Success Story: Interview with Eric Cuevas

@IE University

Eric is a Bachelor’s of Business Administration graduate. He is an associate at Morgan Stanley since 2015. Learn more about Eric.

Why did you choose IE University?

In searching for a university that was the right fit for me, I had two objectives: somewhere with an international environment where I could study in a foreign language and somewhere where I could combine business with another major. As I looked at European universities, I found some that satisfied one of those conditions, but IE University delivered both. The strong brand name, entrepreneurial culture and modern study plans also played a significant role in my decision.

Is there anything you would like to highlight regarding your experience at IE University? Do you have any anecdotes that you would like to share?

Classes were fun and interesting, and I had high-quality professors. However, now that a few years have passed, most of my memories are of social events, debate club sessions, weekend trips with friends and parties. A few weeks ago, a very close friend of mine from IE got married. It was amazing to see how our initial group of friends from Segovia was present in full. The friends you make at university change and shape your life, and this was definitely the highlight for me. Some will become your confidants, some will be acquaintances, some will be business partners and some might even be competitors.

Could you please share your job title and the date you started working at your company?

I am currently an associate at Morgan Stanley. I started working here in June 2015.

Can you please tell us briefly about your current job (functions/company/industry)?

I’m based in London within the Global Capital Markets division. Specifically, I cover the Iberian region from a Debt Capital Markets perspective. My job is to provide advice and fixed income execution capabilities to our largest clients in Spain and Portugal. On an ongoing basis, we analyze the capital structure of our clients and we focus on their liabilities and their funding needs. We then create strategies and action plans to optimize them. In general, this can involve issuing or buying back different types of bonds, putting in place and managing derivative hedges and more.

Were you interested in this job position/sector/ company before starting your studies?  How does your current job fit into your career strategy?

Yes, the financial sector was something that always attracted me during my time at university. Some divisions, such as Debt Capital Markets, attracted me more than others but ultimately banking jobs are so specific that it is hard to say you had an eye on your exact position from miles away.

As for the second question, after completing the three-year analyst program, I am now in the three-year associate program. The learning curve is high but the opportunities to grow and explore different fields are infinite in such a large institution. In the near future, my plan is to grow within the company.

How did you find out about this job opportunity?

Job openings and graduate programs at large investment banks are highly publicized online. I applied via my employer’s online career portal. In addition, attending networking events and being well prepared in terms of technical and soft skills boosted my chances

How did Talent & Careers and your IE University experience help you during the recruiting process? Did you use specific career resources or did you come across useful information via an advisor or alumni?

I met Talents & Careers on my first day at IE University. Having such an early introduction to the team increased my awareness of the many different steps I needed to take during my time at university in order to land the job I wanted after graduation. At different points during university, Talents & Careers helped me in various ways (negotiating internship contracts, giving me access to career fairs, etc.). But, perhaps most importantly, they were there for me when I needed general support or someone to talk to after a bad interview. This goes along with my previous answer; it is solely your responsibility to fight for and find a job you like, but the journey is made easier if you have great allies along the way.

How was the recruiting process, in terms of stages, tests, interviews, etc.?

After I submitted my online application, the very first step was to complete a set of online tests (numerical, reasoning, etc.). Once I completed this stage successfully, I got a call inviting me to attend the first set of two interviews, followed by a second set a few weeks later. Both of these interviews were held in the local Madrid office, through technical and fit questions were posed by analysts, associates and VPs. The final stage was attending a super-Saturday event in London. On this day, I met different MDs and EDs, and completed numerous technical and fit interviews, case studies and group dynamics, and was asked to complete another set of numerical and reasoning tests.

Do you feel that IE University prepared you well for the position?

Yes, IE University definitely gave me the tools I needed to prepare myself for this position. Having done the Bachelor’s of Business Administration and Masters in Law dual degree program, I did not have the chance to take the full finance track. However, the skills and attitudes I learned at IE University enabled me to learn quickly and adapt within my current position.

Would you want to share any tips or advice with students interested in applying to your company/sector?

Preparation is key and it needs to be done over a long period of time. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. If you want to land a banking job, my advice is to start months, or even years, in advance and slowly build your network. Attend all the events, company presentations, case studies and other programs happening on campus. Take every opportunity to practice interviewing and do it with passion and energy. Looking for a job is a full time job itself.

What are the most important things you have learned in your work?

Perhaps the most important thing is the high value placed on integrity, goodwill and reputation. In addition, I have learned to push my limits in terms of workload, responsibility, accountability and work quality standards. Of course, you also learn about finance.

If you work in an international environment, what are the challenges you face?

An international environment is the norm in my department. Each team is structured as regional coverage, which means I work closely with German, Italian, French and UK teams, and others. Diversity and internationality are seen as the base case and the work environment has adapted, which means there isn’t a real challenge to it.

How your entrepreneurial capacity has helped you achieve your professional success?

In my role, entrepreneurship is a highly valued skill. To a certain extent, it is a must-have. Competition is strong and everyone is willing to go the extra mile and take on more responsibility. In an environment like this, sitting back and doing “what you have to do” won’t get you very far. Being entrepreneurially-minded is key in identifying market opportunities, proposing attractive ideas to clients and being able to outperform your peers and stay in the game

What are your long-range career objectives?

It is difficult to think of one single objective. For the time being, growing and learning within my position and creating strong personal relationships with co-workers and clients is probably how I spend most of my time.