International College of Economics and Finance

I’ve been prepared to live up to ICEF’s demanding expectations from the start and knew my effort would be rewarded

I’ve been prepared to live up to ICEF’s demanding expectations from the start and knew my effort would be rewarded

ICEF’s top performing students know they are the best. Their sense of confidence is heightened by being the recipients of scholarships from VTB Bank, awarded to bachelor’s and master’s students for outstanding progress. The recipient of one such scholarship is Ekaterina Ivanushkina, a third year undergraduate student. In this interview, Ekaterina shares about what drives her to be at the top of the rating, how to earn the trust of the University of London, and why she loves ICEF.

How I got my scholarship

I was able to get the VTB Bank Scholarship thanks to winning the 2018 Russian Economics Olympiad for High School Students. I had to work real hard as an 11th grader, and because I come from a town where economics contests take place very rarely, I worked mostly on my own to prepare for the Olympiad. For me it was the only pathway to having my ICEF tuition covered 100%. The moment I learned that the Olympiad could earn me eligibility for VTB scholarship, my motivation soared.

In my first and second years at ICEF, I earned one more scholarship, Alfa-Chance, established by Alfa-Bank. Alfa-Chance is the name of the program that offers twenty individual study grants and has a three-stage selection process. Eligible for it are students of HSE Moscow campus. I was lucky to pass all the three stages and get one of these twenty scholarships.

About VTB Bank Scholarship

In 2021 VTB Bank stays committed to supporting ICEF’s best-performing students. Its monthly scholarship of RUB 10,000 is awarded to the top ten students in each year of the undergraduate programme, while the top ten master’s students are eligible for the yearly award of RUB 75,000.

Eligible for the scholarship are also prizewinners and finalists in the Russian Economics (or Mathematics) Olympiad among school students, Vysshaya Proba (Top Grade) Contest in economics or mathematics, as well as enrollees with highest scores in the Unified State Examination.

With VTB Bank Scholarship, the most aspiring of enrollees all over Russia stand higher chances of getting a place on ICEF’s undergraduate program.

Making it to the top

One way to justify the trust of banks that sponsor high performing students is by remaining a top-ranked student of your class, or, if you pursue the intellectually demanding  ICEF Academia, by staying at the top position there. Another way to boost your chance of being seen as a promising student is by excelling in the University of London examinations. In 2020, I scored 100 out of 100 in linear algebra and mathematical analysis. I think it’s something I can be proud of.

I have always enjoyed studying — and that’s I think the reason for my success. I have been prepared to live up to ICEF’s demanding expectations from the start and knew my effort would be rewarded. Frankly speaking, year one proved less demanding than I expected. It must have been the extensive knowledge I acquired at school that helped me cope quite easily. Things started to get more challenging in my 2nd year as there appeared many new courses, so I had to find a way to make myself a real fast learner.

ICEF sets the bar high for its students, and that’s a fact. You let go of things a little and suddenly there are five deadlines to be met

It is therefore important that you set your priorities right and continue to be a good time manager. This will help you to avoid the drudgery and turn your studies into a satisfying experience. 

How to prepare for a career start

Of great help in one’s career planning is advice from teachers. At ICEF, the faculty are open to communication and can guide one in the right direction, which in itself is important and valuable. No less important is communication with your peers and alumni who often appear to be valuable sources of information as to your chosen career and the challenges that may arise on the way to it. The four years of a bachelor’s degree are, of course, too short a time to embrace everything, and paths are simply too many. But if you get a chance to immerse yourself into an industry — by doing an internship at an investment bank or a research assistantship — try not to miss it. It’s always a good idea to get the experience as early as you can in order to make an informed decision later.

Why I love ICEF

One thing I like about ICEF is its competitive environment. There are a lot of talented people in my class who set themselves ambitious goals and make you want to keep up your own momentum. I see it as a source of motivation and a way to keep myself from the danger of slacking off. Secondly, at ICEF you are free to personalize your learning, which means you can choose your track at the University of London, as well as courses on HSE elective curriculum based on what you think will be useful in your future job. Thirdly, ICEF has highly competent faculty members and last but not least stays in touch with its graduates. Its door is always open for consultation on whatever issue you may have.

What the best aspire to be

Learning at ICEF comes with a wide choice of opportunities for career advancement, both in science and in industry. I am planning to do a master’s degree abroad and pursue a career in academia by completing a PhD programme. I really like teaching. I discovered my ability thanks to my two-year employment as an economics and mathematics teacher at ICEF Evening School.