Maeva Montagnier

Maeva Montagnier

Studying MSc Finance at Imperial

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

I have a friend who studied for her Master’s at Imperial College Business School before going on to work at Goldman Sachs. I felt that since she is doing so well, that suggested something very positive about the quality of the Business School and the teaching here. Also, Imperial College Business School has such as strong reputation with employers. I am very ambitious and I want to have qualifications that will help me apply for positions at top companies.

What do you feel makes MSc Finance at Imperial College Business School unique?

I have been able to tailor my Master’s to the areas that I am most interested in. I want to work in investment banking, so I have taken and will continue to take modules that will help me achieve that goal. I applied to four top institutions in the UK and France, and I actually got all of them. But I chose the MSc Finance programme at Imperial College Business School because of its excellent ranking and because of the flexibility of the programme.

What parts of the programme are you enjoying and what are you most looking forward to?

All the classes are very interesting, and we all come from different backgrounds so we each find different modules more straightforward or more challenging. It’s good that we can all revise our basics and also improve whatever our weaknesses are.  I’m enjoying working on coursework tasks with my team. We are getting on really well and we all specialise in different areas. One boy is great at econometrics, there is a girl from Oxford who studied maths, and one other student and I both have backgrounds more geared towards management and finance, so it’s really great. And we are so diverse. The students in my group are from Belgium, China, France and Norway.

Later in the year, I look forward to the International Study Tour to Dubai. Finance in the Middle East is becoming a very ‘trendy’ topic now, and also a very important one as these economies become increasingly key in the financial industry. I have also never been to the Middle East!

What is the most challenging thing about studying MSc Finance so far?

I’m finding the maths and econometrics a little more challenging. The modules are very fast-paced and there is a lot to take in. I already have a strong background in finance though, so luckily I can concentrate more of my efforts on the other areas where I am less confident.

Why were you awarded the MSc Finance Women’s Scholarship?

I was awarded the MSc Finance Women’s Scholarship due to my academic achievement, career potential and professional experience, where I already have already completed 18 months of internships in various banking roles with companies such as HSBC and Morgan Stanley.

Women in Business Society

Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?

I am the President of the Women in Business Society, which I find very rewarding. After I applied for the MSc Finance Women’s in Business Scholarship, Diane Morgan, the Associate Dean at the Business School, told me about the club and the upcoming elections. Having been Vice-President for the Students’ Union at my last university, I felt I had the right skills for the job and could make the biggest contribution in that role. But even though I’m the President there’s really no hierarchy. It’s useful that we come from so many different programmes because we can all help each other when someone else on the committee is busy with work or job applications. We are just girls becoming friends really and helping each other grow.

Why do you feel passionate about supporting women in business?

In France we don’t have many initiatives to encourage women in this way, so I was keen to get involved when I found out about the great initiatives at Imperial. I have had many jobs and internships in financial services, and I have had many male colleagues and not many female ones. But women often think differently to men, and bringing together different ways of thinking can be very profitable. I think it is good to encourage more gender diversity in companies so there will be a better mix of thinking styles. Also, women often have concerns that may not affect men in quite the same way, perhaps balancing family and working life. It can be very helpful for students to speak  to people working in industries that they might like to go into so that they can learn about the industry.

What sort of events or activities will the Women in Business Society run this year?

Smaller events are often best for networking and this is often crucial in the early stages of job applications, so we are focussing on this in the first half of the year when many graduate schemes open. We have amazing sponsors and we’re working with them to organise these events. So far we have had sessions with people from UBS, Barclays and Bank of America and we’ve had great feedback! When one of the heads of M&A at Bank of America comes to your event and tells you he really enjoyed it, and enjoyed meeting the women at Imperial College Business School, that makes me very proud. Our other sponsors include J.P. Morgan, Accenture, PwC, UBS, Barclays and Bank of America who we hope to organise more events with in the near future.

In the second half of the year we will organise some larger events, like panel discussions. We will also be developing the mentorship programme. This will involve matching MBA students to MSc students, and MSc students to undergraduate students at Imperial College London. We will make matches based on what industry the participant wants to work in, as well as where they want to work geographically.

We want the Women in Business Society to be more than just a club for students at Imperial College London, we want it to be a network for life. Students can create a network today and it will become their network of tomorrow. So we are also planning to run some extra social events, possibly including escape rooms or bowling!

Life as a student in London

How have you found moving to London for the first time?

I like to live in cities, which is what I am used to since I am from Paris. But I find that London is even more cosmopolitan. Here, people really are from all over the world. It is more diverse and the people are open minded. They are attracted to London partly because so much of the world speaks English, but it is also about the culture I think. I like the environment here very much.

Career and professional development

What are your short and long term career plans?

I want to enter investment banking, and I’m applying for jobs at all the largest banks at the moment. I had lots of interviews with top banks, and finally accepted an offer at Morgan Stanley for the 2017 Investment Banking Summer internship programme. I hope that I will convert my summer internship into a permanent position, either immediately or perhaps after another year. If I do have a year before beginning my full time job, I would like to take part in a volunteering project. My grandfather is originally from Madagascar and I would like to go and help with a charity project out there.

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

I’ve been finding their online resources helpful. The subscription to the Financial Times has meant that I can search for articles about companies I am applying to and find out their latest news. For example, when I had my interview coming up with Morgan Stanley I looked up the transportation sector, which is an area I have worked within in the past, technology because that is where the company specialise, and the consumer retail sector because it is of particular interest to me.  I find the subscription to FACTAVIA very helpful as well, for when I want to find out information about companies that is not easily accessible to the public, and I have also been using the Careers and Professional Development Service’s CV workshops.

Advice to prospective students

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

Be motivated! It’s an intense programme but it’s worth it. Talk to people on the programme before you come if you can. Also take time to look at the different programmes on offer because there are lots of finance programmes with various specialisms. If you know for certain you want something more specific, those programmes might be great for you, and if you think you want a broader programme then MSc Finance is great. There are lots of opportunities here and it is very dynamic. You can do so much more than just be a student. Even if you’re not sure whether you will get a place, apply because you probably have more value than you realise. I didn’t think that I would get in but I did. So you might be surprised.

MSc Finance

Nationality: French

Undergraduate education: BSc Business Economics and Magistère Finance Sorbonne, Universite Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne

Job prior to Imperial College Business School: Internships at HSBC, Morgan Stanley, Crowe Horwath International and EDF

Societies: President of the Women in Business Society

Recipient of the MSc Finance Women’s Scholarship