Ryan Corbin, MSc Investment & Wealth Management 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management

Nationality: British

Education: BSc Mathematics, University of Warwick

About you

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

Prior to joining Imperial College Business School, I had carried out an internship at PwC, within their Corporate Tax division, where I greatly developed my business acumen and formed a passion for Finance. To facilitate a deeper understanding of macroeconomic events and how to create alpha, I began my own investment portfolio, investing in growth equities. This provided me with experience in stock selection and has presented me with an opportunity to apply the theoretical knowledge gained on the programme. In addition, I have completed work experience at a software firm named Infor and through virtual investment management and investment banking internships.

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

I chose Imperial College Business School mainly due to its strong global reputation and brilliant location for networking. Having access to Imperial’s Alumni Network has proven very useful for interviews and learning more about target companies. Imperial is an extremely forward-thinking university, so I believed this would enable me to be better prepared for the future of finance, compared to attending a competing business school. The programme is a suitable fit for me because it has a good balance of technical and theoretical aspects. Lecturers have done extremely well at ensuring students have a deep understanding of financial theory, before applying it to real-world cases. I was also extremely interested in all the core modules on the programmes and the large variety of electives offered.

Did you receive a scholarship?

Yes, I received the Imperial Business Scholarship. This has helped to fund my education and is a great way to differentiate yourself in front of recruiters. Imperial offers a vast array of scholarships, so I would recommend reading through them to find the one most suited to your background. Make sure you clearly demonstrate any extracurricular activities in your application, such as volunteering and committee positions, along with strong academic achievements.


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

Firstly, the people. Everyone on the programme is extremely friendly, smart and driven. I think that the cohort is a key factor that distinguishes Imperial from other business schools. Secondly, the practical element to lecturers’ teaching style. Through this, I have gained in-depth knowledge on many topics and feel confident that I can apply them to a job.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

During the first term, my favourite module was Investment & Portfolio Management. In this module we learned about the theory behind portfolio construction across asset classes. I enjoyed it due to the large amount of case studies and real-life application throughout the lectures and coursework. 

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding aspect of the program is grasping a new, technically challenging, concept and being able to apply it to current financial news. Additionally, due to the close nature of the cohort, it is rewarding to be able to have high-level conversations with classmates about the concepts covered.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

The biggest challenge of the programme is the workload, especially around exams. Having to balance coursework, revision and job applications can be overwhelming, if not managed effectively. Some of the stress is removed through coursework being a group activity, but it is important to stay on top of your work throughout the term. However, due to the layout of the programme, there is little work to be done during the holidays which allows plenty of time to relax.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

I have enjoyed the multi-mode teaching and found it to work extremely efficiently. Lecturers and support staff make a great effort to engage the whole class and answer questions promptly.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

The entire cohort is extremely friendly and everyone has made a strong effort to build lasting relationships despite the current circumstances. Students come from very diverse backgrounds, both in geographical location and academic background, which allows you to create an expansive network. Everyone has similar aspirations and a desire to excel in their careers, this means that people are eager to help with work and discuss topics further.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite lecturer is Professor Marcin Kacperczyk (Investment & Portfolio Management) due to his style of teaching. Instead of following his slides, he allows the conversation to take tangents and ensures everyone has an in-depth understanding of topics covered. Marcin also uses lots of real-world examples in his lectures and problem sets.


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

The greatest opportunity I have had has been joining the Student Investment Fund society. Not only has this been a great opportunity to learn a vast set of technical skills and apply the theoretical knowledge learned on the programme, but in addition is a way to demonstrate your passion for finance to recruiters. Having the chance to attend additional workshops and stock pitches provided an unparalleled experience to the buy-side.

