Monday, 14 April 2014

It’s a melting pot of different nationalities and viewpoints

Second-year IFMC student Deniss Korotkevics is confident he’ll find a place on the job market and looks forward to being able to make his mark on the financial system.

  Global demand
After finishing high school in Latvia, Deniss Korotkevics (21) was looking for a challenge in his life, so in 2012 he moved to The Hague to further his academic education. Being a man of numbers, and following up on a tip from a friend studying at The Hague University of Applied Sciences (THUAS), Deniss decided to go for THUAS’
International Financial Management and Control (IFMC) programme. “I knew that after the financial meltdown in 2008 there would be a global demand for economics specialists, so I reckoned this would make it easier for me to find a job.”
Prior knowledge of how the financial system works is not particularly necessary when you start the IFMC, says Deniss. “I’m good at mathematics, but when I first came here I had no knowledge of finance whatsoever. A healthy dose of dedication is expected of IFMC students though, and with some self-study I successfully finished my first year. My knowledge of finance might have been limited when I started the IFMC, but even then I knew I wanted to contribute towards changing the current economic climate.”

Theory and practice
For Deniss, curiosity triumphs over knowledge, which he thinks is illustrated by his list of favourite subjects. They include Corporate Finance, Investments and External Reporting. “The things I have learned in these courses have stuck in my mind. This is partly due to the fact that all the lecturers have experience in the field and therefore know exactly what they’re talking about and how theory relates to practice.”

Guest lectures
That link between theory and practice goes further, he insists. Every three months IFMC students get the chance to attend guest lectures, such as one given by Rene Repko, former marketing director at Dutch retail chain HEMA. “He gave us inside information of certain indicators used to predict and follow customer and sales information. The lecture itself helped us accomplish a related group project in which we needed to improve the sales of a fictitious shoe shop.”

But the most inspiring speaker for Deniss was Starbucks executive, Bill O’Shea. During his visit to THUAS students got the opportunity to present their own business ideas and get advice from the expert himself. “Professional gatherings like these make studying so worthwhile. From this moment on I had no doubt that the IFMC was what I was looking for to help me start writing my own success story.”

Group projects
Before letting them embark on their financial careers, THUAS prepares its students by simulating business issues with group projects, explains Deniss. One of the most notable for him was a football assignment. “In February we had to simulate the acquisition of an English football team in the Premier League. The exercise helped us gain a better understanding of what makes certain investments profitable and what future cash flows we can expect.”

Melting pot
According to Deniss two things make THUAS the ideal place to study. Firstly, there’s its perfect mix of what could be seen as opposites: silence and revelry. Secondly, and for him the most important, is The Hague’s international character. “It’s a melting pot of different nationalities and viewpoints.”

Next September Deniss is planning to do a half-year internship at a big multinational such as Procter and Gamble, Unilever, DANONE, Nike, Adidas and Ernst & Young. “It would be great to obtain a place with a company that could accommodate my international ambitions and help me on my way towards becoming a financial manager, because that’s the career path I’ve set my heart on.”

Change of course
Clearly, Deniss is ambitious, which is something THUAS actively stimulates. “I’m not afraid of responsibility and I’d love to think I could become the type of manager who could challenge and make changes in the world of finance. I think the system needs to change course, and, for me, the IFMC is the first step in which I might be able to help set that change in motion.”


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