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“Students should learn not only the formulae, but also their use"

Updated: Jan 12, 2021

Corvinus is currently undergoing a process of renewal that affects many aspects of the university’s operations other than education. Among other things, the research support system will be transformed, and the contents of the doctoral schools will also be affected by the changes. We talked to the head of the program Álmos Telegdy about the transformation of the Economic Analyst Master's program.

“The basic goals of education have not changed, but the approach of education has,” says head of the program Álmos Telegdy. The new program was developed by the staff of the MNB Institute and the Institute of Economics, relying strongly on the existing central bank and macro specializations. Later employers and Corvinus students were also involved in the process, so a sufficiently diverse picture emerged of the needs. This has shown that it is worth starting a new specialization that teaches primarily corporate microanalysis.

The renewed training rests on four pillars:

The main goal of the training is to develop an economic approach or to transfer modern theoretical knowledge or, as Álmos Telegdy puts it: “to teach students to ask their questions the way an economist would.”

#data handling

“I would prefer to underline this factor,” says Álmos Telegdy. "The development of this skill is extremely important, which is why both data management and the learning of programming languages ​(R, Stata) infiltrate the whole program."

#soft skills

This category means the development, improvement and creation of presentation and writing skills. Students will be able to develop their knowledge through individual and group work and practical sessions. Álmos Telegdy says that in the training students will also work on the joint solution of a serious project task.

#practical elements

“I see the dissertation to be submitted at the end of the training as an analyst product,” says the person in charge of the program. “It can be presented to the prospective employer as a tangible, individual product, a professional presentation of the student's knowledge."

“Some of the pillars also existed in the old program, but the university's lecturers tried to restructure the program so that the students could make the acquired knowledge more practical and usable,” says Álmos Telegdy. The MNB Institute, many of whose lecturers came to the university directly from different areas of the central bank, provided great help in this,. These senior colleagues are able to transfer a great amount of knowledge that can be used in public policy and practical analyses, as they came to the university from the world of analysis, while the staff of the Institute of Economics contribute greatly to the transfer of theoretical knowledge. Decision-makers tried to omit courses that did not facilitate analysis, i.e., the goal was to create a fully analysis-centred training.”

One of the structural, methodological changes was the development of practical education. “We won’t want to organize just one big exam,” says Álmos Telegdy. The exams will vary with various activities, such as mid-year homework, small analyses, documents, presentations, so the focus shifts from theory to practical education.

"Students should learn not only the formulae, but also their use."

In Hungary, the economic analyst MSc program starts only at Corvinus, the standard of which is raised by the professional and financial support of the MNB. The aim of the MNB is to enable students to concentrate on their studies without having to waste their time and energy, so outstanding students are supported by various scholarships in their progress. From a professional point of view, it is unique in Hungary that, in addition to the lecturers of the MNB Institute, practitioners from the MNB and market participants pass on the knowledge to the students in a significant part of the subjects.

According to the head of the program, “the knowledge transferred is not standard, but up-to-date”. There will be two specializations: macro and market analyst. "The role of a macro analyst is, for example, to manage time series databases, to answer macroeconomic questions - in contrast, a micro-analyst (or market analyst) primarily reflects on corporate issues."

The structure of education is also affected by changes: instead of the previous semester education, the academic year is divided into quadmesters. “This change was an expectation of the university, the goal is to provide more concentrated education - so students have to deal with little material at once, but they will be able to study it thoroughly,” says Álmos Telegdy. "That means two or three parts of a curriculum at a time."

The compulsory subjects for all will be scheduled in the first two quadmesters, and then students will specialize at the end of the second quadmester. The second two quadmesters will be dominated by specialization subjects and by the end of the first year, compulsory subjects will be almost fully completed. The mandatory optional subjects and the project subject already mentioned above, as well as the remaining compulsory specialization subjects will follow in quadmesters 5-6 (i.e., the third semester). The voluntary optional subjects and the writing of the dissertation will fill the last two quadmesters.

“The training also includes new, special courses. In the microeconomics specialization, also known as market analyst training, for example, students can learn causal econometrics or get acquainted with corporate regulation, ”says Álmos Telegdy. "It's a mandatory subject and very important for a market analyst."

“We can also mention corporate analysis, which will be a very strongly empirical subject - where, for example, skills can be acquired that will allow students to measure, using modern economic methods, whether a company is working well or the impact of the owners of a particular company on the company” - says the head of the program. “International trade is also a mandatory optional subject in this specialization. It aims to introduce students to the issues of international trade by combining theory and empiricism. ”

The university also provides opportunities to study abroad: it is currently negotiating international part-time study opportunities with the Netherlands (University of Gröningen) and China (Fudan).

“The expertise and expertise that an economic analyst master’s degree provides is sorely lacking in the labor market today,” says Álmos Telegdy. "Both specializations are designed to supplement or provide this knowledge so that the graduate student is able to ask economic questions on the one hand, and to answer them empirically on the other."

About the macro-analyst specialization: “This specialization focuses on macroeconomic issues. Most of the compulsory subjects consist of the former central bank analytical specialization subjects. The central bank analyst specialization was the most popular choice in previous years with its pragmatic approach. So it was obvious that we should build on this, complemented by strong macro-modelling knowledge. There is no shortage of close-to-life subjects here either, students can learn the theory and practical application of monetary policy from MNB practitioners, but modern financial knowledge and the operational and regulatory issues of the banking system are also in focus. From a methodological point of view, all this is supported on the one hand by the strong macro-modelling foundation mentioned earlier; on the other hand, by the subject of time series analysis, which allows students to confidently analyze economic processes. ”

Students can further expand the knowledge gained here with macro-focused, compulsory optional subjects: “They can learn about with fiscal policy issues and analyses, macroeconomic issues of open economies, and they can also immerse financial markets,” - the head of program lists the examples. “An important distinguishing feature of our training is that it places a strong emphasis on discussing the macroeconomic and economic policy lessons of the 2007-2008 crisis. We will introduce and thoroughly explore the new trends and models that have emerged since then, as well as the new economic policy principles and practical tools.”

"In my view, students majoring in market analysis will be sought primarily by large companies, small and medium-sized companies, and foreign banks, and macro analysts will be in demand primarily in government, large companies (such as OTP, MNB) and public institutions." According to the head of program, there is great demand for this type of professionals.

Would an economic analyst be a niche profession? “There are few people with such qualifications, both young and old, who are able to think economically and analyze data at the same time,” says Álmos Telegdy.

The head of program also mentioned the importance of specialization. According to him, the aim of education is to transfer as diverse and adaptive knowledge as possible.

“It is important to train professionals so that we can cope with the flow of information not only now, but also in 10 years. The goal is to train professionals who are able to visualize data and present information in a meaningful, concise way. ”

Problem solving can be learned through problems, “so it is key to prepare students for flexibility. The university provides up-to-date, non-expiring knowledge, which prepares students to be able to adapt to the labor market in the future as well”, says Álmos Telegdy.

15.09.2020. Written by: Burkus Brigitta, Photographed by: Benjámin Kristóf

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