Why are some countries so rich and others so poor? And what can economic policy do to change that? How did the ten most innovative economies in the world become such? What forces – social, economic, political, even cultural – might explain the differences in growth rates and income levels observed around the world? Does bad geography condemn certain countries to remain poor? How from a casino hotspot Singapore became a vibrant innovation hub? What helped China become the best copycat and start outrunning other economic leaders? For the past 12 years the Center for Economic Strategy and Competitiveness (CESC) in Sofia, affiliated to the Institute of Competitiveness at Harvard Business School, is shedding light on these topics.
This March the Sofia University becomes the host of a specialized economic course, focused on economic policy development and macroeconomics. All topics and cases that will be discussed are part of the regular HBS curriculum. Applications are open until February 29th. The course starts on March 5th.
Raising a nation
The course is called Raising a Nation (RAN) and is the second part of the so-called Harvard courses. Traditionally conducted in spring, it explores why there are some countries rich and others poor, and what economic policy could do to change this. The large disparity in income levels that exists between First World and Third World countries stands as one of the most compelling and important questions for the economics profession, and also for the course.
The first part of the Harvard courses is called MOC, which stands for Microeconomics of Competitiveness and basically explores economic clusters. The MOC course focuses on the sources of national or regional productivity, which are rooted in the strategies and operating practices of locally based firms, the vitality of clusters, and the quality of the business environment in which competition takes place.
How to apply and what to expect
The application for RAN requires proficiency in English, submission of a recent CV, an academic transcript from all completed or enrolled college and university programs, and a short essay. The essay is sort of a motivation letter of up to 350 words on the topic “What are your career aspirations? How will the Center’s program in economic development help you achieve them?”
Every year, the CESC team selects up to 40 best students to offer them a free of charge economic training. The selected participant will be announced on March 4th. The course is led by HBS graduate and serial entrepreneur Kiril Petkov, Harvard Economic School graduate and former Minister of Economy Assen Vassilev, and Daniel Lorer, partner at BrightCap Ventures. The classes, which are taking place every Tuesday and Thursday at Sofia University are also open to guest listeners.
Usually, оnly around one-third of the students graduate from the course. Both MOC and RAN classes are discussion-oriented and require solid literature preparation, shows the syllabuss.