Competences of student graduating from economics department

We are implementing the competences framework at the New Economic University, where I am a new rector.

In my life I hired and fired tens of economists in various banks, government institutions, consulting firms and at the university. So I approached the task of defining competences (knowledge, skills, attitudes) of university graduating economist (bachelor) in the following way: what competences the economist should have so that I will decide to hire him/her as my team member. The results are below:

Knowledge

1. Can read and understand scientific papers in Kazakh/English or Russian/English (depending on chosen language of study) including scientific papers that apply formal (mathematical) economic models. Can apply formal economic models in real life problems, including problems in global, regional, national, government, firm and household dimensions. Understands the shortcomings of economic models and is able to select right model to solve given real life problem

2. Is able to use economic models and professional programs to analyze economic data on international, macro and micro scale. Can verify the quality of economic data, knows how to find reliable sources of quantitative economic data, works well with qualitative economic information, is able to use economic models to find regularities in economic data, is able to make professionals forecasts and understands the sources of forecast errors and implications of such errors.

3.  Is able to read economic and financial press and can explain the phenomena presented in such press using economic models.

 Skills

1. Can write scientific papers that use economic models, can write essays in the field of economics that explain complex economic problems in simple, non-technical text that can be understood by readers that do not have formal economic training.

2. Can defend the results of his/her economic analysis before fellow economics (during seminars or conferences), can present results of his/her economic analysis to different types of audiences (e.g. business professionals, fellow economists, people from other fields) such that results of his research can be understood and appreciated.

3. Uses modern technologies to conduct professional economic analysis, such as professional analytical programs, Excel, and open source tools. Is able to quickly learn how to use new economic and analytical tools, understands and interprets the results of use of such tools.

Attitudes

1. Regularly reads professional economic literature to continuously upgrade his/her economic knowledge/skills. Understands the importance of regular upgrade of his/her economic knowledge/skills.

2. Naturally analyzes various situations, problems and issues using economic theory and economic analytical skills.

3. Understands the role of economist in various organizations, institutions and situations and never compromises the professional integrity of economist when conducting economic analysis.

I value these competences irrespectively of the field of specialization (macro, micro, labor economics, international economics, knowledge economics etc.).

Comments welcome. Do you agree? Will you define desired economist competences in a different way?

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What I see from a distance of 4000 km

I have been watching developments in Poland from a distance of 4192 kilometers in the past few months. From such distance you can see it differently. Here are some impressions:

- huge domination of negative news and opinions (destructive criticism) as opposed to more balanced news and opinion (constructive criticism)  in other countries.

- shallow debate. Key development issues are ignored, instead both politicians and media focus on short-term popularity gain. It is not the case in other countries, compare for example elections coverage in UK and in Poland.

- themes that divide Poles are all over the place, themes that unite Poles are scarce. Think of the fifth anniversary of the Smolensk tragedy and press coverage. Poles should be together in this sad moment, but media and politicians used this date to tear the nation apart.

Why is it happening? After 25 years of transformation, economic growth and social development, Poland should have a much higher level of development of civic society, social capital, ability to focus on strategic priorities.Or maybe it does not matter. Maybe Poles living in their small comfort zones, furnished with large plasma TVs and celebrity shows do not care, and their small worlds are parallel to what is happening in the public arena.

Meanwhile, I continue the idea of Go Global brand, established by our research team in 2010 (report on innovativeness of Poland, called Go Global), which later mushroomed and now is present at NCBiR Go Global program and Think Tank Poland Go Global. I am working with several Polish companies that have large international presence to establish win-win cooperation with New Economic University, the goal is to help Polish companies expand in Central Asia, while NEU students at the same time have possibility to work on interesting international projects.

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Królowie innowacji w usługach finansowych

W maju ukaże się moja nowa książka pt. Królowie innowacji w usługach finansowych, wydana przez Onepress.

