Oct 6, 2015
Interview with Svetlana Bryzgalova, ICEF MSc Programme Graduate for HSE portal

In 2007, Svetlana graduated from the undergraduate programme in Economics at HSE Nizhny Novgorod with a major in Mathematical Methods in Economics. In 2009, she completed the Master’s programme in Financial Economics at the International College of Economics and Finance and was recommended for further study in the postgraduate programme at the London School of Economics. Since receiving her PhD at LSE, she has been an Assistant Professor in the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University.

Her lecture was devoted to pricing models for financial assets – stocks, bonds, and currency exchange rates. Svetlana captivated her audience – mostly fourth-year undergraduate students from the Faculty of Economics – with an interesting story about financial research. She touched on questions of how different factors influence returns on financial assets, gave examples of market manoeuvres, and discussed contemporary methods and theories on pricing financial assets. At the end of her lecture, Svetlana took numerous questions from students and recommended books and journals to expand their knowledge in finance and economics.

— Svetlana, how would you assess the international conference that took place at HSE in Nizhny Novgorod?

— Academic conferences are naturally very important – not only do they allow you to share knowledge with people working in the same field, but they are also an invaluable source of knowledge for students. This is where young people can see relevant research and ask questions of experts. A lot of conferences like this are held in the West. For example, in a week I’m flying to Brazil for a conference on financial econometrics.

— You are an HSE graduate. Can you attribute your position as a Stanford professor to the fact that you graduated from HSE? What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name of our university?

— Above all, HSE reminds me of the people who surrounded me at the university – both professors and students. I believe the most important thing that they taught me is that it’s possible to achieve any goal if you take an intelligent approach to solving a problem, put in a lot of effort and don’t give up. Many of my classmates have developed successful careers in a wide range of professions and live not only across Russia, but in other countries. I am certain that they would also have warm memories of these university walls.

— You studied in Russia but now work in the U.S. In your view, what are Russian universities missing that would help them enter the top 100 international universities? How does HSE compare with foreign universities?

— This is a difficult question. Probably the main thing that’s missing is time. HSE is a very young university that only comparatively quite recently began to actively focus on research. Forming a highly professional academic environment is not a simple task, but we have wonderful people working on it, so I am certain that it will happen.

— What advice would you give to beginning academics, to our students?

— I am only a beginning academic myself, having been a student just two months ago. It goes without saying that successful research requires a huge amount of effort and a good understanding of the contemporary literature because economics is a young discipline, and many of its fields have changed dramatically over the last 10-15 years. At the same time, I believe that it’s no less important to interact with people, go to conferences, not be afraid to ask questions both of professors and visiting experts, and ask their opinion and advice about their projects. Anyone who has chosen an academic path in life will tell you that the process of learning never ends with postgraduate school and receiving a degree. It’s a constant process that will have the same intensity your whole life, so don’t be afraid to ask and don’t be afraid to learn new things. After all, every great discovery began with the question ‘Why?’. 

Interview on HSE portal >>>