Be Brave and Do Not Hesitate!

Jun 19, 2018

Vladimir Petrov is a Lindau Alumnus of the 6th Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences in 2017. He is a PhD research fellow of Marie Sklodowska-Curie initiative BigDataFinance at the University of Zurich. He shares his impressions of #LINOEcon and has advice for the young scientists of the upcoming 68th Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting.  

Vladimir Petrov with laureate Myron Scholes and other young economists.

How many moments could you call "the best moment of your life"? For an ordinary person it could be anything: The first kiss, coming home after a long year of studying abroad, a great birthday party in the backyard of your friend's house, the final point you scored to win that tough challenge... Now, try to count how many scientific events you have listed. Do not worry if there isn’t one. It simply means that you haven‘t been to the Lindau Meetings yet...

"Amazing and unbelievable!" -  these are the most popular words used by the students attending the Lindau Meeting on Economic Sciences 2017 and those who were too shy to say this out-loud had such expressions on their faces. Trust me, I was there. Together with two of my colleagues from the University of Zurich – Chiara Perillo and Veronika Stolbova – we were amongst the lucky 350 young economists selected from the entire world based on our CVs, quality of motivation and recommendation letters. This event gave us an exclusive opportunity to see 17 Nobel Laureates, all together at the same place at the same time.


It was hardly possible to ignore the wealth of lectures given by the best of the best in economic sciences. Here, these bright minds explained all crucial facts of the greatest works one is used to seeing cited in relevant literature. Their live presentations were full of details and colors which cannot be expressed even in the award-winning texts.

You might be surprised but for me, the most enjoyable parts of the Meeting were – the coffee breaks and lunchtime! Of course, not only because of the great snacks and tasty coffee. During these breaks I had the unique chance of talking with many of the Nobel Laureates present at the event about my project and new ideas. It was a great pleasure talking about the work on risk management tools and options pricing with the co-originator of the famous Black-Scholes model - professor Myron Scholes. Try to imagine: a Nobel Laureate, whose papers are cited thousands of times, whose research ideas are scrutinized by the best minds in finance, and who receives dozens of emails every day with offers to give a talk at the top universities of the world is sitting in front of you. And you have his full attention on your naive research ideas which you hope to shape nice enough to get your PhD. And, oh God, he shares his thoughts with you on your work and proposes something new to add there! You know, it was quite an experience trying hard not to miss a single word he said whilst having so many emotions at the same time...


It is very important to note that it wasn’t just the Nobel Laureates that made the value of the event. Impassioned discussions with all other young scientists were also a rich source of great ideas and life experiences. The big diversity of topics and research areas people were interested in was crucial to not only finding somebody who could share your point of view but, more importantly, to finding a person who would be able to take another look at your research work and express his weighed criticism. Debates with some people were very intense but, in retrospect, they also appear to be the most fruitful ones. Now I have more than a dozen new contacts with whom I agreed on later collaborations and a lot of new friends all around the globe.


In the end I’d like to give all lucky students who will attend the next meeting in the coming summer a little piece of advice: be brave and do not hesitate! Ask everything you have on your mind, freely express your own opinion and encourage other people to give you advice. Hopefully, at some point, you will again find yourself among a highly educated and professional "crowd" full of experienced and motivated scientists and you will experience a déjà vu (you have a chance of becoming a Nobel Laureate yourself, after all). I am absolutely sure that the Lindau Meeting is one of the best events on the way to a very successful career and to your own priceless discoveries. Use this unique opportunity and try to remember every single moment! 


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