There is no doubt that in order to become successful in finance, one must not only acquire academic knowledge, but should also become something they call a ‘leader’. There are numerous ways to define what leadership entails, but they all have similarities. As a recent MiF intake I would like to show you my view on it and how it is linked to why I applied to IE’s program.

First, let me give you a bit of background on why this topic is so interesting to me. Over the last couple of years, I talked to several professionals in different industries including finance. Halfway through my bachelor’s degree, I realized employers obviously care about your academic and professional experiences, and understandably so. However, although a conventionally good background is necessary, (almost) all of them agreed on the fact that social and personal skills are key in finding the right person for the job. This means that it is incredibly important to really understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, to know what drives your motivation every day, and to be able to connect with people empathetically. These skills are only a few of what define a great leader.

After this realization, I knew that besides striving for academic excellence, I needed to also focus on the social aspects of my personal development. Hence, I joined AIESEC a year and a half ago. AIESEC focuses on developing leadership within students. Therefore, I had the chance to learn firsthand on how to become a leader through intense work, active seminars and personal coaching. After this experience I can definitely say I grew as a leader, but the desire to develop myself more is still there. Now how is this linked to my application to IE?

IE’s values and the program structure of the MiF are different from other programs out there. Diversity is one prominent example. IE understands that in our society nowadays, we will work in environments that are more diverse than ever before. Consequently, it is crucial to respect others and to be able to understand different ways of working. Having worked in diverse teams before showed me that if people do not own the skills to understand different cultures and ways of working, they will have a very hard time to succeed. I was very happy to hear from the self-awareness sessions, especially since such workshops are often undervalued among students in finance.

Besides IE’s great reputation and extensiveness of the MiF program, they also do an excellent job on developing leadership skills among students. Once I learned more about the values and after seeing their outstanding program structure, I realized that IE knows exactly what students need before entering the job market. This is why I applied to IE and why I’m extremely proud to be part of this year’s intake. To conclude, and as a call to action, I advise all students to understand the value of gaining these leadership skills in order to excel in your future career, and to truly make an effort in the process.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you would like to learn more about this topic, or if I can help you in any way.


Erwin Saasen (MiF intake 2018-2019)