BSc Economics, University of Cologne
Data Science Trainee, European Central Bank
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
Before joining Imperial I took a gap year between degrees. During that time, I worked as an intern in multiple organisations, mostly with a focus on risk management. I started out in the Stress Testing department of the Deutsche Bundesbank, which is the central bank responsible for implementing monetary policy in Germany. Afterwards, I joined Deutsche Bank in Frankfurt to gain a better understanding of the banking sector. Lastly, I spent time working for Deloitte’s Risk Advisory team. During my undergraduate studies I had the unique opportunity of working as a research assistant at the Institute of Econometrics and Statistics at the University of Cologne.
These jobs, although very different in nature, helped me find my way into the field of finance and develop a passion for problems that involve quantitative techniques.
Why did you decide to study an MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering at Imperial College Business School?
After gaining some work experience through my internships, I realised that I wanted to get a better understanding of financial markets and financial products. I was also looking for an MSc programme that would offer rigorous quantitative training.
Imperial’s MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering incorporates both aspects. We have multiple core modules that provide comprehensive training in finance as well as those focused on quantitative analysis. To complement our skillset, we have the opportunity to learn multiple coding languages. This programme brings together several exciting and important areas of study that are very useful for a career in finance.
What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?
The people that I am surrounded by really make this programme special. Being at the Business School, seeing my friends and meeting my teachers, Imperial’s staff, and colleagues from other programmes is a great experience. It is inspiring and rewarding to be surrounded by so many people from very different walks of life who have achieved so much and are so generous and kind.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
My favourite module so far is Financial Engineering, taught by Dr Enrico Biffis. Financial Engineering really brings together everything we have learned so far: financial theory, stochastic calculus, and some coding aspects. I particularly liked learning about different derivatives instruments and how they are used for different purposes.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
One of the most rewarding aspects of this programme is that I feel like I am gaining a very deep understanding of finance. Studying MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering enables me to truly understand what is happening in financial markets, especially in these tumultuous times. It is great to see that the things I learn in class are relevant in our lives and are not just theory that we won’t use after graduation.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The amount of material we are being taught, together with the speed at which it is delivered, certainly poses a great challenge. Having a background in economics helps me to better understand financial theory, however prior to joining the programme I had no solid foundation in mathematics. This was very challenging, especially at the beginning of the year. Through hard work and the support of my teachers and colleagues, I was able to grow above and beyond what I thought was possible.
How did you find the unprecedented switch to remote delivery due to the global pandemic?
While I do regret that our teaching is currently being delivered online, I think that Imperial has done an incredible job at switching to remote delivery.
Although I obviously miss the beautiful Imperial campus and being surrounded by my colleagues and friends, there are a number of different resources available which still allow us to learn and engage with the programme effectively.
We can attend lectures online via Zoom and have the ability to watch recordings of the lectures if we are unable to attend the livestream, for instance due to time zone issues.
Moreover, we have access to all the support that Imperial usually offers. I have the opportunity to attend my professors’ office hours, meet with my Careers Consultants, and attend workshops.
It is amazing that Imperial is able to offer such a broad range of support even in an online environment.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
My cohort is a group of very accomplished, smart, and kind people. It is a pleasure to work with so many ambitious colleagues from very different backgrounds and countries who have become my friends very quickly.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
Although I can say that I have enjoyed lectures with every professor so far, Dr Enrico Biffis certainly is my favourite. Even though the class he taught was one of the most demanding, he explained the material in a great way that was easy to follow. What struck me most was the passion Dr Biffis has for finance and financial engineering. He was able to convey this passion, which helped me understand the material and become equally passionate.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
Attending Imperial has been, in itself, one of the greatest opportunities I’ve had so far. If I had to choose one particular opportunity, I’d say it is my role as Chair of the Student-Staff Committee of the cohort. In this position, I have the chance to grow my leadership skills and help my fellow students with any problems they face in their studies. Having a positive impact on the experience of my cohort and helping when needed has been rewarding and allows me to grow personally.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I am Chair of the Student-Staff Committee for our cohort. As such, I represent my cohort’s interests to the Programme team and faculty. Moreover, I am a member of the Dean’s Student Advisory Council. Together with fellow Chairs, we represent our cohorts to the Dean. As part of these positions, I help organise events within the Business School and for our cohorts in order to make the student experience at Imperial even better.
Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?
Through my student leadership positions, I am constantly meeting and working alongside students from across the Business School. Many of the elective modules offered at the Business School are open to students from other programmes, allowing us to engage with students from other programmes.
How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?
The Careers team has helped me extensively throughout the academic year. When I came to Imperial in September, I was not sure what role I was looking for within the field of finance and was also considering a career in consulting.
Attending careers fairs, workshops, and one-to-one coaching sessions has helped me to figure out what I want to do after graduation and which skills I want to build at Imperial in order to achieve these goals.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Living in London is certainly a great benefit if you are looking for career opportunities. While the Business School is very active in bringing companies to campus, it is also extremely helpful and interesting to visit companies in their London offices. Especially during the fall term, I attended networking events at various companies almost weekly. These events helped me get a better feeling for the corporate culture in different firms and consider different career paths.
Where do you live in London and why did you choose to live there?
I decided to live at Imperial’s White City Campus in West London, where Imperial offers postgraduate student accommodation right on campus. When I started to look for an apartment in London, I wanted to have a studio to myself but also wanted to be close to other students. Living on campus allows me to meet my friends from the Business School but also to make friends from other faculties.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
London is an amazing place to live, even when I am not studying. When I have some time off, I like to go for a run in Hyde Park or discover new parts of London. I also enjoy meeting with my friends after classes or on weekends.
What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
Before moving to London I had lived in much smaller cities, which meant I had to get used to the vastness of London. Living in such a cultural melting pot is certainly enriching and very exciting, but it can also be stressful.I’d advise everyone who considers moving here to plan ahead and maybe even visit before the actual move if possible.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
I would recommend that any prospective student get in touch before sending in their application. Talking to current or former students is a great way to gain a better understanding of what Imperial is actually like. If possible, I highly recommend visiting the campus. Based on my experience (also from job interviews), the impressions you get from an actual visit are invaluable and will help you tremendously when making a decision about where you study.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme
MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering is certainly not an easy programme to study. It will be demanding, and entail a lot of work. But if you want to be inspired and surrounded by many talented, ambitious, kind, and diverse colleagues, this programme will be a good fit for you. Because of its challenging nature and the great community within the programme and at Imperial, MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering will allow you to grow both personally and professionally.