My name is Matt Buchholz and I am a MIF student from the class of September 2012 intake. I will be writing the IE Finance Blog for this academic year. This is my first entry.

Firstly, I would like to thank my classmates, faculty, friends, family (see, mom, it’s a real thing!), and anyone else who has taken the time to subscribe to this blog. I would also like to thank IE for giving me the opportunity to write it. Our class is full of phenomenally qualified individuals, and I will do my best to write a blog that meets the standards expected of our program.

We have had nearly one week of classes, both pre-classes and the first classes of Semester One. If you are like me, you chose an elite, specialized MIF program because you are keenly interested in finance. Our first week likely increased that interest.

The beginning of the program, at least from my perspective, also made the calibre to which we are expected to perform readily apparent. Our class profile is impressive: 57 students representing 29 countries, speaking an average of 3.2 languages, with a mean GMAT of 675. It has become immediately clear to me why our program is the second-ranked MIF program in the world and why IE Business School is a top-10 global school. The classes are fast paced, the preparation requirements are demanding, and many of the professors have achieved outstanding professional success in the subjects that they now teach.

From my perspective, advice that I once received from a hockey coach at a junior selection camp is as applicable today as it was then. When I arrived at the camp, I looked around and saw elite players from many programs, all competing for only a few available roster positions. The coach told us that we had each been specifically chosen to attend due to our individual abilities, and that we would be best served by continuing to put forth those abilities, while also expanding upon them and adding new ones. In other words, do your best; you would not be here if you were not capable of succeeding.

The opportunity to be at IE should not be underappreciated. Without question, the selection process, as Ignacio de la Torre, the Academic Director of Finance programs at IE, has previously elaborated on, is amongst the most merit-based in the world. That notwithstanding, the fact that gaining entry to IE –an incredible achievement in of itself- is based on individual merit, should not be misunderstood for gaining entry to IE as individuals.

In my case, personal development took place when I began waking up for 6:00am for hockey practices, something I would not have been able to do without my parents’ support, both financially and by way of spending their mornings in a below-zero arena, while many other parents were still in bed. My development continued as my grandparents helped to raise me during my pre-grade school years, while my parents worked 80- ad 90-hour weeks beginning their own business. When I entered the professional world for the first time, colleagues and several key mentors, some of who are now amongst by best friends, helped me to succeed and push me to be better. Without these people, and many others, I would not be at IE.

With this opportunity comes tremendous responsibility. Do not misunderstand this for collective responsibility. As we advance ourselves, during the coming year and beyond, we will be contributing to wider society. If you have read Ayn Rand’s “Atlas Shrugged”, you may appreciate the inherent and structural reliance society places on its innovators and leaders, on its prime movers.

As we took part in our ethics workshop this week, we began to understand the negative impact that those who indulge in unethical practices and theft can have on society. The finance industry has previously been quintessential in periods of economic prosperity. Today, its importance has not diminished, but the field is seen by many as one that promotes greed and questionable ethical behaviour. Only by behaving ethically and fairly can individuals within the industry –or, in our case, soon to be attempting to enter the industry- contribute to the rebuilding of the industry’s reputation.

The coming year promises to be busy and challenging, but there is undoubted excitement within this challenge. This demanding methodology is how IE has become one of the best business schools on the planet, and how it graduates elite performers into the best firms within the most competitive industries. In 10 months, each of us will be part of that group.

Lastly, I imagine that all of us have people in our lives who have helped us develop and achieve success. As we move on to new and exciting opportunities, we cannot forget that we have not arrived here alone.

Day 1!








The Hard Rock Cafe, in downtown Madrid, between the Ethics and Bloomberg workshops 








Saturday morning, 9:00am, valuation, Excel, and interview techniques…being finance student at IE is a full-time job! 


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