Elin Colmsjö and Mahmoud Hajo receive 2020 thesis award


Elin Colmsjö
Mahmoud Hajo

The Swedish-Russian Chamber of Commerce in collaboration with the Institute for Russian and Eurasian Studies (IRES) at Uppsala University annually awards an essay scholarship of SEK 25,000. In accordance with this, the jury, after careful consideration, has decided to appoint Elin Colmsjö and Mahmoud Hajo as the recipients of 2020 award. The title of the winning essay is “Determinants of Foreign Direct Investments in the Former Soviet States. Enhancing real development: Optimizing the strategies”.

Motivation of the jury: "The essay – which builds on a solid theoretical as well as empirical basis - deals with an area of central interest and importance to the members of the Chamber: foreign direct investment in states of the former Soviet Union. The essay analyses and explains the determinants of foreign direct investment in the former Soviet region, thereby providing useful information regarding factors to take into account when contemplating investments in the area"

Both Elin and Mahmoud hold a bachelor degree in economics from Uppsala University and are currently pursuing master’s studies. Elin is studying economics and finance at Copenhagen Business School (CBS), while Mahmoud is a second year student at the Master's Program in Russian and Eurasian Studies at Uppsala University. We have interviewed Elin and Mahmoud about the scholarship and their future plans.

Hi Elin and Mahmoud! Congratulations with the award! How does it feel?
Elin & Mahmoud: Hi! Thank you so much! This is wonderful news!

What is your thesis about?

Elin & Mahmoud: The thesis mainly examines which state characteristics have influenced the inflow of foreign direct investment in the 15 former Soviet states between 1995-2016. The state conditions that are examined include institutions and policies, political risk, trade, market size (GDP), human capital and infrastructure in these countries. The thesis also discusses the role of natural resources when it comes to attracting direct investment from abroad, and compares the importance of these in relation to a growing service or manufacturing sector.

How to write a winning thesis? What is the secret?

Elin & Mahmoud: The winning concept for an essay probably looks very different depending on the person. For us, it was important to work on a topic that we were both socially interested in, namely how economic, political and social conditions in the former Soviet states have affected the economic interests of foreign actors in the countries. Being able to investigate this by applying different models and learning about econometric methods along the way was a bonus!

What are your future plans?

Elin: I currently live in Copenhagen and have one year left on my master's program "Advanced Economics and Finance" at Copenhagen Business School (CBS). I hope to pursue doctoral studies in macroeconomics with the focus on the interaction between financial and economic systems in emerging economies.

Mahmoud: I am an intern at the Swedish Chamber of Commerce in London. Next fall, I will be back in Sweden to complete my master's degree at IRES and to write my master's thesis, which will hopefully be continuation of the bachelor’s thesis. After that, the plan is to work with Swedish-Russian trade relations in one way or another.

Are you our next thesis award winner? More information about the scholarship and how to apply can be found here.

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Last modified: 2022-02-02