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Dr. Gerald Pech Interview for Alumni Newsletter

Nejat Capar Dr. Gerald Pech is dean of the College of Social Sciences and Associate Professor at the Department of Economics. He received his PhD from Ruhr-University Bochum and held teaching and research positions at the Graduate School Bochum and Dortmund, the University of St Andrews, the National University of Ireland in Galway, the American University in Bulgaria and the University of Mainz. His fields of specialization are applied game theory and the economic analysis of institutions. He published in journals such as Public Choice, Economics Letters, Mathematical Social Sciences and Journal of Public Economic Theory.


Can you briefly describe what CSS graduate programs are?

Each of the departments of the College of Social Sciences offers a masters program in its own area:

  • the master of economics (MAE),
  • the master of international relations (MIR),
  • the master of public and municipal administration (MPMA), and
  • the master of international journalism (MIJ).

What are the benefits of having the CSS master’s degree vs a bachelor’s degree?

A graduate from a master program normally qualifies for a different kind of work. If a position requires the ability to do research, employers prefer someone with a master degree. Here, assume that the definition of «research» is wide: in economics, public administration and international relations, the closer you work to the core field of your study, the more your work will include some kind of research. For example, an economist who works for an international organization may be asked to evaluate the economic policies of a country or an economist who works in finance may be asked to assess the conditions in some market.

While the master degree is always directed at qualifying as a professional in the field of study, it may also form a bridge for someone with an undergraduate degree in a different field to enter a profession.

Who needs to get a master degree and why?

Anybody who is interested in working in their field of study at a high professional level. With a master degree a student shows that he or she actually «masters» a discipline.

Why should you choose KIMEP CSS graduate program, not other KZ and abroad universities?

Naturally, some — and in particular those who have graduated from our undergraduate programs — might want to add an experience in a different country to their profile. But a KIMEP degree still is a «door opener» in many places in Kazakhstan in a way that even a degree from a very reputable university overseas is not. And — you judge — but I think we have some advantage when compared to any other university in Kazakhstan. Another benefit is that at KIMEP we schedule classes at master level to allow students to study towards their master degree while they work.

Who are some of your CSS graduate alumni and what are they doing as a result of their degree?

  • Alikhan Smailov, Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Master of Public and Municipal Administration (1994)
  • Olzhas Khudaibergenov, Senior Partner at the Center for Strategic Initiatives and Expert Economic Council under the Prime Minister of Kazakhstan, Master of Arts in Economics (2003).
  • Kamilya Zhussupova, TV host at KTK channel, Master of International Journalism (2013)
  • Aigerim Agyltayeva, TV Journalist and Host at Central Communications Service under the President of the Republic of Kazakhstan, Master of International Journalism (2014)

How long does it take to get the degree?

The regular period of study is 3 regular semesters. But graduates of an undergraduate program in the same field of study are normally able to transfer some course credits to their master degree («fast track students»). If a student is willing to put in the effort: in all our programs it is possible to cover all regular courses in one academic year and to defend the thesis by the end of the summer — so one can be done after twelve months.

Can it be done part-time? I have a job and have to work.

Yes: it is our policy to offer all courses on weekdays after 7pm or on Saturdays.

Are there scholarships available?

We offer scholarships that cover 100% of tuition fees or 50% of tuition fees. Details are available from Financial Aid Office. The scholarship program is competitive.

What are some careers that will open up to me with CSS graduate program diploma?

For MAIJ: graduates of MAIJ program have careers in diverse domains including international news media, radio and TV journalism, foreign desks of national press, PR companies, global advertising and documentary film realms, creative media industries, communication consulting, media training and research.

For MAE: in banking and finance, in government and international organizations — such as National Bank of Kazakhstan, Halyk Bank, DAMU, Eurasian and other banks, Air Astana, and audit and consulting companies worldwide.

For MIR: in diplomacy and international consulting, in public and private enterprises,

NGOs, multinational companies and international organizations such as UNO, OSCE, Red Cross International, WTO, Green Peace, League of Arab States, European Council, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Turkic Council and others.

For MPMA: in the public sector, in national and commercial companies, in international development institutions and non-profit organizations — such as UNESCO, Akimat, OSCE, International Finance Organization (IFC), Samruk-Kazyna, Air Astana, KASE and others. Also, in world-leading companies for audit, tax, and advisory services such as KPMG, Deloitte, PWC, and others.

How soon will I return my investments to the master program?

We don’t have the data to make strong claims, but from my observation the return on investment can be rather high, in particular for career changers. Graduates from our master programs may also get on a career path in the institution where they work that results in faster promotion. But for most students the main benefit from obtaining a master degree is that they can have more fulfilling careers in their field and do work that they actually enjoy.

Who will be my classmates?

Our master programs attract graduates from the KIMEP undergraduate programs and also graduates from other Kazakhstani universities, sometimes from different fields of study. We have special scholarship programs for high achieving students from the region. And we often attract international students. This is in particular true of the MIR program where we add each year students from the CEERES program, a joint program with the universities of Glasgow and Tartu. Overall, you will find yourself in the company of committed and talented students.

What should I do to enter the KIMEP CSS graduate program?

Go to the page of KIMEP admission office at https://www.kimep.kz/ext/application/online/en-US/

What format of education: online or offline at KIMEP U?

We offer all our programs offline. But we are also happy to accommodate particular needs if a student cannot attend offline classes.