Imperial College Business School has a strong commitment to gender parity and we are proud to announce the proportion of women has reached 50% on our MSc Finance programme for 2017-18.
In celebration of International Women’s Day and diversity at the Business School, we recap a Women in Finance webinar with five of our outstanding students across our Finance Master’s programmes. These talented women share how the programme is helping them to prepare for life after graduation and set them up to be the business leaders of tomorrow.
On the panel: Karen Ermel MSc Investment & Wealth Management Student Ambassador (Belgium), Marine Dumoulin MSc Finance Women’s Scholar (France), Ciré Sarr MSc Finance Student Ambassador (Senegal), Prudence Shum MSc Finance & Accounting (Hong Kong) and Iris Zhu MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering (Hong Kong).
A sense of direction
From the moment students begin their journey at Imperial, they are encouraged to think consciously about their career goals. In their applications, students are required to produce a career plan that outlines where they want to be in the short and long term. This process makes students demonstrate the areas of strengths and gaps in knowledge they hope to gain from the programme.
Despite having their career plan, students can still feel overwhelmed and confused about career options when they start the programme. For Karen Ermel, she found that the environment at the Business School helped her to figure out what drives her and established more direction. She said:
When you come here there are so many motivated people… who know what they want and know what they’re going for. At that point, if you don’t have that sense of direction you sometimes feel a little lost. Being surrounded by all these motivated and brilliant people has really forced me to do that introspection.
Careers development and interview preparation
Aside from the technical skills they gained at Imperial that readied them for their careers, the students all agreed on the highly practical help they received from the Careers and Professional Development Service. Ciré Sarr said:
When I arrived at Imperial I was really impressed by the resources available and the assistance that was available to use from the Careers Service. From writing your CV to proofreading it – especially for non-native English speakers.
Careers guidance begins in the first month of the programme, with weekly careers workshops that are geared towards making students the best candidate possible.
The Careers Service also organise highly detailed mock interviews, both solo and group, so students can improve their skills and confidence in the interviewing process. This gives our graduates the edge in a complex and competitive environment.
Networking events held year-long help students to learn how to network with industry professionals and develop their communication skills. From employer specific events with networking opportunities to outside events that Imperial students have access to, Marine Dumoulin found these very important for her career progression:
It is really important to network and try to mingle with people in the industry because when you actually have an interview, sometimes the people in front of you will know you, and that’s because they remember you from the Imperial event that you went to.
The Business School boasts a highly connected alumni network that is highly leveraged in the Finance programmes and by students. Throughout the MSc programmes, alumni present about their experiences and tips, and teach students to network in a more informal setting.
Students also have access to the alumni network which they can use to help them in the job seeking process. Karen said:
The alumni network is really strong at Imperial and you can get a lot of benefits from it. For example, if you want to apply for a job, you can look on LinkedIn to see if there are any Imperial students that have studied there. You can reach out to them, and because they’ve been through this (process) and know what it feels like, and because everyone feels very linked to Imperial still, you have a high chance that they will respond and meet up with you for a coffee and will give you some tricks or tips.
Marine Dumoulin is the recipient of the Women in Finance Scholarship, which is offered to female candidates who demonstrate outstanding academic achievement and career potential. Marine completed her undergraduate studies in Political Science and Economics as a Dual Bachelor Degree between Sciences Po Paris and Columbia University.
To strengthen her application, Marine said it was important to showcase her personality to give the admissions team a sense of who she is. By highlighting her professional experiences that are not related to finance, including a six-month internship at a technology start-up, she was able to show that she has worked in different areas and gained different skills that make her a strong candidate. Read more about our Women in Finance scholarships.
Societies, clubs and workshops
The panellists reflected on how they benefit from the numerous societies, clubs and workshops on offer at Imperial College Business School. These opportunities connect them with other MBA and MSc students, creating a valuable network of students from like-minded fields and disciplines for life after graduation.
Imperial also offers various workshops and language classes that give students the opportunity to develop new skills, one of the reasons why Iris Zhu chose to study at the Business School. Iris takes weekly coding workshops to develop new skills for her future career. She said:
I was looking for a Master’s programme where I have more opportunities to learn statistics, mathematics and programming languages as the current financial industry is looking for more finance professionals with strong quantitative skills.