Where did you get the idea to study Economics?
I chose my studies because I was interested in the current economic world. For anyone interested in the modern economic or political world, studying economics is of value in its own right and that definitely helped me in the choice of course. All the same, I chose to specialise in foreign trade, which is one of the best specialisations in the Faculty of Economics. The specialisation in finance that we have now, and in which I specialise, didn’t exist at the time. Foreign trade was my choice because the late Professor Edmund Pietrzak was there. I’d heard of him before and wanted to do my diploma under his supervision. These choices were well considered. The professor mapped out my first academic decisions on the MA thesis and he was the one who noticed that I had academic potential and all the decisions about the doctorate I also owe to him. He was a very inspiring figure of extraordinary intellect.
Do economists who work with theories have any influence on the actual economy of our country?
There are really wonderful people working here, who are engaged in projects at the local government and regional levels and who set out our developmental strategy. Here, our section is concerned with international finance. Not long ago I conducted a research project for the National Bank of Poland. Colleagues from the Faculty of Management and I won the project, which was carried out last year and the results have recently appeared. The principles you have to fulfil are, for example, that the National Bank needs this project if it is to implement its current policy or to develop its fiscal policy. So in this context it does have a bearing. We also teach subjects in our section which are vital to every company working in international trade. I’m sure many people know about the unrest surrounding the Swiss Franc and the trouble borrowers are in. Before that the problem was currency options which had a massive influence on companies’ financial status. This is what we teach, what risks different financial instruments bring with them. I think people who look at these problems during their studies are a little more cool about taking financial decisions in the future.
What are your own academic interests?
The research topic of my doctorate is still part of my academic work. I studied the integration of financial markets, meaning to what extent the EU’s financial markets are one market where the costs of financial instruments are similar and to what extent they are separate markets dominated by the individual conditions characteristic of a given country. I’m still watching what’s going on in that area. Now, I’ve become interested in the determinants of the cost of capital from an academic point of view. The percentages in any countries you chose will be different. I try to work out what this high percentage may depend on but also on what it will depend for particular financial instruments, such as government obligations and corporate actions or obligations.
You have a lot of awards for academic achievement under your belt.
I won the National Bank of Poland Prize for the best doctorate, which was a great distinction for me and increased my ambition for further research. I got interested in the contagion effect and the financial crisis. In the last year I was working on a project “Profitability Determinants for Treasury Bonds in Poland and Selected European States in Recent Years”. Professor Anna Zamojska from the Faculty of Management, who headed the project, Dr Marcin Kujawski also from the Faculty of Management and I investigated different types of factors that have an influence on the profitability of treasury bonds in Central and Eastern European states. It was a very interesting project both for us and I hope for anyone with an interest in the subject.
Do you use your knowledge of economics from day to day, in everyday situations, for example, when you encounter some abnormalities in the presentation of financial tools?
I always try to explain to students that the role of an economist after graduation is not only earning for yourself and working well in economic life but also teaching those who do not know how financial instruments should be used. I try to show them that decisions are often made in their families which are not beneficial, for example, in the type of investment fund, types of deposit or choice of loan. I can say that, when given the chance, I try to advise them what would be best in a given situation. It does happen that I will sometimes intervene at a bank counter when I hear that someone has not completely understood some small difference that might still be important in some banking services. I try not to exaggerate because not everyone likes people playing the know-it-all. I think the role of every individual with a degree in Economics in our very complicated world steeped in economics is to help people make the best choices possible.
Do you have a hobby you devote your free time to?
I really like doing sport, cycling – I can ride for hours, I like going to the gym and if I can find time, I spend a lot of time there. I’m a sporty woman, I can do a lot of press-ups, something I don’t think students know about me. I also have pets which need attention, a dog and two cats, so I have enough to do at home. If I find more time, the thing that interests me as a woman is fashion. I’ve liked sewing since childhood, I do a bit of designing, I’m always busy with something and if the chance arises, I’ll try something new.
Interview: Krzysztof Klinkosz
Photography: Piotr Pędziszewski