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HSE a World-Class Place of Massive Growth for Academics and Professionals

Muddassar Malik, who is pursuing a Doctor of Science (D.Sc.) in Economics and Business Administration at the University of Turku, Finland, will finish his Doctoral Research Traineeship at the HSE School of Finance in August 2019. HSE News Service spoke with Muddassar about his experiences in Moscow so far.

The traineeship is funded by the Erasmus+ Global program to Russia through my home University. I won this scholarship, so all I had to do was to find the best institution where I could complete a significant portion of my research. I found the Higher School of Economics to be the most relevant and result oriented. I communicated with the professor who had the desired expertise and was generously welcomed to HSE University, where I have benefited both from the research expertise of the professor and the rich databases that are crucial to my research.

Traveling to Russia has always been on my wish list, and this opportunity allowed me to experience the country in person. I have already been to most European and Asian countries, but the landmass connecting those two continents was always missing. Now that gap is bridged. Indeed, this give me a sense of accomplishment, both as a traveler and as an academic.

Russia is a candidate country for the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Since my research deals with the impact of risk governance on the performance of OECD banks, it is important to have a good understanding of the entire OECD - and this includes its candidate countries, such as the Russian Federation, Costa Rica, and Colombia, along with its 36 member countries. I examine these areas from the standpoint of finance; at my home university I also apply financial ratios from financial accounting.

I am privileged to have gained access here at the School of Finance to databases such as Bloomberg, Capital IQ, Mobile, and EIKON which are paramount to my research. The availability of these databases has saved me a reasonable amount of time in collection of my research variables. 

Right now, I am making a list of public commercial banks from all the supervised banks of the OECD members and the candidate countries. Following the creation of this list I will obtain the required observations from mentioned databases.

Faculty, staff, and research fellows of the Corporate Finance Centre and HSE provide excellent support to my research. There is always a solution to my questions, regardless of where I need help in my research. There is always someone available for consultation, advice, and direction. My host supervisor is also a critical source of inspiration and encouragement who has provided support in all the phases of my research.

In addition to my research, I participated in a conference and wrote three analytical reports. I also participated in a doctoral colloquium and wrote a report on that.  Finally I had an opportunity to present my research at the traditional banking activity seminar  at the School of Finance. The strong economic presence of OECD has a direct effect on the rest of the world. A stable banking system in OECD is healthier for banks worldwide.

I was already told by many academics that this research is a challenge, because the varying nature of regulations and policies across different countries makes it harder to compare and standardize the analysis. I am happy that this is being worked out as the required data is available. An outcome of this research will contribute to a gap in academic knowledge. Besides that, the outcome has the potential to contribute to regulators and managers especially in their risk-related tasks.

A basic knowledge of languages is handy. Years ago, I learned some Greek which helped me on arrival in Moscow with reading Russian words at the airport. I took some Russian language classes at HSE, and this helped me learn how to read and speak a little. If I get lost, I am able ask someone for directions.

Moscow is a colorful city. From what I read and heard, it seemed that people do not smile in the metro or talk to strangers, but I have found that not to be true. I find that people are very interactive and helpful. If you ask them questions, they will try to help you. Also, they do smile. It is helpful to learn the language and culture before coming to a foreign country. This will make your stay comfortable. You’ll avoid lots of mistakes. Russians take some time to get to know you, but as soon as they know you, they are jolly and loyal friends.

I find two kinds of people – some are like a coconut, and some are like a peach. A coconut is hard to crack open but is very soft on the inside. A peach is soft on the outside but very hard on the inside. I consider Russia to be a peach. Russians are polite, but they maintain the core of their authenticity.

My time at HSE, in Moscow, has been an unforgettable experience! 

* * *

Other research interns at the Faculty of Economic Sciences are currently hosted by the The International Laboratory of Decision Choice and Analysis:
  • Yogender Singh, undergraduate student of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
  • Samarth Singh, undergraduate student of the Indian Institute of Technology Bombay, India
  • Sutandra Singha, PhD student from the Centre for Russian and Central Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India 

University of Turku, Finland, is a partner university of Higher School of Economics. List of Partner Universities

Interview transcript prepared by Nicole Leung, Prep Year alumna and IO summer intern