Education with an International Edge
IE Business School & IE University (IE) is an international institution located in Spain dedicated to educating business leaders through programs based on its core values of global focus, entrepreneurial spirit, and a humanistic approach. The main campus is located in the heart of Madrid’s financial district, but IE has offices in 28 cities worldwide, including New York, Miami, and Los Angeles. In addition, IE has joint programs with Brown University and Singapore Management University, and offers dual degrees with The Fletcher School at Tufts University and the Yale School of Management.
The institution offers undergraduate, master’s, and doctor’s degrees as well as executive education programs in English. Courses of study include a blend of on-campus and online formats. IE’s 500-strong international faculty teaches a student body composed of more than 90 nationalities. Its alumni, now numbering over 40,000, hold management positions in more than 100 countries worldwide.
IE was founded in 1973 by a group of entrepreneurs who saw a need for management education in Spain. Benefits of attending IE include its highly competitive rankings, its location within Europe, its focus on entrepreneurship and social innovation, and accelerated programs in English.
Activities of the school’s offices range from helping candidates before they arrive to meeting with companies and organizations, and maintaining contact with the alumni community. Every year, offices host several large-scale events – e.g., Alumni Weekend in Miami in 2014, which included a Venture Day, a business plan pitch-off, careers panels, and an alumni gala. IE also hosted a Venture Day in Los Angeles in 2015.
IE AND VETERANS
IE has found that its veteran students are prepared and motivated for studying and, later, for the transition to the corporate sector. Veterans are used to working in fast-paced team environments under pressure, and they have good leadership skills and discipline.
- IE has dedicated resources for veterans of the United States military:
- There are designated personnel in the financial and admissions departments.
- The school is eligible for GI Bill Benefits.
- IE offers a military fellowship.
- An on-campus Veterans Student Club serves as a social organization, and strives to expand the student’s professional networks.
A VETERAN STUDENT | LANDIS FOUTS
Landis Fouts served in the United States Navy for eight years, separating as a lieutenant. He conducted target selection and threats analysis for air strikes, and led excavations at various locations around the world in search of remains of servicemembers missing from the Vietnam War, the Korean War, and World War II. He also led a team of intelligence specialists at the Office of Naval Intelligence to provide real-time analysis of global threats to the maritime environment.
Two of the excavation projects took place in the jungle of the Republic of Vanuatu, an island nation east of Australia. He negotiated country access, hired local workers, and directed the excavation. Both projects were successful in recovering remains of servicemembers, which were returned to surviving family members with military honors.
Fouts is now a student at IE. In January 2016, he started working on a Masters in Advanced Finance (MIAF). He plans to be an investment banker after finishing the degree. “I already earned an MBA while working full-time, but wanted to gain more technical skills before entering the workforce,” he said. “Also, I felt that IE's MIAF program would make me more marketable and more qualified for the investment banking industry.”
Fouts understands that smart companies love to hire veterans, especially for one important reason. “The military instills the importance of teamwork better than any other organization,” he said. “Large firms are made of many divisions, departments, sectors, etc. These are all teams, and veterans thrive in these environments because of all their exposure as both leaders and members of teams.”
Leadership is another reason. “On top of the immense experience of working in teams, veterans have also served in many leadership capacities, and exude the traits associated with leaders – integrity, compassion, and judgment.”
Fouts encourages veterans to apply to IE. “Its international footprint gives veterans a cultural awareness that is missed at U.S. schools,” he said. “Also, IE's programs are ranked as the top in the world, which gives IE's student
veterans a great deal of prestige on their job applications. Finally, the opportunity to learn Spanish provides an extra dimension.”
Fouts said that anyone considering leaving the military should spend a lot of time looking at their options. “I would advise them to do their research into their career paths of interest well prior to departing the military,” he said. “I would also advise them to seek out individuals who are currently working where the veteran is interested in applying and reaching out to those people for advice.”
He is also big on networking. “I would advise them to start early on the networking process, and to find people who are currently working in the veteran’s field of interest,” Fouts said. “Ask them for advice on general information about the career field.”
Being accepted into IE is not easy, and Fouts has some ideas to help veterans succeed. “I would recommend applying early and studying hard for the GMAT (Graduate Management Admission Test),” he said. “Also reach out the IE's Veterans club to establish a dialogue and seek any answers for any questions you may have about the school.”
A SUCCESSFUL ALUMNUS | LANCE WIDNER
Lance Widner, a graduate of IE, is the second in command of the Private Equity Group of Oppenheimer & Co. He also has two years experience as an ensign and supply corps officer in the Navy Reserve.
Widner co-founded the Veterans Committee for the New York Society of Security Analysts (NYSSA), New York City’s member society of the CFA Institute – a global association of investment professionals. He represents Oppenheimer & Co at the Veterans on Wall Street (VOWS) events and annual hiring symposium. He also co-authored an article about veteran transition to finance for the March 2016 issue of CFA Institute Magazine.
He received an International MBA from IE in 2009, and entered the Navy Reserve five years later. “My story is a little different,” he said. “I decided that once I landed a career on Wall Street, my second goal would be to use my skills and experiences learned through 15-plus years in the finance industry, my graduate studies at IE Business School in Madrid, and the various finance-oriented designation programs, to give back to my country.”
Although it took two years of persistence and waiting, in the fall of 2014, he finally received his commission as an officer in the United States Navy Reserve. “Had I done it over,” he said, “I likely would have pursued an active-duty commission directly out of my undergraduate program, spent four to seven years on active duty, then gone immediately back to business school with skills, discipline, confidence, and experiences gained during my time on active duty. It also would have put me squarely in the sweet spot of the business school age demographic.”
According to Widner, business schools are competing for veterans to enter their programs. “Right now, there is a big push by the highly competitive business schools to recruit the women and men of the armed services because of the qualities they bring to a prestigious program,” he said. “Though I had my job prior to getting into the reserve, I will say that more recruiters call me now that I have the military service box checked. I believe this is because companies recognize that time management, attention to detail, and effective results under pressure are almost universally engrained in servicemembers – all valuable skills to a company that seeks talented candidates for open positions.
“In addition to my firm, many top Wall Street firms have taken action on hiring veterans because they see the value offered by military service. Although regulators strive to control wrongdoing in financial firms from the outside in, employing those with military experience may enhance the ability to improve the finance culture from the inside out.”
Widner believes Wall Street needs more veterans. “The skills and discipline veterans bring to financial services are a good fit with Wall Street’s effort – and arguably its need – to rebrand itself as an industry that values service before self,” he said. “Engaging in honest interaction with an inviting community of fellow veterans is a key step toward overcoming the unique challenges for transitioning veterans.”
He encourages all veterans to get involved, no matter where they are. “There are many books written about this specific topic,” he said. “One that comes to mind is Mike Abram’s Networking for Veterans. Get involved with organizations such as your business school’s veteran’s club and VOWS if you are a veteran looking to work on Wall Street. As former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey said to a small group of us at Goldman Sachs recently, ‘There is a sea of good will out there.’”