BSc Economics, University of Warwick
Morgan Stanley Sales and Trading Summer Internship
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I interned with OCBC Bank Singapore with the Interest Rates trading in 2018 and at a healthcare startup called Foot For Thought in Singapore in 2017, handling their digitisation and business development needs. Before university, I ran a rugby commentary website, where I had the opportunity to interview rugby stars and had press-passes to certain tournaments. I also ran a successful tuition business concurrently, where I taught Mathematics and English to students of all standards up to the sixth form. Before that, I completed a mandatory National Service in Singapore in 2016, where I was enlisted into the Singapore Civil Defence Force, where I received a couple of awards.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School?
I wanted the opportunity to bridge my economics knowledge with finance but at the same time, I wanted to do it at a university renowned globally for their MSc Finance programme and Imperial was ranked number one by the Financial Times. Furthermore, Imperial is a world-class institution in terms of science and technology. Hence, I knew that the programme would feature both corporate finance, as well as the quantitative heavy theories. Imperial was also a dream school of mine from when I was doing my A-Levels in England and my friends who studied here and were already part of the Business School emphasised the strong alumni presence, that was one of the key factors that I choose to study here. London was also a draw, as the biggest banks are here, making it easy to attend networking events, but another great factor that I realised when I came to the Business School was that the Careers team have such a great relationship with these companies in every field, that they come to us instead!
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?
As I mentioned earlier, I enjoy the quantitative aspect of the programme. While studying on the programme could be challenging at times, there is a lot of support for you, not just from teaching assistants but by module leaders themselves, who never hesitate to help you, with them being able not only available during office hours, but by email too.
I also enjoyed the Bloomberg Lab, it’s available exclusively for Business School students. We were able to learn more about the terminals and access data, which will greatly benefit me in my future career.
The Programmes team is extremely helpful as well, always keeping us in the loop and providing support whenever needed. They also meet with the Student Staff committee weekly, to take on board suggestions and feedback given to them - they do their best where possible to make it a better learning environment for us.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
Applied Trading Strategies has been my favourite module with Ganesh Ramchandran. The content still falls back on the theory behind these strategies and features Python heavily, teaching us how to backtest and implement these strategies. It’s also a bonus that part of our assessment (apart from the exam) includes a trading game component, where the Business School has used Interactive Brokers, as the platform for us to deliver out strategies (supposedly Bloomberg but due to the COVID-19, it was not possible). It also helps immensely that our lecturer, Ganesh Ramchandran is an industry expert, with more than 20 years of experience in the financial markets, developing famous models such as the Black-Litterman Global Asset Allocation Model.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The most rewarding part of the programme has been the confidence to apply the knowledge I have learned in classes to real-life scenarios. The great thing about the programme is that there is a great mix of theoretical and applied modules, which means that we have a better understanding of how these models play out in the real world. This then culminates in the Applied Project module, where we are given the chance to delve deeper into these models and try to apply them ourselves.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
I would say balancing the career objectives with the intellectual objectives has been the most challenging part of the programme. The winter and spring term can get a little heavy if you are applying for jobs while studying. The modules are challenging but there is a good support system, as the Business School are understanding towards your needs and are there to help you where possible.
How did you find the unprecedented switch to remote delivery due to the global pandemic?
It was uncertain at first, but the Programmes team has made it an almost seamless transition. There has been a planned approach throughout, and the Business School has been extremely receptive to students and their needs. That being said, it’s hard missing the social aspect of the programme, such as sitting with your cohort in lectures and spending the day with your friends. However, Imperial has organised social events such as the FIFA 20 Competition to keep us connected.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
My cohort is full of diversity, with people coming mainly from overseas. We support each other throughout the academic year - you would see MSc Finance students working together on projects or even giving each other mock interviews to help our applications.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Ganesh Ramchandran from Applied Trading Strategies was my favourite lecturer. He makes class very interactive, often asking us how we feel about the markets, and frequently stopping to make sure we understand the content. He also stays around after lectures to take queries and to discuss interesting topics in markets. Recently, we have discussed the oil contango trade as well as the global-macro environment of the markets. Ganesh is hilarious and he treats us almost like peers, rather than students, giving us confidence in undertaking our projects. Lastly, he regularly asks us for feedback and is open to change, making it easy for us to let him know what we need in the classroom.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
I would say that my greatest opportunity at Imperial has been the support from the Careers team, who have helped ensure that I succeed and continue to grow when it comes to submitting job applications.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
A careers kick-off event called ‘Super Saturday: Careers in Finance’, featured guest speakers and workshops for different streams, including Sales and Trading as well as Investment Banking and Asset Management. These were useful insights into the industry, with industry professionals delivering these workshops. There was also a networking event at the end of the day with Imperial alumni who were in the financial services industry and they gave great insight and tips into how to get into these companies.
