Pattie Zhang, MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering 2020-21, student at Imperial College Business School
Programme:
MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering
Nationality:
Chinese
Education:

BSc Mathematics with Finance and Accounting, Queen Mary University of London

Company and role secured after programme:

Asset Management Summer Analyst, UBS London

About you

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

Prior to my current studies, I have finished several insights programmes and short-term internships across investment banking, commodity exchange and buy-side firms both in China and the UK.  For example, as an Investment & Financing Advisor in Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, I helped customers optimise asset structures and assessed potential risks regarding working capital and term loans. Moreover, by participating in Code for Good held by JPMorgan and Women of the Markets at BlackRock, I gained wonderful insights into the faced-paced global environment of the finance industry, not only developing my interests in quantitative finance but also inspiring me to become a female leader in the future.

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

First and foremost, Imperial College Business School means opportunities, spanning from excellent academia to professional networking. I’ve been eager to surround myself with infinite challenges and prestigious practitioners, from which I’m able to explore aspirations and expand horizons. Secondly, equipped with strong skillsets in numerical reasoning from my Bachelor degree, I looked forward to combining coding and mathematics with my further my knowledge of finance, which is exactly what MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering aims to offer. As I expected, from our core modules, for example, Empirical Finance and Financial Statistics, I have accumulated healthy expertise in dealing with a real-world business using R, Python and Matlab.

Did you receive a scholarship?

Yes, I did! I am still particularly thrilled to tell people that I was awarded a Women in Finance Scholarship, a huge honour to female candidates who demonstrate academic strength and leadership potential. It indeed inspired me to work harder and achieve more both as a student at Imperial and as a female in the financial industry. My advice to incoming students is to spend time on your application, showcase your passion and confidence, and putting effort in highlighting achievements that are relevant to your goals.

Programme

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

It’s quite amazing to realise that when studying core modules in the spring semester, for example, Empirical Finance: Methods and Application, I can take advantage of Financial Statistics learned in the autumn semester as well as foundation module Application of R in Finance, not only saving me time understanding the basics but also strengthening my cognition in each area.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

I appreciate all my lecturers and tutors’ contributions, and my favourite module has been Financial Engineering, a core module in the spring semester. It provides comprehensive knowledge in valuation across asset classes and risk modelling in the backdrop of CDS-bond and cryptocurrencies, all of which are helpful in my career path to be an asset manager. Moreover, Dr Enrico Biffis is so passionate and knowledgeable that I am never distracted in his lectures.

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

By doing presentations and case studies in various groups, I have worked with peers who possess diversified experience, personalities and approaches. Not only have I enhanced my communication and collaboration skills, but I have prepared myself well for building relationships with potential customers and colleagues after graduation.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

It has always been a tricky task for me on how I can make the best of my time and unlimited opportunities being offered. I felt fulfilled and pressured sometimes when faced with intensive schedules and deadlines, meanwhile, I was keen to join different clubs and learn from abundant career events. Striking a balance between study and extra-curricular is challenging but rewarding since it makes me clear about my goals and good at time management.

How have you found the multi-mode teaching delivery?

Multi-mode teaching delivery is perfect and sometimes even better than the traditional mode in my opinion. Firstly, studying in different streams effectively reduces class size and easily makes each student be heard. Secondly, just by turning on video in Zoom, we can enjoy the interaction with classmates and lecturers as normal. Thirdly, taking my classes online saves me time transferring between classrooms and avoids distractions. Last but not least, I am extremely grateful to see that the Business School is always doing its best to satisfy students’ requirements, guaranteeing a safe environment and focus on quality across the whole programme.

People

How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

My cohort is fantastic and dynamic, blessed with the most brilliant and inspiring people I’ve ever known. All my classmate are willing to share their stories and innovative minds, making me feel included. By taking advantage of my network with them, I have been fortunate enough to learn from seasoned professionals and further expand my knowledge.

Opportunities

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

I joined the Imperial Women’s Network, where I have learned a lot from female alumni both in career and in life. A continuously enhanced cognition for women’s leadership has become a driver for me to work harder and diversify my experience. I appreciate the friendly environment where we encourage and inspire each other.

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

By taking electives in spring and summer semester, I am able to study in groups with students in other Finance Masters’. By taking part in the Climate Investment Challenge, I even got a chance to collaborate with MBA and PhD students. Moreover, I have connected with international alumni by attending Business School networking events and acquainted myself with functions, responsibilities and prospects of my desired positions by having a virtual coffee chat with them.

Career

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

Faced with diversified prospects and fast-paced globalisation, I have dreamed hundreds of possibilities for myself. For the time being, I am passionate about applying quantitative methods to private banking and wealth management and hope that by making the best of highly client-facing roles, I enable to further develop my relationship skills. Over a longer time, I see myself in philanthropy service and financial media, since bringing benefits and financial expertise to people has always been my goal. Almost from day one at Imperial, I have received professional advice from the Career Consultants and expanded my network with practitioners worldwide. Networking seminars, for example, have boosted my confidence to speak English and any other second-language with native-speakers and compelled my passions for working with international people. With the help of the Careers service, I have secured a position as a Wealth Management Analyst at the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China.

London location

When you’re not studying, what do you enjoy doing?

I am obsessed with exploring London in my spare time, and I have to say it has never let me down even during the pandemic. Over the past three years, I have travelled around UK and Europe by taking advantage of London’s travel network, experienced traditional British culture by enjoying well-known afternoon tea spots, watched the Phantom of the Opera and have been to plenty of live concerts and galleries. Last but not least, London can definitely satisfy everyone’s ardour for fashion and vintage. Based on our campus being at South Kensington, I can walk to Harrods and Sloane Street in minutes, which is pretty exciting.

Tips

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

My advice is ‘Do your research and go for it’! Imperial College Business School is an institution making things happen – trust yourself that nothing is impossible. No matter what your backgrounds or career goals are, you can always find opportunities to progress and achieve what you want. Therefore, during your application, make sure you put effort into researching connections between the programme and yourself and highlight your enthusiasm and strength. If you are fortunate enough to be admitted to the programme, keep pursuing your dreams, play hard and work harder.

Interested in applying for a scholarship to this programme?

Programme:
MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering
Nationality:
Chinese
Education:

BSc Mathematics with Finance and Accounting, Queen Mary University of London

Company and role secured after programme:

Asset Management Summer Analyst, UBS London