In the land of France
The Center for Cooperation with France and French – speaking countries (i.e. the HSE French Center) is one of the most successful departments for cooperation with foreign universities. About 50 students visit France and Luxemburg for studies every year. Irina Maltseva, the chief of the Center, spoke to us about last year’s activities and the Centre's plans for the future.
- September is a busy month at the Center for French Studies. First of all, students who have been abroad as part of our double diploma program are applying for masters` degrees. By the 3d of September the first French master issues in Financial Markets Program were defended, with the Financial Insurance program academic supervisor Professor Alen Shantoniev presiding. He taught the Financial Insurance course for graduate students of the World Economics Faculty.
- Do professors from France come to Russia to deliver lectures within the bilateral cooperation programs?- 4 or 5 foreign tutors come to the Faculty of Economics each year. We are willing to combine French colleagues` lectures with masters’ issues defending procedures. By 26 September, the Management Faculty graduate students will have defended their masters’ thesis. And Gerar Kenig, professor and scientific supervisor of Strategy Management Program at the Paris XII Val de Marne University (Université de Paris XII Val de Marne), will attend it. But today, most professors prefer to teach the new Legal Support for Economic Activity program at the Faculty of Law. In 2007 a new agreement on the French-Russian bilateral “Legal Support for Economic Activity” masters` degree program was signed by representatives from the HSE Faculty of Law and the Paris I Pantheon University (Université Paris 1 Panthéon- Sorbonne). This means that after attending a lecture course on French Financial Law taught in French HSE Faculty of Law students will get an opportunity to obtain a Master’s degree without leaving Moscow.
- What is the current procedure for the viva process?
- On-line defense with Skype internet–technology is the usual way to complete the procedure, since not all professors can visit Russia. A virtual conference is a simpler and cheaper way for the viva process. These will be held in cooperation with Paris I University for Macro Economics students and in cooperation with Paris X University for Institutional Economics students.
- How long has the HSE been working with these French universities
- This year it will be the 15th anniversary of cooperation with Paris I Pantheon University. In December some HSE tutors and employees will visit Paris. Joint scientific workshops, round-table meetings with participation of post-graduate students studying in Paris and much more are planned.
- What about postgraduate programmes?
- There is a program for joint post-graduates studies with two scientific supervisors, one for the French part and another one from Russia. Today about 15 post-graduate students are studying in France and three of them have already received a degree.
- How did this cooperation with French colleagues start?- First of all, scientific practice for students and tutors was organized with French Government financial support. From 2000 the HSE Economics Department and Paris I Pantheon University and Paris X Nanterre University (Université Paris X Nanterre) joint masters’ degree diploma project has been started.
- What does “Paris I, X, XII" mean? Are they university names?
- In 1968 Sorbonne University separated into several universities. Some are our partners; Paris I, Paris X, Paris XII are among them. We also have successful partnerships with Grandes Ecoles, Sciences-Po, and the School of Management for Europe.
- How long has the HSE been cooperating with the School of Management for Europe?
- The French-Russian masters` degree for management programs has been available since 2005. During the two-year term participants study both in Moscow and Paris. Entrance exam procedures mean prospective students must have an interview with French professors. This year Henri Jolles, professor and director of ESCP-EAP International Development in Paris and Dc. David Ruiz de Olano, director of ESCP-EAP Educational Programs in Great Britain, visited Moscow for interviews with students. This summer more than 10 students of the Management Department will visit ESCP.
We are also looking to include School branches in London, Madrid, Berlin and Turin in our joint programmes.
- Are there any new programs developed for this year?
- A programme of International Business and Management started at the IPAG University this year. It is based in Paris with a branch in Nice. It is necessary to emphasize, this programme has been developed for Bachelor level studies. More information about these developments can be found on our web pages.
- Is it necessary to speak French to study in France?
- It is a must for most of the cases I have mentioned above. The “International Management and Business” programme and the European School of Management programmes are simpler from this point of view, since they are taught in English and only some elective courses are in French. However, French is also necessary in these cases because the students have to pass exams in French at the end of the year. And, of course, it is hard to live in any foreign country without being able to communicate.
