Claudia Oliver Cortadellas, MSc Finance 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Finance

Nationality: Spanish

University and subject studied for undergraduate/Master’s degree: MEng Aeronautical Engineering, Imperial College London

Company and role secured after programme: Summer Analyst, Citi Capital Markets

About you

Why did you decide to study MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School?

Before joining Imperial College Business School, I did a spring week at BNP Paribas and a summer internship at JPMorgan, both in markets (sales and trading). These experiences made me realise the vast depth of finance, and pursuing the MSc Finance was the best way to get exposure to all the domains within the industry, and to enable me to pursue a career which I feel passionate about. I also felt that Imperial’s unique technical approach to finance would set me at an advantage when entering the industry.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I felt hesitation when deciding to apply for MSc Finance but reading about the scholarships available made the decision easier. I made sure to apply for the scholarships before the deadline, and in the end I was excited to receive the Lee Family Scholarship which I truly feel grateful for. This opportunity made me feel a strong sense of achievement and support, not only from a financial standpoint but from a personal level too. This was a once in a lifetime opportunity which I will never forget!


Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

Having an engineering background, I have always enjoyed mathematics, and this was an aspect of the MSc Finance programme I looked forward to. However, to my surprise, the modules which I have enjoyed the most have been those with technical and discussion elements: Advanced Corporate Finance, Mergers and Acquisitions and Private Equity and Venture Capital were highly appealing as discussions with lecturers and classmates about corporate strategy were heavily encouraged as part of the learning process.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

At the start, I found modelling in Excel quite challenging given my limited exposure to it . Nevertheless, I made sure to get involved in modules involving Excel modelling and I am now much more confident with this skill.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

I feel fortunate that the Business School offered a multi-mode teaching mode, as engaging in person with professors and class peers was an experience that not all students were lucky enough to have this year.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort at Imperial has been very open and approachable since day one. Making friends has been easy and we even organised a trip during the Easter break! This year would not have been the same without them. Everyone is very talented and motivated to work which makes group coursework a great way to learn and to further engage with classmates. It has been interesting to hear about everyone’s aspirations and ambitions within finance.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

The Corporate Finance and the Private Equity and Venture Capital lecturers have been my favourite! Sebastien Canderle and Dr Emiliano Pagnotta blend their past experiences in the industry with the theory, helping put class theory into context and captivating you while they do so.


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

Imperial’s extensive network allows leading firms to organise events specifically for Imperial students, thereby providing us with extensive networking opportunities to facilitate us breaking into the industry. Equally, Careers continuously organise interviews and case study practice sessions to help us prepare for interviews.

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

Since I first joined Imperial as an undergraduate, I have been part of the Finance Society which has helped me start my career. The society hosts many guest speakers who provide insights into the industry, and sessions where we can meet Imperial alumni who have successfully secured roles in finance. Indeed, the society is an incredible platform to further connect with people from other programmes at Imperial, especially with people from outside the Business School.


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

My goal is to start a career in a prestigious firm with a role related to both markets and corporate finance so that I can get exposure to challenging and exciting tasks. To achieve this, I made sure to apply as early as possible to graduate schemes/summer internships. Before doing so, I contacted Careers to sharpen my CV and cover letter. All this effort came to fruition when I decided to join Citigroup as a Summer Analyst within their Capital Markets division.

London Location

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

After completing both my undergraduate and Master’s degrees at Imperial, I can confidently say that the opportunities presented to you at Imperial go beyond the academic. Imperial’s unique location undoubtedly offers privileged access to one of the largest financial centres in the world, which, combined with the School’s links with the industry, is a clear advantage when building a professional network. Pre-COVID, I had the opportunity to attend multiple networking events organised by financial firms at memorable venues. Living in London made attending these events very easy, and definitely helped in securing roles.

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

South Kensington and Hyde Park are my favourite areas in London, and I have always tried living nearby by staying in Paddington, Earl’s Court and South Kensington. The tranquillity of these neighbourhoods, with their proximity to the city centre allows you to enjoy the best sides of London. If it was my first time moving to London, I would try to get in touch with other students at Imperial via the postgraduate Facebook group or the WhatsApp class chat. Many of my friends found people to move in with on these platforms, which made searching for a flat much easier!


Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?

While I was applying for my Master’s, I did attend on-campus events to meet professors and to get a feel for the culture at the Business School. I would highly recommend attending these sessions to get a sense of the School and see if it aligns with your ambitions.

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

For any prospective applicants, I would recommend reading the list of modules offered, and how these change across the various Finance Masters’ programmes to find the one which appeals you the most! Equally, there’s the Unibuddy platform where you can chat to current students and ask for application tips and learn from their experiences at the School.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme: MSc Finance

Nationality: Spanish

University and subject studied for undergraduate/Master’s degree: MEng Aeronautical Engineering, Imperial College London

Company and role secured after programme: Summer Analyst, Citi Capital Markets