Govind Grewal, MSc Finance 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Finance

Nationality: British

Education: BSc Economics, London School of Economics

Company and role secured after programme: Debt Capital Markets Analyst, Mizuho

About you

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

Before joining Imperial, I completed a summer internship at Santander Corporate & Investment Bank, rotating through key divisions within the bank. I had also spent a few weeks in Sales & Trading at BNP Paribas, where I was able to learn a great deal about global financial markets.

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

Having studied economics at undergraduate level and gaining experience in the industry, I was very keen to enhance my financial knowledge in areas that I found particularly interesting. I believed that the flexibility of MSc Finance would enable me to develop excellent technical knowledge in the modules that I found most interesting.

Perhaps most importantly, I chose Imperial to benefit from the world-leading professors at the Business School and the career opportunities that the university would help foster. So far, I am definitely more than happy with the choice that I made.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I was very pleased and humbled to receive the Imperial Business scholarship. The fact that a highly regarded institution such as Imperial decided to recognise my previous achievements reaffirmed my decision to undertake the programme and encouraged me to remain determined throughout.


What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

The programme has been structured in such a way that students have the ability to tailor their experience to suit their own interests. The opportunity to choose optional electives and to decide whether you would like to do an applied or research project means that everyone can personalise their time at Imperial.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I have really enjoyed the Mathematics for Finance and Derivatives modules so far. Despite both being quite challenging, I would say that they are also the most rewarding. The modules are also very applicable to the role that I will be entering after Imperial and this made understanding them all the more satisfying. I think that the professors for these electives are great at keeping students engaged and they structure the material very well too. 

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

From the very beginning, Imperial encourages students to collaborate with others on the programme and to build a strong network. As such, I think it is very rewarding to be able to work closely with talented individuals on challenging and interesting concepts. Thankfully, I am able to do this very regularly as most modules require cooperating on group tasks.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

Personally, before joining Imperial, I hadn’t done much coding apart from using Python and VBA in some previous roles. It was therefore quite challenging having to learn a new language R as it is often used in the modules throughout the year. However, the Foundations in R module allows you to quickly learn the basics so that you are well equipped for the rest of the programme.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

The multi-mode teaching this year has allowed me to benefit from in-person teaching in a safe environment despite the challenging conditions that we have all faced. Remote lectures have been adapted well so that students can still have an enjoyable and informative experience.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The cohort is extremely diverse and this allows you to benefit from a large variety of different perspectives and also enables you to build an international network. Everyone is extremely talented and determined to achieve great results but also to enjoy their time at Imperial too.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

All of my lecturers so far have either worked in the industry or are leaders in their respective fields. They make a conscious effort to keep you engaged and take great pride in ensuring that the material is understood to a high level. Choosing just one professor out of them all is too difficult. However, as I mentioned earlier, the Mathematics for Finance and Derivatives lecturers are of particular note.


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

The Imperial Careers team has provided both the support and the network to help me understand which roles in the financial industry most suit my skillset. They have helped me ensure that I can be as successful as possible in the job application process by providing effective seminars and hosting insightful company events.

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

The Careers team put on workshops that were specifically tailored to providing knowledge about individual divisions within investment banking rather than amalgamating all the roles into one seminar. I found this very useful as it allowed me to identify the division specific knowledge that I would need and how I could best portray it at an interview.

Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it has been more difficult to socialise compared to a typical year at university. Despite this, the university has made an important effort to ensure that students engage regularly on coursework projects and in workshops for extra-curricular activities. As the situation improves later in the year, I am sure that interacting with the rest of my cohort will become easier.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

It is well known that Imperial students, particularly from the Business School, go on to have great success after leaving the university. Having the opportunity to interact with current professionals in leading organisations definitely helps strengthen your professional network. Because the Business School is part of the wider Imperial network, this means that you are able to benefit from and engage with an extremely diverse pool of talent.


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

I was fortunate enough to have had some experience in the industry before joining Imperial. However, I was keen to remain open-minded and Imperial has been very good at providing me with the knowledge to make an informed decision about the role that I would like to work in. I eagerly anticipate beginning my role as a Debt Capital Markets Analyst at Mizuho after I leave Imperial. 

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

As mentioned earlier, I have accepted an offer as a Debt Capital Markets Analyst at Mizuho. Even before the very first day of university, I was contacted by the Careers team and they highlighted the importance of starting the job hunt as early as possible. I had access to numerous CV and cover letter workshops as well as online platforms that identified areas that needed polishing. Furthermore, one-to-one sessions with the Careers team allowed me to ask any questions and clarify any issues that I had before the Autumn term had even begun.

London Location

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

Having studied at both LSE and Imperial, I would definitely say that London is the most rewarding location to study at university. Being in London, I am able to interact with employers and even attend interviews more frequently and with greater ease. Companies often visit the university and are keen to engage with students. This makes it much easier to establish a strong network and to gain a better understanding about the industry. I also think that you become more comfortable in engaging with important people at large companies and this makes the transition into the workplace all the more seamless.

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

I live in North West London, which is where I was born and have grown up my whole life. During peak times, I have access to fast Metropolitan line trains which make the commute into South Kensington very straightforward. The tube station at South Kensington is also very close to the university which is definitely a bonus.  

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

There is always something to enjoy in London and you can never get bored or run out of things to do when you are not working. I like to play sports, exercise, explore new restaurants and do new activities that I have not yet done before. If you have a strong interest in art or history, there are many museums or exhibitions that are walking distance from the Business School.


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

I would encourage anyone thinking of applying to carefully go through the MSc Finance webpage and look at the details of the curriculum. There is an abundance of information regarding the programme such as details about the international experience trip and all the possible elective modules that can be taken. Although I did not attend them myself, I have been told that the online webinars and on-campus sessions are a great place to get any of your questions answered by the programme team.

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

The Business School is looking for students who have a genuine passion for finance. No matter what your previous academic background is, I think that you should try and showcase your enthusiasm with specific examples from your life. It is important to be honest about what you are looking to achieve from the MSc Finance such as gaining technical skills for a specific role in the industry. The programme is quite challenging and technical at times, but this has been done to appeal to those who have a strong interest in the subject material.

Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions about the MSc Finance programme!

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme: MSc Finance

Nationality: British

Education: BSc Economics, London School of Economics

Company and role secured after programme: Debt Capital Markets Analyst, Mizuho