‘We Train Experts for the Future World’
Sergey Karaganov, Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and International Affairs, told us what kind of education this faculty offers to its prospective students.
- What are the specific features of the education your faculty offers?
- We do not prepare officials, although our graduates can work in various institutions, including government ones. We give as broad an education as possible in human sciences, and our curriculum is the largest in the HSE in terms of hours of study. This is because in addition to world economy we teach country studies and two foreign languages to a professional level. This is precisely the reason why we do not recommend that prospective students with poor English apply to our Faculty. English is an essential language for all our students, and if a first-year student has poor English skills, it will be almost impossible for him to improve his English and at the same time master a second foreign language. And in addition to languages he will have to study other disciplines, too!
Our faculty prepares economists specializing in world economy and experts in international affairs. A special feature of our education is that our graduate economists are also experts in international affairs, while political scientists in international affairs also have a good knowledge of economics. And because in the modern world, unlike in science, the interrelations between economy and politics are absolutely seamless, we train experts for the future world. As far as I know, such an education is unique in Russia, although I've heard that some other universities are trying to develop a similar approach.
- What is your view of the future of your faculty? Are you planning any major changes?
- In fact, the faculty is constantly changing. We have advanced plans of development for 2015 and 2020. Three years ago we had 500 students, now there are 1150 of them, and next year there will be 1300. Three years ago we had one hundred teachers, now we have more than two hundred. Every year we introduce new programmes and replace old ones. The main thing that we teach our students is that the world has entered an epoch of permanent change, if not revolution. The key thing that they should be prepared for is changes in countries and in the world.
- What are the modes of education at the faculty?
- Regularly, about once every six months, we modify the education:we form creative workgroups, introduce new subjects, hold research seminars with the participation of professors from our Faculty as well as other HSE faculties and other universities and create joint research groups with other universities. For example, this year we are creating a research group with Harvard University. And our students participate in all our research projects and even get reimbursed for it.
- Speaking about partner relations with international universities, could you please tell us more about the programmes of internships and academic exchange that you have?
- We have dozens of internship and exchange programmes annually. We regularly send students to Japan and are expanding our exchange programmes with China. We hold a regular Summer School with Austrian universities. Generally, if a student has the opportunity to leave the country to study with one of our partners, we support it as much as possible and provide him with a tailored, individual education plans. The best of our PhD students have the opportunity to get free internships at Harvard. We also send PhD students to other universities and are currently evaluating an option to introduce a double PhD degree programme, in conjunction with other prestigious universities.
- Please tell us about the teaching staff. What are the criteria of professors'enrolment?
- We have a highly professional teaching staff:I would call them a team of stars. We invite the best of the best. I'd like to mention that this year we have become the first institution in Russia to introduce the status of Research Professor. This status has been granted to Ivan Dmitrievich Ivanov, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences. In my view, he is the finest economist in our country, one of the most highly educated people in Russia, and from all points of view a brilliant person. And it is for him that we created this status. He is the first and so far the only Research Professor in Russia. And another important point:we have started to train teachers for our faculty out of the best students interested in research work. We create optimum conditions for them - for working and living - because we are extremely keen on retaining the most talented and promising young people within the university.
- What can you say about the career opportunities for your graduates? Where are they employed?
- In the private as well as the public sector. They work in government institutions, but mostly they are oriented to research activities in business that to becoming government officials. We don't have a special employment support service, but the internships and the contacts made during their education at the university no doubt help our graduates in the search for employment. Often the students get interesting job proposals long before their graduation. And if we get enquiries and requests to recommend graduates for a prestigious vacancy, of course we do this.
We haven't received any feedback that any of our graduates are unsatisfied with their place of work. Sometimes there might be a lack of creative satisfaction or self-fulfillment, but this is another matter. And prior to the crisis, the salaries of the best faculty's graduates were just astonishing. They were receiving the kind of salaries that aren't generally paid to those who were recently students.
Valentina Gruzintseva, HSE News Service