On the Job: Master’s Students Talk About Their Work at HSE Departments
When students enrol in master’s programmes at HSE University, they can count not only on getting new knowledge and skills, but a job as well. Many graduate students start working at departments of the University during their first year of study, and in most cases, their position is related to their field of study.
Garik Chahoyan is a student of the master’s programme ‘Education Economics and Management’ (which recently merged with the new programme ‘Evidence-based Education Development’) at the HSE Institute of Education. During his first year of the programme, he says, different research centres and laboratories of the Institute gave presentations for the students and invited them to join their projects as research assistants.
‘It was like a career fair and a road show in one,’ he recalls. ‘Since I’m interested in skills development, I approached Ilya Korshunov, Leading Research Fellow at the Centre for Vocational Education and Skills Development. I then passed some testing and was hired in November 2019. Today, Ilya Korshunov is my boss and my academic supervisor. When my school workload is particularly high, such as during exams, he is very understanding and accommodates me by reducing the amount of work he gives me.’
At first, Garik was involved in analytics, which included aggregation, processing, and quantitative data analysis, and he also compiled literature reviews. Gradually, his tasks have become more complicated, and today, he conducts research, writes articles, and participates in expert analytical support for events organized by the federal project ‘New Opportunities for Everyone’, which is part of the national project ‘Education’. ‘Working at the Centre allows me to delve into current educational issues and apply the knowledge and skills I’ve gained. A research assistant’s salary is competitive on the Moscow job market, though it depends on the volume and value of the work you do,’ he says.
Leading Analyst and Manager
Irina Bleskina and Sergei Kirienko work at the HSE eLearning Office. They started working there in 2017 as master’s students. Irina was studying eBusiness, and Sergei was studying Applied Cultural Studies.
‘Combining my studies and work was not difficult,’ Irina recalls. ‘The classes mostly took place in the afternoon, and during the exam periods, we were allowed to take days off. I was earning a full salary, just like my other colleagues, and it was quite decent—not just for a student. eLearning is something I’m very interested in; I wrote my term papers and theses about it both when I was an undergraduate and a master’s student.’
Today, Irina is Leading Analyst at the Centre for Computational Educational Sciences. She works with clickstream data from online courses: she uploads data, processes it, and conducts research. ‘I have great colleagues and management. I have learned a lot and continue to learn a lot from them,’ she says.
Sergei started collaborating with the eLearning Office as an assistant for an online course on cultural studies and soon became a staff member. ‘Both during my studies and after graduating from the master’s programme, I have earned enough to save, and last year I used my savings to take out a mortgage for an apartment in the Moscow region,’ he says.
As a manager at the Proctoring Centre, Sergei is responsible for cooperation with universities in other regions, and his main tasks are organizing exams and executing network contracts, as well as organizing on-site events for colleagues from different regions. ‘Every semester, there are more universities that we cooperate with,’ he says. ‘Probably, in the future, this area will become a separate department in the Office or the Proctoring Centre’.
According to Evgenia Kulik, Director of the eLearning Office, ‘Irina is one of the key researchers at the Centre for Computational Educational Sciences, and Sergei, thanks to his organizational talent, has become an indispensable person in our communications with regional partners.’
Maria Bubnova graduated from the MIEM HSE master’s programme ‘Computer Systems and Networks’ this year. She started working at HSE University when she was an undergraduate student (Applied Mathematics) as a teaching assistant. She helped grade students’ tests and homework.
During her first year of master’s studies, Maria became a staff member at the Laboratory of Space Vehicles and Systems' Functional Safety. ‘I work and study in one building and don’t have to spend time on commuting. I have enough time to complete all my work assignments, and then go to class,’ Maria says. ‘My responsibilities as an engineer include performing tasks given to me by the laboratory head, working with laboratory equipment, and helping with the implementation of experiments. Today, I work part-time and hope to become full-time in the future.’
Vladimir Zunin has just earned his bachelor’s degree in Information Science and Computation Technology and will be starting his master’s in Computer Systems and Networks this year. He started working at HSE University as a teaching assistant, and in the end of his fourth year, he was also recruited as an engineer at the Laboratory of Computer-aided Design Systems. He says that the salary so far is low, but together with his teaching assistant bonus and the scholarship, he gets enough to live on. In addition, he is getting work experience.
‘I’m learning a lot on the job, including things that may come in handy in my studies,’ says Vladimir. ‘After starting my master’s studies, I’ll continue working at the laboratory. My plans for the future include pursuing a PhD and continuing my research work.’