- What are the faculties which students can be admitted to IPAG within the “International Management and Business” program?
- I’d like to draw the students’ attention to the fact that the programme is relevant not only for the Management Faculty students but also for the Public Administration and World Economy and International Affairs faculties. We have ambitious plans for collaboration with the IPAG. For example, next year we are going to hold a Summer School in Nice especially for the HSE students.
- Which countries does the French centre work with besides France?
- In 2007 we started cooperation with the Faculty of Law, Faculty of Economics and Finance at the University of Luxemburg for Mastership in European Law. Last year the first four HSE students studied for a master’s degree specializing in the “European Community Judicial System”. I’d particularly like to mention that all students received the Luxemburg government study scholarships and we expect them to receive these scholarships again this year. In addition to this, the students receive the opportunity to study for two degree courses. The second is the “European financial and banking law”.
- Should the joint programmes be paid for by the HSE students?
- So far in French universities, and Paris-I and Paris-X in particular, students study for free, but at Higher Schools – in the European School for management and in the IPAG – they need to pay fees. But as I have already said, it's possible to receive different grants from the French government. And most of the HSE students studying in the European School of management receive them. One may receive a standard scholarship of 760 euros and the Eifel scholarship for the best students – it is about 1200 Euros per month. I think it is an appropriate sum relevant to the study fee. In the European School of Management the annual fee is about 8000 Euros and in the IPAG – about 3500 for a term.
- From your point of view, what are the prospects for people studying “in the land of France”?
- Those searching for double-diplomas are stars. They all are very hard-working. You should appreciate that for the HSE student with only “excellent” and “good” marks it is not easy to find the time and ability to learn the second language mostly starting from scratch and to go abroad for studying. But you know I think it is worth doing. While learning in Western Europe the students gain not only professional knowledge but also analytical and information processing skills different than those taught in Russia. While studying they adopt Western business culture, get a unique social experience and improve their foreign language skills. In Luxemburg teaching is held in two languages – in English and French. All these factors are very attractive both French and Russian employers. The double diploma system can open many doors for new graduates.
- Are the students informed well on the opportunities for studying abroad the University offers them?
- Some people prefer the HSE teaching for the reason they know about the double-diploma programmes. Undergraduates from Moscow State University for International Affairs and graduates from HSE branches are studying for double-diplomas at Moscow HSE office. Speaking about the long-term master programmes, the faculties’ staff is well informed on it. I think many people can learn about our courses through our Web-page. I'm looking forward to simplifying our web pages so that it's easier to find the relevant information. And of course, students may learn more about new opportunities from interviews like this.
- What new opportunities are to appear next year?
- We are expanding our joint programme activity. This year a framework agreement with the University of Lavaile (Canada) will be signed. A framework convention with the attachment on collaboration in the field of philosophy has been signed between the HSE Faculty of Philosophy and the University of Caen (Lower Normandy). Today we are working on an agreement with the University of Geneva on cooperation in the field of world economics, international law and political studies with the aim of encouraging exchange, collaboration in post-graduate training and joint research projects with Paris-X in sociology.
- What difficulties can you anticipate in developing future programmes?
- At the moment, we have no English-language courses relevant to bilateral agreements and university exchange. I’d like to stress the fact we have no infrastructure to receive foreigners, in terms of sports facilities and accommodation.
- And what defines the ability of the Centre to achieve such great positive results?
- It is the fact the Center is responsible for full chain of activities including professional French courses for bachelor students on the double-diploma programmes, working with post-graduates, joint events with embassies (by the way, the Ambassador of Luxemburg is going to read some lectures on EU problems at the HSE) and cooperation with business. We use our Web-site and we actively work with different bodies promoting both the University and its international projects. We manage to do all this despite the fact there are only two students working in our Center Staff.
Lyudmila Mezentseva, the HSE news service.