I graduated from the Master in Advanced Finance programme at IE in December 2012. Studying at IE was a welcome change from my previous job at a Swiss asset management company where I first worked as a trader and later as a hedge fund analyst. I decided to take a break from professional life and the impending doom of the global financial industry. Clearly, with those perspectives the best course of action is to fight fire with fire and I so decided to jump farther into hell’s mouth and bet everything on a career in finance (I heard they like risk takers…). Whether that decision was wise or not is yet to be seen, but the journey so far has been highly challenging and enjoyable.

The financial world around us has changed since 2008, as we are and will be seeing more functions being decentralised (and regulated) away from the major banks towards financial boutiques in asset management as well as M&A and other areas. That development requires a more complete understanding of all aspects of finance, since smaller teams build on greater personal responsibility. Knowing everything is of course impossible, but IE’s curriculum does attempt to create a strong basis and manages well at nurturing a very wholesome understanding of finance. The goal of doing a Master degree in Finance was to deepen my knowledge in financial subjects and IE Business School certainly delivered with in-depth core courses and a wide range of electives. I chose IE for its strong international reputation and interesting and varied course selection. The teachers were made up of a group of experienced industry leaders as well as academics, whose insight, knowledge and contacts are very useful for anyone wanting to work in the financial industry, regardless of prior experience. Additionally, Madrid turned out to be a very agreeable city that sweetens ones stay when time allows.

In one of the electives, called the Knowledge Incubator, we were thought about starting our own business and were persuaded to come up with ideas. There I thought about combining swarm intelligence with investing. After I graduated I transformed that idea into a concrete project and started Swarmsurge (www.swarmsurge.com), a company that aims to create an investment strategy based on crowd intelligence. As we are currently seeking more users for our platform we regularly run investment competitions (with prizes!) that are open to anyone and are looking for people who are willing to share their opinions of the markets on our voting platform. There users can vote on their prediction of a choice of indices and currencies. The votes are processed by our quantitative model and form the basis for the investment strategy.

Looking back, I absolutely did not expect going into the direction of starting my own business, but IE is certainly a place that boosts ambition and stimulates inspiration at the same time. Furthermore, IE offers added value to all students and graduates through its various entrepreneurship programmes which assist in getting your own business off the ground by offering a place to work (Area 31) and finding venture capital investors through various channels (Venture Lab).