International College of Economics and Finance

“ICEF is a Perfect Blend of Theoretical Knowledge and Practical Application”

Polina Chichulina

Polina Chichulina

Polina Chichulina enrolled in ICEF MSc Financial Economics after completing her bachelor’s studies at HSE Faculty of Economic Sciences. Currently in her first year of the programme, Polina joined SPIEF Academy 2023. Here’s how Polina defines the key advantage of MSc Financial Economics, how ICEF students benefit from the alumni engagement, and what major highlights SPIEF Academy came with in 2023.

About the advantages of MSc Financial Economics

I did my bachelor’s in Economics and Statistics at HSE Faculty of Economic Sciences. In my third year, however, I decided to concentrate more on the study of finance and applied to ICEF MSc Financial Economics. I got admitted through early admission programme and received the offer also from HSE Master’s Programme in Strategic Corporate Finance.

I chose ICEF for several reasons. One important advantage was instruction in English and intense academic rigour that meets high international standards of excellence. Another advantage, which I personally consider equally important, is ICEF’s strong community and engagement with alumni. Many ICEF graduates have transitioned into successful and thriving careers, while the current cohorts are highly motivated and academically smart people. Being around them contributes to your personal growth.

About the balance between fundamental and hands-on knowledge

For me, ICEF’s master’s programme is a perfect blend of theoretical knowledge and practical application. It sets itself apart by in-depth specialty courses with strong theoretical basis and because it sets high standards for its learners, its graduates are perfectly prepared for further study at the world’s top universities, contributing to ICEF’s reputation as a recognized school with high international rankings.

I think that economic mindset is cultivated first and foremost through serious teaching of the core curriculum, which is a prerequisite also for graduates’ ability to cope with applied tasks

One course that has particularly enriched my skill set was Econometrics, and I was greatly impressed by the lectures by Fabian Slonimczyk and Sofia Budanova.

While reading about ICEF at the application stage, I came across some truly inspiring alumni career stories. Now as its student, I can safely say that ICEF graduates owe their success not only to the quality of programme, but also to ICEF community. The teachers, the senior students and the alumni have been open with me and very supportive, and it is largely from my communication with them that I now feel a more responsible person and have clear goals in life.

About joining SPIEF Academy 2023

I should say in this regard that the people at ICEF are very focused on enriching the students’ experience through meetings with industries and academics as a way to broaden their professional horizons and build self-confidence. My decision to join SPIEF wasn’t a planned one. It was a good opportunity for me to meet top-notch experts and show myself, so I grabbed it.

Polina Chichulina with student participants of SPIEF Academy 2023
Polina Chichulina with student participants of SPIEF Academy 2023

SPIEF Academy is unique in the sense of student exposure to discussion forums. Here, it is possible to meet with top professionals and people from different fields of economics and have open discussions with them.

One of the speakers at this year’s Academy was ICEF graduate Alexander Aksakov, who currently serves as DOM.RF Infrastructure Bonds Division Director. Alexander talked about his student experience at ICEF and Chicago Booth and how his earlier experience in the U.S. investment banking sector benefits him in his current capacity in Russia. Alexander’s talk was one of the most impressive at SPIEF Academy for me and many other student participants.

There is a special student venue at SPIEF that has this year been contributed by HSE students. They proved to be very knowledgeable when discussing with Dmitry Zemtsov about ways the Russian companies can use to retain young talents and provide them with the opportunity to contribute to the economy and make a difference. We also played a business simulation game that dealt with artificial intelligence in business processes. SPIEF has proved a very useful experience for me. I was able to meet with expert communities and see where I am professionally and how prepared I am to join the industry with its current needs and employee requirements.