Matěj Adámek: Academic Portfolio

Collection of subject reflections, writings, and other works from Mattved's academic journey. Some pieces are simplistic in nature but keeping them is the only way to see improvement and learn from it. Other pieces, I am proud of and happy to present to anyone who might find them useful. Standard academic license applies.

Introduction

Welcome to my academic portfolio where I publish and reflect on work from each individual module taken here at the Plymouth University.

I have decided to leave my home country, the Czech Republic, in order to achieve a valuable degree in Economics, as the current academic state of Economics there follows methods of learning highly successful in a group of scientific disciplines, which never have or never will contain Economics.

Reason for my choice of this subject is, to surprise of many, not my attraction to money but my lifelong obsession with human reasoning massively reflected in the rational choice models.

Despite considering a career path in teaching, my decision on choice of masters degree ended up being Econometrics and Operations Research course at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam. One of the factors helping me decide was the Employers Mentoring Program provided at the University of Plymouth during year 2, in particular the sessions shared with my mentor Helen Simmonds. Secondly, a rather solidifying factor has been the Summer Internship Programme at Ahold Czech Republic, a major retail business, where I have embarked onto a further journey in this field. In addition, a reason of convenience - brexit - was added to the mix.

Final GPA: 74.73

Final Degree class: 1st

Year 1: The fight for sanity

Thoughts of a freshman studying BSc Economics at the University of Plymouth with reflections on individual subjects.

Year 1: The fight for sanity

Year 1 Introduction

Although first year was very hard from both personal and academic perspective, I managed to achieve great marks and receive a distinction in form of being featured on Dean's list of academic achievement. Despite the fact that it made me proud, I don't forget that more than half of the way is still in front of me and that I'll still need to push borders of my abilities.
This year, I have arrived to the United Kingdom on a coach, managed to get over the cultural shock, made money to partially cover my rent, and survived being underpaid by GBP 500 right before Christmas. I even managed to advance to national finals of the Unilever Future Leaders' League.
All of this with an untreated mental health condition, in my own isolation, without making friends. Thanks to one person who helped me to deal with all of this over Skype, I have not given up. Thank you, Sára.
Finally, before the start of the next year, I have secured position as a Bloomberg ambassador as well as a PALS leader. Additionally, I have started a process of psychotherapy and medication for my condition. All these factors have contributed to my final decision to stay here in Plymouth for year 2.

Year 1 modules

Overall GPA:  81.93

The Ursae do not know fear.

- Volibear, League of Legends Champion

Year 1: The fight for sanity

ECN1005 - Contemporary Economics

Description

A basic introductory module aimed at making students realize what economics as a subject is and why we study it. Demonstration of basic micro and macroeconomic concepts. Introduction of models and ways of relating them to the real-world scenarios.

Personal Rating

2/4

Reflection

Personally, this module did not make me more more interested in economics as a subject. Although the lectures were very enriching and gave me a great deal of ideas on where the studies will take me, I was rather bored working on the coursework, for which I have received an expected grade in the range of 2:2 degree. This made me rather disappointed with myself and to be honest, I am glad it has passed.

Grade Composition

Task Weight Grade
Participation 0.7 100
Video 0.3 55
Total 1.0 69

Coursework

Year 1: The fight for sanity

ECN1006 - Principles of Economics A

Description

Introductory module in Microeconomics, introducing the concept of rational choice and its relation to the perfect competition market. It included tutorials in basic mathematics in order to facilitate students' ability to analyze models mathematically. The assessment included an exam and an essay on the rational choice of a firm choosing between production factors, using concept of cardinal utility.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

After the ECN1005 module, which I was not happy about, this module was a very positive experience, as it finally outlined a model properly and enabled me to think about the concepts and start to relate them properly to reality. The exam was fairly easy. The assessed essay was on the other hand quite challenging, and although I was not too happy with what I have submitted, I enjoyed doing it and benefited greatly. Despite this, however, I was very happy with my grades.

