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‘I Like That the Professors Are Invested in Our Learning’

The master’s programme in Governance of Science, Technology, and Innovation offered by HSE ISSEK aims to equip students with skills that are in short supply in the private and public sectors. Courses and internship work give students a global perspective on science, technology, and innovation in addition to showing them how to be effective managers and conduct evidence-based assessment. Students also have the option of pursuing a double degree with a partner university in Europe and Asia. Francisco Jose Contreras Alarcon (Chile) and Ilaria Billo (Italy) share their experiences working towards double degrees in the programme.

Theory and Practice

One thing in particular that Ilaria and Francisco like about the English-taught master’s programme in Governance of Science, Technology, and Innovation is that it strikes the right balance between theory and practice. ‘In the “Economics of Innovation” course I gained a lot of research skills, while in the “Competitive Intelligence” course, which is related to management, things were more practical—I felt like we were in a business school,’ says Francisco. ‘This feeling of having one foot in research and the other in business has been very good for me in my first year.’

‘There are a lot of seminars in the programme,’ adds Ilaria. ‘You do a lot of research, and you have to write a lot of essays and papers. The courses also involve a lot of group work and public speaking, which is useful. In the second semester of the second year, which is what I am in, students usually do an internship and work on their thesis. This gives you a lot of practical experience.’

Double Degree

Students of the programme have the opportunity to participate in double-degree or exchange programmes with numerous partner universities in Germany, South Korea, the Netherlands, and Turkey. The double-degree option allows students to tailor their curriculum to their professional aspirations and immerse themselves in another culture—one with which they may one day work in a professional capacity.

Francisco has been nominated for the double-degree programme with Seoul National University, and Ilaria is pursuing a double degree with the Polytechnic University of Turin (Italy).

Francisco Jose Contreras Alarcon (Chile)
First-year student, nominated for Double Degree Programme with Seoul National University (South Korea)

© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

My background is in industrial engineering and then I started to work at a technological consultant, so I really wanted to improve my knowledge in technology and, of course, innovation.

I started looking at different master’s programmes around the world, and I really liked HSE’s focus on policy, creativity, and management. I also liked the double degree opportunities. So far, I am very happy with my decision

I’m currently in my first year, and I’ve taken courses on the economics of innovation, project management, competitive intelligence, STI policy, and academic writing. In the courses, we do a lot of presentations, and there is a balance between technical and practical approaches. There are three courses that I’ve especially enjoyed. The first is ‘Economics of Innovation’ course, which focuses on how innovation has different impacts on different aspects of life—social, economic, etc. The second is the research seminar with Ekaterina Streltsova, which focuses on how to write a thesis or term paper. This has been really helpful for me since I did not write a thesis in my undergraduate studies. The third is ‘Competitive Intelligence’ with Jonathan Larry Calof, which is related to my area of expertise, management.

While choosing a university for my double degree, I looked at the professor profile pages of all the partner universities to help me decide. Since I’m interested in technology and innovation, I was immediately drawn to Seoul National University. My term paper right now is related to blockchain in smart cities, and I saw that at Seoul, a lot of professors are doing research related to this specific field. In fact, I plan on contacting some of the professors there with regard to my term paper research, which will most likely form the basis of my master’s thesis. My thesis will most likely focus on the possibilities of blockchains in smart cities with relation to e-government. So Seoul will be a logical place for me to work on my thesis. Plus, there is the fact that Seoul National University is highly recognized in the field of engineering and technology. So of course I would not pass up the opportunity to study there.

In terms of my internship, I am looking into different options here in Moscow. I have already had a few interviews with different companies. Since this programme runs in the evenings, a nice thing about it is that you have a lot of free time during the day. One thing I did was gather a group of classmates and create a team to participate in a consulting challenge called Cup Moscow, and we got third place. This has given me a leg up in the recruiting process.

I am glad I came to this programme for several reasons. It is well organized; directions are clear. I also like the fact that there are a lot of students from all over the world—particularly Asia and Africa. It’s interesting to learn about other people’s cultures and ways of life

For example, we have a student in our programme from Eritrea (Africa). Before him, I had never met anyone from Eritrea before. In terms of the education I am receiving, I am very satisfied. I think it is high quality. I like that the professors seem invested in our learning; they are always available and respond to questions right away.

Lastly, I love living in Moscow. The city is amazing. I like the transportation system, and I like that it is extremely safe. And I feel welcomed by the people here.

Ilaria Billo (Italy)
Second-year student, double-degree programme with the Polytechnic University of Turin (Italy)

© Mikhail Dmitriev/ HSE University

As an undergraduate student I majored in management and engineering. I wanted to continue my studies at the master’s level, and I wanted to continue learning about management while also focusing on innovation and technology, so I chose the Polytechnic University of Turin and then HSE.

HSE University became one of Turin’s partner universities in 2018. When I saw HSE on the list of possible institutions where I could pursue my dual degree, I decided to come here—I wanted to experience something different from Europe, and I thought it would be a good opportunity to experience a new culture and way of life. There are almost no Europeans among our classmates, so I find the learning environment to be very stimulating. I also like that the programme is taught entirely in English—you don’t have to speak Russian.

One of the main differences between my first year in Turin and my second year here is that the courses are more interactive, and the final exam is just one fraction of your final grade

There are research papers, presentations, and group projects. Last semester I took the research seminar on academic writing and two elective courses – one on intellectual property management and another on marketing innovation. I also took a course on business plan development, where we had to present a startup project plan to potential investors at the end of the course. This course was particularly useful to me since I did not have much experience with public speaking before.

Now that I’m in my second year, I’m doing an internship and working on my thesis. My internship is at an Italian machinery company called Prima Industria. It can be a bit difficult to find a job with a Russian company if you don’t speak Russian, and I know HSE offers positions for students who are unable to find an internship that suits them. Interning in Europe was also an option. However, I was happy to find this company here in Moscow. I’m working in the logistics department where I’m involved with stock management, warehouse management, and policy development for diverting money to other parts of the industry. The employees there are all Russian, but everyone speaks English.

At the same time, I’m also working on my thesis, which is about smart grid deployment policy in major European countries. I’m particularly interested in the policies countries adopt when deploying smart girds for the future to address issues such as climate change and the depletion of energy sources. My thesis examines the question of whether different policies can make smart grid deployment more effective and what the main policy differences are between the major countries of Europe.

I am happy I came to Moscow for this programme. The professors here are knowledgeable and very helpful

In the beginning, I felt a bit lost in terms of how the courses were organized, but the professors, as well as my classmates, were always very helpful. I’ve especially appreciated the fact that my coursework here has allowed me to develop a lot of soft skills, such as public speaking and collaborating with others.

Admissions to HSE’s degree programmes are now open. International students can apply online. To learn more about HSE University, its admission process, or life in Moscow, please visit International Admissions website, or contact the Education & Training Advisory Centre at: inter@hse.ru,  or via WhatsApp at: +7 (916) 311 8521.