Programme: MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering
Education: BSc Mathematics and Statistical Science, UCL
Company and role secured after programme: Investment Banking M&A Off-Cycle Analyst, ING Bank
What work experience/internships did you have before beginning with Imperial College Business School?
I have completed two internships in the Financial Services sector in Cyprus. I worked as an Advisory Intern at Ernst & Young and as a Data Analytics Intern at PwC.
Why did you decide to study MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering at Imperial College Business School?
Since my undergraduate degree, I realised that I wanted to follow a path into finance. However, I wanted to utilise my mathematical background and apply this knowledge to finance. I have decided to choose this specific master’s programme at Imperial since it focuses more on the quantitative aspects of finance while providing flexibility to follow any other path in finance.
What aspects of the programme do you enjoy the most?
What I really enjoy is the amount of knowledge gained both academically through the material covered and personally by interacting with like-minded students. I am confident that I have developed sufficient knowledge to understand and thrive in the finance industry and most importantly, realise the direction I want to follow in my finance career.
Which has been your favourite module so far and why?
So far, my favourite module has been the elective called Asset Allocation & Investment Strategies. Due to the multiple assignments and case studies that I had to complete, I believe this module provided me with both qualitative and quantitative skills. By performing analysis in RStudio and answering questions regarding real-life case studies, this module proved to have a nice balance between the theory and practice.
What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?
The most rewarding part of the programme has been the thorough guidance and help for students to secure a job. Through different workshops, interview practices and simple interaction with students motivated me to manage and secure a job in the field I like.
What has been the most challenging part of the programme?
The most challenging part of the programme is being able to balance my studies with job applications. The vast amount of coursework required to complete for each module made it difficult to focus thoroughly to both job applications and my studies.
How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?
I believe Imperial did a very good job with the multi-mode teaching delivery, especially when compared to other universities. Most importantly, it managed to keep teaching in an interactive way where students were encouraged to engage as much as possible while being flexible with their studying and schedule given the online nature.
How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?
Everyone that I have met proved to be very friendly and helpful. Although we are all competing for the same jobs, everyone is trying to help motivate each other to succeed. It is interesting to be surrounded with a group of individuals that share the same career prospects while wanting to get the most out of the student experience given the current situation.
Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?
My favourite lecturer is Dr Christopher Hansman who taught Empirical Finance: Methods and Applications. The lectures were very engaging and grasped my interest completely, although it was not one of my favourite modules. This was due to the lecturer’s constant engagement with students, approach to learning and the clear structure he followed.
What has been the greatest opportunity you have had at Imperial?
The Careers service at Imperial helped and pushed me towards uplifting my interview skills and gaining a competitive advantage in the recruitment process. I am happy to look back and see how much I have changed as a potential candidate since the beginning of my Master’s.
Which workshops, events or guest lectures at the school have been useful in developing your skills and knowledge?
The workshops that I really enjoyed were the assessment centre activities offered by Careers. These have really guided me towards understanding what I need to do to stand out while facing different styles of students during an interactive exercise.
What clubs, societies or other activities have you been involved in at Imperial? Do you hold a student leadership position?
I hold the student leadership position of being the Social Leader on the Student-Staff Committee for my programme. I am also a member of the Consulting Club and the Finance Club, where I’ve had the opportunity to practice case studies, attend meetings with professionals and interact with other students.
Have you had opportunities to work/socialise with students across programmes within the Business School?
I am happy to say that I made a lot of friends at Imperial. Being randomly allocated to groups for coursework enabled me to meet and interact with people easily regardless of the pandemic and the remote nature of classes during lockdown. Attending classes on campus and studying on the premises made it possible to socialise with students from different programmes.
How have you benefited from the Business School’s connection to the Imperial College London community?
The community enabled me to feel included and engaged regardless of what programme you are on.
What are your future career goals and how have they been realised since being at Imperial?
At this point, my future career goal has been to secure a job following the completion of my Master’s. Thankfully, I have managed to secure a job at a position that really interests me. I will be joining ING Bank as an Investment Banking M&A Off-Cycle Analyst in July.
Imperial helped me reach this goal of securing a job by its excellent Careers service and job opportunities offered to Imperial students only. I believe that by being an Imperial College Business School student in the Finance suite made me more attractive to employees while helping me enhance my employee skills.
How did the services from Careers help in your professional development/securing employment?
Mock interviews, attending career workshops and skills presentations enabled me to improve my interview skills and professional development. I am more confident to apply to job opportunities now since I became fully familiar with the demands and expectations of interviews and what is needed to succeed.
Do you think studying in a central location such as London is beneficial for networking and career opportunities?
Although the pandemic did not allow face-to-face networking opportunities, I believe that being in London is beneficial. It makes it easier for employers to visit students on campus to share their experience and network with students. I am aware that pre-pandemic, Imperial hosted various career-related networking events which provide good opportunities to learn more about your career prospects. As I was in London before joining Imperial, I had the opportunity to attend various events and workshops of potential employers and learn from networking.
When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?
During my free time, I enjoy exercising and when I am away from London, I enjoy doing fencing and skiing. I always find it relaxing to visit new places outside of London to explore and appreciate nature. After a busy day, I spend some time re-watching my favourite comedies which enable me to rest and prepare for the tasks planned for the next day.
What have been the benefits and challenges of moving to London? What advice would you give to someone in a similar position?
The first time I moved to London which was four years ago, I found it challenging to keep up with the busy lifestyle of London, especially since I was coming from a small country like Cyprus. However, it was so exciting to move to a new country and grasp on all the opportunities this city had to offer, such as meeting international people, attending career-related events and getting the benefits of living in a big city. What was important to me was to socialise and make friends early-on and get out of my comfort zone in order to create friendships to share these moments with.
Looking back to when you were applying for the programme, did you attend any online webinars or on-campus information sessions?
Before applying, I did a thorough research of the Business School and this Master’s from Imperial’s website. Luckily, I knew someone that did the same Master’s at Imperial the previous year, so I had the opportunity to ask any questions and clarifications regarding the programme and the experience. I think the best way to learn more about Imperial and the programme is by reaching out to previous students (such as through LinkedIn and on the website through the UniBuddy platform) and ask them to share their experience with you.
What advice would you give someone who is thinking about applying for the programme?
My advice is to not hesitate and apply to this programme, even if you are not sure of this particular path of Finance. The flexibility and vast availability of electives will allow you to tailor your Master’s to your preferences even if you do not want to undertake a quant position afterwards. Most importantly, the career opportunities are very helpful and I am sure prospective students will greatly benefit from this.