Academic and industry experience before Imperial
What work experience/internships (if any) did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I had several professional experiences in different sectors:
- Summer internship in a corporate law at a law firm in Paris (summer 2010).
- Summer internship at Credit Agricole CIB (in London) in the Cross Asset Derivatives Products Structuring desk.
- Editorialist for a football website (Paristeam.fr), for 6 months.
- Worked in Equity Derivatives and Structured Products Sales desk for Natixis for 12 months.
Studying MSc Finance
Why did you decide to study an MSc in Finance and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
When I started working for an Investment Bank straight after my undergraduate degree, I realised how much I needed to enhance my technical skills. In today’s world of investment banking, it has become critical to master coding and financial modelling. The products have become so complexly structured that the ability to code on the markets is priceless. It is clear that Imperial is preparing its students to overcome this challenge.
What makes the MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School unique?
Mathematics occupies a central position at the Imperial Business School and a Masters within this institution will critically enhance your technical skills, and make any student a highly employable alumnus thanks to a deep and enriching study of the financial world.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
Unlike most MSc programmes, Imperial offers its students the opportunity to study every single aspect of the financial industry. From asset management, Hedge funds, and Merger & Acquisitions to Fintech, Quantitative Finance and Artificial Intelligence, everything is covered.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
I did not know a single thing about programing when I started imperial. In this aspect, the first month was extremely challenging as I had to learn in a few week what others had been studying for the last few years. However, the staff in the Business School and other departments really made sure that I would quickly learn new programming languages.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
Big Data in Finance. It was highly technical – not surprising at Imperial – but the lecturer, Professor Ramadorai, made sure we would be able to apply everything we learned into practical projects. The module introduced me to Machine Learning and the Fintech industry. It allowed me to be exposed to different companies and industries, thanks to the broad scope of the class and its many guest lecturers.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
Every guest lecture in Big Data in Finance.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Emiliano Pagnotta, for my Corporate Finance class. I knew very little about the topic when starting the MSc. Nine weeks later, I felt I could do extremely well in an M & A interview with Goldman Sachs. That says a lot about Emiliano and his class.
Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment, whether it be group assignments or class discussions?
I believe it is an extremely good preparation for any professional experience we will have after the MSc. Learning to work within a group is an essential skill to possess for any career.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Diversified, smart, ambitious.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
Imperial College Handball Team. We made it down number eight in the UK National, which was an incredible result for the club.
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
Having such a prestigious university on your CV helps you get past HR.
Career and jobs
How have you benefited from the services provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
The Career Service provides you with good job offers throughout the year. You will certainly not apply to all of them, but you might find your dream job in there.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
The skills I developed during the Big Data module, and my increased awareness of the Fintech industry pushed me to apply to various fintech start-ups. The application process was clearly less agonising than the IB one, and I was motivated enough to send out 5 to 10 applications a day for a month or so. I was relieved to see that, unlike Investment Banks, Fintech actually replied to my applications: whether to apologise because they were not recruiting anymore or to invite me for a first informal phone call.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme? (please give details of roles you have accepted, what you will be doing and how you secured it).
The recruitment process with iwoca only lasted three weeks. After each round they made it clear that I would hear back from them in the next few days. I met with HR, members of my potentially future team, and the COO before being offered a full-time position with them starting in July. I am extremely excited as this company is exactly what I was looking for and I would never have heard of it if it was not for some of the elective modules I attended.
I secured a full-time position as a Credit Analyst. Credit Analysts are responsible for making lending decisions for each of the small businesses that approach iwoca. This includes:
- Evaluating credit applications
- Building a loan book
- Working closely with our Account Management team
Life as a student in London
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.
One of the ultimate goals of studying for an MSc is getting a job come summer. Studying for an MSc Finance usually means applying for Investment Banks, Asset Managers, Consulting firms and Hedge Firms. Fortunately, London is the world’s financial centre and more than 80% of all interviews you will have will be in London. I do think London is beneficial for career opportunities.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I lived at home with my parents during the year. No rent to pay!
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
Some mandatory hours in the library and a lot of pubs.
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
My advice to future students is that they should not be afraid to choose ‘out of the ordinary’ modules and should not only stick to M&A and PE/VC modules for example. These new modules that I attended were the best ones I had during my time at Imperial and allowed me to enhance my skills and broaden my career horizon as no other module could have done. This is one of the main reason I chose to come to Imperial. Regarding this particular aspect, I have not been disappointed.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online or on campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?
I attended an online webinar. It answered some questions I had about the programme, but I had already made up my mind about going to Imperial for my Masters.
To prospective students: attend as many events as possible. Choosing your Masters is an important step in your life, you should be 100% sure about what you want.