Admissions.SG: What would you like candidates to know about IE Business School?
Viet-Ha Tran: IE Business School is the first Spanish Business School to have been selected as an Academic Partner of the CFA Institute. IE Business School’s Master in Finance and Master in Advanced Finance enjoy this status, thereby ensuring IE Business School’s Masters in Finance a place among the world’s most prestigious educational programs, and a leading position in terms of ethical and professional standards. This not only further increases IE Business School’s prestige within the financial world, but also adds value to the career opportunities of admitted students.
[pullquote cite=”Viet-Ha Tran” type=”left”]Our students usually land jobs at top investment banks. 93% are working 3 months after graduation.[/pullquote]IE Business School is also the first Spanish Business School to have been selected as an Academic Partner of CAIA Association. This academic partnership constitutes a major step in their efforts to promote the common core mission of contributing to the education of investment professionals in the area of alternative investments. IE Business School is also the first business school in the world to offer CAIA members scholarships to study a Finance Master at IE. This academic partnership constitutes a major step in their efforts to promote the common core mission of contributing to the education of investment professionals in the area of alternative investments.
Admissions.SG: What are the Masters in Finance programs and who are these designed for?
Viet-Ha Tran: We have 4 different Finance Masters programs that are designed for different profiles.
The Master in Finance is a ten-month full-time program aimed at recent university graduates, with limited or no professional experience, who aspire to work in the finance industry at an analyst level. The program covers key topics for today’s finance industry – including derivatives, mergers and acquisitions, and private equity – and admitted students have the opportunity to prepare for Level I of the CFA examination.
[pullquote cite=”Viet-Ha Tran” type=”right”]IE´s Trading Room is fully equipped with the software and platforms used by top investment banks. [/pullquote]The Master in Advanced Finance is a twelve month full-time program that targets professionals with 2-5 years of experience in finance, or other professional fields such as engineering, law or business administration. Participants undertake a program designed to refocus their career in the financial world, and who aspire to work in the finance industry at associate level. Whether admitted participants’ backgrounds are in finance or not, the program allows them to embark on an ambitious career in the financial world by equipping them with an in-depth understanding of the most advanced fields in finance today, including financial stability, behavioral finance, and fixed income and equity derivatives.
The Global Master in Finance is a fourteen month program that combines face-to-face and online interactive distance learning periods aimed at senior professionals and executives who wish to gain an in-depth and practical knowledge of financial markets and corporate finance without giving up their current activities. The program not only explores the foundations of finance in areas such as capital markets, valuation, and derivatives, but also innovative areas of finance such as risk governance, behavioral finance, and commodities markets.
The Executive Master in Finance is a part-time program (program offered in the Spanish language only) aimed at professionals with at least five years of work experience, captures the most advanced topics in the finance sector, which combine with the most critical & traditional areas to be successful in the world of finance, control and accounting. This ten month program, with classes every week on Fridays and Saturdays, allows participants to combine their studies with their professional career and personal commitments.
[pullquote cite=”Viet-Ha Tran” type=”right”]A non-EU candidate typically applies with 9 – 12 months in advance.[/pullquote]All of our Masters in Finance programs cover up to-the-minute fields that now play a critical role in the finance world such as: risk governance; investing in emerging markets; current global economic issues; financial entrepreneurship; and how to invest in current markets using a market simulation. The master programs also equip students with the practical business skills they will need to succeed as a financier, including presentation skills, ethical dilemma solving, and negotiation. These master programs employ a highly practical approach: students can expect not only to gain theoretical knowledge, but also to apply it to today’s financial markets, demonstrating their ability to use their skills to generate profit.
Admissions.SG: Candidates often ask whether business school is a worthwhile investment. What would you say with respect to the ROI of an IE Business School Masters in Finance?
Viet-Ha Tran: Our students are placed at the top positions in the finance and banking sector, especially investment banking, such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Rothschild, Blackrock etc. First of all, the prestige that IE has gained in Europe first sets our students apart from other candidates of other schools. We have many students that who have gotten great offers from tier-1 investment banks in London and Switzerland. These investment banks are almost impossible to get in if the students are not from their target schools. Second, the knowledge gained from my program really help our students with their job interviews. During IE´s program, students will be very well prepared for job interview questions and in most cases, the questions asked during the interviews were covered within the program and this makes it easy for our students during this process. Third, the strong network that IE has is essential. You can find IE alumni working in almost all of the top financial institutions in Europe. Usually, IE alumni are very willing to help fresh graduates. You can get first-hand recruitment and business performance information from our alumni easily. Sometimes, they can even pass your resumes directly to the recruiters. Finally, but the most important is the professional attitude and help that all professors will provide to the students. Most professors in finance programs are practitioners, such as top investment bankers, CEOs and CFOs. But they will always take their time for their students.
Admissions.SG: How does IE Business School differentiate itself from other schools in the region?
