Studying MSc Finance
Why did you choose to study MSc Finance and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I was sponsored by the Monetary Authority of Singapore for my masters programme under the Financial Sector Development scheme. The aim of the scheme is to assist individuals in finance through postgrad programmes in top global universities. Out of the 6 approved Msc Finance programmes, I chose Imperial because of its strong reputation in quantitative finance. Back then, it was a fast growing segment (and it still is!) and I wanted a programme that would offer me sufficient focus on the subject. Besides, I felt it would complement my background in engineering. Being based in London, Imperial also has an excellent network with leading finance organisations, and in fact, I first learnt about UBS through an Imperial/UBS campus recruitment event.
What was the most important thing you took with you from the Business School?
The most important thing I took was the network of friends. More than half my cohort are now working in Asia in various parts of finance. As part of my job, I do travel quite a lot and I make it a point to catch up with my friends to understand the developments and opportunities from a local perspective.
How do you view your experience of studying at Imperial since you left?
I would say that my experience is very positive both on campus and after leaving. During the programme, the courses were rigorous and challenged me academically. It was great being centred in London, giving me the opportunity to visit all the beautiful sights around town. Even now, the interactions with the School continue. Besides the personal connections, I have also been participating in the networking events organised by the Alumni Relations team – these offer a great chance to keep updated with the School’s developments and also meet the alumni community in Singapore.
Career & professional development
How was your career transformed following your programme?
I was an engineer by training and had worked as an aerospace engineer for about 6 years before joining Imperial. The MSc Finance programme helped me to transition from a technical profession to one in banking. Without the degree, I am certain my CV would not have been picked up by the bank’s HR’s screens.
What is your current role like?
I am part of the Execution and Clearing sales team at UBS Investment Bank based in Singapore. I cover institutional clients such as hedge funds, banks and asset managers in the Asia Pacific region for their exchange traded derivatives trading and clearing needs. This includes providing market access and solutions globally across asset classes in equities, commodities, FX and fixed income.
How do you use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career?
In the last 5 years, the scene of quantitative finance has exploded in areas of trading, research, risk and portfolio management. We see financial institutions across all segments building out their capabilities to adopt the latest technology from their front to back systems and processes. The Imperial MSc Finance programme, with its focus on quantitative finance, has helped me to deepen the conversations I have with my clients in providing them with the right solutions to access these markets.
What do you enjoy most about your current work and what are the main challenges that you face?
UBS is a great employer. We have an open culture that supports individuals’ ambitions within the firm. Management is generally supportive of our efforts and we are recognised for them. I had the opportunity to work in Shanghai earlier this year to develop our business in the China. The experience allowed me to broaden my perspectives and build up experience for the North Asia markets. It shows that the bank is willing to invest resources for individual development. Besides, my peers are highly collaborative, and most importantly, we show respect for one another. It makes going to work fun.
In the derivatives markets, we have been impacted by global regulations over the last few years. The imposed requirements on trading, reporting and risk management will continue to add complexities and challenges in navigating the market place. Besides fundamental knowledge of the products that we studied at Imperial, increasingly, we also need to continue to stay ahead of changes in the market structures.
The alumni network
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you? /
In Asia, staying connected is very important. Our region has a highly fragmented market place spread across multiple nationalities, cultures and languages. Having the alumni network gives you an additional channel to establish local relationships with former classmates that you have common past experience with.
What value do you get out of your connections with the Business School and your fellow alumni?
I have made great friends during my time at Imperial and I keep in close contact with my friends. Over the last 7 years, I have attended several weddings and baby showers from the alumni group, including a couple who met during the masters programme!
Advice for future students
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the MSc Finance programme?
I remember contemplating between a MBA or a MSc Finance programme and it is probably a question that many prospective students consider. My advice would be to ask yourselves how you would like to be positioned after the programme. I am glad to have gone down the route of the MSc Finance as my focus then was to establish myself as a specialist in this area. The finance focused course provided me with a strong foundation for my business and the friendships helped me a great deal in my development as a professional in the sector.