Going for a PhD after Master’s in Economics?

I am an Economics master’s student at Hanken, I want to pursue PhD after this, and I want to ultimately go into research. In this post I am going to walk you through why I chose Hanken over some other great Universities and what Hanken offers me for my future goals.

I completed my Economics Bachelor’s degree at Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi University, which was one of the best Arts colleges in India. Thereafter, I applied to various colleges in Europe for my master’s degree and I got offers from some notable ones namely LSE, IHEID, SSE and Boston University, but all were with partial or no scholarship. I also got an offer from Hanken at the same time and I was excited to know that Hanken was offering me the premium scholarship which covered all costs.

At this point I was in a fix. I really wanted to attend LSE or IHEID because, obviously, they have name & fame. But I couldn’t afford to pay that much money for a two years’ master’s degree. I was even considering taking out a loan to fund my studies. But at the same time, I felt like I would be under a lot of financial burden which I didn’t want when I was studying. After a lot of thinking and discussion with my family, I decided to entirely drop the option of taking out a loan. It was hard, and heartbreaking, especially after I had received the whole welcome package from LSE by post.

It seems here like I was only interested in attending LSE, but honestly at that time, I had heard about a few colleges which were famous and that’s what I thought was right. I hadn’t thought much about the perfect fit for me and other very important aspects like, individual attention, research output (since I wanted to go into research), and location and social life. I am someone who likes peaceful and clean environments and I enjoy individual attention in classes. I am also someone who would perform much better in the absence of any kind of external stress, be it financial or social. This is when I realized that going to Hanken was a great idea because many of its characteristics like location, staff to student ratio and notable research output were exactly what I was looking for in a school.

I decided to research more about Hanken. To my utter surprise, I found out so much more about Hanken that I had not read before. Hanken was ranked 5th in the global U-Multirank university 2016 rankings because of its research output, outperforming 1300 other universities from Europe and the US. This was possible mainly due to Hanken’s continuous encouragement of its top researchers to publish in top journals and to cooperate internationally. Hanken ranks very well on citation rate and top cited publications. What this means is that Hanken’s researchers’ publications have been cited many times in top universities’ research, especially Ivy League universities. It also has a good rank in international joint publications. There are only two European universities among the top 10 measured according to top cited publications indicator. One of these is Hanken, which again proves the high quality of the research conducted at Hanken.

When I arrived at Hanken, I expected a lot of difficulty in terms of settling down and getting used to the course structure and the teaching method here. However, again to my elation, everything went smoothly like a charm. The Master’s committee was very approachable, the professors were helpful, and I was walked through the initial settling down so that I would be able to start studying for my courses immediately. I took some courses at Aalto from the Helsinki GSE (available to all Hanken students) and I really liked those courses because they were practical. In the next period I took all the courses from Hanken and they were research oriented and I liked the difficulty level. They weren’t easy but at the same time if one attended the lectures and worked on the assignments regularly, they would be able to complete it well.

The courses at Hanken, including the courses available through Helsinki GSE, are of a very broad range such that one who has a research interest would be able to perform as well as someone who wants to go into the corporate field. However, since I took mainly those courses which catered to my interests, I can talk about those. I took some microeconometrics and labour economics courses during my second semester and I loved their course structure. We were expected to read and review various research papers, which expanded my knowledge base and prepared me for my own journey towards my Master’s thesis and eventually PhD. We were also expected to write our own papers on some selected topics. I thoroughly enjoyed this process and would recommend this to everyone, irrespective of their future goals after Master’s.

Apart from the good quality of courses, I also have access to the vast libraries of all the three universities: Aalto, U Helsinki and Hanken since I was a GSE student. These libraries give me access to top online resources, for example the American Economic Review and JSTOR, for free and I could access hundreds of thousands of research papers and journals from my home.

 At Hanken, I’ve met wonderful professors who are very keen on helping students understand concepts as well as give tips to advance their careers.

This is just my first year here and I have yet to explore more things in my second year now!

If you have any questions regarding the courses, timelines, or anything regarding the student life at Hanken, feel free to drop me an email at reetuparna.vishwanath@student.hanken.fi

I’m happy to help (I have more free time during quarantine anyway!).