The graduate student experience: a Bachelor’s degree in three years and a successful career
High school graduates who have dreams of studying economics tend to look at foreign universities, often driven by a desire for international experience. However, Adomas Jankūnas, who chose the Bachelor’s degree programme in Quantitative Economics supervised by the Bank of Lithuania at Vilnius University (VU) and received his diploma has found out that it is possible to gain international experience by studying here, in Vilnius. The knowledge gained in three years of studies also contributed to his success as a statistician at the Bank of Lithuania and his invitation to further studies.
“When I was still at school, I liked subjects like history and maths, and I was also interested in politics. When I was deciding where to study, I thought economics would be the subject that could combine all these fields and broaden my horizons even further: I would learn to understand the world better, and I would develop my critical thinking and analytical skills. I also wanted to have as many opportunities as possible after my studies, and economics studies offer a lot of them”, says Adomas Jankūnas about his first considerations when choosing his future studies.
When he was interested in studying in Lithuania, he noticed the Quantitative Economics study programme offered by VU, which is taught by researchers who have degrees from prestigious universities around the world. The young man was immediately attracted to this study programme and found more information about it on the websites of the Bank of Lithuania and the VU Faculty of Economics, as well as in social networks.
“The Quantitative Economics study programme is the only three-year Bachelor’s degree in Economics in English in Lithuania, developed together with specialists from the Bank of Lithuania. I realised that this study programme was exactly what I was looking for and what I wanted from the study programme at that time, so it was my first choice and I didn’t consider too many other options,” he recalls.
To apply for this study programme, candidates must also pass a motivational interview. According to Adomas Jankūnas, the most important thing is not to be afraid to take part – this experience can be very valuable later on.
“I think people are a bit scared of the motivational interview stage, it puts potential students off. However, I would advise those who are thinking about choosing these studies not to be afraid to participate in this motivational interview, as it is valuable for both the student and the lecturers. It is a great opportunity to ask questions of the lecturers working with this study programme, to learn more about the programme itself and what to expect from it. Finally, one can decide whether this study programme is really what he/she is looking for”, A. Jankūnas shares his experience.
He did not prepare too much for the motivational interview stage himself – he emailed the questions he had and asked what to expect during the interview, then read a bit about what he thought he might be asked.
Once Adomas started his studies, he knew he had made the right choice – he could not imagine himself in any other field of study. After familiarising himself with the main theories and applications of quantitative methods and economic science, the future economist completed a VU compulsory internship at the Research Centre of the Bank of Lithuania after the second year of his studies, got to know the activities of the central bank from the inside, and finally decided to join the Bank.
“One of my fellow students was already working at the Bank of Lithuania, so he also told me about the specifics of the job. I liked the organisation and imagined myself as part of it, so after the summer, when the internship ended, I checked what kind of specialists the Bank of Lithuania was looking for at the time and found a suitable position. I applied and managed to get a job”, A. Jankūnas says about the successful start of his career.
According to the graduate, the Quantitative Economics study programme, which combines the curriculum of the next-generation CORE project with mathematics, statistics, econometrics and data science, is a good choice for several reasons.
“First of all, the lecturers – they are the best in Lithuania. Also for the content of the programme itself, which is highly specialised and does not include less relevant or irrelevant subjects,” he says.
He has put the knowledge he has gained over three years, in such fields as applied microeconomics, econometrics and data analysis, into his final Bachelor’s thesis, and this year he has already received his graduation diploma. According to Adomas, the challenges he faced during his studies and the opportunity to learn from his mistakes, to see where he could improve and do better next time, have made him learn a lot. All this experience has not only led to a successful career, but also to an invitation to study abroad: Adomas Jankūnas has been invited to continue his studies at Lund University in Sweden, under the Data Analytics and Business Economics programme.