There was also the Amplify Trading workshop, that I went for before my interviews. This helped me greatly understand the markets, the role of global markets and what I needed to know during technical interviews.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I took part in the weekly futsal Imperial Ethos tournament with some of my friends from the programme. This was a great chance to bond and spend some time cooling off especially at the end of an intense week of lectures and classes.
Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?
Yes, I have. In our electives, we are in classes that are mixed with students from other Finance programmes, and also have the opportunity to socialise with them at careers events. However, there was an event for the entire Business School at the Natural History Museum, with plenty of food, drinks and music, making it a great way to start the term properly and to make friends from across the wider Business School.
How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?
The Business School makes it a point for us to organise networking events with alumni, making a great way for us to interact with current professionals. Imperial students have a reputation for being successful after they leave the Business School, by keeping contact with alumni as well as companies, helps you strengthen your connections.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
My career goal before I started the programme was to get a job in Sales and Trading at a Bulge Bracket Bank in London, and I have managed to secure a summer internship with Morgan Stanley within Sales and Trading.
How did the services from Careers help you secure employment/in your professional development?
The Careers team were instrumental in helping me succeed in finding a job. From the time I accepted my offer at the Business School, I was given all the resources I needed to improve my CV. I was given access to a software where we would submit our CV and we would be given a score and tips to improve it. We were given a format template to stick to for our CVs, which was very helpful. However, I feel that the help I got from the 1:1 consultations that were available with the Careers team were a big part of improving this. Before the term started, I had a few video consultations for my CV and cover letters. It also helps that the Business School has a careers module that we need to complete early, just before application season kicks in from October onwards, which helps us be well-placed when the top companies start opening for applications.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Yes, definitely. All interviews are close by and you can spend the extra time preparing instead of stressing about travelling and missing lectures. For example, I could finish an interview in the morning and return to the Business School by the afternoon for lectures and social events. You also get to do office visits, which greatly benefit you. Imperial organises plenty of these events which you can see on the careers portal.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live near Southwark Station as it is only six-tube stops from the Business School, four-tube stops to Canary Wharf and a couple of Bus Stops away from the City. Southwark is near the O2 stadium, where I can attend concerts as well. I also live near South Bank which has a nice Christmas Market and plenty of eateries by the river, making my evenings and weekends pleasurable when I want to switch off.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy spending time with the people on my programme. We study in groups and after that, we usually head down to have dinner at South Kensington, which is just a walk away. I enjoy exploring new restaurants around the city and attend football matches as well as rugby games when I can.
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?
London is very cosmopolitan, and you are able to get most of your home comforts. Being from South East Asia, I do enjoy Bubble Tea, Malaysian and Thai food, which are extremely easy to get. However, London does get lonely and expensive at times as it is a large financial city. Hence, it is important to make as many friends as you can, and Imperial gives you the platform to do that. In terms of money, it is important to set a budget as everything adds up.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
The Business School held coffee chats sessions in Coventry, which was where my undergraduate university was, to answer all queries about applications. This was extremely helpful as it gave me a clear path as to how applications were done and what I could expect from the programme. If you can, attend these events as they would really show you what being a student at Imperial is like.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
If you want to be challenged intellectually and receive a holistic Business School Education, just apply! Do not hesitate to send me a message on LinkedIn or contact the Recruitment team if you need help.