“You have to take pride, do things the right way and enjoy the process of working towards your goals, or you’ll never reach them.”
Philippe Boucher, Canada
- Program studied
COULD YOU TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL BACKGROUND?
Before I came to IE University, I worked for one of the largest engineering firms in the world, as an estimation and cost-controlling engineer in the major infrastructure projects division. My main project was a 67-kilometer electric train track surrounding the city of Montreal, and the client was a combination of federal and provincial governments with large Canadian pension funds. The firm eventually won the contract, and I was asked to stay on for the development phase for the next three years.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO STUDY IN MADRID? WHAT ARE THE PERKS OF STUDYING HERE, AND ARE THERE ANY CHALLENGES?
I never got the chance to travel when I was growing up. Because of this, I wanted not only to attend a reputable school, but also to live in a vibrant city that was different from my home environment. Madrid’s beautiful climate and the diverse community and time spent with your classmates exponentially accelerates the bonds you create with them. The most challenging aspect has been adapting to European culture, as I had previously spent my whole life in Canada and the US.
HOW IS IE UNIVERSITY HELPING YOU ACHIEVE YOUR GOALS AND OBJECTIVES? WHAT SKILLS HAVE YOU ACQUIRED THAT WILL HELP YOU IN YOUR CAREER?
Coming from an engineering background, I was already a very quantitative-focused individual, but being around a diverse group of people in this dual degree program has enabled me to develop my interpersonal skills. The fact that I gained an internship at a Big Four consulting firm, despite having no previous business or finance training, speaks volumes about the level of learning and the resources available to students at IE University.
I also decided to apply to become an officer of the IE Finance & Capital Markets Club. Although I ended up being the only officer without a financial background, the rest of the team was very open to my suggestions, and interacting with fellow officers who had completed internships in investment banking proved beneficial to my experience.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CHOOSE OUR DUAL DEGREE PROGRAM?
I was seeking to make a career change from engineering into finance and investment banking. As I had no previous experience or formal business training of any kind—I had never even seen an income statement—I felt a two-year program would give me the chance to learn what I needed, build the right network and be ready to hit the ground running in a new career. The twelve-week break between programs also allowed me to complete an internship, which I believe added a lot of credibility to my profile in the eyes of recruiters.
WHAT DO YOU LIKE MOST ABOUT THE PROGRAM AND WHAT CHALLENGES ARE YOU FACING? HOW IS IT PREPARING YOU FOR A FUTURE ROLE?
For me, everything I learn in class is new. In a way, starting with a clean slate is an advantage, as it’s incredibly motivating to be learning something new every day. My professors know that I am committed and ambitious, and they have been supportive and open to my questions. It is a challenge, but it’s part of the game—you simply need to find the best way for you to adjust.
The Master in Finance classes have best targeted my career ambitions. It’s truly a special program with classes focused on corporate finance, financial markets and fintech, led by professors with some incredible professional and academic experience. They not only teach the theory, but also share moments from their professional careers that illustrate that knowledge. Some of their stories can really ignite a great class discussion.
As for the future, I have received a four-month associate offer for an investment bank’s main trading floor in North America, which I hope to turn into a full-time offer. The role revolves around sales and trading, mostly in foreign exchange and derivatives.
WHAT IS THE GREATEST TAKEAWAY FROM YOUR TIME AT IE UNIVERSITY, AND WHY?
Undoubtedly, the greatest takeaway has simply been to be surrounded by ambitious and committed individuals. The goal of everyone in the graduate programs is always to move forward and to keep pushing toward a dream job. It’s that friendly competition that makes you a better professional afterwards. You can’t help but love it!
WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO STUDY THIS PROGRAM?
Be clear about what job function you want, what industry you want to work in, and what country or city you want to work in. Dual degree programs are difficult and require a sustained, high level of commitment for two years. But if you have a clear vision and willingness to push yourself, it will pay off. Also, it’s extremely important to come in comfortable with numbers and an understanding of economic trends. However, finance at its core is a people business. All the decisions you will be making in your career revolve around working with people for the betterment of their lives. Excel spreadsheets can be taught, but being able to bring in business, sell yourself or prioritize client needs above your own are what can separate you from other candidates.
One of my hockey coaches used to say, “True character is built when no one else is watching.” Be patient, resilient, disciplined and never give up. You have to take pride, do things the right way and enjoy the process of working towards your goals, or you’ll never reach them.