Théo Thomas
Théo is a French national but grew up in Italy and spent most of his life in Rome. He first came to London to study a BSc Banking and International Finance at CASS Business School.

Théo is a French national but grew up in Italy and spent most of his life in Rome. He first came to London to study a BSc Banking and International Finance at CASS Business School. As an undergraduate, Théo gained experience with Citi and with Bloomberg, finishing in the global top 10% at the Bloomberg Summer Internship Challenge. Théo has completed two internships with J.P. Morgan and will be starting his career in investment banking at the company after graduating.

Studying MSc Finance

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

A top reason was the reputation of Imperial College London and the Business School. I knew that both were especially strong in quantitative areas and I was looking to develop my quantitative abilities. I felt that if I wanted to go into a career in financial services I should be more comfortable dealing with numbers and understanding the underlying mathematical elements behind theories. Also, I have always been very interested in technology. Graduates from the Business School and the wider university often develop start-ups rooted in new technologies, but also many employers within technology fields come to the campus and that was the kind of network I was interested in developing. Here, I can take advantage of everything that is going on, as well as attend off-campus events around London, for example I recently attended an event at Google’s head office.

What part of the programme are you most looking forward to?

The electives, which were another key reason for why I chose to study at Imperial. In particular, ‘Big Data in Finance’ and ‘Topics in FinTech Innovation’. I am excited to find out how the Business School will teach something so innovative, and when I study big data I am keen to visit the KPMG Data Observatory at the Data Science Institute on campus. I will also be able to specialise in more corporate finance related topics. Although I will learn much on the job when I start at J.P. Morgan, I want to learn as much relevant information beforehand as I can, to make that transition easier.

What is the most challenging thing about studying MSc Finance?

Time management is certainly challenging because there is a lot going on. Every week is packed with lectures and there are also lots of recruitment events. Although I already have a job offer from J.P. Morgan, I am still attending many of these events to expand my network and to also find out about what other banks are doing. Then I have many activities both on and off campus, I got to my local gym a few times a week and I also like meet up with friends I have made here in London. The result is that there are lots of things to do and I am running across London throughout the week!

What are you enjoying most about your time at the Business School so far?

My cohort is really great. There are about 80 students in my class and I don’t know everyone yet, but everyone that I have met so far has something interesting about them. The class is super diverse and, while we all have an interest in finance, everyone wants to go into different areas. Some people want to get more into the asset management side, some people investment banking, others want to go into consulting and some want to continue in academia and complete PhDs. Our past experiences are also very diverse and this is something I wasn’t expecting before I came but I am very glad that it is this way because I get to work with people with very different perspectives.

Extra-curricular activities

Are you taking part in any extra-curricular activities?

I am a student ambassador, a member of the Business School’s student-run Finance Society and I have also joined the Debate Society, which is a university-wide club. I actually find speaking publically terrifying! By getting more involved with this society, I know that I will be forced to develop this skill. Since the society includes students from all departments within Imperial College London, I also get to meet people who are all brilliant at what they do in very different areas, which is refreshing and it is interesting to see how they think too.

Career and professional development

How have you benefited from working with the Careers and Professional Development Service?

I have attended various careers events as a student and I also attended the careers fair with J.P. Morgan as I am a company ambassador. I’m always very happy to talk to other students about working at J.P. Morgan, and I think it is good to talk to someone like myself because students can ask informal questions they might not want to ask a senior director! I am particularly looking forward to a FinTech event run by the C&PD service which is taking place tomorrow, led by a Director of Blockchain from PwC. I have also participated in the online careers development module, which helped me to update and improve my CV, and I am keen to use the Business School’s subscription to Evisors (the online career advisor network), which I think is an incredible tool.

What are your short and long term career goals?

I will start at J.P. Morgan this summer. I am looking forward to their training programme in New York! The first few years involve a lot of training and learning because I will need to become technically proficient and in the longer term I expect a stronger focus on softer skills – presenting to a client, leading a team and so on. These opportunities to develop myself as a well-rounded person were a key reason why I chose a career in investment banking. In the longer term, it’s harder to say! I am likely to stay in banking but I also have an interest in technology, so if I were to shift then that is the main area that also appeals to me.

Achievements and success

Have you taken part in any competitions or challenges?

I really enjoyed taking part in the Undergraduate of the Year competition, run by TARGETjobs. I applied to the male analyst category, and we took part in lots of psychological tests, assessment centres and presentations. It was very good training for recruitment processes! Our final presentation was tough and I was very out of my comfort zone, but it was fun to do and I was very proud to be a semi-finalist. This led to being listed in efinancialcareer’s feature, ‘9 most impressive incoming summer analysts at banks 2016’.

When I was a student ambassador for Bloomberg I also took part in their Summer Internship Challenge and scored in the top 10% globally.

What is the achievement you are most proud of to date?

I was actually very proud to get into Imperial College Business School. It’s something that made me very happy. I am also proud of my undergraduate degree and I was extremely happy to get my job offer from J.P. Morgan, because it involved a lot of hard work and internal networking with people in different departments. But the achievement I am most proud of is  getting my place at the Business School because I know it was all these experiences combined that helped me to create my application, so when I got my offer to study the MSc Finance programme it felt like the result of all these things brought together.

Advice to future students

What would you tell someone thinking of applying to the Business School?

There are a lot of ways to find out more about Imperial College Business School. I became a student ambassador because I think it is one of the best channels for potential students to do this. If anyone wants to reach out and send an email to me, another ambassador or someone in the admissions team, or is interested in coming to an informal information session on campus, I really recommend doing those things. Also, if you come to an information session, you get to visit the Imperial College Business School as well, which is an amazing building.

Do you have a ‘top tip’ for future students?

If anyone wants a change of scene from working in the Imperial College library, there is an incredibly beautify gallery in the V&A Museum, which is literally next to campus, and it has free membership! The environment at Imperial is frankly awesome, and I think it is amazing that our classrooms are all so high-tech. But I also think it’s amazing that you can walk just a little way down the road and be in a beautiful, classical library.

MSc Finance
Undergraduate education :

BSc Banking and International Finance, CASS Business School

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Analyst, J.P. Morgan Societies :

Finance Careers Club, Student Ambassador, ICL Debate Club