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Regular version of the site

‘ICEF Gave Me an Excellent Theoretical Grounding’

ICEF 2006 alumnus Yuri Kiselev is now head of debt capital markets in Russia and the CIS at Société Générale. In an interview for the ICEF website Yuri talked about his career and education in Russia and abroad.

— Yuri, tell us about yourself! How did your career develop after you finished your master’s?

— After I got my bachelor’s at ICEF HSE in 2006 I decided to do a master’s at the Cass Business School at City University in London. At the beginning of 2007 UBS offered me a permanent position as an analyst, bypassing the usual internship for young specialists. In 2009 I moved to VTB Capital who had started to build their own investment activities on the debt capital markets. After a year, I decided that I was more attracted to international banking and accepted an offer to go back to UBS as a senior manager. Four years later I joined the debt capital team at Citibank as vice president. But less than a year had passed when I found myself in talks about the job of director with Société Générale and finally took their offer which I’m very happy about. I like what I do and the team of people I work with.

— Let’s go back to how it all began. What attracted you to ICEF way back in 2002?

— Choosing where to go took more time than choosing what to study, but after I visited the HSE open day, all my doubts vanished. I liked the atmosphere in the institute, the teachers and the prospects which lay ahead for me there. I realised that HSE was the place I wanted to study.

As for choosing a faculty, first I was drawn to studying for a double diploma in English with London University which opened up opportunities for future study abroad. I don’t think I gave it a lot of thought in 2002. I decided to apply for a master’s when I was in the third year of my bachelor’s. I was lucky, ICEF offered all the opportunities for it, you just had to get good grades and I could afford to boast about mine.

— Cass Business School is one of the best and provides practical financial skills. Did you have trouble learning them?

— No, not at all. ICEF gave me an excellent theoretical grounding. I think that is the point of the bachelor’s degree - to get the fundamental knowledge. On the master’s you learn how to put that knowledge into practice. It’s an opportunity to get an idea of how to apply theory and also to do something completely new. It was gratifying to realise my schooling at ICEF made studying at Cass a lot easier for me than for many of my fellow students. 

— How did you decide what to do after your first degree?

— I looked at descriptions of universities, their position in the overall rankings, which were the more interesting and stronger faculties, professors and careers of alumni. I had offers from LSE and Imperial College Business School. But I chose Cass because all the teachers at the business school were working or retired bankers, investment managers, traders, etc, who teach on the basis of real examples from their personal experience in work. I was interested in that particular approach to teaching and it determined my choice of university. 

— What advice would you give to new ICEF graduates who want to continue their studies abroad?

— When you chose a university abroad, don’t just go by the overall ratings. Of course Oxford, Cambridge and LSE will always come up on the list. A lot of my ICEF classmates went to these undoubtedly excellent universities but they are not the only ones offering high quality education. When you are choosing, take a good look at the faculties and the knowledge that you expect to gain.   

If you know the subject you want to develop in, look at the ratings which evaluate the teaching staff and concrete specialisations and courses. A business school might not have the reputation of LSE for example but in disciplines required for jobs in specific areas, they sometimes provide better teaching. 

There are also a lot of other factors which can guide you in your choice. In my case, I wanted to study in London because I think it made job hunting more efficient. 

— You have worked in Russian, Swiss and American banks. Are they different?

— I can’t say much about Russian banks as I only worked in them at the beginning of my career when all my attention was focused on learning and not on what was good or bad.

As far as international banks go, I think that collective and corporate culture is more significant than the nationality of the bank. I like the expression, ‘better to be a big fish in a small pond than a little fish in a big one’. Everyone understands it in whatever way suits them.

— What would you wish a newly graduated ICEF alumnus?

— Less than 50 roubles to the dollar! But seriously, to find a job that they like. You can’t earn all of the money anyway but it’s nicer to go to work everyday in a good mood because you are doing the thing you love. Good luck!

