Prague University of Economics and Business: graduate experience
Prague University of Economics and Business or UEB (Vysoká škola ekonomická v Praze in Czech language) is the most prestigious state university in the Czech Republic, completely focused on the economic fields of study. Dmitry Fedorov, a graduate of the Faculty of Economics, told Alexandra Baranova, the author of the GoStudy blog, about his experience of studying at the UEB.
You can study at UEB in Prague on one of five faculties: Faculty of International Relations Faculty of Finance and Accounting Faculty of Business Administration Faculty of Informatics and Statistics Faculty of Economics There is also a Faculty of Management in Jindrichův Hradec. Detailed information about admission to UEB can be found on the university website and in the relevant section of the GoStudy website.
I graduated from the university in 2009, quite a long time ago, so some details may have changed since then. However, I still have contacts, I talked to people who studied at UEB after me, and I can say that the principles of education have remained the same.
Entrance exams are the easiest part. The foreigner must pass the Czech language test if they are going to study for free, i.e. at the Czech department, after which they are admitted directly to the entrance exams.
The exams are in the tests format; knowledge of foreign languages - at least English - and math is tested. Depending on the faculty, there may be other tests, such as test for cultural knowledge.
If you know Czech language well and have a good school base, you should have no problems with admission.
Organization of the educational process
The process of studying itself is more difficult, so many students drop out the university after the first and second year exams. It requires responsibility and independence from the student: you choose the subjects that you will study during a term, and you have to distribute the volume correctly in order to pass all the tests.
UEB, like other European universities, has a credit system: each subject has a "weight" in points, the so-called credits, and during the term you need to earn a certain number of them. Accordingly, the student is also transferred to the next year provided that they have gained the required number of credits. All subjects are divided into three categories: obligatory (povinné předměty in Czech language), optional (povinně volitelné předměty in Czech language) and non-obligatory (volitelné předměty in Czech language).
Each term the student chooses their classes from the first and second category, in case there are not enough credits or they are interested in something specific, they can additionally choose a subject from the non-obligatory. Studying for Bachelor's programmes lasts three years, and for Master's programmes lasts two years.
When I started studying, I was pleasantly surprised by the modern equipment of the university: classes, technical devices - everything was brand new, "spick and span". No one strictly monitored our attendance of lectures - we were only required to get the results, i.e. to pass everything on time. I know that now, during the COVID quarantine, studying at UEB is remote, but I must say that even then, those who did not attend lectures were actually studying entirely remotely. They also usually worked part-time during their studies.
I have not worked, I have studied and attended all the classes, which I do not regret at all. If you are a foreigner and you do not speak Czech language very well yet, it is better to go to the lectures, so there are less issues to appear later.
The communication between teachers and foreign students at UEB is very professional, I have never heard any unethical comments or encountered any prejudiced attitude. Communication with teachers occurred most often in electronic format, by e-mail, or as a part of weekly consultations.
There were no problems making contact with Czech coursemates either. I would say that Czechs keep a respectful distance: if you come into contact and want to communicate on your own, they are happy to welcome you, but they will not bother you. I do not really like noisy companies, so I did not make any close friends during my studies, but some of the people I knew had a very wide social circle, including Czechs.
For foreign students and those who are not from Prague, UEB provides a dormitory - four huge panel buildings located in the Jižní Město neighborhood, not far from the second building of the university.
Living conditions in the dormitory were Spartan: everyone had a bed, a table, a chair, and a lamp in a double room, and that's all. However, even in the dormitory you can live and study properly - it all depends on the student themselves, I can confirm it from my own experience.
Nowadays a lot of people prefer to rent an apartment; if you live with roommates, it is inexpensive and definitely more comfortable than a dormitory.
UEB, like other European universities, provides the ERASMUS Plus student exchange programme. In the bachelor's programme all students study a second foreign language in addition to English (French, Spanish, Italian, etc.), which expands the geography of possible travel. During the first year a student chooses a major and a minor field of study, and can develop and deepen their knowledge in two areas at the same time.
Starting from the second and third year you need to think about future employment. Every year UEB holds a job fair where you can make useful contacts, leave your CV, learn about companies you are interested in, and get a job, for example, for a summer working. This is especially necessary for foreign students: our main disadvantage compared to the Czechs is the lack of connections, we have to pave the way ourselves.
I really regret that I have not taken advantage of these opportunities in my time: I have not gone on an exchange program to another country and have not started thinking about a job in advance. This is explained by my youth. I was 17 years old, I was a closed person by nature, an introvert, so I thought more about going home and seeing my family than building a career.
If we talk about the level of education, then only Charles University and Czech Technical University can compete with UEB - both have Faculties of Economics as well. I studied at Post Graduate Programme in Charles University, and I can tell you that it was comparable to the Master's programme at University of Economics and Business in terms of complexity.
Every teacher at UEB was not just a theorist, but a practicing professional. Every year the Finance Minister of the Czech Republic came to us and told us about the results of the past year. Meetings were arranged with the presidents and financial officers of major companies, with Nobel laureates. Influential figures of the Czech economy were constantly involved in the educational process: Petr Kellner (the richest billionaire in the Czech Republic, the founder of the PPF international diversified investment group - ed.), Bohuslav Sobotka (Czech politician, Finance Minister in 2002-2006, Prime Minister of the Czech Republic in 2014-2017 - ed.), the Heads of the Central Bank of the Czech Republic. I remember how we were lectured by Václav Klaus (the second president of the Czech Republic in 2003-2013, former Prime Minister, one of the most influential Czech politicians, Professor Emeritus of Moscow State University, UEB graduate - ed.), he taught the subject "Economic Policy". In other words, studying at UEB is a chance to see and talk to people you can hardly meet in regular life.
The education I got at UEB helped me a lot. Even though I have not worked directly in my profession, I write a lot of articles on economic and political topics. A lot of people who studied at the same time as me, or who wrote their diploma papers, are now occupying senior positions. For example, Štěpan Kršeček, Chief Economist at BH Securities a.s., or Lukáš Kovanda (http://www.lukaskovanda.cz/), Chief Economist at Trinity Bank, a Socio-Economic Analyst at the UN. So, Prague University of Economics and Business is a great start for a good life.