Alia Ibrahim

Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management

Nationality: British

Undergraduate education: BA Accounting, Financial Management and Economics, The University of Sheffield

MSc Investment & Wealth Management 2019

About you

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

I did a few internships in the UAE, including my recent internship in Finance House in Abu Dhabi, where I did a rotation through various departments such as credit administration, credit card operations and risk management. That’s when I first started to really be interested in the investment side of banking.

Why did you decide to study an MSc Investment & Wealth Management at Imperial College Business School?

I already had a background in finance but was very interested in learning more about the investment side of the industry and I felt like this programme was very suitable for me when I saw the core modules and electives studied here. I wanted something that would be both educational as well as practical and I knew the MSc Investment & Wealth Management programme at Imperial could give me that.


What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?

I’ve really enjoyed being part of the Business School and meeting new people from all the different programmes and learning so much from everyone I’ve met. I feel like everyone at the Business School is very hard-working and has high aspirations, which only encourages you to be more motivated.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I would have to say the Private Equity & Venture Capital elective has been my favourite. It’s very practical and the lecturer was always very enthusiastic and gave us great insight into the industry. I’ve also never learned about PE or VC before, so it was cool for me to get that kind of perspective on the investment world.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

Seeing how much I’ve progressed over the last 12 months has pushed me to work harder, which I find really rewarding. I think the learning curve here, both academically and personally, with regards to career progression is so steep and in the blink of an eye you’ll find that you’ve learned so much.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

For me I found coding to be quite difficult because I had no prior knowledge on it whatsoever. I have also found that some core modules are fairly quantitative beyond what I expected but at least there’s never a dull moment!


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My peers on the programme are a very ambitious and driven group of individuals and being surrounded by people like that makes you want to work even harder and excel at what you do. I think there’s also so much diversity in terms of the different paths people have taken to get to this programme, and it’s so interesting to learn about that. We are a very close-knit group and it’s always nice to be part of a group of people who are always keen to help!

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Sebastien Canderle was always very interesting and passionate about Private Equity and Venture Capital. He made us look forward to lectures and want to learn more about PE and VC in our own time. He was also always very happy to share his experience and answer any questions you have.


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

I’m the Head of Marketing for the Imperial Impact Investing Society and through this I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and interacting with remarkable students and faculty from different programmes in the Business School. I appreciate the opportunity to be a part of that, especially since the society was only created this year.

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

I found all the career workshops and networking events to be very useful. I learned not only about the different companies and roles in the industry, but also a lot about myself. I was able to develop my professional skills during these events. A lot of the guest lecturers that we had during the Private Equity & Venture Capital elective, as well as the Advanced Company Valuation elective were very useful because we could relate what we were learning to real-life events and get an idea of just how much theory works in the real world.

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

I am a Student Ambassador for my programme and the Head of Marketing of the Imperial Impact Investing Society. I’m also part of the Social Impact and Responsible Business Club at the Business School and the Arab Society. I think it’s very important to get involved in both the Business School as well as the wider Imperial College London community because you will never get an opportunity like that again!

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?

Through the wider community I was able to take a role in the Imperial Impact Investing Society, which I was very keen to get involved with. It’s definitely opened my eyes to a lot more opportunities as well as friendships. The connections you make both in the Business School and in the wider College are very important and I’m grateful to have been able to build this network.


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

I’ve been passionate about Impact Investing for quite some time and was able to solidify this interest through my role at the Imperial Impact Investing Society and the events we’ve held. I hope to further pursue this within wealth management now that I have had the experience necessary to do so.

How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?

The Careers services has been incredibly helpful and has helped me develop the skills necessary to prosper in the career path of my choice. I’ve been going to them for guidance ever since the start of the academic year and it’s been very helpful, especially when I look at how drastically my skills have improved. They’re willing to help and will give you honest, helpful tips on your CV’s and cover letters, as well as preparing you for interviews and assessment centres.

London Location

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

I definitely think so! I’ve found that there are always networking events going on around London and most job interviews and assessment centres are conveniently close, so it’s made the process much easier for me, as opposed to others who live further out or in other cities.

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

I managed to find private accommodation in central London. I wanted to be close to campus but also in a central location so that it’s easy for me to discover the city and go to all the events going on around London.

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

I love going around different parts of London and trying out new restaurants! I think there’s so much to do in this city - it’s hard to find yourself with time to spare. Outside of London, I’ve travelled to parts of Europe with my friends. London is very convenient with the location within Europe and it’s so easy to get around and explore other countries.

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

I was living in Sheffield for three years before I moved to London and it’s a very small city in comparison. It used to take a maximum of 20 minutes walking for me to get anywhere there, whereas here it’s very common for you to have to take the tube or a bus for about half an hour to get to places. On the other hand, I think London is such a lively city and there’s always something to do, which I love. I would suggest for you to go out and explore the city whenever you have the chance to learn how to get around and get comfortable with it.


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

No I didn’t, but I would recommend it because I think getting insight from students is very beneficial and hearing about their experience isn’t something you can do by reading the prospectus.

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

I would suggest reading about the difference between the Finance Master's programmes and looking at the core modules and electives each programme offers because it can be tricky deciding which one to go for. I would also recommend for you to talk to people who are already studying on the programme, as well as the Recruitment team because everyone is more than happy to help and tell you about their experiences and perspective.

Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management

Nationality: British

Undergraduate education: BA Accounting, Financial Management and Economics, The University of Sheffield