Lakshmi Venkatesh, MSc Financial Technology 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School
Programme:
MSc Financial Technology
Nationality:
Indian
Education:

BSc Computer Engineering, minor in Business Administration, Northeastern University

About you

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

I worked as part of the advisory practice in the Risk Consulting division of KPMG India for almost three years. I started my role as an Analyst in 2018 and was promoted to take over the role of Associate Consultant in April 2020. The primary focus of the service deals with contract compliance services – specifically software compliance for clients across various sectors of business. We advised clients on the management and compliance of their software licenses and agreements and help optimise and mitigate financial, reputational and legal risks. We worked with a variety of tools and automation software to help increase the efficacy of software management processes in organisations.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Financial Technology at Imperial College Business School?

Having studied Computer Engineering at Northeastern University, I was always intrigued by how automation and technology will be an integral part of the way businesses operate in the future. My minor in Business Administration and experience at KPMG India in the field of consulting – with a majority of my clients being in the financial services industry, made me interested in learning more about the role of technology in the field of finance. After reading about the MSc Financial Technology at Imperial College Business School – especially the various modules and electives offered, I knew this was exactly what I was looking for in terms of enhancing my knowledge in the field of finance and its application using various tools and technologies such as Python, R as well as providing deep insights into big data, and financial econometrics.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I was fortunate enough to receive the ‘Women in Finance’ scholarship at Imperial Business School. I was extremely excited and also grateful to Imperial for giving me the opportunity. As the world progresses today and there are more and more women leaders out there, I am thankful to Imperial for recognising, awarding and encouraging women for their talent and knowledge – it really showcases the level of commitment and motivation that the university provides, especially when it comes to the empowerment of women. The scholarship helped me save close to 60% of my tuition fees – which is a dream come true.

I recommend that all future scholarship applicants (especially the young women out there) be yourself, be confident, do your best to showcase the passion you have for the programme you wish to study and the impact they wish to create to promote the greater good of both society as well as businesses around the world. Lastly, believe in not only yourself but also Imperial being “the right choice” and the “right place” to help you achieve your dreams.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?

Having come from a tech/consulting background, I am a little biased towards the modules that deal with programming. Thus, I  enjoy those modules the most without a doubt. However, since I have always wanted to learn more about finance – investments, portfolio management, markets, etc. I enjoy those subjects as well.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

Python has been my favourite module so far. I have done one term of the core modules so far, therefore I am still getting used to the core part of the programme, but the Python module was something I truly enjoyed as it made me challenge myself and work through solutions for various types of problems.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

I think the various group projects which demand the application of the knowledge gained via the modules is definitely the most rewarding part of the programme in terms of the programme in itself as it helps you grow individually by exploring ideas and at the same time learn about different perspectives by hearing from other team members and understanding the way they think.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

I would say the predominantly finance modules have been quite challenging for me thus far, considering I had minimal knowledge in the field of finance. Thus, coping with the high level of finance teaching in this programme has been quite challenging.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

I think the multi-mode teaching delivery has been wonderful – especially for someone like me that has been stuck in India due to the pandemic. Even though classes were on-campus, there was absolutely no hindrance in teaching delivery via online platforms such as Zoom.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort at Imperial has been one of the finest and warmest bunch. Although we are close to 80 students, we get to interact with each other via our group projects – where everyone has been extremely helpful and kind and also via WhatsApp groups where we have been discussing various matters openly and comfortably right from the start.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Yes, Professor Lara Cathcart (who is also the Academic Director) is definitely my favourite, I am very glad that she taught us one of the Core modules, Markets and Securities. Her patience, teaching methods, in-depth knowledge, as well as attention to detail is exemplary. She makes four-hour long lectures extremely interesting and will make sure one is kept engaged throughout. I love the way she uses the technology on Zoom for concept checks in a timely manner and explains the concepts step-by-step – without which I would’ve definitely struggled through my core modules.

Opportunities

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

I think the career opportunities at Imperial are the best. While I continue my journey towards seeking a full-time job after graduating from Imperial, the career support has been extremely helpful – especially the sessions conducted by the Careers team and the one-to-one meetings.

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

The guest lecture with Joseph Liu was definitely one of the sessions that had the most takeaways. Shaping your profile in an efficient manner while engaging your audience/employer is probably the most important thing and we often miss out on certain key factors.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?

I am still exploring those activities at the moment. Through Imperial, I got to be part of the Business Graduates Association. I am also looking to be part of the Consulting Club and the India Business Club in the coming term.

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

Yes, I have had the opportunity to take part in the event organised by the India Business Club recently. We can also attend some workshops and sessions remotely with students across programmes within the Business School where I was lucky enough to socialise with students in other programmes virtually.

Career

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

The one-to-one sessions have really helped me realise what might be the ideal goal for me in terms of my professional career. Having enjoyed my work at KPMG India in the field of consulting and also expanding my knowledge via MSc Financial Technology at Imperial, I am definitely inclined towards Business Consulting roles at fintech based companies.

London Location

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

London being the financial hub makes it an place for networking and career opportunities for international students like me – especially those that are keen to work for finance-based companies. Although I am yet to physically go and explore these opportunities due to the pandemic, I am very hopeful that this will provide nothing but positive experiences in the coming months.

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

I am yet to move to London. But as of now, I plan on living at GradPad Griffon Studios – which is close to Clapham Junction. I plan to live there since it is centrally located – well connected via the tube and buses, has easy access to the health centre, a bunch of shops, good eateries and places to hang around, and most importantly is only a 20-25 minute commute to get to campus! The building is also well-equipped with its own fitness centre, common rooms to socialise and a privately furnished studio for students.

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

I enjoy going for quick runs – I can’t wait to do that in London since it would be the most ideal place for outdoor runs – especially when it is not too cold. I also enjoy Zumba, Indian classical dancing and socialising with friends.

Tips

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

Yes, I did attend one of the online webinars for prospective students. It was extremely motivating – especially considering the current pandemic and the level of uncertainty that existed during those times. While many students were apprehensive of the multi-modal teaching method, the webinars assured us about the experience and quality of teaching. I can confidently say that the ongoing learning experience has been nothing less than what was promised, and we even got the chance to interact with our fellow classmates online and know them prior to the start of the programme.

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

I would definitely recommend this programme for someone that is passionate in learning more about the field of fintech. The modules are a perfect blend of both finance as well as programming, big data, and tech-related learnings. One thing I would definitely recommend to students that come from a completely non-finance background is to brush up on fundamental concepts related to finance or econometrics since some of the subject matter is at a slightly advanced level for someone that is not so familiar with corporate finance and related subjects.

The Imperial College Business School Careers team is extremely helpful and always approachable for any kind of assistance with prospective jobs and career options. Thus, for someone that is looking to apply for internships, full-time jobs or even another Master’s degree/PhD programme, the opportunities that are provided by the Careers team and the Business School in general is definitely the icing on the cake.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme:
MSc Financial Technology
Nationality:
Indian
Education:

BSc Computer Engineering, minor in Business Administration, Northeastern University