Charles Jalali-Farhani
MSc Economics & Strategy for Business 2019

About you

What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?

Prior to beginning Imperial College Business School, I completed internships at AXA-Investment Managers, Mizuho Bank, Jaguar Land Rover and a Canadian-based tech startup called Umami Trading.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Economics & Strategy for Business at Imperial College Business School?

My undergraduate degree in BSc Economics at LSE was heavily theoretical and quantitative. This was useful in building a solid understanding of economics, however, I felt I lacked an understanding of applying such theory in a practical sense to business. The MSc Economics & Strategy for Business at Imperial offered an educational platform to bridge this gap through the focused modules and extra-curricular opportunities available.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

The programme is ideal in bridging the gap between economic theory and practical application. After completing this MSc, I certainly feel better positioned to apply my academic knowledge in economics to the professional world.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module was the Risk Management module. With previous experience in risk management at Mizuho Bank – I enjoyed formalising my understanding of the subject in an academic setting. Building a technical understanding about the principles of risks and the ways to mitigate these through hedging techniques will prove useful in many lines of business moving into my professional career. I look forward to carrying out principles learned from this programme forward into a practical setting.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The programme consists of group coursework from the moment you enter. Prior to this MSc programme, I had only really participated in groups through extra-curricular activities and internships during my undergraduate, but never within an academic setting. Working in groups to complete assignments throughout the year truly forces you to understand the dynamics of teamwork and how to efficiently work through complex tasks with other people. I can walk away from the programme feeling better equipped to work alongside other people more effectively.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

If I had to describe the cohort in three words, they would be creative, intelligent and ambitious.

Opportunities

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

This year, I took over a student-run initiative called Imperial College VC Talks. As President, I led a team of eight fellow Imperial College Business School students to organise speaker events, while also creating podcasts and blogs with the objective to better educate the student population on venture capital and entrepreneurship. We successfully held four speaker events, with the likes of Accel Partners, Index Ventures, Octopus Ventures, Forward Partners and Firstminute Capital in attendance. Pursuing this opportunity opened many doors for me within the venture capital ecosystem, as I connected with professionals from a range of funds and startups. As a result of my pro-activeness with this initiative, it opened up an opportunity of a work placement at Firstminute Capital.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?

If you want to surround yourself with incredibly innovative individuals, then Imperial College London is the place to be. Using my role at Imperial College VC Talks, I decided to take the opportunity to completely immerse myself within the highly active entrepreneurial environment at the Business School. I met with several student founders currently completing a range of other programmes including Mechanical Engineering, Medicine and Chemistry – learning about and understanding their companies. I also decided to get involved at the Enterprise Lab at Imperial, where they have a range of different events and workshops that you can attend, including WE Innovate, the Venture Catalyst Competition and more. As a club at VC Talks, we partnered with The Enterprise Lab and invited Co-Founder of The Family (one of the largest Tech Accelerators in Europe) to give a talk on how to raise seed capital as an early-stage startup. The Imperial entrepreneurial system is there to be explored once you arrive and I would definitely recommend doing so!

Career

What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?

I eventually want to break into a full-time role in Venture Capital (VC). The route into VC is known to be unconventional and pro-activeness within the space usually helps your case. Imperial certainly provided me with that platform to be pro-active on a big stage.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

Yes, I have received a three-month work-placement offer from Firstminute Capital (a London-based seed fund with a global remit). As a Summer Analyst, I will be working alongside the team to help source, conduct due diligence and assess new investment opportunities.

London Location

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?

It certainly does, living in London puts you in the centre of it all. Given I have lived in London throughout my undergraduate and Master’s, I could not recommend this move more. Throughout the the past five years at LSE and Imperial, I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with interesting people from a range of industries, professions and backgrounds.

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

When I’m not studying, I enjoy hanging out with friends, reading and playing football. Throughout the academic year, the MSc Economics & Strategy for Business cohort has gotten together for frequent football sessions, which I thoroughly enjoyed – as it was a fantastic way of getting to know my cohort better.

Tips

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?

If you are to apply, make sure you are applying for the right reasons. An MSc programme is a huge commitment, and technically there is a hefty opportunity cost involved in attending -consisting of both money and time. This MSc is targeted towards those of you that want to learn how to apply theoretical models and frameworks from the basis of economics and strategy to the real-world.

Prior to starting, I came in with the intention that this MSc programme would provide an intermediary step between academics and application to business, and it truly has.  I feel like I’m entering the professional world with a competitive advantage because of this.

Role
MSc Economics & Strategy for Business
Nationality
United Kingdom
Undergraduate education :

BSc Economics, London School of Economics

Job after Imperial College Business School :

Summer Analyst, Firstminute Capital