Showing posts from March, 2016

The Digitalization and Development of Higher Education

Have you also found the amazing low priced external programs (like LSEStanford) and certificates on Coursera and Edx?

There is lot of supply but are the programs really seen as good as the internal programs? Presently, I have been trying to find trust-wort opinions about LSE external programs for curiosity. I found an article from guardian but it was sponsored by the program. However, the article underlines that not all clever people can or want to participate in collage life. There are no doubt that combining work and studies is tempting - or a must.

And for some intelligent individuals don't get access to the higher education. Shai Reshef TED 2014 presents a virtual university that solves many of problems in attendance. Even the Economist has raised a thought that colleges have unnecessarily high tuition rates: "Some of its [Harvard] alumni think this ought to be sufficient to scrap tuition fees." Luckily for now, the education is free in Scandinavia - although a sma…

Nordiska Veckan - The Nordic Week

The theme of this weeks has been the Nordic countries. There were many open lectures during tree days in the university of Vaasa. On Monday, the ambassador of Denmark hold a speech about similarities and dissimilarities of Finland and Denmark. As the Danish is in written form sometimes possible to confuse with Swedish, I thought that the speech would be in Swedish or English. Well, it was in Danish, I couldn't follow much. I understood that she expected all participants to study the Nordic languages as a major subject so I think that her expectations were exceeded as someone outside showed up. Denmark is really interesting in all aspects: business models, branding (many expensive brands), education (famous universities), labor markets (really good unemployment benefits that run quickly off) and culture (the Danish food and beer are amazing). Even the language is cool: it is almost like Swedish and almost like German but non-understandable. They even have couple of own letters!

Tervahovi This Morning

This Morning was pretty but cold. The university of Vaasa is celebrating the Nordic Week, Nordiska veckan, and that is why we have the flags of all Nordic countries in front of Tervahovi.

For Finns, and probably for all people in Nordic countries, the weather has big impact on the mood. During the winter, there are days when we could see the sun for couple of hours or less (but we are inside working at that time). So the sun is really appreciated. Here, you can see photos of one part of our university this morning.

Cut the Words - and Draw

The Monday started with the third class of Writing better academic English. My biggest gain was that I can also draw. The upper picture is a visualization of the spillover effect that my dissertation is about.

In the middle, you can see the home country (our point of view). We export a product that a trading partner uses in production. In that process, we can learn about their practices (organizational capital) for example. This is the export organizational capital spillover. We can also obtain a spillover effect from imported intermediate products. Importing a middle product is similar than exporting in terms of learning but we learn directly from their catalogs or the technology used in our ordered products (R&D spillover). However, patents protect the newest technology and thus the spillover cannot be strong for recent innovations.

In the class, we went through some wordiness and academic writing style. The conversation took different tracks: How to refer age objectively?; How …

Writing writing writing - Ready for Eastern?

Why is the simple act - simply starting to write - so hard? I have read many hints and the best so far has been the "How to write a journal article in 7 days" that I made a challenge. I found a suggestion of how to end your day at work. It would be good to clean your desk and write down things that you need to continue on the second day. This practice of using sticky notes actually works well for me. I like to write down what I need to do during the week and then before leaving home, I like to write down where I was. So, when I come back, I can pick easily the task that is still under process. The most important part of this practice is that it supports me to relax during the leisure because I can be sure to remember what I need to do. A note that I wrote to myself once: "update the estimation table and work with the introduction and write about learning by exporting literature". As the data was updated, I was worried that the results would change dramatically, wh…

Choose Economics as Major Subject! (promotion notes)

In Finland, you need to pass entrance examination before you can start studying at an university. Then you will obtain a study place either for bachelor degree or for both bachelor and masters degrees. There are, however, some exceptions. If your math grades are good, you may get a study place in mathematics or if you get enough points from your matriculation examination, you might get a study place from technology without an extra exam. 
In business studies, you need to take the entrance examination. The nice part is, that in some universities - like the university of Vaasa - the first year students choose their major subject in the late spring. Thus, the students have more time to think what really interests them. This week, the departments were "recruiting" students: Telling them why to choose subject X.

This year, marketing had copied our idea of legendary Pre-Christmas party, which offers discussion topics year round, and our biggest themes were internalization, enviro…

Me? A Visiting Researcher?

Yesterday, the plans for research exchange took big steps. The Doctoral School of the university of Vaasa arranged an info-meeting concerning all the international possibilities that we PhD students can take advantage of. Our international coordinator Juhani Moisio listed all gateways to abroad and Virpi Juppo listed possible places to apply for travel grant and reasons to do a research exchange. We also got advice for 1) when to start 2) where to start and most importantly 3) talk to your supervisor. 

