MIL-OSI Russia: “Alma mater does not let go”

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MIL OSI Translation. Region: Russian Federation –

Source: State University Higher School of Economics – State University “Higher School of Economics” –

Alexander Usvitsky, a 2013 ICEF HSE Bachelor’s degree and 2019 University of Florida (PhD) graduate, began teaching in the ICEF Master’s program in Financial Economics in September of this year. We asked Alexander to tell us how his professional life developed “from ICEF to ICEF” and what he is working on today.

– Let’s start with your experience in obtaining a PhD. How did you end up at Florida State University? What preceded this? Where did you come to Florida from and with what scientific background? How difficult was it?

The story here is quite simple. While studying at ICEF, I became interested first in game theory and then in behavioral economics. In the process of writing my final qualifying thesis, I had already decided to enroll in graduate school and my supervisor, Alexey Vladimirovich Belyanin, recommended Florida State University to me. I even still have a notebook in which I wrote “Florida State University.”

The learning process itself was not easy, but ICEF prepared me very well for it. In particular, it was quite funny for me to hear about the key exams at the end of the first year of graduate school, which take place in May and last four hours – just like at ICEF. It should also be noted that the experience of studying at ICEF not only helped me pass all the necessary courses and exams, but also helped me start doing research work – the skills that were trained at ICEF were very useful. Probably the most important of them are both short-term and long-term planning, setting priorities, and the ability to work with people and in a team.

– What do you need to do to be named “Outstanding Graduate Student in Economics” by Florida State University and awarded the Irwin and Peggy Sobel Award?

As it was explained to me, this award is an assessment of both academic achievements during the coursework and ongoing research progress. In general, there is no strictly formal criterion – the names of the winners in each category are announced in the style of an Oscar, with the opening of envelopes and the announcement of the winners at a meeting of all teachers and graduate students of the department.

– What are your current scientific interests focused on? What has already been achieved?

In general, my area of interest is behavioral economics. I specialize in laboratory experiments and mathematical models of interactions between economic agents. I am currently working on a project that analyzes the competition of firms for customer loyalty (for example, online cinemas).

Another project is related to blockchain and cryptocurrency. My, so to speak, standard scientific achievements are publications in highly rated scientific journals. But I am especially proud that after graduate school I was invited to Tyumen State University from scratch to organize a laboratory for the study of human behavior, and also to supervise the economic program. I coped with the task and world-class research was carried out on the basis of this laboratory, including by young researchers under my scientific supervision. So I remember the Siberian experience with warmth.

– What tasks do you set for yourself in the near future? What is the greatest scientific challenge in your field of research?

Now I am in the process of completing current projects, but I have also already started research work on new projects with my colleagues at the Higher School of Economics. In general, the main challenge is that economic experiments are a very labor-intensive field, so the problem of limited time when working on several projects at the same time is always acute.

– You became part of the ICEF team this year. Share your impressions of interacting with students. How different are today’s students from when you studied at HSE?

I don’t have the feeling that the students have changed in any way. ICEF students are still motivated, smart and hardworking. I especially like their unconventional questions and curiosity.

– What generally changed at HSE when you returned to your alma mater ten years later, no longer as a student, but as a teacher?

It is difficult for me to give any objective answer due to the passage of time and the change in role you noted. Apparently, in my feelings, little has changed, because I immediately “felt at home,” no matter how trite it may sound. Yes, the complex on Pokrovka has transformed and blossomed, but I still feel my native walls. I think a big role in this feeling is played by the fact that many ICEF employees continue to work at the faculty, which I am very happy about.

– What advice would you give to yourself, then a student?

I don’t know, it seems to me that such questions always suggest some kind of regret and a desire to change something in the past. I am glad how my student years at ICEF went, even flew by, and how my studies led me to the point where I am now.

– What books – not necessarily on economics – would you advise students to read?

I still recommend a book on economics. I advise everyone to read “Think Slowly… Decide Fast” by Daniel Kahneman, Nobel laureate in economics, one of the “fathers” of behavioral economics.

– How do you take a break from science and teaching? What are you switching to?

My profession requires me to spend a lot of time indoors, so the best way to relax and reconnect is to go for a walk in the fresh air. Travel enhances the effect, so even one-day trips to the Moscow region can already help you get ready for productive work. In general, travel is an integral part of my life and vacation.

Note; This information is raw content directly from the source of the information. This is exactly what the source states and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

Please note; This information is raw content directly from the information source. It is accurate to what the source is stating and does not reflect the position of MIL-OSI or its clients.

EDITOR’S NOTE: This article is a translation. Apologies should the grammar and or sentence structure not be perfect.

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