Academic and industry experience before Imperial
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Before starting the MSc programme, I had done two commercial banking summer internships in Finland. My tasks in front office varied from credit agreements and investments to everyday banking services.
Why did you decide to study an MSc in Finance & Accounting and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
While studying for my Bachelor’s degree, I obtained a broad knowledge of economics and different topics of finance and accounting. However, I wanted to study corporate finance more in-depth and Imperial’s MSc Finance & Accounting seemed to be the best fit for my intention. I applied to a number of universities in the UK and chose Imperial because of the great programme structure and content, and of course Imperial’s prestigious reputation.
Studying MSc Finance & Accounting
What makes the MSc Finance & Accounting at Imperial College Business School unique?
Imperial has four different finance programs at Master’s level and MSc Finance & Accounting is mainly focused on corporate finance. The programme is quite practical and it aims to prepare us for our future finance careers. The compulsory modules include several finance and accounting topics that give us all basic understanding of the topics that everyone working in the finance industry should be familiar with. Electives are more focused on specific topics and there is a broad selection to choose from.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
It is always rewarding to learn new things and I feel that I have learnt a lot over the course of this year. At the end of the module, I look at the table of contents and the most rewarding thing is realising that I have actually learnt everything on it.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging aspect was definitely the Autumn term. We had a lot of course assignments to do, deadlines to meet and I had to prepare for job interviews at the same time. It was a really stressful and challenging time but, thinking about it afterwards, it only lasted about two months and it was mostly just time management issue. Also, the last two-three weeks of every term were quite busy due to the upcoming exams.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
I enjoyed both corporate finance modules and also derivative. The teachers were excellent in all three modules, and even though I have studied these topics previously, I still learned a lot and broadened my knowledge. These modules were quite intensive with all the coursework and tests but they were very well structured and the workload was manageable. We were also encouraged to give feedback and ask questions throughout the modules if there were some things that needed clarification.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
We had many guest lectures in the Private Equity and Venture Capital module. These people worked at PE and VC firms around the London and they brought a practical view to the industry. It was fascinating to hear the stories they shared with us and they were happy to answer all the questions we had. Needless to say that these lectures were also good networking opportunities.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
We had many excellent professors and lecturers but one of my favourites was Mr. Jeremy Fernando, who taught us Management Accounting. It is just fascinating to see someone who is that enthusiastic about management accounting and teaches it in such an entertaining way. And most importantly, he is an excellent DJ as well!
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?
We had a lot of course assignments but luckily most of them were group assignments. It is fantastic to work with people with diverse backgrounds and to learn from other students when working on the coursework. Class discussions were also instructive, especially when the class sizes were relatively small.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
There are some words that can be used to describe every single student studying in our programme. These are adjectives like “smart”, “hardworking” and “determined”, and those fit to all my classmates. However, one of the things I like most about Imperial, is the diversity among students. People have very different backgrounds and they come from all around the globe. When working as a group, it is great to see how people combine their skill-set and take advantage of the diverse backgrounds the members of the group have. It has also been fantastic to expand my understanding and views of different countries and cultures.
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
I like how Imperial is a very strong in science, technology and engineering, and that also transcends into the business school as well. New technological trends, like Fintech, are all around the campus and the business school collaborates with other parts of the university to do research and organise events in those fields.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
I have attended several events organised by Imperial. For example, their career fairs have been excellent and all the top firms attended to those events. There are also many different clubs and societies that are available for business school students, but unfortunately, I did not have time to get involved to those activities.
Career goals and jobs
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
When I started to apply for jobs, I found it very useful to ask people from the Career and Professional Development Service to comment on my CV and cover letters. They gave me advice on how to improve my applications and maximise my chances of getting interviews. The tips proved to be very valuable and I was invited to a couple of interviews later in the year.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
I want to work in investment banking for at least a few years. During my studies at Imperial, I successfully secured my first IB job and I am now able to start my career in the field that I am the most enthusiastic about. In the future, I am sure that Imperial’s name on my CV will help me to achieve my goals in my career.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
The Autumn semester was super busy with all the job applications and course assignments but all the hard work was rewarded. I applied for investment banking jobs and internships in UK and my home country, Finland. After lots of interviews, I was happy to receive a few offers for summer and off-cycle internships from a couple of interesting companies. I accepted one of the offers and will be starting in a new job as an M&A Analyst intern later in the summer.
Life as a student in London
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
It definitely is. The thing is that all the top firms are here in London and they are actively coming to campus to meet the students. It is also easy to attend the career events and meet people outside the campus, as travelling does not take much time.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live in Fulham, near to Imperial Wharf. The location is perfect – I like to walk to the campus and it takes me about 35 minutes to get there. All the services I need are nearby and of course the public transportation works nicely!
As I did not have chance to come to London before the beginning of our programme, student accommodation felt the most convenient option for me. The list of my criteria was short: I wanted my home to be in a walking distance to university campus, have good access to public transportation and be in a peaceful neighbourhood. My home has fulfilled every criterion and I have been happy with my choice.
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
This can vary a lot. I know there are some people who like to go out every weekend and London is perfect for those purposes. However, the year is intensive and a good alternative is to spend the weekend studying at library, especially when the exam period is getting closer. I would say that finding the balance between those two is a key thing in order to make most out of the year at Imperial. London is full of “must-see” attractions and it is good to dedicate some weekends for sightseeing.
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 here from Finland, and I have to say that it was as convenient as if I had moved within the country. There is a lot of information and tips on the blogs and forums that helped in moving here. I am sure there are Facebook groups like “Finns in London” for all the other nationalities as well and people are happy to help in those groups. Also, people have been super friendly here in London, and every time I have had a problem with something, it has been easy to find someone to help.
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
Think about what you want to do with your career and what you want to achieve. Every time you need to make a choice that can affect to your career, and think about which one of the options takes you closest to your final goal. By doing this, you will achieve your goal eventually.
This is something you need to think when applying for universities: which university and which programme will bring you closest to your goals. Go to the Business School’s website and take a look at the employment report. It will give you a picture of jobs and industries previous students have ended up in after graduation. If you find the companies or sectors interesting, this programme might be a perfect fit for you.
Also, if you are thinking about your chances of getting in, please stop. Just submit your application and let the admission team worry about that! I wish you the best of luck with your application!