People very often face a common problem after university. They do not know what they want to be and do next. Someone just goes freelance, and becomes a paper writer or manager, for example. And someone goes to get a second degree to get a dream job.
We talked to three graduates of the International Institute of Economics and Finance who knew where and why to go, took everything from their education, and landed their dream job after graduation.
I went to high school in physics, and I knew for sure I didn’t want to be a physicist or an engineer. Mathematics and English were my best subjects. But in 2008, there were few universities or programmes that combined the opportunity to do both. In Russia, for some reason it is assumed that you know either one or the other. It is not implied that you can be interested in both mathematics and languages. MIEF, then not such a famous and big department, was advised to me by my father. And it was a good answer to my request.
The Russian undergraduate degree at the IIEF lasts four years, and the British one lasts three. So the first year you study only on the Russian program, and from the second year you become a student on the London program as well, then you finish them simultaneously.
Study in English 100% in accordance with the materials and textbooks that are used in any of the leading international universities as far as finance and economics are concerned.
Students take the final session according to the system developed by the London School of Economics. In fact, the exam is conducted by representatives from London, who have nothing to do with the IIEF, they bring special forms – exactly the same as at the University of London. It turns out that the assignments are accepted by independent observers according to British standards and there is not the slightest possibility of showing any bias or allow personal relationships to influence the assessment of knowledge.
Even when I was about to apply to the IIEF, I thought it would be great to continue my studies in a Western master’s program. Our institute is such a springboard, it is much easier to start, and then it is easier to adapt to the Anglo-Saxon system. That is why after the IIEF I went straight to the master’s program at the London Business School, where I already applied to the big three consulting companies and had my first interview with McKinsey.
For the second round of interviews the company invited me to Moscow. For me that was just wow: I realized that there were firms that really cared about those who could potentially join them. Interestingly, I only learned about consulting itself as a profession in the department. MIEF was considered a target for it, and I was always pleased to see guys who graduated from it, too.
In general, you constantly notice IIEF graduates not only in the professional environment, but also in life in general. There’s a click of recognition: “Oh! That’s ours!” When I was in graduate school in London, we had a community of about 40 people. Everyone helped each other, solved various issues together, from everyday life to finding a job, thanks to which you never felt lonely or abandoned in a foreign land.
That works now, too. Many of my friends are IIEF graduates, and all communicate with each other, even if they live abroad.
MIEF is an institute that, on the basis of the Higher School of Economics, launched in 1997 a two-degree program with the University of London, and became the first conductor of British educational standards in economics and finance in Russia.
The students who graduate from IIEF receive two diplomas at once: from the University of London and NIU HSE. In 2007 MIEF jointly with London School of Economics opened a Master’s program. Today the Institute has more than 1,000 students and 1,700 graduates, and all full-time faculty members hold international PhD degrees from the world’s leading universities.
“The mix of academic and business knowledge is what I was taught at the university, and it helps me in my work.”
Yegor Krivosheya, Head of Research at Skolkovo-RESH Center for Research in Financial Technologies and Digital Economy
I chose my university consciously in the 10th grade, when I became interested in economics. I was looking for departments in Russia, which will help to develop in this direction, and I saw that the MIEF has a two-degree program. Just the mix of international education and the Russian context, which I was looking for and wanted to use in my life. I talked to graduates and got good feedback.
With each course I realized more and more that the IIEF gives fundamental knowledge. It helps to develop in different areas. Then I had to figure out how and where to apply this knowledge and what my career options were.
I looked at investment banking, consulting, an academic career and finally realized that some parts of these areas I would like to combine.
At the end of my studies there was a period when I tried to apply to international academic programs, but it didn’t work out. I started looking for something in Russia and found the Skolkovo Business School, where in 2014 a center was formed that worked at the intersection of academic research, business consulting, and more applied research. At the time, it was called the Department of Finance, Payments, and E-Commerce. I was one of its first staff members. I was faced with the task of combining these worlds.
The MIEF helped me in this, where they always told us that there was a foundation that academics gave, but there were also lecturers and seminarians, ordinary people “from business”. They were always able to explain how concepts and ideas could be applied in real life. Besides, in the department I learned to quickly understand new tasks and problems, so that after a couple of days I could support a conversation with an expert.
In my studies and work I have always been supported by IIEF alumni, and this support works in several directions at once. The first is mentoring for students. The essence is that an IIEF alumnus becomes a mentor for today’s student and helps him with some issues that he himself encountered. The second is a regular meeting of graduates and students, the department constantly holds various events, such as “Alumni Anti-Conference”, open days, workshops and lectures, etc.
Almost every such event is attended by at least several alumni who willingly talk about their experiences, and it gives an applicant an idea of how IIEF education is applied in the real world, what steps to take during studies to build a career, and how to make connections in the industry. The IIEF community is a force.
“While studying, the internationality feels very strong.”
I had several hobbies in school. One of them was chess, which I seriously pursued until I was about 11. I was faced with the choice of whether to go into this sport further. Thanks to my parents for not pushing me, but in my own language they tried to explain to me what it meant to play chess professionally. From what they told me I understood that I wasn’t ready to devote my whole life to it. I also liked mathematics, but it seemed somehow impractical. My third interest was economics, which my dad introduced me to. I participated and won in competitions. Then came the understanding of how and where to go.
I chose the IIEP because it provided two diplomas at once, one of which was international. In addition, many of my friends from Olympiads went there, so that confidence in the choice strengthened. Today IIEF is already a brand, and it is often enough to say that you graduated to be called for an interview and be seen in a completely different light.
The international nature of the department is felt very strongly in the process of study. You study both the London curriculum and the Russian one, and you take exams in both of them. Teaching is in English, you can’t avoid an English-speaking teacher. Students have the opportunity to transfer to a similar program directly at a London university. Some of my MIEF colleagues decided to sacrifice their Russian diploma – and when you transfer, you only get a British degree in the final round – and transfer. As, by the way, so do many of the IIEF graduates in general.
IIEF tries very hard to make sure that alumni maintain relationships with current students, because they better feel and understand the problems of both freshmen and fourth-year students. Many come in and teach full courses or single topic lectures. But the most important thing is that there is always an opportunity to then go up to a person and ask them directly what they do, what their day consists of, and to hear the whole truth about the profession you are thinking about for yourself.