Alvaro Contreras, MSc Finance 2019
Programme:
MSc Finance 2019
Nationality:
Spanish
Undergraduate education:

BSc Economics and Finance, University of Bristol

Job prior to Imperial College Business School:

Summer Internships at Société Générale, BNP Paribas, and STAR Capital Partners

Job after studying at Imperial College Business School:

Debt Capital Markets Off-Cycle Analyst, Morgan Stanley

Alvaro completed his undergraduate degree, but was keen to develop his financial knowledge and skill set. He chose Imperial College Business School because of its reputation and the ability to tailor the programme to his interests. 

Your time at Imperial College Business School

Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?  

As I was approaching the end of my undergraduate degree, I was eager to gain a deeper knowledge of the world of Finance and improve my technical skills before entering the job market, so studying an MSc Finance seemed like the right next step. I specifically chose the MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School for two main reasons: its fantastic reputation, constantly ranked amongst the best programmes in Europe; and the wide variety of electives it offers, which allowed me to tailor the programme to my own interests.

What was the most important thing/learning point you took with you from the Business School?

I remember my first term at Imperial as particularly challenging. Having to deal with job applications and constant coursework deadlines while getting to know my classmates was definitely tough. So if there is one valuable skill I developed during my time at Imperial it is time management. Even when swamped with deadlines, with efficient work there was always time to enjoy the many activities and bars that London offers!  

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?

I feel that Imperial provides you with an incredible experience that allows you to grow hugely both personally and professionally. From day one you are encouraged to absorb as much knowledge as possible from the School’s professors and explore many different career paths through extra-curricular events. But, most importantly, at Imperial you will find yourself surrounded by smart students from whom you will be able to learn lots, share interesting experiences, and maybe even share the same office in the near future!

What was the most surprising thing about the programme?

The large amount of team-based coursework was the main surprise of the programme for me. During my undergraduate degree I hardly had the chance to work with other classmates, so it was good not having to work individually for a change. In fact, I thought it was a great way to further engage with my classmates, and I have to say I particularly enjoyed the group case studies of the Private Equity & Venture Capital module.

Tell us about your current job

How has your programme contributed to your career success? 

Having completed brief internships at two investment banks and a private equity fund before I started the programme, I felt that investment banking was the right industry for me to start my career. Fortunately, I was able to leverage on my previous experiences and the Imperial brand, and landed an Off-Cycle Internship at Morgan Stanley within their Debt Capital Markets division early in the year.

How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?

During my time at Imperial I developed multiple tools that have proven to be extremely useful while at Morgan Stanley. Subjects such as Fixed Income Securities and Macro Finance equipped me with the necessary knowledge to understand and analyse movements in the Rates and Credit markets, which is absolutely essential for someone sitting in a Debt Capital Markets desk. Moreover, thanks to the Microsoft Excel skills developed through other subjects such Advanced Company Valuation, I have been able to participate in the modelling of multiple liability management scenarios for Corporate and FIG clients.

What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?

What I love about my job is the combination of client coverage with the exposure to the markets. This generates a very dynamic environment, in which I can find myself working in both short-term and long-term projects that may require complex solutions. As for the main challenges, adapting to ever-changing market conditions and coping with a large number of projects at the same time can become very stressful, so time management skills become critical in order to produce high-quality work.

Alumni community

In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?

As we progress in our careers, I feel that our network will become increasingly important in terms of finding the next big opportunity, be it a sector or company change or a chance to grow your existing business or team. It is clear to me that keeping in touch with my friends and colleagues from the Business School is key, not only for that reason, but also for exchanging views and opinions on different industries; plus, it will always be fun to reminisce our time at the Business School and see how our personal lives are developing!

Programme:
MSc Finance 2019
Nationality:
Spanish
Undergraduate education:

BSc Economics and Finance, University of Bristol

Job prior to Imperial College Business School:

Summer Internships at Société Générale, BNP Paribas, and STAR Capital Partners

Job after studying at Imperial College Business School:

Debt Capital Markets Off-Cycle Analyst, Morgan Stanley