Michael Kalogerakis, MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering student

Programme: MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering

Nationality: Greek

Education: MEng Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol

Company and role secured after programme: Graduate Programme, BNP Paribas Risk Global Markets

About you

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

After completing my undergraduate degree, I did a one-year placement at GE Aviation, a top aircraft engine supplier, working in Robotics R&D.

Why did you decide to study MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering at Imperial College Business School?

I decided to apply to the MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering programme at Imperial because it is a highly quantitative programme that offers the perfect combination of mathematics, programming and financial theory, and equips students with the technical expertise and industry insights needed to launch a highly rewarding career in quantitative finance.


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

Given my engineering background, what I am finding most exciting is building my knowledge of financial engineering and in particular the different derivative products, their pricing and hedging.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

One of my favourite modules so far is Financial Engineering because it introduces students to key derivative products, their pricing and use in risk management. Another favourite is Structured Credit and Equity Products which is taught by JP Morgan and offers a direct insight into credit and equity derivatives and how these products are used in the industry.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

Having no background in finance, what I found most rewarding was developing a thorough understanding of the key financial products traded by investments banks and how they are priced and hedged, as well as learning about the different models used in derivatives pricing and interest rate modelling.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The programme is split into three terms with exams at the end of each term. Given the number of modules in each term and the limited time to revise it is important that students keep up with the material and coursework. This can be challenging especially during the first term when job applications are a big priority.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

At first, I was a bit sceptical about Zoom lectures. However, I soon realised that as long as you engage in the lecture it is not much different from a face-to-face lecture. Online lectures have their merits. Students might feel more confident asking questions through the chat option which makes a lecture more educational. Furthermore, having a lecture online saves valuable time commuting to and from the university which one can spend studying or engaging in extracurricular activities.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort at Imperial is very diverse in terms of both academic backgrounds and nationalities. It has been a real pleasure to have the opportunity to interact both virtually and in person with such a diverse group of people and learn from their experience and unique backgrounds.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite lecturers are Dr Pietro Millossovich who teaches Stochastic Calculus and Dr Lara Cathcart who teaches Fixed Income Securities. Both professors have very deep knowledge of their respective subjects, and their lectures were always educational and very high quality.


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

Imperial offered me three great opportunities: Firstly, I built a solid understanding of key financial engineering principles and financial theory that is vital for my career. Secondly I engaged with people from different backgrounds who became good friends and important connections for the future. Thirdly, the reputation of Imperial and the MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering programme definitely played a role in helping me secure my role at BNP Paribas. I believe that compared to the other big business schools in London, Imperial has a reputation for its quantitative focus, which is something employers value.

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

Even though COVID-19 has made this year particularly challenging in terms of networking events, the Business School organised two events that I found very beneficial. The first event was delivered by InvestInU Academy and it thoroughly explained careers on the buy-side such as equity analyst and fixed income trader. The second event was presented by Barclays Investment Bank which clearly explained the roles on the sell side, in particular sales, trading and structuring.

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

During the Autumn and Spring terms I was a member of the Imperial College Business School Student Investment Fund. It was a great opportunity to build my coding skills in Python and learn about different trading strategies.

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

I took Spring and Summer electives that are open to all students in the Finance suite. The Business School also organises workshops such as the financial modelling workshop which gives students the opportunity to build their technical skills and work with students from other programmes.


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

My career goal coming to Imperial was to find a job as a market risk analyst in an investment bank. I have been very fortunate to secure a place in the Risk Global Markets Graduate Programme with BNP Paribas.

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

Careers helped me polish my cover letter and build my interview skills through one-to-one appointments with their consultants. They also explained key steps in the application process and answered any questions I had during the year regarding the application process.

London location

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

In a COVID-free world, Imperial’s strategic location in one of the largest financial centres in the world and connections with professionals from large financial institutions is definitely an advantage.

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

I live in Wood Lane Studios (GradPad). It is a postgraduate-student accommodation complex located at Imperial’s White City campus. I chose to live here because I did not want to deal with any of the issues that come with renting a property and because I wanted to be in an environment with other graduate students.


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

When I was applying to the programme, I attended a webinar called ‘Mastering the application process’ which I found really helpful. I found it especially to hear about what Imperial is looking for in the personal statement. I would recommend that prospective students attend at least one of these events.

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

I would advise applicants to network with current students and alumni of MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering as they can offer the best insights into the programme, the career opportunities it offers and answer any questions they may have regarding the programme. Also, I think it is important that, before applying, students interested in studying at Imperial should learn about the different jobs within the finance industry and try to figure out what type of job they want to do after they graduate, so that they apply to the most suitable programme offered within the Finance suite.

Find out more about MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering

Programme: MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering

Nationality: Greek

Education: MEng Mechanical Engineering, University of Bristol

Company and role secured after programme: Graduate Programme, BNP Paribas Risk Global Markets