Prepare, Apply and Take it Seriously!
“For me, it is a great honor to have the opportunity to share my experience with the application process, and research and preparation experience”. Tingxi Tan, soon to-be-student of the Strategic Corporate Finance master program, about his recent admission to HSE University, after he invested time and effort into preparation to gain most from the program.
I come from China, and now work as an engineer in a company named BenQ. I applied for the Strategic Corporate Finance master program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics in March 2020 and was successfully admitted. Until now my excitement has not faded because I got admitted by such a high-level university.
Before I applied this year, I have been preparing for admission for two years. In March 2018, I was an undergraduate student at that time, I learned about the HSE University, a well-known finance and economics university, and saw a lot of graduates’ magnificent careers experience on LinkedIn. At that time, I was very keen to enter this school one day but I felt that I lack credentials and strength to go through the competition of the admission portfolio. Because I studied material science at an aviation university in China, apart from advanced mathematics, linear algebra, and probability theory, there were no economics related courses, so I was very anxious about this. In order to pass the portfolio competition and hope to feel more confident during the master study, I decided that I had to prepare.
Work in BenQ
After a fierce ideological struggle, I decided to adjust my economic situation through work on the one hand and learn some economics knowledge on the other hand. Here I must thank the program and the faculty of the HSE University, I found support on the Strategic Corporate Finance official website. A lot of online courses are provided in the 'Prepare to Study' and 'Online Courses' sections of the program official website, and I learned a lot of economics through this channel. I also completed the offered English specialization to improve my communication skills in English. One of the most impressive courses that I took online was Mathematics for economists by Dr.Bukin. Launched by the HSE University on Coursera just a couple of years ago, the course is popular on Coursera and has long been on the front page of Coursera . When I was taking this course on Coursera , I found out that some students on the course forum were coming from such famous universities, like NYU and University of Michigan. I think it is enough to reflect the high-level of the school, strengthening my determination to come here to study.
At the beginning, I have to admit that my English in math was not enough, and it took me a long time to complete the course. When watching course videos, I sometimes used a notebook to write down mathematical terms, and took the Oxford Dictionary to translate, and note the key points in the course. I had to return to the dormitory after working 12 hours a day in the factory to have the opportunity to study, and stay up late to study or study during breaks, so for me at the time every step was full of difficulties. But I think I improved my ability to solve problems under multiple constraints by studying that course.
But even then, I was still not confident in myself, questioning my chances to be admitted to the Strategic Corporate Finance program. At that time, I had no direction at all. Then I heard from the company's financial staff that Excel, certain programming and tabulation ability worked in finance. I went to study some data science, and then followed the instructor in class. She asked me why I should study data science. I told her that I wanted to pursue a master degree in finance at the HSE University. She did not believe it until I asked her to write a recommendation letter to support my application to HSE.
In the past two years, I became more and more familiar with economics through many ways, like reading books, and complete exercises. At some point I also wanted to enhance my background by getting a job as a metal futures analyst, hoping to be accepted by HSE University, but unfortunately no suitable job was found. In 2019, I met a SCF graduate on LinkedIn, his name was Yan Murawskyi, who graduated in 2017. I told him that I wanted to apply for this major very much, and he introduced the program to me in detail after he heard it. He said 'In Russia the best master program in finance. If you want to come, you must improve your English and analytical skills. If you really get the opportunity to enroll, you should cherish this learning opportunity and study hard.' I know what he said was true, so I had been memorizing English and gaining relevant knowledge. I also learned some basic Russian.
Since January this year, I feel that my preparations have matured. Then I registered my account through HSE University admission portal and started applying for the SCF program. I was determined at the time, if not this year, I will just work more and try again in 2021. But it is touching that the program admissions recognized my work effort and gave me the best support. I am very grateful for everything they did so far.
I think that if you dream of studying at HSE University like me, prepare, apply and take it seriously!