Igor Marek Kalota
Academic and industry experience before Imperial
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
- 1 month Work Experience internship with PwC.
- 12 month internship with PKO Bank Polski Brokerage House in ECM/M&A Department.
Studying MSc Investment & Wealth Management
Tell us what your greatest academic, professional or personal awards/achievements have been.
Completing my bachelor’s degree with highest grade (5/5) and securing 2nd place in EY Financial Challenger (Polish team competition simulating M&A deal process)
Why did you decide to study an MSc in Investment & Wealth Management and why specifically at Imperial College Business School?
I chose Imperial College Business School because of the warm and welcoming atmosphere I experienced during my visit – it definitely stood out among other London’s universities. Other reasons include: the quantitative focus of the studies which complements my engineering background, the strong positions in various rankings and the strong brand of Imperial College.
My first choice of programme was MSc Finance as I wanted to work in Investment Banking, however I was offered a place in MSc Investment & Wealth Management instead. This was my second choice because it very closely resembled MSc Finance, and the differences allowed me to broaden my horizons and get to know new areas of finance that I wasn’t familiar with.
What makes the MSc Investment & Wealth Management at Imperial College Business School unique?
Combination of quantitative and practical approach is the most differentiating factor of Imperial College Business School. The value of classes taught by experienced professionals, who showcase their daily work challenges and how to tackle them cannot be overstated.
What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?
- The classes – very interesting due to the practical approach
- Networking – The Careers Service team make an enormous effort to expose students to some of the biggest names in the financial services industry, and there really are plenty of opportunities for everybody to get in touch with them.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part was the September and Autumn terms. You have to get to know London, attend classes, and prepare for recruitment processes, which takes a lot of time. However, the feeling once you finally get the offer makes all of the sacrifices worth it.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
The Derivatives module was by far my favourite – the lecturer has an exceptional talent to explain complicated topics in very easy, accessible way. This module had a very mathematical focus, however, I absolutely loved the classes and didn’t want it to finish.
Which seminars, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
Guest lectures were organised as part of the Private Equity and Venture Capital module. The guest lecturers were really interesting and worked in variety of areas of the industry, providing information about their roles in the finance environment.
How would you sum up the Business School faculty?
Experienced professionals and great academics that are always willing to help you.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Harjoat Bharma who conducted the Derivatives module was my favourite lecturer due to his ability to easily explain complicated topics and provide a real life meaning to the programme material combined with exceptional charisma and a sense of humour.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Brilliant group of motivated individuals from all over the world, each with a unique background and story to tell.
Opportunities from studying at Imperial
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial that you wouldn’t get anywhere else?
Being able to look for a job with the excellent support of the Career Services team and having Imperial’s brand on your CV, which can influence employers.
Career goals and jobs
How have you benefited from the services provided by Careers?
Without Careers I would not be able to secure a job offer – I had no experience with interviews, group exercises, behavioural questions etc. The consultants helped me polish my CV and Cover Letters, conducted multiple mock interviews, group exercises and even stock pitches. I highly recommend to any future potential student to engage with them as soon as possible, even during the summer, before you commence your programme. I found they were always willing to help.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
My career goals were to secure a job in investment banking in London, what I have luckily done already. Next steps are to gain experience in finance and get an MBA from top school U.S.A.
Have you received any job offers since commencing your programme?
I have received and accepted a job offer from Jefferies for a full-time Analyst programme in Investment Banking Department, where I will be a part of the Real Estate, Gaming and Lodging team.
Life as a student in London
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities? Please share any positive experiences you have had.
I believe that studying in London is crucial to your success in the industry. By being in the financial capital of the world, you are exposed to all kinds of companies, individuals (e.g. guest lectures). This enables you to attend multiple events in companies’ headquarters, which is one of the best ways to get into the industry. Moreover, the people you meet every day are very interesting, which is great if you enjoy meeting people.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I live in West Kensington because I found that it offers a good compromise between cost and distance.
What can a weekend in London look like for an MSc student?
There is always so much to do in London – exercise, go out with friends to Soho and discover new places every time (don’t forget about studying).
If you had to move to London for the programme, what have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
As London is one of the most expensive cities in the world, money is one of the biggest problems – try and sort your finances before you start the academic year. The main benefit was the exposure to different cultures and societies. Getting to know local customs was very exciting and taught me a lot about myself.
Advice for future students
What advice would you give someone who was thinking about applying for the programme?
My advice is: be sure! This programme is not something that can be done lightly. It is a huge commitment and basically a huge investment of time and money. Learn as much as possible from the programme. Contact student ambassadors and talk with them about the programme and find out if you are a good fit for it. Often universities want to attract top students, however I believe that no matter how excellent a student is, it is crucial that the their character matches the programme as well. And a student can only know that by talking to people that have already been there. As student ambassadors, our role is to give you our view of the programme, what we found easy and what we found difficult. The admissions team will decide whether your academic background meets the programme’s requirements but we are here to help you understand and decide whether your character fits the programme.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online or on campus information sessions?
When I applied to the programme, unfortunately I didn’t attend any online or on campus information sessions. However, as a student ambassador I had the opportunity to attend both those sessions but in another role. I believe that these sessions are extremely important because crucial questions students have can be answered and having the opportunity to discuss various aspects of the programme or concerns you may have with people who have been in your shoes is invaluable. I believe there is no better insight for the programme than that.
Share with us a handy hint or trick which makes campus life that much easier!
Try to avoid the South Kensington tube Station around 17:00 due to the rush hour as many people leave the museums around that time so it gets extra busy. Stay an extra couple of hours in the library to revise what you covered that day in lectures until the rush hour is over.