Jun Kit Mah
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I have previous experience at a number of companies these include: 2017 – Barclays, Customer Banking Solutions, 2016 – Accenture, Strategy Intern and in 2015 – Ernst & Young, Advisory Intern.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Climate Change, Management & Finance at Imperial College Business School?
Three key reasons. Firstly, such a programme is not being offered elsewhere in the UK. I think the integration of management and finance in the broader context of climate change represents a huge opportunity and will enable businesses to outperform peers when climate policies roll out (and when climate takes a turn for the worse). Secondly, the brand of Imperial College Business School is a strong one and is constantly becoming more prestigious in higher educational rankings. Thirdly, I had heard positive reviews of this programme despite only being in its first year prior to my application.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
I really enjoyed the exposure we were getting to large corporates. We were able to hear first-hand the key challenges businesses were facing with respect to climate change as well as the areas of opportunities within this space. It was abundantly clear that no one had all, or even most, of the answers which meant that the role my cohort and I could play upon entering the workforce would be to have more impact. Furthermore, being able to hold a conversation and put forth your own opinions with climate practitioners from both business as well as academia at a deep and technical level felt very rewarding.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
It’s hard to choose. I would say my two favourite modules were Clean Tech Innovation and Investment and Climate Finance. These two modules really underlined how different clean tech investments and climate projects were funded compared to other, more traditional projects. Investments are typically riskier and access to public market funds were restricted, especially during the early phase of climate projects. It was very interesting how this obstacle was navigated around to produce very good investor returns.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
Given that this programme was basically a three in one package, the workload was heavy. There was loads of content you had to digest in a short time, extra reading you had to do to keep up in classes and myriads of projects to complete under strict time pressures. Nevertheless, the programme would not have been as good as it was without these challenges.
How do you describe your cohort at imperial?
Passionate, smart and driven. I think you need to have significant passion to even apply for a programme such as this one, being as niche as it is. But this ensured that we were all on the same page from the get-go and we quickly became tight-knit and collaborative on all the tasks we had to complete throughout our 12-month MSc.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
I think all our professors and lecturers were fantastically knowledgeable and enthusiastic about the subjects they taught. Josué Tanaka and Paolo Taticchi were particularly engaging.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
It simulates what you would experience working in a corporation and this really refines the skills needed to succeed as part of a team. At worst, we got off to slow starts and split views on a subject. At best, however, we continuously bounced ideas off one another, reiterated and polished our works and had a ton of fun working with like-minded people.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
Rather than just one, there were a string of continuous opportunities I’d like to highlight. We had guest lectures on a weekly basis where high-profile people in industry came to speak to us. These knowledge sharing and networking opportunities were invaluable and I believe they will open many doors for us in the future.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I am an active member of the Imperial College Business School Student Investment Fund which was set up following my enrolment into the university. There, we had £100,000 in assets under management which we invested using both quantitative and fundamental investment strategies.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community, including Imperial’s Grantham Institute?
I was invited to numerous events held by the Grantham Institute, not just within Imperial. I attended an annual lecture by the Grantham Institute at LSE which was very refreshing.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
I hope to be able to return to my country, Malaysia, and make positive changes in the way business is done and to address some gaps in the market, particularly in the finance industry. First and foremost, being at Imperial College Business School gives you an edge in the recruitment cycle, which is how I landed my first internship at a boutique investment bank. I think this is crucial because I now have the opportunity to gain a deeper understanding of the finance industry which will enable me to contribute to its growth back home.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I received a role in Barclays’ UK graduate team where I will be rotating across four different divisions of the bank over two years, with personal emphasis on long-term strategy and data analytics. I also considered an alternative opportunity at a boutique investment bank where I completed my summer internship which specialises in raising venture capital for start-ups.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Definitely, since London is where most of the employers and opportunities are (in my humble opinion). The number of networking events I attended was probably three to four times what I would have gone to should I have been studying outside of London. Since Imperial College Business School is in London, employers could come to the university without much hassle and with greater frequency – and not have to stress out about travel plans.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live in South Kensington for convenience. It is expensive, though.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?
What is spare time? I’m just kidding, the programme does not completely take over our lives – although it may seem that way at times. I enjoy hitting the gym a few times a week and traveling over the longer breaks both within the UK as well as around Europe.
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?
I moved to London for my undergraduate degree so I guess I can say a bit about this. Coming to such a developed city means that Google Maps/Citymapper work great and you’ll never be lost as long as you have internet (which is almost everywhere). Coming from a tropical country, I had to adapt to the weather which is quite unpredictable but overall, it was not difficult immersing myself in the local culture. My advice would be to always keep an open mind and not to be afraid to ask for help.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?
I did not attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions. Nevertheless, I think it would have been useful as it would have given me a better understanding of the programme and whether or not it was suited for me. I would definitely recommend prospective students who have their doubts about the programme to attend these events because there’s nothing worse than signing up for a 12-month MSc that you may not like.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
I think there are three main pieces of advice I can give. Firstly, understand the core content of the programme and think how it can add value to your future career goals – this will allow your enthusiasm and drive to show during the interview process. Secondly, read up on the underlying global concerns that underpin this MSc – this will help you technically excel during the interviews. Thirdly and most importantly, in my opinion, come in with an open mind! There will be a multitude of things you learn throughout that are not intuitive and will really expand your horizons. This will really allow you to enjoy the Master’s to its fullest. Good luck.