Strategic Corporate Finance: Combination of Theoretical Knowledge with Practical Experience
Master program’s Strategic Corporate Finance alum, class 2019, former HSE University international student Abdumutal Vasikov on his experience and future plans
Originally from Tashkent, the capital of Uzbekistan, I completed my master’s in Strategic Corporate Finance at National Research University Higher School of Economics in 2019. Currently, I live and work in Luxembourg for almost 2 years. I would like to share with you my experience at HSE as an international student and how it helped me to find employment in Luxembourg.
First, let me start with my academic background and my master’s degree at HSE. Before moving to Moscow, I did my undergraduate program at Westminster International University in Tashkent (WIUT) which is an official branch of the University of Westminster in London, UK. I was awarded a Bachelor of Science in Economics and Finance. Upon successful completion of my studies, I got to work as a research assistant at WIUT. My research topic was corporate governance system in banks, and I delivered seminars on Economic, Accounting, and Corporate Finance courses.
In 2017, I won a full scholarship to study at HSE University. I was very happy to be accepted to one of the best universities in Russia to do my master’s degree in corporate finance. I accepted the scholarship and moved to Moscow, Russia. I was fascinated with the teaching quality at the university. To be honest, I did not expect such high-quality teaching standards before coming to HSE. I liked my program very much which was taught in English and called Master’s in Strategic Corporate Finance. Most of the courses were designed to combine theoretical knowledge with practical experience. We were always asked to work in small groups (max 4-5 people) to complete assignments. I found it very useful and practical since when you start to work, you always have to work in groups with other colleagues and distribute tasks between teams. In addition, most of the courses were delivered by experienced faculty and practitioners who worked in multinational companies like EY, Deloitte, and PwC.
For the second year, I applied to study abroad. HSE University had many foreign universities exchange partners. My program had a partnership with 5 universities to offer double degrees, and many more for exchange programs. I selected the University of Luxembourg for my exchange semester. Honestly, I never heard about the university itself before I applied. I researched it and found a very young but at the same time growing university with a good reputation and strong academic background across Europe. After a due process, I was selected as a final candidate and was nominated to study an exchange semester at the University of Luxembourg. I was also awarded an Erasmus + grant which was enough to cover my expenses in Luxembourg even though Luxembourg is considered as one of the most expensive countries in Europe.
Now let’s talk about the University of Luxembourg. As I already mentioned, the university is very young (only 15 years old). Despite this fact, the teaching quality is very high and academic staff has many years of teaching experience as well as practical work experience. In addition to academics, the university has a great balance between academic and social life. There are many social events through the academic year (e.g. Incoming Student party, Halloween, Christmas, etc.) Moreover, there are many sport clubs and sport days in the university (i.e. football, basketball, volleyball, badminton, yoga, dancing classes, etc.). I really enjoyed my exchange semester here, so I decided to extend it for another semester.
In the Spring semester, I had a mandatory internship in my program, so I applied to several companies and I got accepted by one of the largest Swiss banks in Luxembourg – Credit Suisse. I worked in the fund industry, specifically, fund structuring, onboarding, and life cycle management of investment funds across Europe. The office environment is very pleasant here. I have colleagues with different backgrounds and experience across EU and non-EU. For instance, I work with people from Luxembourg, Germany, France, UK, Slovenia, Slovakia, Belgium, Poland, Albania and etc. It is a very multinational and multilingual environment. Every day at work I hear at least 4 languages – Luxembourgish, German, French and English. It is one most multilingual country across Europe, where people on average speak 3-4 languages. After 6 months of mandatory internship, I successfully defended my internship report at the University of Luxembourg, and I extended my contract with Credit Suisse for another 6 months. Through my internship I gained enormous experience and valuable knowledge about investment funds in Luxembourg. I think that it is the best place for a person who would like to start their career in investment funds.
To conclude, I would like to say that I never regret that I choose the University of Luxembourg for my exchange program. I live here and work in the financial center of Europe. Of course, many people can say that it is a very small country and one may get bored living here. I partially agree with these people, but I want to mention that it is one of the most beautiful countries that I have ever been to. It has beautiful landmarks, forests with endless hiking traps, historical castles, and other places. It is one of the most international countries in the world (46% of people who live in Luxembourg are internationals from EU and non-EU countries). Finally it has a good crowd of HSE University graduates, who study or work here, like myself. If you want to study at one of the youngest and well-known universities in Europe and make a career in investment funds, Luxembourg could be a great choice.
If you have any questions, you can always reach me through LinkedIn or Facebook.
I would like to thank HSE University for giving me an opportunity to study here and supporting me through the whole process, specifically, Dr. Anastasia Stepanova, SCF Academic Supervisor and Mrs. Oxana Budjko, Head of international office at the Faculty of Economic Sciences. Without them I would never get to study or work here.
Master program’s Strategic Corporate Finance alum, class 2019, former HSE University international student