Universal skills gained

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Attendance 0.1 100
Essay 0.4 84
Exam 0.5 89
Total 1.0 88

Coursework

Determining the Cost Function
download PDF

Year 1: The fight for sanity

ECN1000PP - Economics Plymouth Plus

Description

Full title of the subject was Economics: a Social Science for the 21st Century. It focused on learning about and applying the UN Sustainable Development Goals to chosen analytical and economic frameworks in order to make a snapshot assessment of current situation related to certain issue and potentially offer solutions.
Students worked in teams in order to produce a presentation about their issue of concern and proposed solution. Then, they worked individually on a more profound piece of writing outlining their personal view using a well resourced argument.

Personal Rating

Although the group work did not go entirely as one would want, we (I) have achieved a rather interestingly composed framework of assessing issues of countries of the whole world, based on data from World Bank and the Hunger Index.
I did learn a lot while taking this module and I am glad that I had the chance to take it, although at times, I felt negatively about critical feedback I have sometimes received.

Universal skills gained

Reflection

After the ECN1005 module, which I was not happy about, this module was a very positive experience, as it finally outlined a model properly and enabled me to think about the concepts and start to relate them properly to reality. The exam was fairly easy. The assessed essay was on the other hand quite challenging, and although I was not too happy with what I have submitted, I enjoyed doing it and benefited greatly. Despite this, however, I was very happy with my grades.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Presentation 0.1 100
Report 0.9 87
Total 1.0 88

Coursework

Designing a Model to Classify Economies by Level of Satisfaction of Deficiency Needs in Order to Monitor Accomplishment of Sustainable Development Goals


download PDF download BIB

Year 1: The fight for sanity

ECN1007 - Principles of Economics B

Description

Module introducing students to Macroeconomics, explaining difference between micro and macro. Two key models introduced were Keynesian income-expenditure model and the AS-AD model. Finally, it was explained how data is used in macroeconomics and basics of data analysis were presented to us.

Personal Rating

3/4

Reflection

Lectures were very inspiring and interesting, although the form differed among lecturers. I did not like the timing of the lecture as I was very sleepy most of the time. Nevertheless, I enjoyed them mostly. My favorite part was the macro data analysis, for which coursework also had to be submitted. I think I have done it right, although I felt I could've invested more time into it

Universal skills gained:

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Attendance 0.1 100
Report 0.4 72
Exam 0.5 73
Total 1.0 75

Coursework

Relationship Between Disposable Income and Consumption Expenditure
download PDF download BIB

Year 1: The fight for sanity

ECN1008 - Economics in Action

Description

The purpose of this module seemed to be giving students an ideas on how research of academics works and how they approach it. Three lecturers have presented the essential basics of their research topic and enriched us with an up-to-date information on given issue.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

From this module, I have taken one main thing, which is that no matter what my research topic is, I have to be passionate about it. And it might be one of the main motivators, which make me even consider doing a PhD. These lecturers have inspired me strongly. Although I was not well during the time of this module, I always looked forward to the next lecture and, with exception of one where I fell asleep, have enjoyed them.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Attendance 0.1 100
Essay: Betting 0.4 80
Essay: Development, Banking 0.5 81
Total 1.0 83

Coursework

Banker’s strategy in the television show “Deal or No Deal”
download PDF download BIB

Comparison of Inequality Using Lorenz Curve and Gini Coefficient; Role of Central Bank in an Economy
download PDF download BIB

Year 2: Hello, Life!

I reflect on what turned out to be the best year of my studies and life for long. BSc Economics at The University of Plymouth.

Year 2: Hello, Life!

Year 2 Introduction

Year 2 in Plymouth was both the reason and the result of the biggest turnover in my life so far. And it was a good one. Job experience over the summer as well as generous help of my parents enabled me to arrive to the UK with prepaid rent for the whole year and 100% of my focus could be put into my studies and more importantly into the quality of my life.
I have become a PALS leader, continued being a Bloomberg Ambassador, met the best roommates I have ever had, worked on dealing with my BPD, joined the International Student Support Group, where I even met a girl with whom I have discovered new perspective and a way of life.
I also completed my Plymouth Award portfolio, making myself ready for its submission in the year to come.
Despite the fact that my grade point average went down by 2.5%, I am far more satisfied with myself and the way I live my life, while still aiming at first class degree.

Year 2 Modules

Overall GPA: 79.53

You gotta do what you gotta do.

Turanga Leela, Captain and pilot of the Planet Express delivery ship

Year 2: Hello, Life!

ECN2005 - Econometrics

Description

A module introducing students to the more profound analysis of data, using SPSS and GRETL. Firstly, lectures on the mathematical concepts behind statistics were given, then a cross-section data analysis formed a major part of the module. Finally, time series analysis was explored. The lectures were accompanied with weekly tutorials, for which homework assignments were required and further practical exercises were done with the help of lecturers.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

I think I have done well on this module and my grade is corresponding. Not only have I managed to excel in terms of participation and the time series coursework, but I also managed to get a decent grade from the cross-sectional analysis. I am happy to have learned this much from the module and I genuinely think that the knowledge will be applied in my future works. Thank you humbly, Dr. Brand.

Grade Composition

Task Weight Grade
Homework 0.1 100.00
Report: Cross Section 0.3 78.00
Exercise: Time Series 0.6 93.30
Total 1.0 84.70

Coursework

Determinants of BMI and Obesity in England
download PDF download BIB

Time Series Analysis Course Work
download PDF

Year 2: Hello, Life!

ECN2006 - Microeconomics

Description

This module covered the model of intertemporal choice and game theory. Multiple scenarios for Oligopoly market and decision making therein were studied. In fortnightly tutorials, questions for the final exam were practiced.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

I enjoyed this module, mostly thanks to its content, which mostly consisted of mathematical models I personally enjoy playing with. Both Alex Haupt And Ranía Naguib provided interesting lectures easy to pay attention to and the tutorials came very helpful in preparation for the exam.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Homework 0.1 100.00
Essay 0.4 88.00
Exam 0.5 75.00
Total 1.0 82.50

Coursework

Intertemporal Choice
download PDF download BIB

Year 2: Hello, Life!

ECN2009 - Economic Perspectives

Description

Subject providing us, students of Plymouth University with something students of other institutions may not be ever told. Andrew Hunt and Neil Smith have composed a very useful set of lectures and exercises on discovery of ways of thinking, which were historically developing in the field of Economics.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

One of the subjects, where most educated people could enjoy any lecture, regardless of their background. Even sociologists. The lectures were fast paced, yet well designed and gave a good insight into how the field evolved. Aside from this, it involved enormous amount of reading, which I approve of, yet must say that it was not the easiest thing to do, as It did take far more time than anticipated and the actual writing of anything other than notes was mostly compressed into two consecutive nights prior to the noon of coursework submission.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Literature Review 0.5 86
Competing Perspectives 0.5 73
Total 1.0 80

Coursework

Returns to Education Across the Wage Distribution
download PDF download BIB

Fluctuations in real GDP according to New Keynesian and post-Keynesian economic models
download PDF download BIB

Year 2: Hello, Life!

SPNX02 - Spanish 2

Description

Second year of Spanish course aiming at reaching A2/B1 level of CEFR. Although mostly based on self study and diligent practice, this module provided sessions, which helped those participating advance in their efforts. Homework was also highly useful way of forcing oneself into further progression.

Personal Rating

3/4

Reflection

I did not put as much effort into this subject as I did into Spanish 1. The content being harder and pace faster was not the reason, though. Other subjects were. Now I seem like one of these people who consider languages to be the helpline subject. I know that it is not true and cannot emphasize the importance of languages in today's world.


I like Spanish. Much like cheese. It is a dynamic language, easy to pronounce for somebody with Czech as native language. It is third most used language in the world and gives access to many online resources.


My biggest complication, while studying it, was ironically prior knowledge of French, which I don't even like anymore. Not that it wouldn't be useful or anything. It's just not as nice.


For the next year, though, I am not taking the advanced module, because I will need to put time into my dissertation and my attitude would probably suffer anyway.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Exam 1 0.25 74
Listening 0.25 96
Exam 2 0.25 78
Speaking 0.25 71
Total 1.0 80
Year 2: Hello, Life!

