Alumni about the Programme
Major company in Brussels, Graduated from Strategic Corporate Finance in 2018
The Strategic Corporate Finance program has quite an intense curriculum. I liked it is because I found it to be very balanced in the sense that it combined quite a lot of disciplines, so you start on the first semester with the economic theory so my microeconomics and macroeconomics which was nevertheless very useful courses.
It is a very balanced curriculum, I think there is a good focus on hard skills as I said mathematics, econometrics, programming are those I consider for hard skills. But when you go into a company it is a very social environment, I think a lot of the people that they do career fast are people that they can also sell themselves very well, they can present themselves well, they can explain some of the complicated ideas. Some of the complicated numbers or analysis and to kind of translate it in an actionable way, let us say actionable strategies for companies. It is very important for me to combine the hard skills and the soft skill, the public speaking and presentation skills. The way the Strategic Corporate Finance program is designed there is a lot of analysis that needs to be done but at the same time at the end of the day you are also evaluated because of your presentation skills and you know your self-presentation. Read more >>>
Graduated from SCF program in 2010
5 years ago, in 2009 I made a decision to join the Strategic Corporate Finance master program in HSE. Now 5 years later, sitting in the HQ of Chemical business of AkzoNobel (Amsterdam, Netherlands) and making strategic decisions regarding the future of Industrial Salt business, I strongly believe it was the right choice.
Without any doubt HSE is the strongest financial school in Russia and Strategic Corporate Finance is one of the most challenging programs. Two main reasons to join the program were my genuine interest in how the business works and the possibility to receive very fundamental and generalist knowledge. Our lectures and workshops were led by best-in-class professors and industry experts; we were involved in numerous group case studies’ discussions and had access to corporate finance research lab. They say you can’t teach how to do business in universities, but if you don’t have a structure in your head you will never succeed in your career. We were taught how to think in all business dimensions: strategic and commercial choices, finance and investment decisions, modelling and statistical analysis, tax and legal aspects, etc. More important that these were not individual studies, you learn how to think systematically and you see interlinks between economy and industry, industry and business, and among different businesses. This hard knowledge always will be with you and this broad prospective is highly appreciated by employees.
And don’t forget that student life is about having fun. I was lucky to have the most bright and talented people as my co-students. Studying together, exchanging ideas and views, sharing professional and personal experience was priceless. Now they are very busy working as associates in top M&A banks, consultancies and real business, but first of all, they are just great friends and my safety net.
You will forget about some sleepless nights and difficult exams, however, for the rest of your life, you will have great friends and fundamental knowledge, so necessary in modern life.
Graduated from SCF program in 2010
For those interested in research students like me, the program offers a great opportunity to participate in the empirical projects within the Corporate Finance research lab. I completed my undergraduate studies also in the National University – Higher school of economics that provided me with sufficient training and facilitated my studies in the master program. However, those students who did not have the same background were not absolutely disadvantaged given the individual approach of a lecturer to each student. I enjoyed the creative and dynamic environment of the program that gave me an opportunity to participate in various master classes offered by well-known consulting firms. Prof. Irina Ivashkovskaya and her colleagues made me feel belong to the team and helped me to identify my strengths and weaknesses to succeed in my career endeavors in finance.
Graduated from SCF program in 2014
In 2012, I faced a difficult choice: to successfully continue an evolving career in marketing (without faith in what I'm doing), or quit and devote my life to the area that attracted me even at school.
"Strategic Corporate Finance" was the most interesting program recommended by my friends and respected resources. At that time, I was particularly impressed with the experience of the creator of the program, Irina Ivashkovskaya, by her publications, books, and lectures. In particular, the style of presenting the material that was clear and without useless excess information. This approach was reflected in the structure of the Master's program (selection of courses and their complementarity), which allowed me, a person without a basic economic / financial education, to quickly integrate into the educational process on par with fellow students. During the first year of training, I gained an understanding of the broad comprehensive framework in the field of Corporate Finance, Business Valuation, Financial Modeling, Risk Management, and of course Econometrics.
The program provides an opportunity for students to spend the second year abroad in respected universities in Europe. I was lucky enough to get to Lancaster University Management School that is considered as one of the top 5 business schools in the UK. The training system there was significantly different from the HSE, but this experience allowed me to acquire valuable skills and good friends in the world of finance.
I would like to express my deep gratitude to the teaching staff and program managers. My path in finance is just beginning, but the knowledge and skills, along with diplomas of two prestigious Universities, offer a truly exciting prospect. I sincerely wish to further develop the program, as there are a lot of economists / financiers but lack of professionals.
I personally had a great experience studying at the Strategic Corporate Finance program. There were four key elements that I've benefited from the most:
1. Courses and teaching approach
2. Career advising
3. Research advising
4. International programs
Firstly, the course load combines the essentials of any Master program, i.e. microeconomics, macroeconomics and econometrics taught at the highest level, with a wide range of corporate finance subjects. Valuation, corporate governance, venture capital, financial modelling, risk management - this is not a full list of areas you can study and practice here. And one of the most interesting and useful things for me was the teaching approach widely used throughout the program - group projects with a self-selected topic or object. It means that we were given a task to value a company or calculate its cost of capital or optimal capital structure and present our results, but we had to determine which company to study ourselves. So every group faced unique challenges caused by their own choice and had an opportunity to be creative - it was very interesting and gave us a glimpse of a real business task. Also I am very thankful for the so called adaptation courses, where you could get or refresh your knowledge of corporate finance and tune in for the rest of the program.
Secondly, I benefited from the advice given by faculty members and alumni regarding a potential career path: they are always happy to discuss existing possibilities, your personal preferences and inform you due to the established alumni network about open vacancies in the companies.
Thirdly, there is an opportunity to start working on your thesis from the very first semester - working at Corporate Finance Center (research lab at the department) gives you an opportunity and motivate you to communicate with your supervisor on a regular basis, discuss your questions with other members and get feedback on your work from other professors. For me this approach made the entire process of writing a thesis much easier and more interactive. I've enjoyed the process of academic research so much that I'm still working on a project in CFC and present our findings at academic conferences while working full-time in Investors relations department at OJSC Rostelecom.
And lastly, I am very thankful that there are several opportunities at SCF to get a double Master's degree by studying for one year in a European university. I have studied at Duisenberg School of Finance (DSF) in Amsterdam and had an internship there in ING. DSF provided me with a very exciting experience as I also studied corporate finance but with a slightly different focus and with some interesting law angle. In addition, DSF promoted and held special master-classes on developing skills essential for a job search: communication skills and "marketing yourself" skills that help to show your potential employer the best side of yourself in a CV, motivation letter, during a casual meeting or an interview.
Summing up, all the knowledge and experience that I've got studying at SCF helped me to build a perfectly suitable for me career path that included equity research, business valuation and investor relations.