Obiegowa i traktowana niemal jak dogmat opinia o światowych finansach każe nam wierzyć, że Stany Zjednoczone i inne rozwinięte kraje mają w tej dziedzinie monopol na innowacje. Jak zatem wyjaśnić taką oto sytuację, o której w zamieszczonym w tej książce wywiadzie wspomina Wojciech Sobieraj, współtwórca i prezes Alior Banku? Relacjonuje nam typowy obrazek z konferencji poświęconej innowacjom w usługach finansowych: gdy przemawia gość z Polski czy Turcji, sala jest pełna, tymczasem wystąpienia Brytyjczyków czy przedstawicieli innych „wiodących” światowych gospodarek traktowane są jak przerywnik. Dobry moment na wykonanie zaległych telefonów, czy odpisanie na maile…

Polska na ogół wypada źle w ogólnych rankingach innowacyjności w gospodarce. Z jednym wyjątkiem. Twórczy okazuje się rodzimy sektor finansowy. Napisałem tę książkę właśnie po to, by pokazać, jak wiele ciekawych, korzystnych dla klienta rozwiązań pojawia się w sektorze usług finansowych w krajach rozwijających się, szczególnie w Polsce. Ponadto staram się rozwikłać zagadkę: jak do tego doszło i co było kluczowe dla spektakularnych sukcesów polskich przedsiębiorstw z tego sektora?

W książce znajdziecie wywiady z twórcami, właścicielami lub prezesami pięciu firm świadczących usługi finansowe. Nad fenomenem tej szczególnej polskiej innowacyjności zastanawiam się więc wspólnie z Wojciechem Sobierajem (Alior Bank), Mateuszem Morawieckim (BZ WBK), Marcinem Pióro (Cinkciarz.pl), Sławomirem Lachowskim (mBank) oraz Jakubem Zabłockim (XTB). Natomiast rozmowa z Markiem Rosińskim — partnerem zarządzającym kancelarii Baker & McKenzie — pokazuje, co trzeba w Polsce zmienić, aby eksplozja innowacyjności nastąpiła w całej gospodarce.

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Dlaczego piszę?

Jutro w tygodniku DoRzeczy ukaże się pierwszy felieton z cyklu Rybim okiem, pt. “Dlaczego piszę”. Poniżej fragment:

Przeciętni zjadacze chleba z mrożonego ciasta, biernie uczestniczący w codziennych medialnych igrzyskach, wpatrzeni wieczorami w wielocalowy prostokąt, koniecznie większy niż ma sąsiad,  epatowani płytkimi faktami z życia jeszcze płytszych celebrytów znanych z tego że są znani, jakże rzadko zadają sobie pytanie „dlaczego”? Pytanie „dlaczego” jest bardzo ważne w ekonomii. Żeby zrozumieć świat, i globalny i ten mały, który nas otacza na co dzień, musimy umieć odpowiedzieć sobie na pytanie dlaczego ludzie robią to co robią …

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Uśmiech wart miliony

Dzisiaj w Rzeczpospolitej ukazał się mój tekst pt. Uśmiech wart miliony.

Today in Poland Rzeczpospolita daily you can find my text “Smile worth milions” (in Polish).

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Świat coraz bardziej ujemny

Dzisiaj ukazał się mój felieton w Rzeczpospolitej p.t. Świat coraz bardziej ujemny. Na potwierdzenie tego tytułu dzisiaj GUS podał dane o rekordowej deflacji 1,6 procent. Przypomnę, że przewiduję na 2015 rok silną deflację, poważne osłabienie złotego, słaby wzrost gospodarczy, obniżki stóp procentowych i dolara wartego więcej niż 1 euro.

Today Rzeczpospolita published my article Even more negative world. As a confirmation, on the same day StatOffice published data showing deepest deflation in Poland’s history. My forecast, usually made in December, calls this year for solid deflation, zloty depreciation, eurodollar below pority, weak economic growth and lowering of NBP interest rates.

 

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Central bank of Sweden reduces interest rate to below zero, what are the consequences

Unthinkable became reality. Swedish central bank (Riksbank) has decided to lower its repo rate, at which they conduct money market operations to negative 0.1. It means that banks can borrow money from the central bank at zero, or even at negative interest rate. Decision was taken despite the fact that Riksbank forecast calls for higher economic growth and lower unemployment in 2015 and beyond. Additionally Riksbank embarked on quantitative easing (buying government bonds), which by now has become a standard monetary policy in many developed countries. So far only ECB and central bank of Denmark lowered deposit rates to negative, which means that commercial banks are punished when they deposit excess cash at the central bank. Riksbank did more, banks in Sweden can now borrow from the central bank at negative rate.