ECN2011 - Financial Economics

Description

This module was split into two parts, both of which were focused on calculations related to financial markets, investment and equity.

The first part focused on valuation of assets and investment projects in general terms. It was mathematically heavier, but contained some theories on risk attitudes.


The second part was in its beginning outlining reverse assessment of influence among individual shares and in the further lectures focused on derivatives markets, most specifically on futures markets.

Personal Rating

1/4

Reflection

I enjoyed the mathsy part of this as a very useful practice of equation notation in LaTeX and generally enjoyed the work. Nevertheless, the lectures were rather fast-paced and the formulae needed further interpretation in the self-study time.
Regarding the second part, I was present in the first two lectures and eventually struck by couple of factors not related to the content, which made me withdraw my attendance completely, finish the coursework and fly on. Shame. The topic was fairly interesting.

 

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Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Attendance 0.10 75.0
Valuation Exercise 0.45 85.5
Futures Portfolio Assessment 0.45 73.0
Total 1.00 75

Coursework

Financial Economics Course Work 1
download PDF download BIB

Trading Futures
download PDF download BIB

Year 2: Hello, Life!

ECN2012 - Macroeconomics

Description

Intermediate macroeconomic theory was covered in this module, starting from the three equation models and debt dynamics presented by Dr Fangya Xu. Andrew Hunt then continued and provided a well delivered derivation of growth models as well as economic cycle theory.

Coursework consisted of examination of anchored expectations IS-PC-MR model and a case study on a period of significant disinflation, which could very well be conducted using a time series analysis.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

With rising difficulty of models we were dealing with, I was alternating between excitement and helplessness. Thankfuly, Geogebra once again helped me understand everything adequatly, which lead to an exam mark just above the threshold of the feasable level. This, nevertheless occured in spite of setbacks in the process of preparation for it in the last days.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Attendance 0.1 100
Essay 0.4 74
Exam 0.5 62
Total 1.0 71

Coursework

Cost of Disnflation: Case Study for Canada
download PDF download BIB

Year 3: The Finish Line

Reflection on my personal journey through last year of my BSc studies at The University of Plymouth.

Year 3: The Finish Line

Year 3 Intro

Turns out that even when all goes well in life, things can tilt in a matter of weeks in a pretty quick manner. Moving in with people exxibiting nightlife and drug-friendly attitude put a lot of pressure on me. I locked myself away from people and struggled overall, especially around deadlines. I even gained some weight and felt messed up throughout.

Nevertheless, at least during the first semester, I managed to continue running PALS on a voluntary basis, after a cut in funding of the Economics department, succesfully completed most tasks at grades not reducing my GPA by too much, and kind of managed to pass through it all.

I applied for a masters degree in Econometrics and Operations Research at Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, to which I was admitted and managed to meet the head of European Not for Resale Sourcing in the corporate group I work for. Therefore, my prospects are higher than they were last year, but I felt more like crap throughout.

Thankfuly, I will work part-time over the summer and therefore will be able to use a decent amount of time for rest and sport. Compensate for the negatives of this year and hopefuly move on to another, possibly the last one in academia for a while.

Year 3 Modules

Overall GPA: 70.87

No matter where you go, there you are.

Confucius

Year 3: The Finish Line

ECN3015 - Practical Economic Modelling

Description

Advaced module in Econometrics, which had introduced us to Logit models, MonteCarlo simulation techniques, as well as basic optimization constraints. Tutorials were run weekly and mostly consisted of discussion of matters related to coursework problems, although few introductory lecture-like sessions were provided. Because of the number of students attending, the atmosphere was peaceful and connection with the lecturer easier than it is usual.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

The major problem of this module was timing of submissions. I know it is more a problem of my time management skills, but splitting the submission deadlines into multiple dates would help me achieve far better grades. Owing to this module, I managed to communicate with my dissertation supervisor more easily, which came handy near the deadline of the proposal. I unfortunately managed to tear off this connection when the module ended. I terms of what I learned, I am satisfied and ready to make my chances with even more econometric and data science techniques. Oh! And I used R for all tasks herein.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Reflection 0.2 20.0
DEA 0.3 55.0
LOGIT 0.5 80.0
Total 1.0 69.5

