It’s Only the Beginning for the ICEF Graduates of 2018
On September 13, 230 graduates of ICEF-UoL Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes received their diplomas. The history of HSE's collaboration with the London School of Economics of the University of London spans more than 20 years and demonstrates the integral role that international cooperation between universities plays in academic, research, and cultural development. The graduates of 2018 are sure to continue this tradition.
The International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) was established within the Higher School of Economics in 1997, with the participation of the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the University of London (UoL), as well as the support of the Russian business community. Since then, ICEF has risen in the international research and education community. It engages professors and assistant professors from leading universities around the world and its graduates have gone on to become professors at the universities of London, Stanford, Georgetown, Paris, Vienna, Florida, Lausanne, HSE and NES. Graduates are also employed at leading banks and companies, such as McKinsey, VTB, Sberbank, Alfa Bank, KPMG, PWC, IBM, J.P. Morgan, BCG, Morgan Stanley, Citi and BNP Paribas.
The 2018 cohort continued this impressive tradition and ICEF Director, Dr Sergey Yakovlev, recognised their successes in his official opening speech at the graduation ceremony. ‘I warmly congratulate all our students,’ said Dr Yakovlev. ‘The Bachelor and Master’s programmes at ICEF are renowned for being challenging and this year’s graduates have demonstrated their determination and intellect in successfully completing them.’
Dr Yakovlev was joined in congratulating the cohort by the Deputy Head of the UK Mission to Russia, Ms Lindsay Skoll. She warmly welcomed the students to the residence on behalf of the British Ambassador. ‘We want to make this a memorable occasion for you and your families and friends,’ she said. ‘We are here to celebrate your success and hard work, and also to celebrate the collaboration of leading educational institutions in the UK and Russia. I cannot speak more highly of the HSE-LSE partnerships and their success is due to the perfect pairing of the institutions. The bilateral UK-Russia relations are, let’s say, in a challenging place. And that’s why it’s all the more important to see such strong institutional links.’ Ms Skoll went on to address the graduates: ‘You, your teachers and your families embody these positive links and we hope that they continue to flourish. You are now part of a very special tradition.’
Vadim Radaev, the First Vice Rector of HSE, also congratulated the graduates and noted that ICEF maintains consistently high level of education and research and also continually improves its programmes. He added that ICEF sets a benchmark for other HSE faculties in terms of international cooperation.
Professor Peter Kopelman, Vice Chancellor of the University of London, in his congratulatory speech stressed the importance of the global education that ICEF provides. ‘Our partnership with ICEF contributes to a pool of global talent’, he said. ‘Graduates from the joint programme are providing intellectual input to the fields of economics, science, and education, making a positive contribution all around the world.’
University of London Pro Vice-Chancellor Dr. Mary Stiasny praised high results of ICEF graduates: this year’s cohort comprised 196 graduates from the Bachelor double-degree programme (offered by HSE and UoL), 66 of whom were awarded UoL First Class Honours. Thirty four students graduated from the International Master’s programme in Financial Economics (offered in collaboration with LSE). Several have been accepted into PhD and MBA programmes at western universities and others have already found employment at leading international companies.
Mikhail Zadornov, member of HSE's Board of Trustees and the Chairman of the board of FC Otrkytie bank, noted that all major employers of the Russian financial sector recognize the high quality of ICEF education. He expressed his hope that ICEF graduates will choose the right career path.
Aydar Iskhakov, a graduate of the Bachelor's programme, and Ekaterina Batyuk, a graduate from the Master's programme expressed their gratitude to the staff of ICEF and London School of Economics, and University of London, as well as the ICEF Board of Trustees (including VTB bank that provides scholarships for students). Aydar praised the team spirit of the students and graduates and a unique atmosphere of ICEF. Moreover, Aydar thanked the British embassy for organising numerous engaging events for ICEF students.
Timofey Bazhenov, a graduate from the Master’s programme has already begun work at McKinsey in Moscow as a financial consultant and he is very enthusiastic about what lies ahead. ‘I started at McKinsey back in July,’ he said. ‘I love it. It’s an international community. Every week, company leaders from Switzerland, the UK and US visit the Moscow offices to discuss client cases. This job is the perfect opportunity for me to build my contact base and, most importantly, to apply the knowledge that I gained on the Master’s programme. I came into Financial Economics from a very different area – my Bachelor’s degree is in Engineering. But one of the many advantages of the ICEF programme is that it caters to graduates from different spheres. The strong foundations I gained on the programme have certainly contributed to my success on the job market.’
