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Master’s In Finance: Sofía Arriba, IE Business School

Student Name: Sofía Arriba

Graduate Business School: IE Business School

Describe Yourself in 15 Words: Hardworking individual with an international finance background ready to take on further professional challenges.

Master’s Graduation Class: 2019.

Undergraduate School and Major: Carlos III University, Finance and Accounting.

Current Employer and Job Title: Duff & Phelps, Valuation Analyst.

Describe your biggest accomplishment in your career so far:  I have managed to join one of the world’s leading valuation firms and find a fulfilling job where I can grow personally and professionally. After completing my six-month internship I was offered a full-time position in the company, which has given me the opportunity to conduct projects on my own.

Describe your biggest accomplishment as a graduate student: I was honored to graduate from my bachelor’s degree with the second best academic record. Thanks to my grades, I was able to study two years of my degree in the U.S. and enroll in my top business school choice for my Master in Finance. I consider my biggest achievement being able to balance everything while taking my master’s: the courses, the job applications and the interaction with my classmates. Even though there were some stressful times, it was all worth it because learning how to strive for work/life balance is key. 

What was the key factor that led you to choose this business school and why was it so important to you? After studying my bachelor’s final year in the U.S., I went back to my home country, Spain. I wanted to get a degree in finance and it was important for me to go to a top ranked program. In addition, I wanted to continue my education in an international and multicultural environment, and that is what IE Business School is.  I had already studied in Madrid (Spain), Richmond (VA) and Madison (WI) and had found that learning from different cultures and being exposed to different perspectives is its own kind of education and one that would be valuable for my career.

What led you to choose a Master’s in Finance over an MBA? As a recent graduate, I had little work experience and decided to further specialize in Finance before choosing my career path.

What has been your favorite course and how has it helped you in your career? My favorite course was Financial Modelling. It was dynamic, insightful and is the pillar of what is now my job. Most of the modelling techniques I learned during that course have been extremely helpful in my day-to-day work.

What role did your school play in helping you to land your first job out of the program? I first heard about my current company at an IE Business School Talent Forum, where I attended a Duff & Phelps presentation. I was interested in the company and submitted my application.

How did your classmates enhance the value of your business school experience? It was an enriching personal experience given the diverse environment, the nationalities of my classmates and teachers in the program and also across the business school. There were lots of opportunities to network and interact with others. I would not have learned as much as I did without my classmates. Both the interaction in the classes and the group projects broadened my mind and gave me a clear sense of comradery; people were always willing to help others. 

Who was your favorite faculty member and how did this person enrich your learning? My favorite professor was Damian Rubianes. It was in his Capital Markets courses that I learned about the financial labor market for the first time and, needless to say, I was hooked and began to understand which career path was the best for me. And in general, Professor Rubianes really leveraged his experience to give us advice as students, from offerings of his own personal experience to inviting professionals to class so we could also hear external recommendations.

What is your best advice to an applicant hoping to get into your school’s graduate Master’s program? Prepare your application well in advance. This will give you the proper time to analyze which business school and program suits you best and to gather all the entry requirements, such as the GMAT.

What was your best memory from your Master’s program? As part of my final project, I had the opportunity to travel to Ghana and provide consultancy services for an Emerging Microfinance Institution analyzing and delivering strategic advice to managers. This was in collaboration with NGO Financieros Sin Fronteras and it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I will never forget. This experience was a shock for me as it was the first time I had ever been to Africa and not only did it widen my world view but it also helped me understand the diversity of financial institutions across countries.