Coursework

Effects of Age, Income, Hours Worked, and Demographic Variables on Life Satisfaction Level in the Population of United Kingdom
download PDF download BIB

UK Passenger Airlines: DEA
download PDF download BIB

Practical Economic Modelling: Reflective essay
download PDF download BIB

Year 3: The Finish Line

ECN3017 - International Economics

Description

More macroeconomics, now concerned with theory of international trade and globalization, solidifying the knowledge through techniques of international finance. Combining both orthodox and heterodox perspectives on theoretical side of things were thought provoking lectures of Neil Smith, related to the coursework on Dyson electric vehicle production plans and potential FDI opportunities. Fangya Xu then presented mathematical framework extending IS-LM model as well as mathematical tools useful to understanding of trade dynamics.

Personal Rating

2/4

Reflection

Okay. This module, especially the exam, came in one of the most critical periods. And despite all the excuses I could put here, I admit I messed up. Nothing less and nothing more. Although I enjoyed writing the essay, which did resulted in decent mark, the exam was a perfect demonstration of the fact that all students have their weaker days. I really only revised the night before the exam, went to bed at 9am, seeking 3 hours of sleep right before the exam. Overslept. Got up 2 minutes into the sitting time, and slowly went to the venue. Just fitting the 30-minute delay threshold pertmitting me to still attend, I opened the question paper aaaaaand... my mind went basically blank. Thankfully, I won some points. And I am glad that I didn't resit.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Essay 0.5 75.0
Exam 0.5 44.0
Total 1.0 59.5

Coursework

Dyson Electric Vehicle Production Plan
download PDF download BIB

Year 3: The Finish Line

ECN3020 - Economics Project

Description

A dissertation module, mainly based on self-led research, with a dissertation supervisor at hand. I had chosen to write an econometrics-heavy report on Economic Convergence of Post-Communist Countries toward Western Europe.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

I should have been meeting my supervisor more often. Because although I am absolutely happy with the final grade, being slightly over the first-class threshold, it could have been far easier to make it there. This way, it took an enormous amount of chocolate and... two consecutive allnighters.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Proposal 0.3 70
Dissertation 0.7 78
Total 1.0 76

Coursework

Project Proposal
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Economic Convergence of Post-Communist Nations Toward Western Europe
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Year 3: The Finish Line

ECN3018 - Economic Growth and Development

Description

Alberto Basso and his set of lectures prepared to a high degree of perfection had shown us the most recent trend in one of the essential fields of Economics. Expanding on top of Solow and Romer model and introducing growth accounting, this module equipped us with a great amount of knowledge and abilities related to the topic.

Personal Rating

4/4

Reflection

Certainly the best elective there is on the course. Well prepared and well set-out. Although I did struggle to fully comprehend the question of second assignment, I managed to achieve mark of 74, which helped my self-perception to strenghten.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Exercise 0.5 76
Essay 0.5 74
Total 1.0 74

Coursework

Exercise
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How Economic and Political Institutions can Affect Economic Growth
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Year 3: The Finish Line

STO301 - Operations Management for Competitive Advantage

Description

A management module, structured and taught differently than most of economics modules.

Personal Rating

3/4

Reflection

Although I haven't attended the prerequisite module, I scored an overall average of 70, receiving a first class mark in the module. I did generally understand all the topics clearly and feel I have the type of reasoning well applicable to the field. Learning terminology and stratification of various operational as well as strategic activities going on across firms only improved this ability, increasing my employability in the corporate sector.

Grading Composition

Task Weight Grade
Portfolio 0.5 68
Exam 0.5 72
Total 1.0 70

Coursework

Statistical Process Control; McDonald’s Performance Objectives Report; Reflection
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Plymouth Award

In addition to completing the Economics course, I have also sucessfuly completed the Plymouth Award personal development programme. Entire portfilio related to this activity is available here, for the time being.