They also noted that the process is different if you work for the university of Vaasa. This is my case. As the plan is to stay two semesters, I need to check: HR supports this exchange (supervisor, project cordinator and host: check)the social securitytaxationpersonal expatriate insuranceexpatriation travel planregister at the destination country (in Scandinavia we don't need visas) And funding for the spring term (my contract ends in December)  HOUSINGtravel grants??  As some of yo…

Olli Rehn and the Economical Development at Finland

Olli Rehn (the minister of employment and the economy) held a speak today about "Competitiveness of Work and Economics and Innovations in Finland". Here are some of my take offs. 
Minister Rehn started with emphasizing the effects of universities. In Finland, the universities are located all around the country. This has enabled the different regions to benefit from externality of universities in many places. This has balanced the regional growth rates. Minister Rehn mentioned that the size of an university does not directly limit the level of performance. Instead, the ability to focus on own strengths is more important.
The best performances of Finland were enabled by free education: accumulating a lot of knowledge capital. Minister Rehn says that now the focus on knowledge hasn't anymore promoted enough growth. Exports are at a low level and the whole global economy is in the middle of structural change. Minister concludes that we are far behind Germany and Sweden: our…

Personal Reflections of "Moving Career Up Gear: Top Tips" by Martin Williams

As mentioned couple of days back on this blog and amazing TED talk of Nadia Jaber PhD training lacks career planning. Actually, career planning is at least in Finland a new thing and older academics  at our department think that it is nonsense: just graduate and end up somewhere from where you might end up to your dream job or stay there forever. I am a fan of study plans and I love searching for study options all around the globe. As I was surfing online, I discovered an incredible opportunity to study for LSE diploma online that might even count as the first year in the masters program. As I dig deeper, I found the article of Martin Williams: Moving Career Up  Gear: Top Tips published by Guardian.The article is some years old but I find the content timeless.

The Guardian: moving career up gear expert top tips offers amazing questions and advises for career path planning. Already the first point is in the heart of motivation. I would interpret it as why do you do what you do? The art…

The German Week in Tritonia, Library on Campus

This week the students, faculty, visitors and every interested person had possibility to enjoy German movies and culture for free. The week was organized for forth time, if I remember correctly, by Goethe institute, Tritonia libraby and the University of Vaasa. 

Like previous years, I failed to participate this event properly. Yet, I enjoyed the German food that was provided by Café Oscar and Mathilda. I was thinking about going to watch Emmas Glück but I felt like I should work for the Writing Better Academic English class. We have a deadline on Sunday evening at 23.59 and for the lecture on Monday we should have read three texts of others. Yet, only two have submitted. This equals stress on Monday morning or work on Sunday. Hmm. 
Anyways, this years specialty in German Week was visit to Brock's. It is a German styled pub almost near to campus.  The visit included beer tasting - probably beers done at Brock's. You might have heard bad words towards Finnish food and/or beer, …

Tervahovi Today in Pictures

In the University of Vaasa, Tervahovi is the main building for business students and faculty. My office is in the see side of this long building. Tervahovi has many windows that bring in the natural light when the sun is shining. The name Terva comes from tar that was traded here. When Tervahovi was under construction, an old tar barrel was found. The city donated the barrel to the university and it exhibit in the lobby of Mathilda. The second part of the name, "hovi", means a court. 

Thoughts on "Something Not To Apologize For" by Nixon

4 Things You Shouldn’t Be Apologizing For by Melissa Nixon is a great to skim. The advises are very applicable to Finns. At least the number 1 is pretty obvious: don't apologize for being you. However, this is partly the same as number 3, "being driven". I am one of those people who dream big - and sometimes that big turns into reality. It is sad how some people (probably unconsciously) make you more "reality oriented".

When I was around 12 years old and competing in athletics I told my self: "someone needs to be the last one, it is always someone". When I was older and competing in swimming, I used to think that I am good only in breaststroke. During the first year in high school, I finally chose science over sports. My competition results hadn't improved for a year and I had discovered that school felt easier every year. At university, I started to dream really big. I reached the two biggest: studied abroad (twice) and got into PhD program. Thus…

Some Motivating TED Talks Stored

This text has some just found TED talks. I don't usually listen to TED but when I do, I search for inspiring speaks and cool tips. As you can see, my week end was full of new motivation towards different sources: 

Reggie Rivers underlines that we should focus on things that we can affect instead of the outcome itself. His speech helps to get perspective and to see what you really can do. I liked his examples. 

Scott Geller speaks about want vs obligatory; success seeker vs failure avoidance; and how to feel and make feel empowered. The check of empowered: 1) can you do it? 2) will it work? 3) is it worth it? 3 yes = competent  --> self motivated.
But that's not all. He also proved that we can all learn from each other that is also an important assumption in my research. Geller tells how he taught his drum teacher how to teach drum rolls by explaining his learning. This is actually a spillover effect, the customer (student) buys knowledge of playing drums. The teacher learn acc…

International Women's Day, PhD and Career

Happy women's Day!

To celebrate strong women, here is a speech of Nadia Jaber, who explains outside Academia options and tells her PhD career story. Just like her, I have searched online for different kind of career advice that resulted as activating this blog, following couple of blogs and buying a career advice book. The book tells about how to get a tenure track job. However, some outside academia options are starting to sound enlightening. It is going to be interesting to see where I end up, but here Jaber describes how much PhD students need career advices - and how to provide them to yourself:

The Economist published a the glass-ceiling index. If you put 100% weight on education cap, Sweden and Finland are on the top. Indeed, when I started my PhD journey, half of the new PhD students in Finland were women. In our economic department, 75 % of PhD students that are present at the university are women. However, the professors and assistant professors are all male - for now. I…

Code of the Day

The easiest thing in coding is forgetting the commands. Luckily, Google can help. This morning, I wanted to combine the scatters that demonstrate the characteristics of our data and explain why some observations are outliers.

twoway (scatter dlnfixasset dlny) ///        (lfit dlnfixasset dlny),  ///         ytitle(value of change) name(dlnfixa) twoway (scatter dlnfixasset dlny) ///        (lfit dlnfixasset dlny),  ///         ytitle(value of change) name(dlnfixa) graph combine dlnfixa dlnfixa

And the result is a cute picture containing both scatters! But here is a cool real life photo (from Leisson Café).

Have nice weekend!

Finance Seminar: ETF investments in Institutions

The best side of academia is the access to stimulation. This afternoon, Hamed Salehi presented his and Juha Joenväärä's paper "ETF Holding and Stock Selection Skill Among Institutional Investors" in the finance seminar series. The foreign terminology made the following a little bit challenging to an outsider like me but it is refreshing to hear what other research. The biggest take away I got was that institutions started to use ETF's in 1999 where as the first ETF's date to 1993. Since then, the share of ETF's has grown if they are used in the portfolio. The biggest institutions use typically ETF's and ETF users usually have more analysts than non-user's have. The non-users tend to have more constrained portfolios.  However, bigger institutions usually have more analysts. 
My lack of background in the area probably affected on the upper explained take away. Yet, ETF's interest me quite a lot and I have been sharing for a suitable one. The cost eff…

Coding and Learning to Edit - Do the Draft Fast

The day started with starting STATA that is one of most used software with empirical economics, like R. If doing a theoretical macroeconomics, Matlab would be a good choice. Today, I have been multitasking. While the code runs, I'll focus on a online lectures about academic writing. It is free but the certificate costs. The quality is the standard Stanford (which is amazing) so far. But as I'm coding at the same time, I listen to each multiple time. The coding is still on the middle way as the idea was to different results with the new data. However, this accounts as a robustness test. Better get back coding but first some words about practicing editing and some picture!

To share some enjoyable tricks on editing:

in making the sentence sort, save the original sentence. Edit the words that are not truly necessary. If you don't like the result, you can use the original version. This ease the process especially when you have an extra words that you find sounding nice. However…

New Tasks Ahead for the Dissertation

After yesterdays deadline, I feel a sudden emptiness. Today, I submitted (probably) the last funding application of this spring. And now what? 

1) Possibility of an another conference deadline 2) Cool happenings at the university of Vaasa 3) Data update --> adjustments to the code --> new text and the results might change --> even more to write.  4) Personal development options online
1 - The conference is unfamiliar but clearly it has some history: link to last year pages
Although, there is one familiar Finnish economist as an organizer. Other good aspects: the deadline is after the last date of submission results to the other conference I submitted the paper and the target paper presenters are PhD students! 
2 - The university of Vaasa has more than enough things to keep you busy. The Energy Week is approaching. Next week there is a welfare training session about mindfulness. On Thursday, the Finance seminar has very interesting presentation about ETF and selection abili…