Antonis Prounias graduated from MSc Finance & Accounting in 2016. He now works as an Investment Banking Analyst at Citi, after one year as a Valuations Analyst at Duff & Phelps. Previously, Antonius graduated from the University of Bath with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting & Finance, and worked as an ISG Margin Analyst at Morgan Stanley. In this profile he shares how MSc Finance & Accounting taught him core business skills and gave him a solid background to move into an analyst role.
Current work experience
Tell us about your current job role.
I value companies, or parts of companies, for different financial reasons, such as financial reporting, monitoring for hedge funds or private equity firms, or transactions.
What skills does the job require?
Analytical skills: you’re given a lot of different pieces of data and you need to make the most out it. When data is not enough, you need to make realistic assumptions in your models based on your understanding of the sector.
Attention to detail: every valuation we produce is based on models so a small mistake can make a huge difference. Catching a small error early on will save you a lot of hours on the job.
Communication: you also need to get other people to understand your findings. The valuation is communicated to a private equity firm or intermediary who need to be able to understand it so they are comfortable passing it onto their investors.
Adaptability: during the same month I’ve valued a fintech business who needed a valuation to raise finance for a new funding range, valuated investments for a mining company and produced valuations for an investor who invests in biotech firms.
What’s your proudest achievement in the job role so far?
During this year’s annual review, I was told I was one of the top performing analysts of this year and that is something that I’m quite proud of.
Studying MSc Finance & Accounting at Imperial
Why did you choose Imperial College Business School?
I spoke to a few friends who had studied in the Business School and they felt that the scientific way of studying finance was very useful, in contrast to other universities where they touch mostly on the academic side of things. For me, getting that practical knowledge was very useful and it was the main reason I chose Imperial.
What practical skills did you learn on MSc Finance & Accounting?
I picked up a lot of technical skills in corporate finance. The programme expanded my knowledge and familiarised me with concepts that I look at and use on a daily basis in my job and helped me in the interview stages to get into the industry.
The programme trains you to perform at a high level. Whether it was individual or group course work, or a presentation, everything had to be at a high level which gets students used to performing at this level for the longer term. Lastly MSc Finance & Accounting developed my skills in working with people. On the programme, you learn to work with people from completely different backgrounds – for example some members of my cohort had an engineering – and work together to produce high quality results.
What was the highlight of the programme?
The Corporate Finance core module and the Private Equity & Venture Capital elective. They were both very useful. I hadn’t done any modelling before that, just some calculations in Excel or using software. For Private Equity & Venture Capital, we had to perform a full model and present it as part of our coursework. The model had to be at a high quality and standard, and that prepared me for what I’m doing now.
Experience of a Business School student
What do you miss most about your time on MSc Finance & Accounting?
The people. I got to meet interesting people and we had to work together for many hours. As alumni, we’ve stayed in touch. It’s useful to know people in similar job roles in different locations who might help if you need something. For example, when I heard that Duff & Phelps had an opening, I shared that opportunity with friends. In this industry, people don’t stay at a firm for their whole career so knowing people who can help you start a new job or move companies is very helpful. The lecturers were also really helpful and would explain their answers in detail if I had a question. There was this knowledge right in front of me that was very accessible.
How important was it to your experience to be located in London?
It’s essential for networking. The Career & Professional Development Service brought in a lot of companies to present and network with us at the end of every week, which was really useful. The people that presented were working in very high quality companies in the financial services, and you wouldn’t be able to have access to that pool of information and that network anywhere else in Europe.
Describe a typical day as a MSc Finance & Accounting student?
In the morning, there were usually lectures, and in the afternoon we would catch-up with reading or work together on coursework. In the Autumn Term, we also had to organise job applications and prepare for interviews and case study assessment centres.
Advice for prospective students
What advice would you give to students considering the MSc Finance & Accounting?
Good time management is essential. It’s a very demanding programme and you learn a lot, but in order to get the most out of it you need to organise your time and spend it effectively. I would say to prospective students considering a career in finance, produce work that you will be proud to present to people. Also, try to extend your network as much as you can. It really helps and is worth the investment of your time and effort in searching for a job and making friends..