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On June 27, 2016, the first graduation ceremony for the double-degree Master’s programme in Big Data Systems and Information Systems Management was held at the Higher School of Economics in Moscow. The ceremony marks three years of successful collaboration between HSE and University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien, which run the Big Data Systems and Information Systems Management components of the programme, respectively. Ten graduates (six from Austria and four from Russia) were awarded double-degree diplomas after having spent time studying in both Russia and Austria, as well as presenting their Master’s theses to a joint examination committee. Andrea Bacher, the second secretary of the Embassy of Austria in Russia was present at the event.
Fritz Schmöllebeck, Rector of the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien, shared his thoughts about how the collaboration with HSE has gone so far and his views on its future potential:
— The joint programme between HSE and UAS Technikum Wien has become one of those multi-national bridges that develop and promote technology across the globe. What is your vision of the programme and its future development?
—The joint programme is based on a fruitful collaboration that aims to further increase mobility, teaching and research between both institutions. Joint projects in fields like Big Data contribute to future cooperation, strengthening the quality of institutions and drawing sustainable benefit for students, staff and academics.
— How did these six Austrian students come to HSE Moscow? What was the admissions process like?
— Austrian students had to pass a well-defined selection procedure at UAS Technikum Wien that was developed and agreed upon with our partners at HSE’s School of Business Informatics in Moscow. The admissions process at HSE was easy going. Students were offered support in all matters such as visa applications, locating apartments at dormitories, helping with scholarships, etc.
— Do young people need to be real geeks now to make a breakthrough in modern technology? How do you see modern students in Vienna and Moscow?
— Young people don’t have to be real geeks, but they should have a strong interest in technology. They should be eager to know about the functionality of technology and have fun when looking ‘under the hood’.
Our students’ lives and working conditions are changing rapidly. This is one of the most demanding situations for modern universities. We have to offer more flexibility and support to our students from year to year, so that is why we strive to stay connected to their lives.
— What is essential in order for technology to help to build a better and more advanced world? How do you see the role of universities in this process?
— Technology should primarily help make our lives easier. In recent years, technology has had a huge impact on communication. It’s getting very easy to communicate through diverse media. If we use technology in building bridges to other people, other cultures, and other countries, it could become the key to a world with more mutual understanding and mutual trust.
Universities have to see that technology is not insulated. We should give our students opportunities to look at technology in various contexts. In most cases, technology is neutral in some respect. When we apply it in a certain situation we have to think carefully about the benefits and drawbacks.
— What feedback did you receive from your students while in Moscow? Did they contribute anything about their experience to your website or social media?
— The students gave very positive feedback. On the one hand, they were thankful for this extremely valuable experience to study at HSE. On the other hand, they were excited to increase their knowledge of social, linguistic and cultural matters here in Moscow. At UAS Technikum Wien we are currently working on the launch of our new redesigned website; there we will definitely report about students’ experience at HSE Moscow.
— It is a real privilege to have you at the ceremony in Moscow. What is next on our cooperation agenda?
— It is a privilege for me to be invited to this ceremony in Moscow! I would be very happy if we could extend our cooperation to the field of advanced technologies in industry and digital factories. Doing research projects together on the boundary between economics and technology is also an interesting field for new activities. But we should also work hard on our already established cooperation by learning from students’ feedback and the feedback from our industry partners.
Svetlana Maltseva, Academic Supervisor of the Master’s programme in Big Data Systems at the HSE School of Business Informatics, and Helmut Gollner, Programme Director of Business Informatics and Information Systems Management at UAS Technikum Wien, also commented on the current status of the two universities’ collaboration:
‘I am very happy about the collaboration with UAS Technikum Wien and am satisfied with our initial results. The collaboration has made the content of the programme and learning process more interesting, and has provided students additional opportunities to explore the theoretical and applied aspects of Big Data’.
‘I am very satisfied with the results of this double-degree programme. Austrian students gained a lot from their studies of Big Data at HSE, both inside and outside of the university. They are well prepared for the labour market and their future carriers’.
About the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien:
With around 9,000 graduates thus far and roughly 4,000 students, the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien is Austria’s largest purely technical university of applied sciences. The institution places great emphasis on combining extensive technical content with subjects focusing on business and personal development. In addition, collaborations with partners around the world broaden the international scope of students and staff.