[pullquote cite=”Viet-Ha Tran” type=”right”]Our students are placed at the top positions in the finance and banking sector, especially investment banking, such as Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deutsche Bank, Rothschild, Blackrock etc.[/pullquote]Viet-Ha Tran: We would say that the practical approach we apply to our finance education is unique. We aim at placement objectives since the admissions process and only select top quality students in terms of their employability potential in the area of investment banking and capital markets (our programs were 100% designed by capital markets professionals). IE´s Trading Room is fully equipped with the software and platforms used by top investment banks. We do not only offer finance programs but also have the Islamic Finance Center, Micro-finance Research Department (Financiers without Borders). We are the first Spanish partners of the CFA Institute and CAIA Association. Our students are offered the opportunities to join the optional trips to New York City, London, and Ghana. We also offer the world´s richest academic curriculum with 60 electives in different areas of Corporate Finance and Investments. IE Finance Faculty is comprised of 93% practitioners who are occupying top positions in the finance and banking industry.
Admissions.SG: You offer rolling admissions with no application deadlines. Is there a time line you suggest to start the application process?
Viet-Ha Tran: Although we have no application deadlines, the sooner you apply, the better chance you have to get in since we accept a limited number of students per cohort. We are very strict and careful with the admissions process and we take our time to know every candidate very well during the whole admissions process. A non-EU candidate typically applies with 9 – 12 months in advance. If you need a student visa and if you apply only 2 months prior to the start of the program, it might be very tough for you to join the program. If you wish to apply for scholarships or bank loans, it´s recommended that you apply with abundant time before the program starts.
Admissions.SG: What happens to an application once the applicant hits the Submit button? Walk us through your evaluation process. How many people read each application?
Viet-Ha Tran: It generally takes us up to 14 days to get back to the candidate for the first time. If the documentation is complete and if the Admissions Committee thinks that the candidate has the profile for IE, we will invite him/her to a formal admissions interview. If the documentation is not complete, we will request the missing documents, in this case, the timing depends greatly on the candidate, in some cases it can take months for some candidates to send us their GMAT score.
The total admissions process for a complete application usually takes 3-4 weeks.
Admissions.SG: What are you really looking for in an ideal candidate? How can candidates stand out?
[pullquote cite=”Viet-Ha Tran” type=”left”]We have the cut-off GMAT score which is 610[/pullquote]Viet-Ha Tran: The main points that we look at, apart from the academic or professional performance stated in the profile, are: the capability to be a good student in the finance class (knowledge of current financial issues or at least show strong interest), capability to work in a multicultural group, capability to handle heavy workload & stress…We try our best to make sure and/or predict that this student is going to perform excellently in the program and succeed in his/her future professional endeavors.
For that reason, enthusiasm, motivation and proved potential to highly succeed in the finance sector are the key evaluation factors for us.
Admissions.SG: How important is the GMAT in your decisions? What, if any, roles do the AWA and IR sections of the GMAT play in your decisions?
Viet-Ha Tran: We have the cut-off GMAT score which is 610 pts (Quantitative Part should not be less than 65%) for our full time programs. We accept either the GMAT score or CFA level I / CAIA level I, since we need to verify that the candidate possesses good quantitative/finance skills, due to the demanding nature of our programs. We apply a holistic approach towards each candidate, apart from academic and professional achievements; we also take into consideration their motivation, extra-curricular activities, personal achievements, long-term career goal. Therefore, based on our holistic approach and well-rounded application, a candidate with GMAT 610 might not have any disadvantage compared with someone with GMAT 700, if they have other the other qualifications that can prove to us that they will be an asset for the class (for example, participant in World Mathematics Contest, winner of university physics contest, first place at national robotics competition etc)
Admissions.SG: What percentage of the pool do you interview? What does your interview process look like? What percent of the interviewees are offered admission?
Viet-Ha Tran: We interview all candidates that satisfy the documentation requirements (entrance exam GMAT 610 and language test). The interviewers vary depending on the location of the candidate. In many cases, candidates are interviewed by IE Finance Ambassadors who are alumni of the program. The success ratio depends on the intake and on the Master program, it´s about 25-30%.
Admissions.SG: Do you have a pet peeve? What is the one mistake candidates make that gets them rejected outright?
Viet-Ha Tran: Although we apply the holistic approach towards our candidates and evaluate each profile with utmost fairness and care, there are cases of direct no admission, such as poor preparation for the application and incapability of justifying why they are applying to our program (careless writing, missing documents, poor quality of the answers to the application).
Admissions.SG: How have your application numbers, acceptance rates, and yield changed over the past few years?
Viet-Ha Tran: The tendency very much goes with the market (labor market and the demand for doing a master degree in general). In recent years the acceptance ratio has been smaller than when we first started offering the master programs, due to the high demand. We receive a high volume of applications especially for full time programs, however due to the capacity of the class (we maintain a small class size to ensure the maximum learning experience, maximum 35 students per classroom).
Admissions.SG: What percentage of last year’s incoming class found jobs within 3 months of graduation? What jobs did they find? With which companies?
Viet-Ha Tran: Our students usually land jobs at top investment banks. 93% are working 3 months after graduation. You can gain for detailed information in the MIF Placement Report.