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Regular version of the site

Bart Taub: 'ICEF is the Academic Equivalent of a Start-up'

Bart Taub, Professor in Finance (Economics) at the Adam Smith Business School of  the University of Glasgow, who will be visiting ICEF during 2014-2016, spoke to the HSE news service about his research and collaboration with ICEF HSE.

― Professor Taub, you have authored many papers published in very good journals. Would you like to tell us about one recent publication or research project that you find particularly interesting?

― Asking me about my favourite paper is like asking about my favourite child.  How can I choose?  So I will talk about my research in more general terms.

Most of my research centres on one of two things.  The first is how information is integrated into markets and the second is how the impact of the ability or failure to keep promises affects economic outcomes.  It turns out that it is essential to think about both issues in dynamic ways, and I've had some successes.  For example, a classic question in monetary economics is ‘what is the ideal rate of inflation?’  By interpreting this as a question about information, you can give an exact answer. As a second example, one can ask how property rights affect the economic development of poor countries.  Are strong property rights the chicken or the egg?  By interpreting this as a question about promises, you can explain why some poor countries grow more slowly than our previous theories had predicted. 

To develop these sorts of abstract models, I think about applied economics.  In the course of my research I've been inspired by babysitting cooperatives, taxi drivers, CEO pay, and cattle breeding.  

― Which research areas/open questions in economics and finance do you personally find most interesting to address nowadays?

― We still don't fully understand business cycles ― boom and bust; it is clear that they aren't caused by weather, wars, technology changes and so on. There are some things that we do know, but they are very hard to express in technical form.  Some of my earlier research was focused on this question, but the models ― technical expressions of the ideas ― were abstract.  I've gone back to the basics and foundations in my research in the hope of developing tools that can shed further light on this issue.

― You recently agreed to engage in long-term collaboration with ICEF HSE.  Please let us know what attracted you to the university and about your plans here.

― My main mission is to conduct research, where possible with local faculty members, and to publish that research. ICEF has some excellent researchers, one of whom I was already working with, and I wanted more proximity. ICEF is the academic equivalent of a start-up ― I really like the sensation of being a part of that.

― What are the major challenges ICEF faces as an emerging academic department?

― I've spent time at several universities and I can say that the main challenge is in becoming and staying globally competitive. This requires constantly questioning how to improve, and a willingness to change how things are done.

― What are your impressions of Moscow and Russia as a place to work and visit?

― Yesterday, I went to Gorky Park and attempted to rent a bicycle.  At the rental shop I found out that I would need a passport for identification, and I didn't have my passport with me.  I tried to convince the attendant to accept my U.S. driver's license as identification but he was unwilling to do so.  A woman and her son who were standing in the queue behind me saw my plight and offered her own Russian internal passport on my behalf.  This worked and I was able to enjoy a long ride along the Moscow River. 

Now that I can read Russian I can see that there are many cognate words with French, Latin and English. There are also many non-cognate words, and I am only beginning to digest the difference between the nominative and dative cases.

Alina Volokhova, specially for the HSE news service


See also:

ICEF Graduates Celebrated at HSE Cultural Centre

The class of 2022 faced the difficulties of the pandemic, moving to the new campus in Pokrovka, and completing their studies in a difficult geopolitical climate. This year's graduation ceremony was held at HSE University itself, allowing the graduates to celebrate their achievements together with their families, whose support was praised by HSE Rector, Nikita Anisimov, as well as hear praise from other members of the HSE management team.

‘The Opportunity to Study at an International Level Has Played a Major Role in My Career’

Anatoly Braverman graduated with a bachelor’s degree from the ICEF programme in 2006, received invaluable experience conducting deals at a major Russian oil company and personally witnessed the history of investments in the Russian economy by becoming one of the first employees of the RDIF in 2011. In this interview with Success Builder, Mr Braverman explains why international education is especially useful when working for the betterment of the Russian economy, the nature of ‘anti-virus’ investments and how the RDIF directed them towards the development of the Sputnik V vaccine, and much more.

ICEF Graduation Ceremony Hosted by HSE Cultures Centre

ICEF hosted its first in-person graduation ceremony since the pandemic led to the restrictions. Diplomas were awarded to two classes. Hosted by HSE Cultures Centre, the day-long ceremony unfolded in sessions, one for bachelor’s students and one for master’s. Congratulating graduands  were the faculty of ICEF HSE and professors of the University of London (LU) and the London School of Economics (LSE).

‘I Studied as an International Student at ICEF, but Never Felt Like One’

Tonka Lange graduated from the HSE International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) in 2008 and then entered the LSE Master’s programme. After five years of working at Goldman Sachs, she got her MBA at INSEAD and in 2021, started working as Senior Treasury Analyst at Amazon (Singapore). In this interview, Tonka talks about how a finance graduate can survive a crisis, what to do to get the most out of the LSE master’s programme, and the main advantages of an MBA degree.

'It's Exciting to Study in a Rapidly Changing World'

Recognized card game masters claim that victory is possible only after making a thorough analysis of the likely combinations contained in your opponent’s cards, making it a literal application of data analytics to game theory. Anastasia Erastova, now a data scientist at the New York office of BNP Paribas, graduated from ICEF with honours. At the time, she was also the Russian vice-champion at bridge. In an interview with Success Builder, she explained why mathematics and gambling often go hand in hand, the advantages of studying next door to Wall Street and how math students can get a work visa in the United States.

HSE University Graduates Share Their Thoughts on Working Abroad

At a recent webinar of the Master’s programme ‘Financial Economics’, held at ICEF (International College of Economics and Finance), presenters explained why the programme is unique and what sort of career prospects are open to alumni. Graduates of the programme, working at major global companies, shared their personal experiences, spoke about the key benefits of training and gave valuable advice to those preparing to work in international companies.

'After ICEF, It’s Easy to Enter a Western University because You’ve Already Studied in an International Environment'

Dmitry Storcheus set out to become an economist, but then shifted gears abruptly and went into mathematics. With a Master’s degree from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences of New York University, he now works as a software engineer for Google and continues to conduct research with his academic supervisor and work on his PhD thesis. Here, he tells Success Builder why ICEF Mathematics graduates are head and shoulders above their U.S. competitors, why Facebook and Google are opening departments at universities, what ‘self-learning neural networks’ are and whether they threaten to unleash a real-life ‘Terminator’ against humanity.

When the Borders Are Closed, Study ‘Abroad’ in a Double Degree Programme

This year, alternatives to studying abroad are as relevant as never before. HSE University annually launches new joint programmes with world’s biggest universities. One of HSE’s oldest and most recognized double degree programmes is the ICEF bachelor’s programme, in which students can earn a degree not only from HSE University, but from the University of London as well. Below, we talk about the advantages of such a degree, career opportunities after graduation, and the programme prerequisites.

HSE ICEF Receives High Praise from University of London

The University of London (UoL) has completed the monitoring of the performance of Teaching Centres that operate under the Teaching Centres Recognition Framework. Upon consideration of the information gathered, the performance achieved by International College of Economics and Finance has been rated as excellent.

'ICEF’s Best-performing Students Show Top Level of Skills'

Is it difficult to enroll in a university abroad? Where do Russian students go wrong when they start an overseas training programme? Will artificial intelligence eventually replace humans in the domain of Finance? We talked to Dr. Georgy Chabakauri of The London School of Economics and ICEF International Academic Committee to get answers to these and many other questions.