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Regular version of the site

How to Create a Proper Macroeconomic Picture of the World

Boris Kuznetsov, Professor at the HSE Subdepartment of Economic Analysis of Organizations and Markets has recently returned from the US where he read a series of lectures on Russian economics to students at Stanford University. The HSE news portal asked him to talk about his impressions after the trip and about what prospects there are for working together in the future with our American colleagues.

— Who is your course intended for?

— It’s aimed mainly at third and fourth year economics undergraduates. This year there were more of them than in 2011, when I taught there the first time. But some international students taking their Master’s came to my lectures as well. I had 24 students taking my course this time.

— What do you think provokes an interest in your course among American students?

—This course is complex, it’s neither about macro- nor microeconomics. The idea was to show how different economic theories work and also how historical, geographical and other factors influence the economy by looking at individual countries. Besides, it was quite a substantial course, credits-wise (Stanford’s system is quite like the HSE’s in that respect). Quite a lot of students are seriously looking for career opportunities in large Russian companies like Rosneft and Gazprom. Competition is growing constantly and finding a good job is getting harder even for Stanford graduates.

—Which topics were your students most curious about?

— In contrast to the HSE, at Stanford there are more people with a humanitarian cast of mind and they are more concerned in how economics affects society and the connections between economics and politics… As in the past, students also wanted to compare the Russian economy with their own and with the other BRIC countries. 

—Did you have to teach in a different way from what you are used to at the HSE?

— The general standard of education and the range of interests of the people who came to my course were more varied than I would find in a group of students at HSE so I had to adapt some of my material to make sure everyone could understand it. I told them from the start that I didn’t expect students to memorize facts and figures and I tried to use illustrative examples to draw their particular attention to tendencies and changes. I also tried to have discussions in a fun way, dividing the students into competing teams to get them more engaged.

— What do you think might be ways for the HSE and Stanford to work together in the future?

— Two years ago one of my American students came to the HSE on a internship and right now Stanford Professor Martin Carnoy is Academic Supervisor at the HSE International Laboratory for Educational Policy Research. But in general, cooperation between Stanford and the HSE hasn’t been formalized yet. I do think, however that if we set up an organised exchange programme then people from Stanford would definitely want to participate. For Stanford it would without doubt be very useful as they have a lot of courses oriented towards Asian countries but their students know next to nothing about Russia. Without that knowledge they cannot form a proper macroeconomic picture of the world in their minds. 

Maria Glazyrina, second year law student, intern at the HSE News Portal

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