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2018-09-04

Impressions of Harvard

First student:

I really enjoyed studying at Harvard, but despite this, I can not say that the joint bachelor’s program of the Higher School of Economics is in some way inferior to it.

One of Harvard’s most noticeable advantages over our program is discipline. It seems to me impossible the situation in which Professor Harvard would have to interrupt the lecture in order to make a note to the students (we sometimes, especially in compulsory courses). The audience was quiet regardless of how many people were on the course: one hundred or ten.

I also thought that the program was somewhat more intense than in the joint bachelor’s degree: the pace of the lectures was slightly higher, I had to read more.

On the other hand, it seems to me a plus that we, unlike Harvard, have basic courses in economics (micro and macro) read for two semesters (in Harvard – one semester). In the Security Council, the program of these courses includes more complex models, and we study in more detail simple topics. According to my fellow students from HBS, not all graduates of Harvard are happy with the way the basic economy is taught: for one semester they can do more than we do during the same time, but they have little that remains in memory in two or three years. However, the choice of electives for economics in Harvard is wider than ours, and no one forbids bachelors to take basic graduate courses, so I think the superficiality of compulsory courses in college does not greatly affect the end result.

It seems to me that we were in no way inferior to Harvard students, and our “base” in mathematics was definitely stronger. At the same time, I’m not sure that we were in the top 10% or 20%: it’s hard to compare ourselves to other students, when the average points for control and homework are always at least 90/100. [COP: on Macroeconomics, this student entered the 10% of the best.]

Second student:

When you go to study in one of the best universities in the world, you expect something completely unusual: immersion in an unfamiliar system, difficult study, competition with strong students, new experience and knowledge. Now that my study at Harvard is over and the trip is coming to an end, you can sum up some of the results and think about which of the expectations were realized and which ones were not.

Although in the States, Harvard is considered a small university, compared to the Joint Bachelor of HSE-NES, the university is simply huge. Therefore, a large selection of courses – the first problem that I faced, because there are a lot of interesting disciplines, many courses are read by famous professors, the best in their field. In general, the university offers many opportunities both in terms of education (famous politicians come to speak, conferences and guest lectures are held, successful businessmen act), and in terms of free time (from a lot of gyms on campus to joint trips to the conservatory). As they say, a large university is a great opportunity.

Of course, life in such a new system had to get used to, but with what exactly there were no problems, it was with the educational process. A year and a half in the Security Council taught me and deal with deadlines (they are less strict in Harvard), and work regularly at home, and prepare for control, and communicate with professors. With the regular students of Harvard, I felt at least on one level, if not more. Strangely enough, studies as a whole seemed simpler than in the Security Council, although this can be attributed to the fact that I studied fewer courses than usual.

Nevertheless, I certainly benefited from studying at Harvard. The most important thing to say about this is the emergence of ideas and questions about the economy, which was almost never there before, it became more clear what is interesting for me in economic science, what I would like to work on. In this “enlightenment” a big role was played by projects: accounting paper, small works (10-15 pages), which I took in three of the four courses. I think the same can be tried at the economic courses in the Joint Baccalaureate.

Anyway, the trip to Harvard leaves a lot of impressions, it’s very interesting to compare the education in NES with studying in the leading world university. Although the size of the university and gives certain advantages, in my opinion, it is in the plan of study that you do not name it overwhelming.

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