Marcello Sternini

Marcello Sternini

About you

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

Before Joining Imperial College Business School, I had mainly worked in investment banking. Specifically, my past internships include an Off-Cycle Analyst position at Rothschild and a Summer Analyst position at Itau BBA.

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

After completing my Bachelor’s degree, I felt that my academic journey was not complete. Nevertheless, studying International Management not only allowed me to develop an international culture but also helped me discover which field I was mostly interested in, in this case Finance. Thus, I decided to apply to Imperial College Business School and the MSc Finance & Accounting programme, this would help me further discover this powerful field by adopting a practical approach, while at the same time confronting myself with brilliant minds.

Did you receive a scholarship? If yes, what were the benefits of receiving this?

I received a scholarship for academic excellence. I felt that the real benefit of winning it was the idea that Imperial College recognised and appreciated all the hard work I had done so far, and genuinely wanted me to join their vibrant community. When I had to decide between two different offers for my Masters, the scholarship definitely tilted the balance in favour of Imperial.

Programme

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

I felt that the programme had a purely technical approach to the study of different Finance topics, which is something that is of utmost importance regarding preparation for later on. Indeed, most of the modules involved group assignments that required people to work together, think together, and be critical together. Modules such as Advanced Corporate Finance, which included working on MBA-like cases with a group of people from different backgrounds, was a really engaging experience. Indeed, we had to analyse different case studies, perform various valuation scenarios, and eventually provide a recommendation for the subject companies. Moreover, the Finance & Accounting programme combined the best of both Finance and Accounting, which are both connected in some way and I found it useful to understand both with regards to any working experience in banking. Lastly, the wide choice of electives is sensational.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I have no doubts regarding this question. The Private Equity and Venture Capital module was the most interesting one. Our professor was not only a practitioner from the industry, but also a great teacher. The knowledge he transmitted from a theoretical point of view matched perfectly with the practical work we were given. Indeed, the assignments were related to both Private Equity and Venture Capital modelling, which I thought was a great way to understand the dynamics behind the numbers, and how they impact decision-making in the field. This field is of particular interest to me, and the module definitely met the expectations. Lastly, the high-profile guest lectures were unique and really interactive.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The modules involving coding were reasonably complicated at the beginning. It is exactly like learning a new language, and it required a lot of work even for the most straightforward assignments.

Did you attend an international trip? If so, which trips did you attend and how have they been beneficial to you?

I attended the Dubai trip as part of the Macroeconomics and Finance for Practitioners (International Elective). Not only was it a way to visit a city that I had never seen before, but also entailed interesting visits at ADIA (SWF), and the UAE Central Bank. Although it was a macroeconomics module, its application and study allowed me to understand better how decisions with regards to monetary and fiscal policies have an impact on the Finance world as well.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The programme was “international”. I found it very interesting to meet and work on certain occasions with people from different backgrounds and stories. Moreover, the network of friends I have developed throughout the year, inside and outside Europe, thanks to this programme, is unparalleled.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

As my favourite module was Private Equity and Venture Capital, it is only right to say that my favourite professor was Sebastien Canderle. He had such a vast experience in the field and was able to channel it in a way for us to extract as much as possible from this module. The guest speakers he brought and the practical approach he undertook to teach us the most important topics of the module really made the difference.

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?

What I liked the most was the confrontation with people that had a different approach or critical view on certain financial and non-financial matters. What I also found very fruitful was the fact that if you lacked some knowledge with regards to a particular subject, a member of your team would fill that gap and teach you things you did not know.

Opportunities

What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?

The chance to complement the knowledge I had developed at Warwick Business School with the practical “hands-on” approach that Imperial adopts for the study of the modules it offers. It gave the opportunity to apply what I had previously learned and see what the impact is.

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

I participated in several events and seminars which taught you how to approach assessment centres and interviews in the best possible way. It helped me realise that it is not only a matter of knowing the material but also of how you present yourself. It is hard at first to recognise that even if you are prepared, you do not fit in a specific workplace. But this also means that there is somewhere else where your personality and characteristics fully embrace the culture at that workplace. The sooner you realise it, the easier it will be to go through the applications period in a more relaxed state of mind.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?

Throughout the year, I have mainly worked as a Student Ambassador, thus representing Imperial College both within and outside its walls. A lot of people reached out to me to ask questions about my programme or the university itself. Knowing how helpful it can be to receive some information or help when it comes to big decisions, be it study or work related, it was a pleasure to have the occasion to help people that needed some assistance in choosing the best path for them.

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

The most significant benefit was the feeling of being fully integrated within the broader Imperial College London community. I felt part of this vibrant community since the day I sent my application. Imperial College places particular emphasis on dedicating itself to its students and their needs, and this is unparalleled.

Career

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

My previous experiences were all in investment banking, which is an area that interests me. Nevertheless, I firmly believe that you need to find the right place, with the right people and balance to enjoy it fully. I have found a summer role in a bank that entails the above, and I am eager to discover where this will take me.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I am currently working as a Summer Analyst in M&A and Restructuring at PJT Partners. I applied in mid-September and got an offer at end of October.

How did the services from Imperial College Business School Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?

Careers helped me tailor my CV, as well as prepare for interviews and assessment centres.

London location

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

Living and studying in London is very beneficial, specifically if you are looking for a career in finance. You have to chance to develop a unique network within the main financial hub in Europe, be it through the university or yourself directly.  As you are likely to be applying for jobs in London, it is comfortable to live 15-20 minutes away from any office should you have one or more interviews during the week.

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

I live in student accommodation in Barbican. I lived a bit far from the university, but the area was very nice and getting the habit of moving around a lot, even if it takes some time, is beneficial in terms of time management. Eventually, once I know where my full-time job will be, I will try to move closer to the office.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?

London is a vast city, perhaps a bit too dispersed. Nevertheless, there are plenty of things to do with your friends in your spare time, such as going for a beer, enjoying a (hopefully( sunny day at the park, or even going out. The choices are endless.

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

I would advise anyone to try to find a place that is not far away from the centre, and that is comfortable. The MSc Finance & Accounting  programme is demanding so it is essential to have a place where you can live comfortably and relax.

Tips

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?

I mainly talked to people that were studying at Imperial College at the time, and I found it very beneficial. I would recommend doing the same.

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

The programme is demanding and requires a lot of hard work, especially during the first term, but that is precisely what you look for if you are applying for a MSc. Start thinking about your career early because applications open in August/September and the competition is fierce. The sooner you find a job, the easier it will be to face your studies. Lastly, I recommend you contact people on LinkedIn that have perhaps studied at Imperial College and now hold a position in a company/bank you are interested in. One out of 50 might reply, but they could be the one that helps you get a job.

Marcello-Sternini

MSc Finance & Accounting 2017 – 18

Nationality: Italian

Undergraduate Education: BSc (Hons) International Management, Warwick Business School

Job after Imperial College Business School: M&A and Restructuring Summer Analyst, PJT Partners

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