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Regular version of the site

“I fell in love with London when I first went to the LSE Summer School”

On December 5, a meeting of ICEF Alumni was held in London with the participation of ICEF.LSE project team members in a new LSE Centre Building. ICEF ex-students shared their personal stories.

“I fell in love with London when I first went to the LSE Summer School”

London is a global financial hub, so it looks natural when ICEF alumni choose this place for life and work. 'ICEF survivors' now is a friendly and large community, which now can rightfully be called a remarkable part of the Russian-speaking community in London. Together they go to concerts of the Leningrad group, play football, celebrate birthdays and, of course, help each other in a variety of issues. In their interviews, alumni often note that it is precisely the fact that ICEF taught them to “survive” in the face of the most seemingly impossible tasks made them who they are.

The venue was the LSE, the meeting programme included speeches by LSE pro-director David Webb, ICEF Director Sergey Yakovlev and, of course, alumni. Then there was a stand-up meal and informal Christmas networking.

“ICEF students have a huge impact on the business sector. They represent the largest financial and consulting structures like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, PwC, IBM, UniCredit, and McKinsey – all the companies where I never dreamed of getting a job. Therefore, we are grateful that you choose the programmes developed by the LSE”, - said Webb and also noted the outstanding exam excellence of ICEF students, which in the future will open them the path to success. 

Sergey Yakovlev in his turn noted not only student performance, but also the latest achievements of the ICEF in scientific research, and spoke about the new HSE campus and the formation of the ICEF Endowment Fund, inviting graduates to participate in its development. "We plan to use the fund as a source of scholarships for the best students and salaries for professors hired on the international labour market." - said Sergey.

The honorary guests of the meeting were members of the LSE and UoL – Pro Vice-Chancellor Mary Stiasny, Director of Student Recruitment & Enrolments at UoL International Programme Pamela Roberts, ex-director of ICEF Project from LSE side Professor Richard Jackman, Professors Kevin Sheedy, Jorn Rothe and Brian Eales. ICEF was presented by the leaders of the bachelor and master programs Oleg Zamkov and Maxim Nikitin.

The meeting brought together more than 40 graduates of the ICEF living, working or studying in London. Alumni spoke words of gratitude and hope that every year the ICEF community will grow – there will be more professional achievements and motivations for talented applicants to become part of ICEF family.

Natalia Shakhina and Oleg Bezumov, the participants of ICEF Alumni meeting, told us about how the career paths of graduates in London developed in their personal cases.

Natalia Shakhina

“I graduated from ICEF in 2010 and moved to London to study at Cass Business School, and then I stayed here to work. I have an unusual career track. Now I work in the Behavioral Insights Team, where we conduct consulting projects in the field of public policy based on research in the areas of behavioral economics, psychology, sociology. And it is thanks to ICEF that I am where I am. I’ll tell you why.

Firstly, the international level of the programme. It is not only about language, but about access to the world of global education and business. You learn to think outside the box, you come across different points of view and different approaches to learning. This opened me to new ways and challenges and gave me not only perfect hard skills, but also the confidence to move to London as a best place for professional development.

Secondly, ICEF is an amazing community, including students, graduates, teachers and administration. You will find friends and inspiration there. You are surrounded by different, but interesting, talented, motivated people in it's own way, you discover many new ways that you used to try to follow. This encourages you to develop, grow and become a better version of yourself.

Thirdly, the intensity of programme played a role in my life. On the one hand, it is difficult, but on the other, it gives strength in advance. If you survived double exams and rigorous check of knowledge, you should know that you can challenge with any professional tasks. I hope that the success of ICEF alumni in various fields will serve students as evidence of the quality and relevance of this education.”

Oleg Bezumov

"I graduated from ICEF in 2012. Currently work as a senior associate in Natural Resources IBD at Goldman Sachs in London.
In my view, ICEF is:
- People
- Institution that teaches problem-solving skills
- Family with values

Let’s start with people.

Students. Highly motivated, very result oriented and seeking for success. When you study in this atmosphere fulfilled by positive energy, you have no excuse and have to be successful

Teachers and staff. Best-in-class professionals who are the top in their academic field. When students look at them, they become energized and aim to achieve the best in their own field

Alumni. Their community continues to grow and expand. But it is not just the number that matters, but most importantly – the quality of each respective person. Each of them either is already a top professional in their chosen sphere or strives to become the best

Secondly, after graduating from ICEF, you become a very fast learner and strong problem solver. You gain the confidence that even if you can’t immediately solve any particular problem, you’ll be able to find a way how best to approach it and ultimately come to the right conclusion. I believe that’s a very important skill that you need throughout your life.

If I sum it up, I would call ICEF a family. Firstly, as I mentioned above, it is people. In ICEF I met my wife, Daria Ratobylskaya (founder of InCircle), which I am very grateful to ICEF for. And my best friends are all ICEF alumni. Furthermore, ICEF, as family, teaches you the key life values:
- Result orientation. You become very motivated and seek for success
- Belief in people’s efforts. You become a strong believer that the strong results will ultimately come with efforts, smart approach and right focus. Not always immediately, but over time the efforts will definitely pay off.
- No boundaries. If you find a great opportunity at home, you decide to stay, otherwise, you are able to move abroad and you reach your new peaks in new countries. And our Alumni are successful under both scenarios. Overall, no boundaries, the entire world is open for you!

If I translate the above into my life, I can clearly identify how ICEF helped me throughout my studies and career:

- Thanks to support of my family, I chose ICEF for my BSc degree. Whilst studying at ICEF, I decided to spend a summer at Summer School at LSE. I fell in love with London and realised that financial world in London is way bigger than in Moscow.
- After graduating with 1st class honours from dual programme at ICEF, I got accepted in three universities in the UK and picked Imperial College MSc Finance programme
- Thanks to supportive ICEF community in London, I got to know about relevant opportunities and after several rounds of interviews I got offers from Nutmeg (multi-billion investment management company) and later from Goldman Sachs
- At Goldman Sachs I helped clients to raise >$60bn whilst working on landmark transactions, including Saudi Aramco IPO, the biggest IPO ever. The problem-solving skills that I mentioned above enormously helped me to do the best at my current job

To summarise, I would say that ICEF provides you with keys (or opportunities) in your life and it is down to every one of us to find these keys and open the right doors. ICEF is not over after you graduate, ICEF is here for you throughout your entire life!".

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