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Boost Your Career with CEU’s MS Business Programs

What is it like to study in a specialized business program located in the heart of Europe? We asked two current students from Central European University to share their experiences regarding their classes, the international environment, as well as internship and career opportunities.

Ann May Gonzaga,
MS in Finance student

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I received my undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of the Philippines Diliman. Prior to CEU, I worked in the insurance industry for two years, juggling it with actuarial exams to attain an associate designation.

What do you enjoy most about your studies?
True to its claims, the program’s curriculum is crafted with industry in mind. My previous educational experience was either purely practical or theoretical, but now I’ve finally got the mix of both worlds that I’ve been looking for. I also like how most classes feature projects where we really get to apply what we’ve learned: conducting a company analysis, analyzing datasets with as much freedom as we want, doing mock trades and experiencing the gain or suffering the loss of our virtual money. Finally, CEU provides us with real-world data that would be very expensive for us to access individually.
What makes the MS in Finance program at CEU special?
Classes are supplemented with regular use case seminars on various finance topics, and presented by successful professionals from big companies. What’s more, the capstone project, which we undertake instead of a thesis, allows us to work as consultants. The department provides us with all kinds of project opportunities so that we can expand our network by working with a company of our choosing, whether it be a local company, a multinational or a startup.
Have you received any help in funding your studies?
I am a recipient of the Women in Technology Scholarship, awarded by CEU and Blackrock. Thanks to this, I only had to pay 4,000 EUR of the 12,000 EUR tuition. It was still quite a big amount for me to shoulder, but otherwise I wouldn’t have been able to manage at all and would have had to postpone my plans to study at CEU. I’m really glad that this investment is already starting to pay off.
What kind of internship opportunities does the program offer?
I am currently working as a part-time actuarial analyst at AON, working on jubilees and pension valuations. The Head of MS in Finance, Peter Szilagyi, helped me perfect my resume even before the fall term had begun. In fact, I started attending job interviews before my flight to Hungary and even secured an offer before classes began! Throughout the academic year, the department helps us update and revamp our CVs. They also actively reach out to big companies and send them our profiles, so we can receive early exposure to the job market.

What application tips would you give to prospective students?
Don’t hesitate to reach out to faculty and staff in case you have difficulties with your application. They are very responsive and encouraging and will do everything in their power to help applicants through the process.

Cosmin Catalin Ticu,
MS in Business Analytics student

Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a former liberal arts student turned aspiring socially responsible data analyst. Prior to CEU, I studied in the Netherlands and Singapore, having started out with a mix of philosophy and social sciences, but ended up studying an IT-centric curriculum.

Why did you choose CEU?
Not only did I want to gain more international experience at one of the most culturally diverse universities around, but I wanted to experience the blend of an American liberal education and Eastern Europe’s strong yet somewhat stiff academic heritage. Most of all, I wanted to study at a top-tier university which offers global opportunities (from exchange programs to US accreditation and a global network of alumni) and a highly praised data-driven curriculum. Some of the plus points of studying in Hungary are the affordability of daily life, career opportunities and, of course, the proximity to many Central and Eastern European locations.
What do you enjoy most about your studies?
Pursuing a degree in data analytics is definitely a challenge, but the curriculum is designed in a way that makes it possible for people with no programming experience, but a quantitative mindset, to keep up with more technically proficient students. Being in the former category, I appreciated the initial intensity of the degree, with a lot of programming, data structure and statistics courses. For our final capstone project, we can pick from real-world tasks set by top companies like IBM, Nokia and Deloitte or from local (Hungarian and Austrian) market disrupters.
What makes the MS in Business Analytics program at CEU special?
The academic staff have considerable experience working for leading companies, such as EPAM Systems and Data bricks, and even possess Ivy League academic prowess. These achievements come through in the way they teach.
After just a few very intense months, I felt comfortable handling data, using statistical algorithms and building predictive models. The fast-paced learning environment has prepared me for taking on an internship at GE Renewable Energy as a data analyst. This culture of working alongside your studies prevails in the program, and most of my classmates also hold positions in the data industry.

How has CEU helped you achieve your career goals?
All the MS programs benefit from high-quality career advising sessions, skill-building courses and a plethora of resources that prepare you to land an internship or a full-time position. I’ve participated in CEU’s Career Camp, a series of career-oriented workshops (like CV building and how to ace interviews), I’ve had one-on-one advising sessions with our program’s dedicated Corporate Relations Manager and I’m currently working for the CEU iLab as a partnership scouting and SEO intern. Working within your university’s own startup incubator opens the door to future collaborations and offers a rich learning experience.
What application tips would you give to prospective students?
Don’t be discouraged if you don’t have much work experience, as CEU is not just looking for seasoned professionals. The MS programs are designed both as career change and career kickstarting opportunities.

Interested in studying at CEU’s Department of Business and Economics yourself? Sign up for more information, including application tips and scholarship updates, here.