These skills can take graduates around the world, as demonstrated by MSc Finance 2011 alumna and First Derivatives plc kdb+ Developer Nuša Žnuderl, who was transferred from her company’s Ireland office to its New York team.
“I am working here under a specialised knowledge visa. During the application process we had to demonstrate that there are significant barriers to obtaining the knowledge and skills that I have. Having an MSc in Finance certainly helped in demonstrating this,” she explains.
After graduating from her undergraduate degree in the middle of the European debt crisis, Nuša decided to undertake her Master’s degree at Imperial College Business School due to its strong reputation in the industry. “I decided to study a Master’s in Finance because I wanted to turn my very technical background in mathematics into skills that were applicable to roles in the finance industry. I picked Imperial College Business School because of its excellent reputation in the industry; I felt that it would maximise my chances of securing employment,” she says.
Imperial’s MSc Finance gives students the opportunity to learn from leading practitioners how to put the latest academic thinking and business strategies in place. Building skills and confidence is a key priority within the highly relevant programme, which reflects the Business School’s strong corporate connections with leading companies in London and beyond. “My learning extended well beyond the theoretical and had a very clear focus on the practical,” Nuša recalls.
“During my career post-Imperial I had frequently drawn upon this practical and common sense knowledge, which often proved to be much more valuable than fancy mathematical formulas taught through books.”
I picked Imperial College Business School because of its excellent reputation in the industry; I felt that it would maximise my chances of securing employment
Following her graduation Nuša was employed by the Economic and Social Research Institute in Dublin as part of a team responsible for building a macroeconomic model of the Irish economy. “Learning econometrics was a central part of the MSc in Finance and this knowledge was a big factor in securing that job. It was an exciting time to be involved in this project due to Ireland’s central part in the European economic crisis.”
Wanting to take on a more finance orientated role with a significant technical element, Nuša took the opportunity to join her current company, First Derivatives plc, to work on projects for a major US investment bank. “I worked from a near-shore office in Ireland for my first two years and then I joined the core business team in New York,” she says.
“I like my current job because it strikes the right balance between technical and finance. I also enjoy the fast pace of trading floor environment and the fact that I work with some of the brightest people in technology and finance.”
Nuša joins the growing female community within the finance industry and lists Ruth Porat, CFO of Google parent company Alphabet, as one of her inspirations for pursuing a career in business. “She spent 28 years at Morgan Stanley, was involved in some of the largest IPOs and funding rounds in the technology sector, and was working with the US government on a plan to prevent a collapse of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae. She is an incredible ambassador for women in business, and I always found her insights into work life very valuable and down to earth,” Nuša explains.
Nuša attributes her success within the financial industry to being encouraged by her family from a young age to pursue her love for mathematics and technology: “In my experience, uneven gender distribution isn’t related to barriers women face in the workforce or even when entering universities, which would qualify them for roles in finance. Instead I think interests, and career development decisions, are formed earlier in life. For example, my technical orientation became about largely because my grandfather and my father encouraged me to explore such activities from a young age.”
I like my current job because it strikes the right balance between technical and finance. I also enjoy the fast pace of trading floor environment and the fact that I work with some of the brightest people in technology and finance
In addition to her strong family support base, Nuša was also able to utilise the services provided by the Careers and Professional Development team to best prepare her for the challenging job market she was due to face upon graduation. “I benefited a huge amount from the Business School’s Careers and Professional Development Service,” she says.
“I made an appointment with the Careers team early on during the MSc programme to get my CV into shape and later in the year the staff helped me with interview preparation. I strongly recommend students take advantage of this service.”
Nuša emphasises to prospective students that hard work and commitment are essential for success during, and after, MSc Finance: “I think prospective students should understand that the programme is huge commitment. There will be little time left after studying and job applications, but if they do it right it will give them a huge advantage when entering the industry.”