“I love that there is a diverse student body and that each person brings their own perspective, knowledge and expertise.”
Nicole Cheng, United States
- Program studied
Building a community through experiences
Nicole grew up in New York City and later moved to Providence to attend Brown University, where she studied computer science and economics. Throughout her life, she’s always placed a large focus on humanitarianism, which is why she participated in the Engaged Scholars Program (ESP) at Brown. As an Engaged Scholar, Nicole was able to center her academic experience around community engagement and impact.
A passionate person who looks at the bigger picture, Nicole believes purpose and impact are what make things worth doing. She aspires to use her education to address pressing issues such as inequality and social justice, and in order to make an impact at a larger scale, Nicole knew it was time to pursue higher education.
In this pursuit, one thing remained clear: she wanted to study in Spain and earn a degree from a prestigious university. IE University’s Master in Finance program was the perfect fit, especially as it would bring her to Madrid and give her the highly renowned education she was looking for.
Nicole joined IE University with a strong background in technology and a range of professional experience. From working at the United Nations to promote youth and women empowerment and serving as a head teaching assistant at her university for computer science to working at Morgan Stanley in technology and information risk, she was no stranger to hard work.
From the moment she moved to Madrid and started the program, it was clear to Nicole that IE University was the right choice for her goals. But it was the people that really set this experience apart. According to Nicole, the people you meet and the connections you make throughout the program are just as important, if not more important, than the actual content you are taught in the classroom.
While the program is challenging and rigorous, it is not the rigid, competitive environment she imagined to find at a leading university, and she credits the IE Community as a whole for that. She finds that most schools foster a sense of competition among the student body to push their students, potentially creating a toxic mentality. Instead, she was surprised by how well she and her classmates have gotten along—even forming a close-knit group of friends.
In addition to building a strong personal and professional network, the amount of group work throughout the program has been incredibly useful in demonstrating the importance of teamwork and collaboration. Her fellow classmates are extremely kind, bright and fun, making the whole experience more enjoyable. Nicole didn’t expect to build such incredible relationships from a business school and will cherish these connections for a long time to come.
After graduating, Nicole will bring her knowledge from IE University to her job at Capital One—a large retail fintech-driven bank in the United States. She will work as a software engineer in the New York City office, incorporating her new skills from IE University into her daily activities and her future aspirations in the industry.
In the near future, Nicole sees herself working in fintech, leading programs targeted at teaching underprivileged youth about technology and financial literacy. She would like to keep building her toolkit to serve communities and make a lasting impact.
Her experience at IE University has tested and pushed her in many ways, but most importantly, it has given her opportunities to see the world from a myriad of perspectives. The university brings together a cohort of driven, intelligent and diverse peers who inspire each other, and Nicole will look back fondly on the long nights of study group sessions, group projects, and of course, smiles and laughs.