International College of Economics and Finance

"My Soul Belonged to ICEF, I Decided to Get into It Against All Odds"

"My Soul Belonged to ICEF, I Decided to Get into It Against All Odds"

Polina Bobyleva is in her first year of bachelor's study and attended ICEF Evening School as part of her personal goal to enter ICEF. Here’s how Polina made her choice, who to turn to for assistance within ICEF, and how translating Russian jokes makes learning English fun at ICEF.

Why ICEF? Did the admission go well for you?

It was my dream since the 9th grade, when I first started to take interest in economics, to study at ICEF. I actually learned about it from a friend who studied here and was highly appreciative of its programme. In the 10th grade, I started to attend ICEF Evening School. Its teaching team is composed of students and graduates of ICEF, and it was thanks to those classes that my desire to study here grew even stronger.

My admission story wasn’t much of a success. No matter how hard I prepared for economic olympiads and to compete in various case championships and contests since the end of the 9th grade, no matter the economic schools and online courses that I did, I failed both the contests (National Economic Olympiad and Top Grade) that granted discounts on the cost of tuition at ICEF. And even though I managed to excel in other academic contests, including IEO-International Economic Olympiad, I chose not to enroll in other universities. My soul belonged to ICEF, I decided to get into it against all odds.

I didn’t prepare for my Unified State Exam as hard as I did for academic Olympiads. As a result, my score in all the subjects necessary for the admission to ICEF ranged between 80 and 90 points. My individual achievements – honours high school diploma, gold medal for outstanding academic achievement, and prize from the Regional Level of the National All-Russian Olympiad in economics and English – earned me a few more additional points, but I still ended up two points short of the tuition discount.

First I felt discouraged with myself about failing those important contests, but I am incredibly happy that I had been able to enroll with my parents’ support. They knew how much I wanted to study at ICEF! Besides, my experience in Economic Olympiads wasn’t in vain: the knowledge I acquired while preparing does come in handy in my studies. I can’t say that I am doing brilliantly in all courses. I get marks from average to high for my exams, but I managed to score 9 out of 10 in Microeconomics, the only international examination I have sat so far.

What is it you like most about studying at ICEF?

The learning process, how it’s organized and its contents. All courses seem to be hands-on, with no redundancy or abstractness. I also like the diverse range of electives, designed to broaden our professional horizons and to make us knowledgeable in so many areas. I, for example, learn Practical Trading and Spanish as electives. And I definitely like the quality of teaching. We are free to do practical seminars with different teachers and there are office hours where we can be helped with difficult topics.

It's great being trained in English. It largely expands career opportunities for ICEF graduates

Another great thing is that we are taught by international academics and can learn from them new cultures and perspectives. We have a lot of fun trying to translate Russian jokes to our British teacher of English.

Which of the college events you liked best so far?

There have been quite many enjoyable events over this relatively short period of time. Those I remember best are the ‘Pioneer Camp’-styled freshers induction day, the Prêt-à-Porter celebration of ICEF’s birthday, held in GUM in one of its nicely decorated art spaces, and the Student Night with disco party, games and entertaining workshops.

I will remember the hours after our VBA-Visual Basic for Applications exam as one of my most emotional experiences: I and my friends worried that we hadn’t scored the passing grade and were waiting nervously for the exam results to reach us until finally, at 12 a.m., I learned we passed it and started texting everyone. I got a call from a classmate and he was like, “Are you serious? Can we really be that cool? I can’t believe it!” Our joy and excitement knew no bounds.

Do you have any hobbies or interests and do you still have time for them?

I am into dancing and painting. I now pursue them as hobbies, practicing at home from time to time. I am learning Spanish in my free time and read fiction. My passion for economics hasn’t gone, it evolved into my professional vocation. Past December, I was glad to offer my assistance as a developer of tasks and questions for the Economics Olympiad among Grades 9-11.

What are your goals for the next three years?

Become a better time manager and find the right balance between study and rest. Also, I will do my best to improve my knowledge of computer science, and particularly Python skills, among other subjects. I’m planning to get work experience in finance or perhaps consulting or investment banking to find out which fits me best. And I think I will focus more on learning trading.  

Is there anything you are particularly pleased with at ICEF?

The community. I made some fabulous friends soon after I got here. They are really interesting to talk with no matter the topic. I was born and raised in Ufa and worried that I might feel lonely here or have difficulty adjusting, but things turned out quite the opposite. The students, the tutors, the academic advisers – they all let me know at once they are the people I can turn to for assistance or advice or whenever I need good company. I like how we motivate each other to achieve more. We learn and share useful knowledge. I am sure I made the right choice. My years as a student of ICEF promise to be full of interesting developments and meets.

If you wish to learn more about what it’s like to be an ICEF student, Polina will be glad to answer all your questions, as well as all prospective student queries. Please feel free to write to: