Jessica Abi Saab

Jessica Abi Saab

About you

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

I had been working in an investment management fund in Lebanon but the financial infrastructure in Lebanon is not well developed like it is in London. I stopped working and applied for the programme, which is related to what I was doing. I have learnt a lot more on the programme than I learnt from my real-life experience working for a year and a half.

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

Being here is one of my greatest achievements. Working hard, getting good grades and keeping up with everything, even though I didn’t have any financial background. I studied economics for my Bachelor’s degree so I didn’t know anything about finance and financial products. That was challenging for me but it was okay because the pre-study modules helped. We also work in groups so this is helpful.

Also being accepted for my post-graduate role at Bloomberg. The position is exactly what I’ve been searching for so it’s one of my greatest achievements professionally.

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

Because of my job in asset management, I wanted something more technical and to have more knowledge about the buy-side. I wanted something more theoretical and practical at the same time. I found this programme is quantitative and theoretical, but they also put in terms of how you can use it in real-life. Every time the professors brings someone in from one of the big firms, they talk about the knowledge they have and it’s the same as what we’re learning.

I chose Imperial College Business School because of its reputation and worldwide ranking. It’s really well known in my country. The professors at my college advised us that if we want to go to London there is London Business School, London School of Economics and Imperial College Business School. But if you want to do something specific, go to Imperial.

Programme

What aspects of the programme do you most enjoy, and find most rewarding?

It’s a really tough programme, each professor thinks that we only have thrit to study. So they give us a lot of things to learn and study. It’s not enjoyable in a way, but if you want to look at it from the positive side, they are giving you everything – extra readings, studies and exercises for you to know everything about it.

Since being on the programme, when I’m talking to people I can understand what they’re saying and advise them on topics like venture capital firms. It’s not only broadly, I can go into depth on these topics. You learn a lot on the programme!

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

The Private Equity and Venture Capital elective. It’s the module that relates most to what real-life is about.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

Getting to know all the new information I didn’t like before like the basic finance knowledge. However if you work hard, you get rewarded for the work you are doing.

People

Imperial places a large emphasis on group work; what did you like the most about working in this type of environment?

Group work is very helpful to get to know different mind-sets and ways of analysing things. Sometimes you have an idea, but you need help to develop it. When you’re in a group it’s nice to discuss them together. Other people in the group can bring different ideas which is really helpful. Our group would also help each other revise outside of our required group work.

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

I really liked the ambiance. We all come from different backgrounds and countries, but we all help each other out. We’re only 87 students and you all know each other. We all have the same goal to do our best and achieve great things. We have a spirit that we want to challenge ourselves to study more, get higher grades and work harder.

Opportunities

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

The job and to get to know new firms and approach them. I wouldn’t imagine being at a place that allowed me to have breakfast with employees at Goldman Sachs or visit Macquarie. Even though I’m not interested in big banks, they give you everything. You’re not restrained to certain companies, they give you all the options.

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

The guest lectures in the Private Equity & Venture Capital series were really helpful, we were learning these new concepts and the professionals would explain to us how they are useful in real-life. It helped me know which areas to focus on.

What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?

I registered for the Finance and Women in Finance clubs.

How have you benefited from being part of the wider Imperial College London community?

It’s in the networking. When you say you’re an Imperial graduate or student, people think it’s impressive and want you to talk more about your experience. It has a very good reputation, worldwide and not just in London.

Career

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

I watched Careers videos about previous students’ experiences. I didn’t really believe in the services as I thought the students featured were lucky and got jobs and that’s why they’re telling us. I didn’t believe a Careers service could really help you through the interview service and to get a job. We had a pre-module about the Careers service where they helped us to build our network and CV. When I was interested in the Bloomberg event, I decided to work on my CV first. When they corrected my CV and they said let’s book another appointment to work through the changes, I realised they really care. I got the online interview and I only had three days to prepare and the website was fully booked to talk to someone. They managed to squeeze me in between appointments just to give me half an hour.

Careers Consultant Andrea Ferreira was occupied all day at an MBA fair. She gave me an hour in her lunch break to work on my interview the day before the long interview. I had already booked one meeting before this but she wanted me to do another meeting the day before. Everything she said actually came up in the interview.

At the beginning there were lots of Careers Fairs. The main one was the Bloomberg one. They had helped us with how to network and present ourselves. They gave us business cards which we could use to keep connection with the employers. I really benefited from these fairs.

After the fair, they told us there any many positions open on the website. I applied and after a few days I got an online interview. After that, I had a phone interview to check that I know how to speak French. I attended a team leader interview, one from analytics and one from sales. I got the second live interview which was the managers. This was long because I had to shadow a future colleague first, and then the interview consisted of solving case studies. I asked them for their feedback, regardless of whether I got the job or not. They gave me the positive and negative feedback. After that I received the final round interview with the Head Manager. In 48 hours they called me and I got the job.

London location

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 chose London because it’s one of the top financial hubs. You can find any company in any sector here so this is really good for networking. People come here just for networking so it’s one of the main reasons I’m here.

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

In Hammersmith in student accommodation close to the university. Being a student, you don’t have time to take care of everything like paying electricity and water or going away to do your laundry. You need everything to be organised near you. In the student accommodation they take care of everything – you just pay a yearly fee and everything is sorted out. You don’t have to worry about how much water or heat you use or to organise garbage collection. We even have study rooms.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time in London? Have you had opportunities to travel?

At the beginning of the term it’s really great – you go and discover London and the surrounds like Cambridge and Oxford. As you get into the term, you can’t go out as much anymore because you have a lot of assignments to present and group meetings on the weekend.

What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?

To live alone and do all this by yourself. If you don’t do your laundry, you won’t find anyone doing your laundry when you come home. You do everything by yourself. Work on your time management between your work and house chores.

Don’t stress too much but just know how to manage your time, so you don’t put too much effort on school and forget everything else.

Tips

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

Do it – but first search really hard on the website about everything related to it. Search through all of our core courses and electives. If you’re really, really interested, look at them in-depth. Try to ask as many questions as you can.

Jessica Abi Saab

MSc Investment & Wealth Management 2017 – 18

Nationality: Lebanese

Undergraduate Education: BA Economics, American University of Beirut

Job after Imperial College Business School: Analytics and Sales, Bloomberg

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