Also graduating with Timofey from the ICEF Master’s programme was Alexandra Lebedeva. ‘One of the things I loved about the programme was how international it was,’ said Alexandra. ‘We were taught in English and the majority of our professors were from universities abroad,’ she said. ‘In addition, we had the opportunity to study at a foreign university. I chose to go to France for three months and complete a course at the ESSEC in Paris- one of Europe’s most prestigious business schools.’
Certainly, access to international expertise is one of the main strengths of the ICEF Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, and not only in the form of student exchanges. On the ICEF teaching team are more than 70 professors and assistant professors, 30 of whom have successfully completed PhDs at leading international universities in the UK, US, Germany, Spain, France, Italy and Belgium.
This includes internationally renown Professors Dimitrios Tsomocos, from Oxford University, and Alex Boulatov, from ICEF, both of whom were present at the graduation ceremony to congratulate their students. Professors Tsomocos and Boulatov have been teaching together on the ICEF programmes for 10 years. ‘The standard of the students at ICEF is extremely high’, said Professor Tsomoscos, who travels from Oxford to do research and teach a second-year course on the Master’s programme every year. ‘ICEF graduates are successful in academia, as well as in economic and financial sphere. Many go on to complete PhD programmes abroad and then get some of the most impressive jobs in the private sector in the Russian Federation.’
Professor Boulatov holds a PhD in Economics from the University of California and formerly taught at the University of Houston. He now teaches on both the Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes and agreed with his colleague in his assessment of the students. ‘ICEF graduates are traditionally very strong. Some of my Bachelor’s students are embarking directly on PhD programmes,’ said Professor Boulatov. ‘One Bachelor student, who graduated from ICEF at the top of her class several years ago, entered the University of Houston and finished her PhD in less than four years. Others went on to complete their PhDs at universities such as Harvard, MIT, LSE, Oxford, Cambridge, Princeton and Stanford.’
The international, highly-qualified and close-knit teaching team is a major contributor to the students’ success, and, according to Professor Tsomoscos, ‘the partnership between ICEF and the University of London and the London School of Economics is one of the most successful examples of cultural and scientific interaction between Russia and the West.’
An Endowment for the Development of the International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) has been created within the HSE Endowment Fund to provide financial support for the ICEF’s long-term projects. Thanks to the endowment, the ICEF will also be able to direct more funds to research and expand the range of opportunities for the professional and personal growth of its students.
Graduates of HSE University’s International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) traditionally receive their degrees against a backdrop of grand fireplaces, an oak staircase, and a balcony overlooking the Kremlin. This is because the ICEF holds its commencement ceremony at the British ambassador’s residence on the Sofiyskaya Embankment. And this is not by accident. Graduates of the ICEF’s bachelor’s programme receive two degrees from HSE and the University of London, respectively, while graduates of the ICEF’s Master’s Programme in ‘Financial Economics’ receive a degree from HSE and the London School of Economics. This year marked the ICEF’s 19th commencement ceremony.
The Second ICEF Conference in Applied Economics will be held at HSE University on September 14. The HSE News service spoke with organizers and participants about the upcoming full-day event, which features eight papers presented by renowned specialists from Russia and across Europe and concludes with an evening dinner.
Olesya Kondrakhina, ICEF Principles of Accounting lecturer, Assistant Lecturer for the Management Accounting programme at the University of London and three-time winner of the Best Teacher award at ICEF, spoke on how to keep a lecture hall full of students interested in accounting, the latest technical tools in her arsenal and a childhood dream.
This spring we found out that it takes 56,000 LEGO bricks to build an eight-meter-high model of the Titanic and that after more than half a decade, people still aren’t sick of putting together simple pieces of plastic. Sergey Kozlov, a graduate of ICEF and currently LEGO’s operations director in Seoul, told Success Builder why he likes moving, why the Christiansens’ family business doesn’t fire people, and whether or not he gets to play with LEGO bricks at his desk.
Olga Balakina graduated from the ICEF master’s programme in 2011, and in May she successfully defended her PhD thesis in finance at Bocconi University, Italy. This autumn Olga continues her academic career at one of Northern Europe’s oldest universities, Lund University, Sweden. Olga spoke to the HSE news service about her memories, chocolate, and non-stop work.
The HSE International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) is turning 20. The college celebrated its anniversary with a gala at the Pushkin Museum and with its largest graduating class ever.
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.
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.
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.