Annika Klesen, MSc Finance & Accounting 2019-20, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Finance & Accounting

Nationality: German

Undergraduate education: Lancaster University and ESB Business School, BSc International Management

Job after Imperial: Private Equity Intern, Partners Group

About you

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

I did an undergraduate degree in international management and had the opportunity to undertake several global summer internships in mergers and acquisitions and strategic consulting, as well as other corporate experience.

Why did you decide to study MSc Finance & Accounting at Imperial College Business School?

I’m really interested in corporate finance and wanted to specialise and deepen my knowledge in this sector in order to be prepared for future job opportunities. The world-class reputation of Imperial College London, alongside the opportunity to tailor my Master’s individually, led to my decision to apply to Imperial College Business School.


What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?

The best part of the programme is its flexibility and the possibility to engage with lecturers as well as fellow students in different ways. From being able to choose from an endless list of electives to group work and in-class discussions, the MSc Finance & Accounting programme prepares you for all aspects of work. Not only did we learn the technical skills, but additional leadership and emotional intelligence workshops helped us to think outside the box and broaden our horizons.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

There are lots of interesting modules, so it’s hard to choose. At the moment I’m really enjoying Corporate Dealmaking with Aditya Bindal. As a professional with experience working in Morgan Stanley’s Private Equity Group, he shares some great real-world examples and insights into how deals are made. It’s exciting to learn the academic side of things, as well as being able to understand the more practical side of what it takes to succeed in this industry.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

Having the opportunity to work with not only the best professors but also some of the smartest fellow students.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

As the School is known for its world-leading academics and teaching, it requires a huge commitment. Having several coursework assignments, exams and job interviews at the same time can be a challenge.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The diversity of our cohort is truly inspiring. Being able to work with people from all over the world has helped me to understand different cultures better, which can be really beneficial when working for an international organisation.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

I really enjoyed the Corporate Finance lectures with Dr Emiliano Pagnotta. He has a great teaching style and excellent knowledge, which helps him to interact with and motivate the students.


Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?

Imperial College Business School has many high profile guest speakers visiting. No matter which module, the lectures have always included several guest speakers to give a real-world view of a topic. For example, the Private Equity and Venture Capital module had weekly guest speakers who not only talked about their industry and job but also showed us different job opportunities. All guest speakers took their time to answer our questions and it was a good opportunity to broaden your professional network early on in your career.

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

I enjoyed representing the university as a Student Ambassador and helping prospective students understand what it’s like to be a student at Imperial. It was also nice to give something back to the Business School.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

The Business School holds many events throughout the year to ensure that students across programmes can socialise, including the annual welcome event at the Natural History Museum.

How did you find the unprecedented switch to remote learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic?

Imperial acted very quickly and professionally when making the switch to remote learning. Within only a few days we had access to all materials and lectures online. It was impressive to see how Imperial is using the newest technology to make sure the programmes can continue as normal.


Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I accepted a summer analyst position at Partners Group – one of the world’s largest private markets investment managers.

How did the services from Careers help you secure employment/in your professional development?

I am a huge fan of Careers. Not only do they have endless resources, workshops, and training programmes, but also one-to-one appointments with the best careers consultants in the industry. Being able to book an interview or assessment centre training online with short notice helped me a lot. The careers consultants really make sure to understand where you come from and where you want to go. From starting the job search to CV improvement to helping understand a contract, I would highly recommend that everyone makes use of their services.

London Location

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

It is very helpful to be located in London as many companies hold networking dinners and other events at short notice, and it’s especially useful during the main recruiting season in winter where you might have several interviews within a week. It’s also easier to connect with people and go for coffee in person rather than emailing them.

Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?

I live in Chelsea, which I chose because it is very clean and safe, as well as being within walking distance of the School.

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

I love meeting up with friends and wandering around the many beautiful parks and alternative/artsy areas London has to offer.

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?

Contact a Student Ambassador or somebody you know who might have a free room coming up. It’s a great way to meet new people and helps avoid the hassle of the London room search.


Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?

I went to a campus tour conducted by student ambassadors. It was helpful to get an insight into what studying at Imperial is really like.

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

Make sure you know what you want to get out of your Master’s (a specific job or academic knowledge), plan your time well and go for it!

Programme: MSc Finance & Accounting

Nationality: German

Undergraduate education: Lancaster University and ESB Business School, BSc International Management

Job after Imperial: Private Equity Intern, Partners Group