverse team of enthusiastic people. The endorsement of ICEF by London School of Economics was quite important for me, too, and I think for many it matters a lot.

The idea of ICEF was to create an institution that fits the best international standards of education in Economics both in terms of curriculum and procedures, and academic governance structures are crucial for developing such a project. It was very important to me that ICEF has been cultivating such academic self-governance.

Carsten Sprenger, Assistant Professor

When I arrived at ICEF in 2007, there was a plan to develop it further into an institute that combines economic research at best international standards with high-quality teaching. We felt that we could have a comparative advantage in the area of financial economics. Research requires resources, such as data, research assistants, and most importantly a network of scholars who can give advice or could become collaborators on some projects. One way to attract good scholars was to establish an annual conference. Together with Christian Julliard from the LSE, the academic director of the Laboratory, we have been organizing such a conference every year since 2011.

As far as the topics are concerned, every faculty member has his or her own research agenda, and we are few people whose research overlaps only to a small extent. Rather, it has been a vehicle to get access to those resources that we need and to connect us to the international network of researchers. Grant funding allowed us to bring visitors for research collaboration, such as Professors Dmitry Livdan from University of California at Berkeley, Norman Schuerhoff from University of Lausanne and Bart Taub from the University of Glasgow, and many seminar speakers.

In addition to the faculty members, students also benefit from the laboratory: those who worked as research assistants got hands-on experience in data work, econometric analysis, programming and bibliographical search, to name a few skills. Moreover, all students benefit from the availability of databases, many of which were acquired by HSE upon the initiative of members of the Laboratory, and use them for their Bachelor’s and Master’s final research papers. 

Read more articles about ICEF in The HSE Look July 2017 issue

See also:

ICEF Master’s Programme: 10 Years of Success

The ICEF Master’s Programme in Financial Economics, which was launched in September 2007 with the support of several Russian and international corporate donors, turns 10 this year. Below, the programme’s Academic Supervisor Maksim Nikitin discusses some of the achievements the programme has made over the last decade, as well as some of the changes that will be implemented over the next academic year.

'What Distinguishes a Good University Is the Alumni'

In March ICEF Assistant Professor Kosmas Marinakis presented a 2-Lecture Course on professionalism for ICEF students. In this interview he talks about the course objectives.

Shaping the Urban Environment through Public Discussions

Vysokovsky Graduate School of Urbanism at HSE is regularly holding events and activities open to the general public. Deputy Dean Vera Leonova told The HSE Look about the goals of such open projects, benefits of collaborations and future plans of the school.

'Business Should Be Enjoyable, Otherwise You Should Give It Up'

Ivan Sergeyev was the first to graduate from the ICEF bachelor’s programme in 2001. Now with 15 years of work experience, he has had the chance to try his hand at a lot of different endeavours. He’s worked for western investment banks, served as a managing director for the online clothing and footwear store LaModa, and been an entrepreneur. Ivan is now one of the founders of the children’s clothing manufacturer Bambinizon. Below, Ivan tells the ICEF news service about his time as an ICEF student, and he discusses his current career and plans for the future.

Running a Comparative Empirical Programme in Social Research

Christian Fröhlich is Assistant Professor at the School of Sociology who has been at HSE since 2014. He also supervises an English-taught Master’s Programme ‘Comparative Social Research’. Christian Fröhlich has talked to HSE University bulletin, The HSE Look, about programme design, partnerships, and lessons learned from running the programme.

Fulbright Distinguished Chair in Sustainable Development at HSE

HSE’s Faculty of Law is a partner of the Fulbright Scholar Programme and each year has the opportunity to host a Distinguished Chair in Sustainable Development. David Wirth, a Professor who teaches and supervises research at Boston College Law School, arrived at HSE in this capacity in September 2016. He has shared his research, teaching and collaboration plans for the upcoming academic year at HSE with The HSE Look bulletin.

‘The Main Thing You Learn at ICEF is How to Think’

The 16th graduation ceremony for ICEF students of HSE and the London School of Economics has taken place at the residence of the British Ambassador to Russia. This year’s ceremony had a record number of graduates, with nearly 190 bachelor’s and master’s students receiving their diplomas.


graduates of the International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF HSE) will be awarded diplomas with first class honours for 2016 from the University of London. This is the largest number of ICEF graduates to receive degrees at this level. The previous record was 29 graduates with first class honours. 

School of Design: Taking a Closer Look

Tatiana Rivchun, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design talked with The HSE Look about the School of Design and its international projects.

Faculty of Communications, Media and Design: Projects and Plans

Iliya Kiriya, Deputy Dean of the Faculty of Communications, Media and Design, told The HSE Look readers about the Faculty’s current projects and plans.