Ekaterina Rylko, for ICEF HSE

See also:

When the Borders Are Closed, Study ‘Abroad’ in a Double Degree Programme

This year, alternatives to studying abroad are as relevant as never before. HSE University annually launches new joint programmes with world’s biggest universities. One of HSE’s oldest and most recognized double degree programmes is the ICEF bachelor’s programme, in which students can earn a degree not only from HSE University, but from the University of London as well. Below, we talk about the advantages of such a degree, career opportunities after graduation, and the programme prerequisites.

HSE ICEF Receives High Praise from University of London

The University of London (UoL) has completed the monitoring of the performance of Teaching Centres that operate under the Teaching Centres Recognition Framework. Upon consideration of the information gathered, the performance achieved by International College of Economics and Finance has been rated as excellent.

'ICEF’s Best-performing Students Show Top Level of Skills'

Is it difficult to enroll in a university abroad? Where do Russian students go wrong when they start an overseas training programme? Will artificial intelligence eventually replace humans in the domain of Finance? We talked to Dr. Georgy Chabakauri of The London School of Economics and ICEF International Academic Committee to get answers to these and many other questions.

HSE Endowment Fund to Include New Endowment Fund for ICEF

An Endowment for the Development of the International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) has been created within the HSE Endowment Fund to provide financial support for the ICEF’s long-term projects. Thanks to the endowment, the ICEF will also be able to direct more funds to research and expand the range of opportunities for the professional and personal growth of its students.

Graduates of HSE ICEF Receive Degrees in Ceremony at British Ambassador Residence

Graduates of HSE University’s International College of Economics and Finance (ICEF) traditionally receive their degrees against a backdrop of grand fireplaces, an oak staircase, and a balcony overlooking the Kremlin. This is because the ICEF holds its commencement ceremony at the British ambassador’s residence on the Sofiyskaya Embankment. And this is not by accident. Graduates of the ICEF’s bachelor’s programme receive two degrees from HSE and the University of London, respectively, while graduates of the ICEF’s Master’s Programme in ‘Financial Economics’ receive a degree from HSE and the London School of Economics. This year marked the ICEF’s 19th commencement ceremony.

Continuing Last Year’s Success at the Upcoming Conference in Applied Economics

The Second ICEF Conference in Applied Economics will be held at HSE University on September 14. The HSE News service spoke with organizers and participants about the upcoming full-day event, which features eight papers presented by renowned specialists from Russia and across Europe and concludes with an evening dinner.

'I Learn More from ICEF Students Than They Do from Me’

Olesya Kondrakhina, ICEF Principles of Accounting lecturer, Assistant Lecturer for the Management Accounting programme at the University of London and three-time winner of the Best Teacher award at ICEF, spoke on how to keep a lecture hall full of students interested in accounting, the latest technical tools in her arsenal and a childhood dream.

It’s Only the Beginning for the ICEF Graduates of 2018

On September 13, 230 graduates of ICEF-UoL Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes received their diplomas. The history of HSE's collaboration with the London School of Economics of the University of London spans more than 20 years and demonstrates the integral role that international cooperation between universities plays in academic, research, and cultural development. The graduates of 2018 are sure to continue this tradition.

'I Actively Use My HSE Lecture Notes at Work'

This spring we found out that it takes 56,000 LEGO bricks to build an eight-meter-high model of the Titanic and that after more than half a decade, people still aren’t sick of putting together simple pieces of plastic. Sergey Kozlov, a graduate of ICEF and currently LEGO’s operations director in Seoul, told Success Builder why he likes moving, why the Christiansens’ family business doesn’t fire people, and whether or not he gets to play with LEGO bricks at his desk.

HSE Boasts the Best English Website among Russian Universities

HSE University has maintained its leading position in the ranking compiled by the Russian Council for International Affairs. The ranking evaluated the websites of 65 Russian universities. HSE was awarded 104 points out of 108, increasing its position by 11 points on last year. HSE's closest rival ranked a further 17 points behind, which is a larger gap than previously.