“I considered studying in the UK, USA and France, and decided on London due to cost factors and the fact that I wanted to work in London after graduation,” explained Robert. “My time at Imperial was the first time I’d lived in London. I loved spending time in areas like Shoreditch, which has a relaxed vibe, unbelievably rich culture and art/music scene, and is great for and full of students with the most diverse backgrounds. In hindsight I’m really happy that I studied in London, because it was much easier to network with contacts in the City. I’m still in contact with my classmates from MSc Finance, quite a few of whom are now working in London. I met some great friends on the programme.”
MSc Finance students have the opportunity to take a range of modules designed to help them figure out what kind of career to pursue. “For me, the exposure to different modules helped me realise that I wanted to work in mergers and acquisitions,” says Robert. “I really enjoyed the modules towards the end of the programme. There are a lot of intermediary assessments that keep you busy and involved with the programme throughout the year. The small classrooms with practical exercises in between lectures made the theory more digestible. I worked on projects including the preparation of LBO acquisitions, investment proposals, M&A, financial models and valuation models.”
Imperial is a unique place to study a postgraduate business degree. The Business School’s position within Imperial College London presents opportunities to work collaboratively with students from other faculties and participate in challenges and societies. There are 340 clubs, societies and projects at Imperial which are all student led and student run. Robert was the Team Captain on a Morgan Stanley University Community Impact Challenge. He recalled the opportunity: “It was fun to meet students from other parts of Imperial, such as chemical engineering or mathematics. We assessed the feasibility of the HIV charity, Body & Soul, using its young people to provide market research in order to fund a running club and pitched the findings at Morgan Stanley’s office at Bank Street.”
There’s no doubt that MSc Finance students have a busy and challenging schedule to manage. A typical week consists of lectures, group meetings and studying in the library with classmates, and balancing this with regular assessments, guest lectures, careers workshops, Finance Society events and a lively social life. With so much to juggle, and whilst getting used to living in a new city for many students, Robert’s advice to anyone considering studying MSc Finance is to read up about the industry and in the potential career opportunities, such as asset management, investment banking or trading.
“You should start to consider options such as whether you want to be a part of an analytical risk management team, or if you are better suited to client facing activities,” he advises. “If you have a vague idea of what area you want to work in, this will help you to better prepare for interviews and jobs. It’s so important to get your job applications completed as soon as the doors open, because your chances of success will be so much higher. Not everyone realises that at first.”
There’s plenty of help available from the Business School’s dedicated Careers and Professional Development Service. Students benefit from training and mentoring before the recruitment season starts, CV advice, and interview preparation. Put simply, they know how to make you stand out from the crowd in all the right ways. “My Careers coach helped me to fine tune my CV and made me realise what questions I have to ask myself during the recruitment process and what to expect at interviews,” Robert commented.
In hindsight I’m really happy that I studied in London, because it was much easier to network with contacts in the City.
Our MSc Finance programme has a proven track record in getting students the best jobs in the finance industry for over 15 years. Robert Hansen, an MSc Finance alumnus who graduated in 2014 is no exception to this. Since graduating, Robert has worked his way up to an Investment Banking Analyst role at Goldman Sachs in London.
Having graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Business & Economics from Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Robert completed an 11 month internship in Credit Risk Portfolio Management and Portfolio Analytics and Reporting at Deutsche Bank in Germany before starting at Imperial College Business School in 2013. Robert always knew he wanted to work in finance, but it was this first internship which gave a valuable insight into the control function responsible for monitoring and analysing assets, and confirmed that he wanted to pursue a career in banking.
Like many students on the MSc Finance programme, Robert was attracted towards Imperial’s programme due to the strong reputation for excellence in quantitative finance, and the London location of the School. “I liked the practical orientation of the programme and I wanted a mathematical study of finance. My friend who had studied at Imperial College Business School recommended the programme to me,” he said.
I wouldn’t have got the internship without studying MSc Finance at Imperial.
“I got an internship at Goldman Sachs whilst I was studying at Imperial. I met a Goldman representative at Imperial who had come in to speak as a guest lecturer to MSc Finance students. I kept in touch with her and she recommended my CV to her colleagues in the division. I wouldn’t have got the internship without studying MSc Finance at Imperial.” During his internship, Robert worked in private equity, M&A and leverage buyout modelling. “I enjoyed this because you get a deep understanding of what a company does, how to read their financials, and how to assess value and performance.”
If you do well on the internship and show your interest and excitement to be working in the sector, the hiring rate from interns to permanent roles is good. Robert went on to secure a permanent position at Goldman Sachs as an Investment Banking Analyst.
“The main challenge of having a career in investment banking is balancing work and home life. Trying out the lifestyle via an internship is a great introduction to the sector. I enjoy the closeness of my role to strategic decisions in the financial institutions that I work with,” explained Robert.
If you have been inspired by Robert’s journey, would like to get in touch to ask questions about studying MSc Finance or need some advice about pursuing a career in finance after studying at Imperial College Business School, you can contact Robert via LinkedIn.