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Jul 21, 2016
ICEF Graduate Receives PhD from Harvard
Vladimir Mukharlyamov graduated from ICEF BSc programme in 2008, before completing an MA at the London School of Economics, and a PhD at Harvard University. In spring 2016, Vladimir defended his PhD thesis at Harvard, and in August he takes up his post as professor in finance at Georgetown University.


In his senior grade at school, Vladimir Mukharlyamov won the Russian National Competition in Economics and a National Competition in Entrepreneurship, giving him the opportunity enroll in any economic university without having to pass exams. He chose ICEF, chiefly due to the fact that it offers a double degree programme. Studies in English in line with high international standards and a degree from the University of London are very helpful in further employment and studies. Vladimir managed to enroll in an MA programme that saw the full tuition and accommodation costs covered.

‘Of course, this proves that the level of training offered at ICEF is very high quality. The solid grounding I received at ICEF has always been very helpful both at LSE and Harvard’, Vladimir said, ‘But ICEF is appealing not only due to the quality of the education on offer. ICEF has a unique atmosphere, a culture fostering successful, committed people, full of energy and ambition. What you study is, of course, important, but so are the people that surround you. ICEF also has a big pool of very successful graduates, who are open to talking about any problem.’

As an ICEF student, Vladimir started working at Deutsche Bank as an investment banker. He was involved in structuring commodity indices as an MA student at LSE. Then he applied for PhD programmes at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University of Chicago, and Harvard. He visited each of these universities to meet the professors and students and make his final decision choice. Harvard’s PhD programme appealed the most. Vladimir said the PhD taught him a lot, and not only in terms of his profession.

For example, Vladimir said, it turned out that ‘the laborious writing of academic papers is just the tip of a huge iceberg. Science has a lot in common with doing business, and in fact with any creative activity. An academic publication must be unique in some way. This can be achieved, for example, by getting access to interesting data. That in turn means that you have to build relations and negotiate with private or public organizations, which may be in a position to share such data. You must be able to work in a team, since most of the papers are co-authored. You have to set short-term and mid-term goals and track their implementation. You have to be able to inspire interest in your work, at least within the academic community, which means that you need to be able to sell your product. The secret of success is in everyday work’.

— What advice can you give to a prospective student?

‘Commencement in English means both ‘graduation ceremony’, and ‘beginning’. You have to understand that graduation is not the end of the journey, but the beginning: the first step on your path to something bigger. That’s why you have to choose where you study on the basis of what you want to be in five, ten, or 20 years’ time. This is a difficult question, but you have to answer it. ‘

‘It’s hard for me to imagine what my life would look like without ICEF, and I’m simply happy that 12 years ago I made the decision to study at ICEF.’

Interview on HSE portal >>