Why studying independently is so much fun

Economics textbooksThe University of London International Programmes (UoL) offers a programme which may not suit everyone, but anyone who embarks on the journey will probably never regret it. The International Programmes provides a model of affordable and prestigious education which is unique to the world: self-study education where you earn a recognised degree from an institution based in UK.

Having received two degrees in telecommunication science previous to my studies at UoL (one in Germany and one in Russia), I felt blessed to have the opportunity to study independently at one of the UK’s most prestigious universities. My motivation to study at the University was primarily driven by desire “to understand” economics which I somehow have always had. After research, it became apparent to me that only one institution in the world would satisfy my criteria of flexibility of online education, which could be combined with my daily job; quality control in form of direct examinations sat at examination centers globally; and depth of expertise – the UoL International programmes. And so there I was back in 2011 looking at my first study guides shipped to me by the UoL.

I must confess that I have been enjoying this process immensely up till now. My degree in economics and management (Graduate Path BSc Economics and Management) has turned out to be a blueprint for exploration of theories and techniques which I found myself using in my daily business and personal life. I have been considering every new subject as a quest, an opportunity to enhance my understanding of the world, finally “to understand the causes of things” as my course’s Lead College, LSE, was set up to.

My degree consists of set and selectable subjects. To me – all of them have been fascinating and eye opening. For, instance, Introduction to Economics and later on Macroeconomics and Managerial Economics have provided a highly precise toolset to understand the world from a side which has never been that clear to me before: economics. At once I was able to fully comprehend what Forbes or The Economist were trying to tell me (I even ended up subscribing for The Economist at the beginning of my studies and never looked back). Why do people participate in lotteries? What does the bond curve of Argentina yield tell me? How do you avoid moral hazard issues defining an employment contract? How an eBay auction actually works and what is the best strategy? Is there a way to understand how advertisements on Facebook function and how they are priced? A myriad of different questions I was now able to assess and try to formulate my answer to. To me – that was, indeed, very liberating.

Having studied physics, IT and math in my previous engineering degrees and, thus, obviously being very “techy”, the UoL degree was a great opportunity for me to get insights into the business and financial aspects of operations of companies, businesses and ultimately governments. With time, through a lot of hard work and dedication, all that “economics karaoke” got clearer and clearer to me. Why listen to commentators when you can grab the financial report of the company and get your own ideas on what was going on with that particular business? Why believe politicians blankly when you can try to analyse the policy implications and form your own view on the consequences of particular measures? All that was insightful and somehow amazing – it got into a nice hobby of mine: looking for situations and scenarios to apply new knowledge by analysing real world problems. Today, I feel that I am able to see behind the lines. If that is not the purpose of higher education I can hardly find any better one!

It seems to me that continuous self-learning and subject mastery is the only way forward for this generation. In the age of big data and ubiquitous Internet, the mere possession of information becomes commodity. Nevertheless, the skills of analytical thinking, structured writing and problem solving gained through the UoL degree not only perfectly enable anyone to search for and analyse information, more importantly one is empowered to create new knowledge by being able to link various knowledge fields and disciplines. As a great house is built on a strong foundation, a UoL degree should be able to provide a solid platform for anyone who is never tired to learn. Discipline, regularity and dedication are as important as that additional book which you had read on the topic. For me, the University of London degree has been an essential companion on my way to understanding this world one step further.

Yuriy

Yuriy is studying independently for the BSc Economics and Management in Germany. 

4 thoughts on “Why studying independently is so much fun

  1. Hello Yuriy.

    Nice post! Given your background description, I guess you’re the same Yuriy B. who contributed on some VLE discussion fora in the past. I read a couple of your posts there, dating back to 2012.

    It’s good to “meet” older students here on the Blog. Hope to hear from you again!

    Good luck with your job/studies!

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  2. oscarmina45: Hey, thanks :) Glad to hear my musings were helpful :) I will do my best to share some of my experience in the coming months – feel like this blog is a great platform to do that.

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  3. I am seriously considering enrolling in the BSc Finance and Banking (graduate path) and some Math Courses but from what I have read, the students that do well attend classes at an affiliate institution. Here in Toronto, Canada I do not have that luxury.

    Do you folks study alone? Is it possible to find a network of students in the Toronto area so we can help each other?

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  4. Hutch, go for it as long as you can work independently on yourself and you are motivated. I study completely on myself w/o support of affiliate institution. I know people from various backgrounds in different ages who are doing the same: this is possible!
    You can look for fellow students either in VLE (this is internal learning environment which you will be able to access after you are enroled) or on facebook, for instance, here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/LSE.UOLIP/?ref=bookmarks or here https://www.facebook.com/lists/2226004564234 .

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