BSc Actuarial Sciences, Universidad Anahuac
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I had three years’ experience as an analyst in CitiBanamex, the Mexican bank that belongs to CitiGroup. I did analytics for credit retail products and costumers. My role required me to interact constantly with the Risk and Business departments. This experience increased my interest in the finance industry.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School?
I wanted to continue with my professional formation. I knew that a Master’s degree in a renowned institution, like Imperial College, would open many doors and help me to move on in my career. Moreover, the MSc Finance programme is in the top ranks, offers a wide variety of elective courses, has a good balance between theory and practice. I also liked quantitative focus that the programme offered, which was exactly what I was looking for, and very convenient for my academic background.
Did you receive a scholarship? If yes, what were the benefits of receiving this?
I was honoured and extremely grateful to receive the Brilliant Minds Scholarship from Imperial College Business School, and a maintenance scholarship from CONACYT, a Mexican government institution. Funding a Master’s degree can be very hard, especially for people in developing countries. These scholarships made it possible for me to study at Imperial and made my dream of studying abroad a reality. Without any of them, I wouldn’t have been able to do so.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
The quantitative content, and the electives helped me develop the skills that I wanted.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
Derivatives was my favourite module. It was very interesting to understand all the underlying theories and assumptions that are behind pricing a derivative. The lecturer was very prepared and engaged the students in the lecture. It helped me to understand some mathematical concepts that are essential for pricing models.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The first term was very challenging. I had to get used to a new learning system, and the programme is fast paced and demanding so you have to be on top of things constantly. There is a lot of coursework, so you have to be very organised.
Did you attend an international trip? If so, which trips did you attend and how have they been beneficial to you?
I attend to the Dublin trip at the beginning of the spring term. It was an opportunity to spend time with my peers, in a different environment, while visiting a different city. I was looking forward to it since the beginning of the school year. It was also a good start after the Christmas break.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
The cohort was very intelligent, very prepared, and with many academic and personal skills. I learned a lot from many of them. Moreover, there was a diversity in the cohort in many senses, and that creates a rich learning environment. There are people of different nationalities, and this opens your mind, and gives you new insights about your own background. It is also very interesting to participate in discussions that are related to world issues, usually, someone from the country had very interesting insights to share.
There are classmates from different academic backgrounds, and this is so useful for doing coursework, you can also ask someone to help who has more experience in certain topics.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Lara is one of my favourite lecturers, because she is very clear in her explanations. She is very organized in her material, and the coursework of the modules she teaches are relevant for learning the material of the class.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?
Group work helped me to take advantage of the rich diversity of backgrounds. You learn a lot from your peers, and you get a different perspective of things.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
I enrolled in the optional VBA and C++ modules. I had programming experience before the programme, but I think is very important to develop a programming skill set if you are looking for analytical roles. These modules are very practical.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I attended many guest speaker events. Also, the 20th anniversary celebration where, we had a talk with the Governor of the Bank of England was an amazing experience.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
I enjoyed using the swimming pool facilities at Ethos sports centre. I also enrolled in a day trip to the Tower of London organised by the International Student’s office for less than half price to the general public!
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
I want to continue my career in the financial industry. I like roles that are more analytical and quantitative, such as Risk Management. I took the elective courses that are relevant for this kind of roles. The summer internship I did after the programme was in Risk Management.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I received an offer for a summer job where I will be working in the Risk Management department. For this role, I will be able to apply statistical knowledge, and also knowledge in pricing of financial instrument, and concepts of Risk Management.
How did the services from Careers help you secure employment and help in your professional development?
The workshops from Careers gave me an overview of the typical recruitment processes in the UK, which I didn’t know before. Thanks to this, I was able to make my applications on time. I also acquired more confidence since I became familiar to these processes.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
I definitely think that studying in London gives great opportunities. Most companies have headquarters in the city, so you have access to their networking events, many of them attend the Imperial Careers Fair, and give campus presentations. You can find all sorts of roles, that not all cities might have.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live in a residence hall for young women. I choose it because it is just a 10 minutes walk to the campus, and a lower price compared to other accommodation.
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?
I tried to visit a new place in London every week, since the beginning of the programme. London is so big that you never finish to experience everything it has to offer, there are many things to do. What I enjoy the most is to take a Santander bike and ride along the Thames river.
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 had to move to London from Mexico for the programme. It is a challenging experience, since I was far away for my country. From one day to the other you need to get settled, you start from nothing, and little by little you start to settle down. It is definitely a great experience as well, it makes you grow, and once you are settled, you find so much to enjoy. My advice for anyone that is moving from a far away place is to be patient with oneself, and to be open to experience new things, from food, weather, crossing the street, to UK-English unique words and accents.
Looking back to when you where 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 to attend these events?
I was too far to attend an on-campus information session. But the information I found on the webpage was very complete and useful. I also contacted some Imperial College students that gave me some guidance. My recommendation for prospective students is to try to contact some current students to learn more about the programme, and obviously, if they have the opportunity to attend to a live session, to do so.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
My advice is to learn what you want to do, or at least to have an idea of what you like. Then find out more about the programme, and other similar programmes in the Business School. If the programme suits you, then do everything in your hands to submit a good application, the programme is very complete, with a good balance between theory and application. Doing the MSc will require a lot of effort, time, hard work, money, and energy, so make sure you choose it because you like it and have your goals in mind every time you face a challenge. The MSc Finance at Imperial is very challenging programme, but it is totally worth the challenge.