Drew Barnden
Prior to my MSc, I completed a two month internship in an investment management company and another internship in a company specialising in providing support to entrepreneurs and startups. Although, these roles were not always directly related to my ultimate career goal, the different experiences all taught me something that has inevitably led me to Imperial College Business School and one step closer to where I want to be.


Why did you decide to study an MSc in Investment & Wealth Management and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
An MSc seemed like the most natural progression given my career choice and, from both an academic and professional perspective, the MSc Investment & Wealth Management was the perfect fit. There’s no other course like it in the UK and the outstanding reputation that Imperial has, alongside its London location, made the decision an easy one.

What makes the MSc Investment & Wealth Management at Imperial College Business School unique?
The Investment & Wealth Management programme really focuses on practical and soft skills that help you to diversify yourself from other candidates at top business schools. Furthermore, the courses and modules place great emphasis on linking theory to practice. This has undoubtedly made me a complete professional and really helped me stand out during interviews and assessment centres.

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy?
Although I was skeptical at first, I really enjoy the programming and computing elements of the course as it gives students a great opportunity to apply what they’ve learnt. Besides reinforcing theory, it also gives you skills that are becoming increasingly important in the industry and that allow you to diversify yourself from other candidates.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The workload has most certainly been the most challenging part of the programme. Coursework and exams come around very quickly and it’s important to remain organised and efficient. However, when reflecting back on the course, it’s incredible to think of how much I’ve learnt in such a short space of time. This wouldn’t have been possible without the high workload.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
It’s a very difficult question to answer because many elements of the course have been incredibly rewarding but I think the opportunities the course has given me is the most significant part. The Business School has given me real clarity and direction over what I want to do and how I will get there. I’ve never felt more optimistic or excited about my future and, without Imperial, it wouldn’t have been possible.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
Once again, this is a really difficult question but I’m going to have to say Asset Allocation and Investment Strategies. The course was packed full of academic and practical content and was all related to current industry practices.


What seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
The college has so many events but my favourite was definitely Ben Bernanke’s seminar. The opportunity to hear from the former head of the Federal Reserve was an amazing experience and his opinions were incredibly insightful. They really helped me to think of financial and economic markets in a different perspective.

How would you sum up the Business School Faculty?
Absolutely incredible. I wasn’t fully aware of the quality and calibre of the faculty before starting the course but after arriving, I was hugely impressed. At first I was slightly concerned as too often you find the most accomplished professors are not always the best teachers. This is absolutely not the case at Imperial College Business School. All the professors are first-class teachers and their accomplishments allow for insight you wouldn’t get anywhere else.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
All of the faculty have been amazing. I can’t pick just one but some of my favourites have been Andrea Buraschi, David Miles, Michael Kollo, Greg Davies and Arnaud de Servigny. What they all have in common is they clearly love what they do. Their lectures have been captivating and interesting and they always endeavoured to make their content relevant and practical.

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what inspires you the most about working in this type of environment, whether it be group assignments or class discussions?
Although it can be quite intimidating at first, group work has been one of the most enjoyable experiences at Imperial. It gives you a great opportunity to engage with people from different backgrounds. Everyone has different expertise and you’ll constantly learn from those around you. I’ve made great friends and learnt something from each and every one of them.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
An amazing group of people. The course has people from all walks of life and from all over the world but we all get on well. I feel really lucky to have met them all and will undoubtedly make some lasting friendships.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial?
Sadly, I’ve not been involved in as many as I would like but I’ve tried to attend the Imperial College Union Investment Society and Entrepreneur Club as often as possible.


What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
Definitely the networking opportunities. The Business School alumni are excellent and there’s always events going on with an opportunity to network. We’ve also had some great companies on campus where we’ve had similar opportunities to network. I don’t think you could get these opportunities anywhere else.

How have you benefited from the service provided by the Career and Professional Development Service?
The Careers Service have been great. They’ve really helped me to polish my CV and cover letters as well as helping me with interview techniques, assessment centres and presentations.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
The university holds some great events on outside of the Business School and they give you a great opportunity to find out some of innovative things going on in other departments. Some of the technology and big data events have been really interesting and are directly applicable to the finance industry.

Do you think studying in a central location such as London is benefiting for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.
Definitely, there’s so many opportunities in London and everything is literally right on your doorstep. I’ve been to several professional networking events and conferences that are exclusively in London and, it seems that many firms seek out Imperial graduates because of their London location. Furthermore, many of our optional modules are taught by financial professionals working in the industry and this would clearly not be possible if we were anywhere else in the UK.


What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
Ideally, I’d like to work in strategic investments and become a portfolio manager in the more distant future. I believe Imperial has given me the foundational knowledge and skill for me to pursue these goals and the course has made me incredibly excited about my future.


Whereabouts do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
Unfortunately I don’t actually live in London. I usually commute to college from Canterbury but occasionally stay in Acton with a family member.

What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
In one word: eventful. There’s so much choice in London no weekend is ever the same, but a recipe of dinner and drinks is usually involved. Sometimes we do something a bit different and sometimes we’re just studying!

In your opinion, tell us about most exiting, undiscovered place in London.
There’s so many to choose from but I have to go with clueQuest near Kings Cross. It’s a really fun escape game where you and your teammates are locked in a room and have to escape by solving riddles and brain teasers. The perfect appetiser before a nice dinner!


What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying for the course?
Do it. It’ll truly be one of the best experiences of your life. You’ll learn so much, make great friends and take a big step in your career.

Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online or on campus information sessions? Did you find these a useful part of the recruitment process? Would you recommend that prospective students attend these events?
I did attend one of the campus information sessions and I found it incredibly useful. It was really helpful to hear from current students and lecturers and it gave me a much better understanding of what the course had to offer. At the time of attending I had offers from other business schools but after the event I quickly realised Imperial would be my first choice. I’d highly recommend prospective students attend these events.

Share with us a handy hint or trick which makes campus life that much easier!
Get the Yoyo app as soon as you can! It’s an app which can be used at any café on campus. It saves you getting your wallet out and you frequently get free coffee and snacks by using it. It saves you money and the free coffee comes in handy for the long lectures!

Pre-MSc Investment & Wealth Management
United Kingdom
Institute and subject studied for Undergraduate degree:

University of Kent, Economics

Work experience/internship(s):

Prior to my MSc, I completed a two month internship in an investment management company and another internship in a company specialising in providing support to entrepreneurs and startups.

Greatest academic, professional or personal awards/achievements:

My greatest achievement was undoubtedly the awards I obtained for academic performance during my undergraduate degree. I received two awards for achieving the best results in the penultimate and final year.