Jakub Kučerák studied at Gymnázium Jura Hronca in Bratislava, where he also successfully completed International Baccalaureate Diploma program (that is two-year long program for high school students finished by an international graduation IB. He started to like economy at the beginning of his high school years, when he participated in debate competitions or in seminars. He thinks that his participation in International Economics Olympiad was an amazing opportunity to train analytical thinking in economic context.
How did you like today?
What I really enjoyed is that we could come to Prague for free, have a nice hotel and most importantly visit Česká národní banka, because It is opulent building filled with history. And I was able to win, so I am very happy with today. The questions were in my opinion nicely structured and much better that the ones at Slovak’s state school system. There was much more argumentation in the questions we had today, not much theory, which I do appreciate.
What do you think about the way we tested students; does it suit you?
When I am writing a test, I know, that I have to recall the information, which I had read in an magazine yesterday, or the day before or when I was reading the last Economist, because I want to describe everything precisely and up to date. Majority of schools focuses just on theory, fortunately I had an international system of education, which really made a difference and It made me ready for this competition. The way of testing is perfect in my opinion, because of the argumentation, orientation on the real world or the examples. Personally, I would do more questions where you can quantify, if somebody had good answers or not.
What does the victory mean to you? Do you think that you can get somewhere you normally would not be able to get?
I hope somebody will maybe appeal to me. Before I participated in this competition, I did not know that It is such a prestigious thing. I personally enjoyed it a lot. I was not trying to get to university, because I was already accepted. I hope in some point in my life It will help me somehow. Because of the me being 4. in Slovak national round in Economics Olympiad I got an internship at the Ministry of Economy. It is an amazing competition, many people participated, and it is really prestigious.
Was it hard for you to be tested in English?
It is a paradox but although being Slovak, I like speaking English more. I pronounce better in English which I am glad for. English sounds better to me and I can articulate and pronounce better in this language. I studied economy in English at my high school, so for me It was not really a big difference.
How were you preparing for the International Economics Olympiad?
I had read a 300 pages book about Economic history and I read a magazine Trend, which I have won in the national final round. Apart from that I read Economist regularly.
What would you say to the students who are thinking about participating in Economics Olympiad?
For everybody who is currently studying in a normal school system It is large step forward. You will learn how to thing outside of the school outline and why do we study economy – the real stuff. It is important to connect these things together. And it is does not require working hard, you just click the answers online in a few minutes. In my opinion It is very nice activity which will bring you joy and new knowledge.
What university did you choose?
I am going to study in England, at University of Warwick. It is one of the best schools to study Economy in the UK. I will study pure Economy, so there will be a lot of history and math. We will see how much will I enjoy it.
Which part of Economy do you like the most?
For the last few years I have built a strong relationship towards Economy. At my high school we were doing a lot of math outside of the normal school outline and It really fascinated me how much I can do or count afterwards. This made me decide to applicate math on Economy and focus on economic models and data.
Do you know what would you like to do as a job after university?
I would like to do 2 things – finance and asset price analysis (where to invest and or not) like PwC Mergers & Acquisitions does. I could use my math knowledge and work in a private sector or state sector. After that I would like to come back to Slovakia and work at Ministry of Economy, where I had an Internship for 3 months, so I know what they do. I hope that after working abroad I will have enough to offer back in Slovakia.