DSBA students study in the double degree programme of HSE University and University of London. Once a year, they face a special task - they take British exams. This summer, forty-nine students from the first admission to the programme checked their knowledge in Business and management in a global context, Introduction to economics, Mathematical methods, Statistics 1 and 2. Due to the pandemic, both preparation and exams took place online.
Future data analysts got high grades in mathematical subjects and economics. Average grade in these subjects is substantially higher than 80 out of 100 points. Meanwhile, University of London considers every grade above 70 excellent. However, business and management exam turned out to be the hardest.
Professor and student shared their opinions of the exam.
Last year, I taught Differential Equations in the third and fourth modules of the Data Science and Business Analytics programme. This course is necessary for practical applications as well as for the Mathematical methods exam – no degree in applied mathematics or data science is complete without it.
London exams resemble HSE University ones but are somewhat more conservative. For example, the university issues an annual warning that ICEF exams may include new topics, but it hardly ever happens. The DSBA has had the exams for the first time this year, so it is hard to predict the changes the organisers may implement in the future.
In any case, DSBA students won’t have any problems with the mathematical part of the exam because of the extensive training. Even this difficult year the students have demonstrated very fine results: 90% of all grades are in the 75-96 points window. The hardest part for the students is the wording of the exam tasks as well as the terminology.
Now when the results have been received, we can only hope that the pandemic will be over and the students will take the exam offline next summer.
third-year student of DSBA programme
London exam format is different from the HSE University one: our examiners give the full point for the use of the correct formula with no further details; London examiners give a lower mark for the lack of comments. We were waiting for these exams just like for any others, although we wanted to see the new format. There was the usual anxiety, which evaporated as soon as I saw the exam sheet – I could think of nothing but the solutions.
The first three weeks of distance learning have radically changed my productivity: they enhanced it! It seemed I could spend all my time preparing for exams. And so it was until the total lockdown was put in place. Then I struggled without the usual schedule and communication. I had to force myself to do the homework and prepare for the exams.
As part of the preparation, I read chapters from Study Guides and tried to solve as many analogous tasks as possible. One needs to instantly see the way to solve the tasks from the statistics exam – there is no time to lose.
Business and management in a global context, on the other hand, requires theoretical knowledge. Both school and university have mainly focused on technical subjects, so it was hard to rewire the brain to memorise voluminous information. In this exam, it was necessary to show that you know the agenda and can support your position with arguments. Our professor advised that we subscribe to news agencies like Bloomberg of RBC to be up to date. I am also greatly obliged to YouTube where I found many analyses of various topics.
I spent the least time preparing for the Mathematical methods exam. Although I had no chance to look at the previous years’ papers, I got rather a high grade. This exam was not mathematically complex, so I was ready for it. I expected the high results I got for math, but the economics exam grade was a pleasant surprise.