BSc Business Administration and Management, Ca’ Foscari University of Venice
Brand Management Intern at Mondottica, London
Investment Banking Analyst at Credit Suisse
Gloria was looking to deepen her interest in understanding how businesses operate while living in a multicultural and vibrant environment such as London. She felt the MSc International Management programme would give her the perfect opportunity to gain international experience and a global outlook.
Your time at Imperial College Business School
Why did you choose to study your programme and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
Imperial College Business School was my top choice for a number of reasons. First of all, because of its unique reputation and well-recognised brand that makes it stand out from competition. Secondly, the Business School is the perfect place to bridge academia and practical experience using a dynamic and exiting approach to teaching built on experiential learning techniques. Thirdly, the opportunity of creating a rich network of alumni and peers is incomparable. And lastly, the position of the University, being at the core of Europe, allows to interact with a diverse community and to absorb and capture different perspectives.
Choosing this course represented for me a logical consequence of my life experiences and my future career goals.
What was the most important learning point you took with you from the Business School? And the most surprising thing about the programme?
One thing I will always take with me in both my future career and personal life is how to be a good leader. Leadership is at the core of the MSc International Management programme through the Leadership in Action project that runs throughout the entire year. During that project, I learned how good leadership skills can often be more valuable than knowledge over the long term, and how empathy, constructive feedback and ability to work in a team can make you stand out from the crowd and help you set the stage for a long and fulfilling career.
The most surprising thing about the programme has definitely been the diversity. We were only about 40 students in the class, but we represented so many nationalities that I can now say I have friends all over the world. The diversity of the cohort allowed me to be exposed to different cultures and experiences while exploring new perspectives for personal and professional growth.
What advice would you give to a prospective student considering studying the same programme as you?
As a first thing, it’s crucial to apply as early as possible to increase your chances of securing a spot in the programme and to start preparing for the upcoming year by developing connections with incoming classmates. It is also extremely helpful, if you have the opportunity, to take part to as many physical events (or webinars) as you can, to start building an overall idea of what studying at Imperial is like and the main values that run through the Business School. In particular, if you are interested in the MSc International Management, you should definitely have something valuable to bring to the table. The more experiences you have, either personal or professional, the more value you bring to other classmates and the more you will get out of it yourself. So, I would suggest trying to complete at least one internship before joining the programme, to contribute to building your CV and your overall wealth of experience.
Tell us about your current job
How was your career transformed following your programme?
When I started the programme I was sure I wanted to work in the field of marketing/brand management, but during my time at Imperial, my eyes were opened to different industries and professional figures, especially by having the opportunity to get in touch with them during the events, career fairs and electives that the Business School offered. Through my new network I started to develop a fond interest in Finance which led me to change direction and apply to jobs in Investment Banking. This Masters played a huge part in succeeding in my interviews, first of all thanks to the people I interacted with on a daily basis, who already had experience in the field and guided me through the application process and secondly, thanks to the knowledge and practical experience gained with the courses, which allowed me to face technical questions with confidence.
A huge thanks goes also to the career service and the engaging sessions they organised which allowed me to tailor my CV and cover letter and prepared me with method to answer all the potential questions of the interview process for banking.
How do you plan to use the skills and knowledge you gained during the programme within your career going forward?
The great thing about the MSc programme is that it spans across different subjects and prepares you to face all kinds of jobs. There are courses in economics, marketing, finance and each of them provided me with new knowledge to apply depending on the situation. One crucial skill I mastered during the programme is time management, which at the Business School, when working long hours with overlapping deadlines, is definitely important to have. Then of course the knowledge learned in the Finance courses is something I can apply on a daily basis in my job, especially the practical case studies which many times I found resembling real life situations. Learning how to use Excel proficiently and how to read, interpret and build financial statements is something I can now use every day in investment banking. And finally, the huge amount of group projects performed during the programme allowed me to become a strong team player, which is a great skill to have in any career path.
What do you enjoy most about your current work?
I really like the people aspect of the job. I work with some exceptional individuals, kind, smart and always willing to offer a hand when needed. Feeling good and supported in the working environment is crucial for your personal success and happiness, and that is something I will always look for in any job.
Furthermore, working in investment banking allows me to have an extremely steep learning curve and I feel like every day I am learning something new, both on the technical side as well as on the personal side on how to build and grow my business acumen.
I also enjoy the fact that in this job no two days are the same, every day there is a new challenge or a new opportunity to take on responsibility and this is something that really keeps me alive.
What are the most exciting/difficult challenges facing your sector currently?
The pandemic has accelerated the digital evolution of the global banking industry. Banks have been able to rapidly deploy available technology, demonstrating agility and resilience as perhaps never before. For banks, it has been a 'forced' opportunity for a massive test of their infrastructure that will prompt them to plan further massive investments in technology, certainly making them more competitive. On the other hand, when working from home, senior bankers have the difficult task of keeping the level of motivation and productivity of their resources high. They will have to increase, even from a distance, the sense of belonging by showing everyone, when necessary, what their role is and how it is placed in the overall team picture.
What is your proudest achievement in the job so far?
I am mostly proud of having been able to create a full pitch by myself for a fictitious M&A transaction. During the internship we had to perform a fire drill as a final test to secure the full-time job offer and this task required us to prepare a complete presentation and valuation analysis to present in front of senior bankers regarding a possible acquisition transaction in the sector. Having the opportunity to apply the knowledge learned both during the Masters at Imperial College and during the first few months of internship and being praised for it has been extremely exciting and rewarding.
In what way is remaining connected to your alumni network important to you?
The personal and social aspect of having created a strong alumni network is what comes first to me, followed of course by the professional aspect. Relating to like-minded, inspiring, motivated people who have pursued different paths from mine is a way to stay curious and be always challenged. Through the conversations we have I’m constantly learning something new and gaining a conscious perspective on different business environments and industries, as well as continually exploring other cultures. And if a new opportunity arises in a different sector, it’s great to have the chance to be on top of it through my connections and possibly consider my next career change.