Meet IE Business School’s MBA Class Of 2019

Krystyna Liakh

IE Business School

Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.” (Samuel Beckett)

Hometown: Kiev, Ukraine

Fun Fact About Yourself: I am passionate about off-piste skiing and have been down some of the steepest slopes in Europe.

Undergraduate School and Major: University of Nottingham (UK), Economics

Most Recent Employer and Job Title: UBS Wealth Management, Director (Zurich, Switzerland)

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far: At UBS, being tasked with sole responsibility for investment advice on a book of large client relationships with a total of USD 1 billion in assets with the bank. It was incredibly challenging and very fulfilling to build the clients´ trust and to see the impact good investment advice could have on preserving and growing their family wealth.

What quality best describes the MBA classmates you’ve met so far and why? Curiosity. My classmates are hungry to learn about the world, each other, different cultures and career paths.

Aside from your classmates, what was the key factor that led you to choose this program for your full-time MBA and why was it so important to you? Focus on innovation and “thinking outside the box”. As I am exploring my options and am open to new ideas and risks, it was important for me not to end up in an environment where there is pressure to conform to a certain “cookie cutter” ideal profile, where everyone was already set on one career path and headed for a certain sector.

What club or activity are you looking most forward to in business school? I am looking forward to attending the presentations and networking sessions of the Technology and Fintech clubs, to learn about the exciting places that innovation can take finance, an industry where I built my career so far.

What led you to pursue an MBA at this point in your career? I felt that I was both young enough to take a risk and established enough in my “first career” to be able to afford it. I was keen to explore the professional world outside of the financial sector and to see if there was another area and role I could feel passionate about.

How did you decide if an MBA was worth the investment? For me, it was an equation that incorporated the experience of living in a new country, building a global peer network, and having an intense and varied program so as to maximize my exposure to different topics and ideas. Taking these benefits into account, “the books balanced”.

What other MBA programs did you apply to? ESADE (Barcelona)

How did you determine your fit at various schools? As a first step, I found it helpful to define the factors, which were non-negotiable, in order to narrow down the options. For me, this meant only considering top ranked, one-year programs in Europe. With my shortlist, it was invaluable to visit the schools to get a feel of the actual environment and talk to current students to compare the image to reality.

What was your defining moment and how did it shape who you are? When I was 16, I left Ukraine to attend school in Switzerland, followed by university in UK. Living in different cultures and having to build a “new family” of friends abroad was harder than I had expected, but also a formative experience, and I am very grateful that I had the opportunity.

What do you plan to do after you graduate? I do not have a plan yet – I hope to find out and decide this year what next career challenge I want to pursue and to focus on that after graduation.

Where do you see yourself in five years? Hopefully, still keeping in touch with the IE alumni network and coming to Madrid to give a presentation to the Fintech club.

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