What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
The summer before starting the MSc, I completed a five month internship at Allianz Global Investors in Frankfurt, Germany within the Infrastructure Equity team, developing the investment strategy for renewable energy-focused funds. During my undergraduate degree I spent my third year abroad working in the financial controlling team of an E.ON subsidiary in Munich, Germany that develops Combined Heat and Power plants for industrial clients. Prior to this, I completed several short internships within the investment industry, most being strategy and research related.
Why did you decide to study MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance at Imperial College Business School?
Over the last few years I became increasingly passionate about tackling climate change. After my Bachelor’s I decided against a graduate job in audit with a Big Four firm after realising the increasing potential of being able to combine my passion and a good career. The MSc provided the ideal opportunity to gain the necessary technical foundations and industry knowledge to help prepare me for a career in sustainable business. The reputation of Imperial College, vast potential for industry networking and pioneering course material convinced me of my choice.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
The regular Thursday evening guest speakers talking specifically to our cohort gave me the chance to learn about the most up-to-date industry trends, see how the academic course material can be useful in the real world and network with a wide variety of leading industry experts. The balance of business and science focused programme material was also one of the most interesting and, in my opinion, important aspects of the programme.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
I particularly enjoyed both the Clean Tech, Innovation and Investment as well as the Climate Finance modules. They were both taught by very engaging and experienced lecturers, were assessed through interesting and relevant programme work and provided the opportunity to learn how to combine classic investment theory with innovative and scalable technologies. Both modules combined recent case studies and theoretical content especially well.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The programme is relatively intense with a lot of content to be covered in a short period of time. With the combination of many extra-curricular activities to be involved with, job hunting, studying and maintaining a social life, time management skills were certainly tested over the last year.
How do you describe your cohort at imperial?
Extremely diverse, with top students from all over the world and a wide variety of academic backgrounds and life experiences. Students are very passionate about the overall goal of combating climate change, even if they end up following different career paths. This makes for engaging conversations in and outside the classroom and a unique sense of comradery. The majority of students join the programme because they truly care for and are interested in making a positive difference.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
I particularly enjoyed being taught by Josué Tanaka due to his engaging personality, evident passion for his field and impressive career background, especially his work with the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
Due to the diverse nature and content of the modules, having team members from different academic backgrounds was especially beneficial. While not all group work runs smoothly, this multi-disciplinary set-up meant that students were able to contribute more to aspects that they were more familiar with and interested in.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
To network with and have direct contact to some of the leading experts in sustainable business was certainly a unique opportunity. Leading efforts to advocate the integration of responsible investing policies within the university’s endowment and Student’s Investment Fund allowed me to make interesting connections within and outside of the university, which otherwise wouldn’t have been possible.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
Attending the Imperial Stock Pitch Masterclass Day with an ex-director from Fidelity International gave me a good understanding of the fundamentals of stock pitching whilst a workshop held by the Energy Club analysing real case studies in the renewable energy investment space was also very useful in developing my relevant technical skills and knowledge. While many guest talks were highly stimulating, those by Al Gore, Paul Polman and Lord Nick Stern were especially enlightening.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
Whilst not a club officially affiliated with Imperial College, I took over leading the Responsible Investment Club founded by two students from the previous cohort. The main mission is to advocate the integration of responsible investment within the university. This includes in particular, the Imperial College Endowment Fund and the Imperial College Business School Student Investment Fund. I was also involved with students from fellow leading UK universities aiming to collectively drive positive investment. Although there is still much to be done, this opportunity allowed me to help create awareness, initiate change, make many valuable contacts and learn a great deal about the rapidly growing responsible investment space.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community, including Imperial’s Grantham Institute?
A benefit of being part of the Grantham Institute was being connected to leading professors and PhD students who often taught us part of a module or presented us with their cutting edge and in-progress research. Likewise, the newly launched Centre for Climate Finance & Investment provided unique opportunities to attend talks by globally leading researchers.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
Regardless of specific role or industry, I aim to use my career to help create positive societal change, including helping fight climate change. I will start off my career with an international investment bank, in a team developing and investing in clean technology companies and projects. Although I do not have an engineering background, I’m always interested to learn about new technologies, especially those that can revolutionise industries in a positive way. The MSc gave me a good introduction in to some of the clean technologies in existence and others with future potential. I am also passionate about responsible investment in regards to liquid assets, especially equities. Fundamental company research and portfolio integration in terms of environmental, social and governance factors are continually improving and mainstreaming and are also an area that I could imagine myself working in at some point.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I accepted a role as an Investment Banking Analyst within the Green Energy team of Macquarie Capital, a global financial group. More specifically, I will be in the Green Investment Group (formerly named the Green Investment Bank, and founded by the UK government in 2012) developing and investing Macquarie’s own balance sheet in companies and projects within the clean technology space.
How did the services from Careers help you secure employment/in your professional development?
I found all the roles I applied for myself. However, I did have a meeting with a careers consultant who pointed me towards a useful book focusing on careers in sustainability. The regular career opportunities received by email as well as those through Simplicity would have been useful had I not already secured a job.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Absolutely. There were many events, talks and meetings that I attended which would not have been possible in any other location. Regardless of current political climate, London is still one of the leading geographical centres for business and finance. Many sustainable-related innovations take place in London, from small start-ups creating ground-breaking technologies to the largest international financial institutions launching positive impact related funds. I was lucky enough to attend an insight day on sustainable investing at Morgan Stanley’s European HQ in London. Meeting industry connections for coffee, attending interviews etc. is made much easier by the good transport links to the city from South Kensington.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I chose to live in the GradPad student accommodation at Wood Lane Studios. Whilst not the cheapest option, it was the ideal location for me to cycle through Notting Hill and Hyde Park to campus in just over 20 minutes with the nearby central line providing a relatively reliable bad-weather alternative connecting straight to the city. The accommodation also provides the ideal life-style balance with the option of privacy in your own ensuite room and a quiet study room and social life in the common room, gym etc.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?
Besides the plethora of great bars and pubs on offer, London provides plenty of other cultural and sporting opportunities. When not studying, I would often go indoor bouldering, play six-a-side football with classmates, go to music gigs or just hang out in the nearby Hyde Park when the weather allowed it!
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
London is not an inexpensive city to live in, especially when considering accommodation rental and often you have to make some sacrifices in terms of location or size to find somewhere within your budget. Sometimes the first accommodation you move in to doesn’t work out. However, this is a challenge whichever city you might move to. The positive is that there are always options with spare rooms constantly appearing and the fact that the housing market moves so quickly means there is no need to worry about sorting accommodation many months before you arrive in London. Many international students come to London every year and their accommodation always works out in the end.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Think about your future career ambitions, how this programme might set you apart from other candidates on paper as well as in terms of technical knowledge gained. For many it is likely a significant financial and time burden, especially if taking a career break. However, the programme is still much less expensive than many others e.g. MBA programmes and Master’s degrees in the US. Further, the fact that the programme is less than one year long means the actual potential interruption to an existing career is fairly short. Once you arrive at Imperial, make the most of your time here – take initiative to lead and try new things as the year will fly by. Make as many useful contacts as you can, without being too pushy. The Imperial brand itself goes a long way.