Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management
Nationality: South African
Undergraduate education: Bachelor of Business Science specialising in Finance, University of Cape Town
Job after Imperial College Business School: Emerging Market Sovereign & Currency Graduate, Investec Asset Management London
Why did you decide to study an MSc Investment & Wealth Management at Imperial College Business School?
Imperial College Business School really stood out to me in terms of the range of core and electives on offer within the MSc Investment & Wealth Management programme, and especially how up to date the programme is with current technological advancements such as Big Data and Machine Learning. To me, the Business School offered all the skills that I was eager to learn, with a steep learning curve, as well as an unparalleled reputation and networking opportunities.
Did you receive a scholarship?
I was awarded the Women in Finance Scholarship, which ultimately enabled me to attend the Business School. I am so unbelievably grateful for the opportunity, as it has really empowered me to strive to break the glass ceiling that exists today, and challenge employers on their commitment to gender equality. As a scholarship recipient, I have been exposed to distinguished networking opportunities and have met such inspiring individuals working in the industry.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy the most?
My favourite part of the programme, aside from the academics, has been how truly international my cohort is. I have learned more than I ever could have imagined from working in teams alongside such diverse groups of people. I am a firm believer that innovation truly comes from diversity of thought and diversity of background, and this experience has really corroborated that belief for me.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module was an elective, Big Data for Finance. I have always had a keen interest in artificial intelligence and machine learning, and so to be able to immerse myself in these concepts with an application to finance was extremely rewarding for me. I also found that the skills that I garnered during this elective, especially the ability to code the machine learning algorithms, played a large part in securing my graduate position, as these abilities are widely sought after in the asset management industry.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The most rewarding part of the MSc Investment & Wealth Management programme for me has been the steep learning curve and continuous challenge. As somebody coming from a four-year undergraduate in finance, it was so rewarding to be able to build on the work that I’d done and still be constantly challenged to learn new concepts and think in new ways.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
I found the time pressure the most challenging part of the programme, in terms of having to balance lectures, coursework and job applications particularly in the winter and spring terms.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
My cohort is truly international, which has been extremely interesting, but we’re also in a sense like-minded, which keeps everyone motivated. It was particularly fascinating to observe all the different perspectives and approaches to challenges, which personally, largely expanded my way of thinking.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
The networking opportunities and the quality of guest lectures and career events has been the greatest opportunity. Imperial brings in the most well-renowned individuals and companies to host very informative guest lectures and presentations, whilst also offering distinguished opportunities to expand your network.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
It’s hard to choose one in particular, but guest lectures that stood out to me were those of the Private Equity & Venture Capital elective. I found that these lectures really expanded my practical knowledge of the industry.
How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?
I believe that the Imperial community is one with a very strong bond, especially between students, alumni and professors. This has ensured that there is always somebody to help you out, and I found that having the connection to alumni personally helped me to discuss and decide on my own electives, which have ultimately shaped my experience at Imperial.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
My short-term career goal is to succeed in the asset management industry, and since I have been at Imperial, I have secured a graduate position with Investec Asset Management in London in Emerging Market Sovereign & Currency, where I will be working as part of the 12-month graduate programme.
How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?
The Careers service was particularly helpful to me in refining and perfecting my CV, and prior to my first assessment centre I attended a mock assessment centre workshop, which I found really boosted my confidence and helped me on the day. The Careers service is always there to help and support you in the job-hunting process.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Definitely! One event comes to mind, where I attended a book launch held at the Berkeley in Knightsbridge, just a short walk from the Business School campus. Being so centrally located allows us to attend such events and expand our network and knowledge, without having to worry about transport and time.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live in GradPad, one of Imperial’s student accommodations, which is a stone throw away from Clapham Junction station. I chose Griffon Studios because of the proximity to transport, including the Overground, National Rail and bus services, but the Business School campus is also a lovely 45-minute walk away. GradPad has been one of my favourite parts about moving to London, my studio is perfectly self-contained, and I feel safe 24/7.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
I am a qualified Vinyasa Yoga instructor, so in my spare time I am usually teaching or practicing yoga. I also really enjoy reading, as well as walking and running in Battersea Park.
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?
Coming from a small beach community in Cape Town, South Africa, moving to London was a big adjustment for me in terms of how busy and bustling the city is! It took a short while for me to get used to using the public transport system instead of driving, but I’ve really come to love it (especially with a student Oyster card!). One of the biggest benefits for me is how much more you get to walk and see the city. One of the biggest challenges has been adjusting to how much more expensive living in London is, and I would advise anyone in a similar position to be very conscious of their spending and set a clear budget.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
If you’re looking for a steep learning curve, you’re naturally curious and you’ve got a genuine interest in the finance industry, then apply and be yourself (especially in your video interview)!