Salma Belmaachi, MSc Investment & Wealth Management 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management

Nationality: Moroccan

Education: BA (Hons) Business & Economics, University of Manchester

Company and role secured after programme: Equity Research Data Analyst, Bloomberg (Summer Internship)

About you

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

Before beginning my programme at Imperial College Business School, I worked as an ESG and Equity Analyst summer intern in a French asset management company, Amplegest, in Paris.

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

I decided to study MSc Investment & Wealth Management at Imperial College Business School for three main reasons. Firstly, after I completed my internship as an ESG and Equity Analyst intern in 2019, I became really interested in finance, especially in the buy-side of the financial market. I then discussed with some friends who work in the field and are Imperial alumni and they told me about the advantages of studying MSc Investment & Wealth Management at the Business School.

Secondly, the programme is very interesting, quantitative and technical. Throughout the year, students are required to solve case studies using the R programming language and can learn VBA programming and financial modeling on Excel.

Finally, my desire to join Imperial College Business School was not limited to the programme itself. Imperial’s MSc Finance programme was ranked 9th in the world by the Financial Times in 2020 and the new School Strategy 2018-2028 reinforced my aspiration to be a part of the university. The faculty is engaged in diversity and gender equality initiatives and provides its graduates with experienced people like James Sefton, our Academic Director and former Head of Global Quantitative Research at UBS Investment Bank.


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

Besides being taught very interesting topics by prestigious professors and improving my finance and programming skills, what I enjoy most about my programme is the opportunity to be involved in multiple activities outside my classes. As an MSc Investment & Wealth Management student I have been part of multiple societies like Imperial College Women in Business, and also joined the Imperial College Business School Student Investment Fund where I have been able to apply class theory in real life. I have also been able to attend unique employer events organised by the Imperial alumni, network, and book sessions with Careers to improve my CV and cover letter. Moreover, I have taken part in multiple mandatory workshops that are helping to improve my soft skills and emotional intelligence, skills that are very important in the workplace and that help build up self-confidence. Finally, being part of such a diverse cohort is a real opportunity to learn about new cultures, expand my horizons, meet people from all over the world and build long lasting relationships with them.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module so far has been Topics in Corporate Finance, not only because of the interesting content but also because our lecturer, Dr Cláudia Custódio, has made the module very interactive even though it was online. We had quizzes in every lecture and the students with the highest score and response rate won prizes.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

The most rewarding part of the programme is being taught by such experienced professors and successful guest lecturers. Many of the professors and guest lecturers that I have had are former or current employees of prestigious banks and have taught in elite universities. Being able to learn from such experienced people is a real privilege.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The most challenging part of the programme has been learning R programming and using it to complete my coursework.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

At first it was difficult to adapt because it was a new way of teaching, but it is very convenient to be able to watch the lectures from home and attend classes on your schedule. All the recordings are available if you miss a lecture and we always have access to the Business School and the library.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort at Imperial is very diverse, motivated and eager to learn. We have 33 different nationalities in our class and everyone is willing to help each other and share their personal experience.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

All the professors I have had are really experienced but I would say that my favourite is Dr Cláudia Custódio. As mentioned before, she makes the topics in the Corporate Finance module interactive and interesting despite it being taught remotely and the content was very well explained.


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

One of the greatest opportunities that I have had at Imperial is becoming a Women@Dior mentee. Imperial College Business School has partnered with Maison Christian Dior to allow some of its students to become Women@Dior mentees. By becoming a mentee, I have been paired up with a Christian Dior Couture mentor to help me with my future career. The mentoring programme will help me develop my self-confidence and encourage me to dare for the career of my dreams through multiple workshops and by taking part in the Dream for Change project.

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

I have recently attended a talk by Jessica Alsford, a managing director at Morgan Stanley. Her talk was about sustainable finance and as I am working as a sustainability associate within the Student Investment Fund, hearing about Jessica’s Alsford experience in the field was very valuable.

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

I am currently a Student Ambassador and a Sustainability Associate for the Student Investment Fund.

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

I have had the opportunity to work/socialise with students across the Business School because I am involved in the Student Investment Fund which is composed of students from many different programmes. I am also a Student Ambassador for MSc Investment & Wealth Management which gives me the opportunity to meet students from other programmes. The groupwork in every module is another great opportunity to meet people from different programmes.

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

The Business School often organises events with Imperial alumni and I attended a very informative event at the beginning of the year called Finance Super Saturday: Careers on the Buy Side. The speakers, Stéphane Renevier and Reda Farran, are inspiring Imperial alumni who have created InvestInU Academy which aims to help students break into the finance industry. I am now part of this group, which regularly shares advice and jobs to Imperial finance students.


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

I joined this programme last September because my ultimate goal was to acquire the CFA charter and become a buy-side analyst in a prestigious asset management company. Now, nine months after I have joined this MSc I am still interested in the buy-side of the financial market and passing the CFA but I am even more interested in equity research. That is why I have applied for an internship at Bloomberg LP and have fortunately received an offer to work as an intern this summer.

Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?

I have received an offer to do a summer internship as an Equity Research Data Analyst at Bloomberg in London. In this role I will be responsible for ensuring the consistency, quality and timely delivery of financial and industry-specific data across various sectors using the Bloomberg Terminal, a specialised computer software system. Moreover, I will spend part of my internship working with Bloomberg intelligence doing equity research. I will have the opportunity to do financial modelling on Excel and write equity research reports and insights about companies and industries.

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

The services from Careers have helped me improve my CV and my cover letter which I believe is the most important part of any job application.

London Location

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

For someone who wants to work in finance, living in London gives you many opportunities, as it is the financial hub of Europe and you meet a lot of people who work in this field. I know that students who join next year will enjoy living in London and have many opportunities.

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

I am currently living in Pimlico. I have decided to live in this part of London because it is very central and it only takes me 20 mins by tube to get to the South Kensington campus.

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

I love exploring London and meeting new people from different cultures and countries, which is why I am involved in many activities outside of university. Being part of the Student Investment Fund, the Imperial College Business School Women in Finance society, being a Student Ambassador and Women@Dior mentee is helping me build strong and long-lasting friendships with people from all over the world. I also think that it is important to exercise for your mental health, and now that gyms are open again, I try to exercise regularly. Finally, reading self-improvement books is another activity that I enjoy doing when I am not studying as they help flood your brain with positive thoughts and keep you focused on your goals.

If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London?

I studied in Manchester before moving to London. The benefits of living in a city like London is that you can never get bored; there is always something to do, somewhere to go, and something to discover. Another benefit is that London is a very diverse and multi-cultural city and you can always find people that share the same interest as you. However, it can be challenging to come to a big city like London when you don’t know people and when you are used to living in a smaller city. The advice that I would give students is to go out of their comfort zone, meet new people and be part of a society and network.


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

Before applying, I had not been to any online webinars or on-campus information sessions but as a Student Ambassador I have been able to attend a few and I would suggest that every student attends one of these events.

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

Before applying I would suggest researching the programme; it is quite quantitative and involves programming. I would also advise that you apply as soon as possible because MSc Investment & Wealth Management is competitive and the earlier you apply, the better chance you have of being accepted.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme: MSc Investment & Wealth Management

Nationality: Moroccan

Education: BA (Hons) Business & Economics, University of Manchester

Company and role secured after programme: Equity Research Data Analyst, Bloomberg (Summer Internship)