Roya Rahnejat graduated from Imperial with a BSc in Mathematics with Management (2006) and an MSc in Risk Management and Financial Engineering (2007). During her time at Imperial, Roya was the Events Organiser for the Iranian Student Society. She now works as a Client Engagement Director for Canadian Fintech Flybits, a platform that enables banks and other financial institutions to provide a better customer experience in the world of banking.
We spoke to her about her years at Imperial and her career.
Why did you choose Imperial as the place to follow your interest in STEM subjects?
Imperial College has one of the strongest Mathematics departments in the country - and in Europe. Also, quite a few of my relatives had previously attended and, therefore, I knew a lot about the university and was keen to join.
How did you find life at Imperial as a woman?
In 2003, and particularly in the Mathematics course, the female-to-male ratio was quite low. Since then, I have been back on campus many times and have witnessed a more balanced ratio.
What advice would you give to girls who are thinking about studying STEM, particularly at Imperial?
It’s important to be an all-rounded person. Focus on what you learn but also learn soft skills, expand your network, and always push the boundaries when it comes to your comfort zone.
What did you learn during your time at Imperial, in class or out?
Imperial taught me how to be disciplined and how to work under pressure and within tight deadlines. I also learnt a lot from the multi-cultural environment and made many friends who I am in close contact with to this day.
Who did you find inspiring at Imperial and why?
There were many professors and lecturers who inspired me in both the Mathematics department, and later in the Business School. Fortunately, many of them are not only fantastic at what they do in terms of academic work but are also very active in the industry and have a great impact in the world we live in. A recent example is the research and the involvement of Imperial during COVID-19.
What have been your career highlights and lowlights?
The highlight was the ability to navigate through various sub-sectors of the financial industry, giving me a wider and deeper understanding of the world of finance and banking. Lowlights - regret of not taking my coding courses seriously during my maths degree. This would have certainly helped me more today.
What are your plans for the future?
There is always a lot more to learn. I am very critical of myself and want to improve myself and expand my knowledge as well as soft skills. I’d also like to be more involved with Imperial in the future and give back.
What’s the most difficult decision you’ve ever had to make?
Leaving my career early on in London to move to New York for a year. I had to take a massive pay cut and live away from my family but it is the best decision I’ve ever made.
What are you most proud of in your life?
The friends I have made. The network I have grown.