Christian Theisen was an MSc Finance & Accounting class of 2017 student. After graduating from Imperial College Business School, Christian accepted a role as an Analyst in Barclays’ Leveraged Finance Division.

Academic and industry experience before Imperial

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

I did one Merger & Acquisitions internship with Rothschild in Frankfurt and one internship with Barclays in London in the Leveraged Finance Team.

Why did you decide to study an MSc in Finance & Accounting and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?

I realised during my internships that excellent accounting skills are required in Investment Banking, as well as a profound knowledge in Finance. Therefore, I decided to broaden my knowledge with a Master’s in Finance & Accounting. I decided to study at Imperial because of its great reputation and its excellent study programme. What I also found very good about the business school was the link between theory and practice.

 

Studying MSc Finance

What makes the MSc Finance & Accounting at Imperial College Business School unique?

Every professor is willing to help you not only with his course, but also when you have questions about career opportunities you can follow. Also, the majority of the electives are held by practitioners who not only provide academic knowledge, but also insights into their profession and current practical examples.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?

I really enjoy the diverse background of my fellow students. In Germany, I have been never surrounded by students with such a diverse cultural and academic background. I feel that I could also develop my communication skills.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

As you are required to work on coursework in every module, I found it very difficult to manage the workload and arrange meetings with my team members. Over time, I could improve my time management and I was much more efficient in working in a team.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module was international finance. With a background in economics, I found this course particularly interesting as it combined financial aspects with economic approaches. What I found the most interesting was the quantitative nature of the course. As I love challenges, I really enjoyed being faced with the high academic standard of this course.

 

Guest speakers

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

The guest lectures in the private equity course. The professor asked friends and people from his network to tell about their job and the company they work for. As the guest lectures were embedded in the regular lectures, I could perfectly understand their function in the private equity industry and I found it very interesting to hear about their career paths.

 

The faculty

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Haresh was my favourite professor as he really understands how to present the Financial Accounting course, which is probably not perceived as the most interesting subject, in a way that it became very interesting. He also understood how to simplify complex accounting policies so that every student could understand it.

 

Your cohort

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment, whether it be group assignments or class discussions?

I enjoyed most of the discussions we had about our results in the group work. I found it very challenging to justify my opinion and, over the time, I felt that I really improved my debating skills.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

Great group of people – both from an academic point of view and personally.

 

Extracurricular activities

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

I joined the swimming union.

 

Opportunities from studying at Imperial

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?

The academic and quantitative excellence of Imperial College, combined with the great career network of the Business School.

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

In my swimming team, there were students from different academic backgrounds. I think that sports clubs are a great way to be in touch with other students who do not study the same degree as you, so you can talk about other things than just work. Also, Imperial College offers many events for all students that are not related to my degree.

 

Career goals and jobs

How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?

I signed my placement with Barclays before I started studying at Imperial. I will start working as an analyst in the Leveraged Finance division after I finish the programme.

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

I want to pursue a career in Investment Banking. I find the client-driven, fast-paced nature of investment banking very inspiring and I think that this industry suits my skills the most. Because of Imperial’s great network and the electives, I learnt that you need to be decisive to be successful in this industry.

 

Life as a student in London

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.

Yes definitely! Everywhere you go you will find people who work in the industry you want work in. So sometimes it is best just to talk to strangers and share your dreams with them.

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

I live in Chelsea and found my room with the platform “Imperial Solutions”. The rooms offered are relatively cheap and it is very easy to find a room.

What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?

It strongly depends on the workload at university, but usually a great weekend starts on Friday in the Union Pub with friends after the lecture. In London, every weekend does not have to be the same. You can go to an open-air concert or club, but you can also go to an art exhibition or enjoy watching Premier League in a very good pub in your neighbourhood.

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?

The biggest benefit of London is its people. There is no other place in Europe where you meet so many people with different backgrounds and you can live the life you want. On the contrary, it can be difficult to get to know people if you are new in town. However, as there are many people in your class, it is very easy to find new, great friends and you will never feel alone.

 

Advice for future students

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

It is best that you know already what you want to do once you graduate. Application phase starts very early in London (usually beginning of September), so better know right away what industry you want to apply for and for what companies. It makes your year at Imperial so much easier if you secure a position very early.

Role
MSc Finance & Accounting
Nationality
Germany
Undergraduate education :

Economics & Business, The University of Frankfurt

Company and role secured after programme :

Analyst in Barclays’ Leveraged Finance Division