“Given the hardworking and industrious nature of IE University students, a segment of them are bound to become successful entrepreneurs.”
Erik Lilleengen Staxrud
Erik Lilleengen Staxrud, Norway
Owner and Managing Director, Stax Capital
- Program studied
Creating the future with the tools learned at IE University
Erik Staxrud is proud to have been a part of the first cohort of Dual Degree Master in Management + Master in Finance students at IE University in 2013–2014. His experience in this program allowed him to build upon the foundations of his Bachelor of Science in Business and Economics from BI Norwegian Business School. Through the dual degree program, Erik gained the practical, hands-on skill set offered by the Master in Finance alongside the transferable skills of leadership, conflict resolution and “every other managerial aspect of running a business” provided by the Master in Management.
For Erik, the two master’s programs are “complementary to each other,” providing the all-around training that ambitious students who want to be game-changers in the industry need. Upon graduation from IE University, Erik landed a job as a financial analyst at the EU Commission through IE Talent & Careers. He viewed this role, in which he analyzed financial trends in the EU at the micro level, as an ideal stepping stone between his education and full-fledged investment and trading jobs.
Erik’s next job was as a trader at Futex Global, at the time a world-leading proprietary trading firm for over 20 years, though the company has since closed. Erik cites the analyses performed as part of his Master in Finance as strong preparation for the macro, micro, statistical, political and technical analyses required in this role. Despite the long hours, the critical and analytical mindset Erik gained from his master’s prepared him to successfully manage his workload.
Having spent a number of years abroad, Erik decided it was time to return home to Norway. He joined Agora Forvaltning as Head of the Trading and Investment desk, dealing specifically with the unlisted market. Erik’s contributions to the company were noticed by its leaders and led to him becoming a partner. Erik points to the network and knowledge he gained at IE University as important factors in his appeal as a partner to Agora’s leadership.
At the same time, due to changes in licensing, Agora Forvaltning became focused solely on financial management as a sub-agent with JOOL, one of Scandinavia’s leading investment banks and a market leader in the issuance of corporate bonds and bridging loans.
Seeing an opportunity to continue his success with trading and investing on the unlisted market, Erik decided to start his own company, Stax Capital, in 2017. Erik received funding from the owners of Agora, which streamlined the startup process and kickstarted cashflow-driven operations. Erik has since sold his stake in Agora, and meanwhile Stax Capital has been net positive every year and now has 10 employees.
Erik encourages students at IE University to make the most of the resources available and their courses. He urges students, “Take all possible entrepreneurial courses, even if starting your own business might not seem like the way ahead.” He explains that these entrepreneurial courses create a genuine understanding of the different processes in a firm, as well as imparting a unique and practical understanding of how supply and demand works.
“Given the hardworking and industrious nature of IE University students, a segment of them are bound to become successful entrepreneurs,” says Erik. He identifies IE University’s Master in Finance as one of the most practical finance programs available, as the professors are seasoned professionals in their respective fields and also have excellent pedagogical skills to transmit their knowledge to students. The demanding workloads further help cement the profile necessary for students to be competitive candidates for the world’s most prestigious financial hubs and investment banks, he says—just like he has.