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

The university is excellent in arranging skills sessions with employers from finance, tech and consulting industries, this provides students with the chance to learn skills needed to perform well in interviews. One event that has particularly stood out has been hosted by InvestInU Academy, where the company discussed current macroeconomic trends affecting the industry and helped us develop trade ideas. Additionally, I have been fortunate enough to attend many career workshops given by recruiters from a variety of banks. This is a great opportunity to learn about the firms you wish to apply for and to stand out in applications.

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

I am currently part of the Portfolio Management Team within the Student Investment Fund. In my role, I am tasked with constructing and monitoring the Market Neutral Equity Portfolio, as well as researching macroeconomic trends to guide stock selection. One project I have been heavily involved in has been helping to create an automated risk management tool to increase efficiency in portfolio monitoring. I strongly recommend that students apply for the Student Investment Fund as it is both a great learning experience and way to meet more students in the Business School.

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

Yes, although this has been rather limited due to the current restrictions. Classes, such as the Careers primer and additional programming sessions, are a great way to connect with students on other finance programmes while in breakout rooms.

How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?

Through the Student Investment Fund I have had lots of opportunities to network with students across the Business School. This has enabled me to create strong relationships with MBA students I would not have otherwise had the opportunity to meet. Additionally, there have been chances to meet with the fund’s alumni and current buy-side professionals during stock pitches. This has been a great learning opportunity and a way to experience how real pitches take place. 


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

Following graduation, I plan to join a boutique advisory or asset management firm, where I will be able to gain early responsibility and exposure to senior staff. Events held by Imperial throughout the first term helped me realise that I was more interested in smaller firms and that company culture is more important than I initially perceived. If you are unsure whether buy-side or sell-side is correct for you, talks hosted by Imperial can give a strong insight into both areas. In addition, they have made me aware of the importance to network with members of staff at the firm and ensure there are good development opportunities available.

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

The Careers team have helped me develop a strategy to search for opportunities at boutique firms and network with staff. Skills sessions provided by Careers allow students to understand what recruiters are looking for and ways in which they can express their strengths. Through the Careers primer and one-to-one career consultant sessions I have managed to create an impactful CV and effective cover letter. This has proved to be extremely helpful in securing interviews and getting noticed by firms.

London Location

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

Yes, I believe that being in London is extremely beneficial from a networking point of view. Compared to my previous university there has been a lot more possibility for events, despite the current restrictions. Hopefully as we move through 2021, and restrictions are lifted, there will be a lot more opportunities to expand my professional network. Although there have been lots of virtual events, I do not believe they have been as effective as those face-to-face and it is a lot harder to build a good rapport with potential employers.

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

I live in student accommodation (GradPad), located in Clapham Junction. I chose this location due to the good transportation links (one stop from Waterloo) and ease of getting to the university campus. Student accommodation appealed to me, over finding my own place, due to the opportunity to meet other postgraduates, not necessarily on my programme.

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

When I am not working I enjoy staying active, whether this is through going to the gym or playing sports with friends. London is always extremely busy and there are plenty of activities to keep you busy. The diverse cultures result in an array of opportunities, in particular, London has lots of foods to try which I really enjoy.

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

The benefits of living in London are the reduced commute to get to campus and the wide variety of things to do. With London being densely populated there are lots of options for accommodation, so don’t stress about finding something too early. The key challenges are deciding where you want to stay and moving away from home. Make sure you spend time looking for the right place, consider your transport options and who you want to be living with.


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

I did not attend any online events, however, I did reach out to current students. If you have the option, I suggest attending events as they can give you ideas on what to add to your personal statement. The staff are very friendly and will be willing to answer any questions you have.

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

Make sure you consider all programme options and ensure that the MSc Investment & Wealth Management is right for you. The programme is intense, so it is important you have a strong passion for finance and the ability to grasp technical concepts quickly.

Before applying, I would suggest reaching out to as many current students as possible. This will allow you to gain a much better understanding of the programme. When applying, highlight all your major achievements, not just those related to finance, and be yourself.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management

Nationality: British

Education: BSc Mathematics, University of Warwick