Those who are trained economists do remember that we used to teach students about lower bound and that interest rates cannot go below zero. Now they do. The goal of Riksbank is to accelerate the process of return of inflation to the central bank target of 2 percent.

Imagine that this process does not stop here, that inflation for many reasons remains in negative territory and that central banks reduce interest rates even further, to, say, negative 5 percent. In such circumstances banks will be able to borrow from the central bank at negative 5 percent, do nothing, and get 5 percent profit. Creditor will be able to borrow from the commercial bank at negative 3 percent, and if they borrow 100 mln, they will return a year later only 97 mln (5 percent minus bank margin). Those that save money will be punished, as deposit rate will also become deeply negative. If you save 100 mln, year later you will have, say, only 94 mln (five percent plus bank margin).

What are the consequences. In the finance course students learn about IRR (internal rate of return of a given project). Projects get funded only if IRR is above the cost of credit. But in this hypothetical case banks will fund projects that have negative IRR, say equal to negative 2 percent. Interesting, indeed, loss making projects, that take away value from the society, will be funded.

Such policy also means that savings are being confiscated. Those who worked hard in the past and made some money, those who save for retirement, will be punished. Such policy discourages hard work and saving and promotes reckless behavior.

I understand what is the central bank goal, to force inflation to return the central bank goal of 2 percent. But I do hope that the central bank is aware about the consequences and about pathological incentives created by such policy.

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Back to English

I started this blog in September 2006. At that time I had the position of the National Bank of Poland deputy governor, supervising foreign exchange reserves, payment systems and cash circulation, I was also a non-voting member of the MPC council. It started in English, and the first posts were on inflation, China, US real estate developments and IMF global outlook.

After few years I switched to Polish, but I decided recently that it is high time to go back to roots and from now on the blog will be again in English.

Let me restate some recent key messages that I presented on this blog:

  • central banks activity in the last few years is hurting the world economy, it is simply buying time and delaying the necessary adjustment. The pathological outcomes of such policy are: massive asset price inflation, rising inequality, rising influence of Western banksters on global governance, rising public debt, rising role of the state, rising probability of Lehman-style crises in the coming years, rising popularity of populist parties that may lead to collapse of European values;
  • education system in USA and Europe (with some notable exceptions) is creating unemployment among youth. Massive reform is needed to put young generation needs at the center of K-12 and higher education. The biggest failure of the education system is that is focuses on filling young person brain with knowledge that is freely accessible on Internet, while it should focus on finding talent and create entrepreneurial attitudes among young people;
  • state is too big, it replaces that market place, reduces animal spirits and slows the human progress. We need less state, more market and more competition.
  • demography is a very powerful force, it works slowly, but surely. Poland’s demography will deliver a lethal blow to the Polish public finance and economy around 2020 (it applies to many other economies as well). The only way to stand against this demographic tsunami is to improve innovativeness of the economy, in such a way that local firms expand successfully to foreign markets.
  • legislation is created by powerful lobbies that seek rents at the expense of the citizen. Very little is done to combat this trend (as shown by banksters influence on post-Lehman legislation), powerful lobbyists control legislation process. There was special report on this issue in Poland prepared by my research team (in Polish).

More posts are coming, on various topics, Stay tuned!

 

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Zapraszam do wysłuchania mojego wywiadu dla wrocławskiego radia Rodzina, w którym przedstawiam analizę sytaucji młodych ludzi, zadłuzonych na kupno mieszkania. Pokazuję jakie moją opcje działania. Więcej na ten temat w mojej najnowszej książce – Ekonomia w matriksie.

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Dzisiaj w tygodniku DoRzeczy ukazał się mój artykuł na temat kredytów we frankach z radami jak sobie poradzić w tej sytuacji.

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