On 17 April, the IMBA program organized a cross-sectional event centered on the finance industry. The event featured a panel of three speakers who shared their professional experience and personal journeys in finance as well as provided some advice for IE students that are committed to finance as a career option. 

The first speaker, Alvaro Hernandez-Maureta, an Executive MBA student (IXMBA BW, Nov-2011) shared his experience as Director Corporates for Spain & Portugal with the Royal Bank of Scotland. His informative presentation discussed some of the critical success factors for professionals and firms involved in debt capital markets business. Alvaro also touched on his experience working on several landmark corporate transactions with some of the largest infrastructure companies in Iberia. 

Virginia Fernandez, also an Executive MBA student (IXMBA BW, Nov-2011) was the second speaker. Currently developing ING’s fixed income franchise as Head of Credit Sales for Iberia, Virginia discussed her unconventional path that all started with “moving to London at age 17”. In her extended gap year, she worked in the IT division of an investment bank and the network that she developed there helped her years later when she joined the Sales desk at the recommendation of senior colleagues. Virginia’s inspirational story – and her recent transfer to Madrid to head a franchise – highlighted the importance of self-direction, determination and cultivating your professional network.

The author, Virgil Esguerra, is a board member of the IE Finance Club and an International MBA student (Nov-2011).

Finally, Benjamin Leaver, an International MBA April-2011 student, began his presentation – entitled “A Random Walk” – by sharing the series of fortuitous events – and his own “tenacity” – that shaped his career in finance. Ben came from a non-traditional, History background and due to strategic internships and connections he forged, he landed employment at a boutique investment bank that very shortly after underwent significant industry shifts. He saw this time of flux as an opportunity to adapt and transform his role to quickly establish a solid reputation in the media sector financing. His candid – at times tongue-in-cheek – narrative did not sugar-coat or glorify investment banking (“it is intense and painful” and “well paid…if you don’t consider the hours”). Ben also lent practical advice to current students (“use clubs at IE”, such as the IE Finance Club, to further your career development). Ben closed by describing how his IE experience facilitated his transition from the sell-side to the buy-side and invited us to learn more about his new employer, Lepe Capital, where he will be joining as a VP.

From three very different experiences and journeys through finance, there emerged a common theme of community, networking and proactivity. This panel event is just one of many sector-specific, cross-sectional initiatives launched by IE’s broader Finance Community that is intended to build bridges and leverage the resources across the school’s multiplicity of programs (from Executive to International MBA to the Finance Masters) and on-campus students organizations such as the IE Finance Club.