Irakli Barbakadze graduated from the Quantitative Economics Master’s programme two years ago, and still has special feelings about the Tartu University and student-life in our cosy town. This lifetime experience has changed Irakli personally and became a baseline for his career success. I would like to thank Irakli for the opportunity to interview him, and, without further ado, share it with you.

Choosing the university and Master’s programme is always a challenge for students. Why did you decide to apply for the Tartu University?
There were several reasons behind this decision. The first and the most important was that the MA Quantitative Economics program looked interesting and challenging for me. I had an econometrics background, but wanted to deepen my knowledge and experience new approaches to studies. Secondly, this program was tuition free and had a scholarship opportunity, so the material aspect played a huge role as well. Also, the admission process and requirements were easy compared to other universities.

Two years is a long time to collect memories and experiences. What was the most memorable during your studies here?
Together with many new people which I met in Tartu and huge life experience, I want to express my gratitude to the university faculty in general and especially our program manager, Jaan Masso. The faculty made the study process much smoother and easier than I expected. All lecturers were very helpful and supportive. I think this was the most valuable thing which I got from Tartu.

Usually, when it comes to graduation time, students tend to feel lost, anxious, and devastated for not being sure about their future. What did you feel in the last year what it was your graduation time?

The graduation year was much more interesting and challenging for me. Thanks to Erasmus + program I took several internships, one in the research company and the second at the Tartu University. Since graduation, I changed several jobs in every field, from the private sector to public sector, from the university (academic position) to NGO. I am still exploring new opportunities. After graduation, I tried to use each and every opportunity find myself and the things I enjoyed in my career. The graduation is a time to explore yourself and try not to get lost or frustrated.

The real working life, full of challenges starts after the graduation. What were the opportunities you met after obtaining MA degree?
As I mentioned before, I did several internships in Estonia, Latvia, and Prague. But in all cases, the industries were absolutely different, for example, commercial bank, a research company and the university. After going back to my country, I started working at the research NGO, later moved to National Bank of Georgia and currently, I’m working at the research company. All these happened in less than two years. I enjoyed the process of exploring the opportunities and different challenges. Find the job that suits you an important task and everyone should approach it wisely.

Every year, a lot of freshmen come to Tartu, who need an advice from experienced Alumni. What would you suggest to the new and current students of the university?
My suggestion would be to use all the resources and opportunities. The University of Tartu has a huge capacity to provide such opportunities. You should use Erasmus and Erasmus +  because this is a unique chance to examine yourself. After graduation never focus on only a very narrow specialization, think broad and have vision.

And finally, what do you think your life would be without studying in Tartu?
It is kind of easy question thanks to all my friends. When I decided to go to Tartu, many of my friends continued their studies in Georgia in a very similar program MA in Economics. Currently, I and my friends are working in the same research company, more or less with the similar academic knowledge, but from my point of view, the main difference between us is exactly the experience which I got in Tartu. Tartu was a memorable and interesting chapter of my life, full of joy, pleasant experiences and unforgettable people. I’m happy I made a right decision and connected my life with Tartu.