Shannee Mckenzie
MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering
Undergraduate Education:

Actuarial Science, University of West Indies Mona

MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering 2018

About you

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

My background includes using quantitative methods to analyse data and identifying and maximising variables that impact results and manage risks. I worked for two years in the telecommunication industry as a financial planning analyst and distribution executive. I developed KPI decks from Big Data to influence business decisions and provide detailed analysis of the impact and drivers of these KPI’s and managed the procurement and distribution process with the aim of optimising revenues whilst minimising cost.

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

Imperial College Business School has a strong analytical focus, links to internationally renowned finance associations, internationally diverse cohorts, and faculty members that have an understanding of current best practice in global business theory with an immersion in the practical issues of today’s global corporations through their research and consultancy projects.

The MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering programme at Imperial College combines financial topics with computational analysis, emphasizes big data mining in the financial sector and includes modules and electives on topics including Ethics and Professional Standards in Finance and Topics in Fintech Innovation, which will provide faster analysis of high-risk customers, which will reveal business opportunities and suspicious patterns among customers whilst ensuring regulatory compliance.

Did you receive a scholarship? If yes, what were the benefits of receiving this?

I received the Chevening scholarship. Chevening is a globally reputable scholarship programme which granted me access to the renowned Imperial College London, a valuable network for cross fertilisation of ideas and personal/leadership development programmes. Chevening develops talented individuals like myself from around the world who demonstrate the qualities of leadership and the potential to grow into positions of influence.

The programme creates a network of influencers and decision makers who have a lasting positive disposition towards the UK and its universities, and partnerships enable closer connections to be developed between the partner organisations. This will allow me to have a global impact by gaining skills that can help to solve the global economic derisking and financial inclusion problem. This scholarship has also alleviated the financial burden associated with pursuing a master’s.


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

The content, opportunities and class experience was most rewarding.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite modules were International Finance, Macroeconomics and Finance for Practitioners (Dubai elective), Topics in Corporate Finance, and Insurance.

The elective in Dubai provided an international first-hand experience on the role of policies and procedures/approaches needed for a secure financial system. It allowed me to garner a deeper understanding of triggers of financial crisis, understand key concepts and news published by Financial Times and Economics among others, and understand the implications of financial crisis on the domestic and international economy. It also taught me how I could use similar approaches to develop new policies and reforms that will strengthen the financial sector in my economy.

The Topics in Fintech Innovation elective increased my knowledge of innovative technologies such as block chain, digital payments, cryptocurrencies, and insurtech among others. I was able to talk to the CEOs of fintech startups and understand projected future developments. I also conducted a fintech project in the Latin American region, which is in the blooming stage in regards to fintech. I believe I can be instrumental in improving the financial inclusion landscape facing the region with the combined fintech and risk management knowledge and experiences garnered.

The Insurance elective allowed me to understand disaster risk financing mechanism in developing countries and gain a deeper understanding of why insurance is important, reinsurance, cat bonds, captives among others. This is particularly important to me because my region is affected by a lot of natural disasters: it is vital for Caribbean countries to consider alternative financing strategies to scale up their disaster response.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme?

The most challenging part was adjusting to the fast past environment, consecutive three hour lectures and grasping the material in such a limited time.


Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

Enrico Biffs, Alex Michaelides and Helene Panzarino. All lecturers made the programme fun and exciting whilst ensuring a profound understanding of material. All were also accommodating in regards to questions on materials.

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

I enjoyed experiencing different views and opinions on different topics.


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

Access to resources and intellect of global professionals.

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

I was Vice Chairperson for the Student Staff Committee.

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

Imperial has allowed me to be more innovative, forward thinking and confident in my work.


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

My goal is to work in regulation and compliance in the financial sector and develop policies and systems that will ensure a stable financial system and tackle topical issues such as financial inclusion and crisis in the Caribbean.

London location

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

I enjoy walking in the parks in my spare time and exploring London. In addition to the international elective to Dubai, I went on the Imperial Israel tech trip with 50 Imperial students. It was exciting to learn about tech startups and explore historical landmarks.


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

Studying MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering at Imperial is definitely an unforgettable experience. Be prepared to work hard. Time management, mental and social balance is key as the programme will get overwhelming.

MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering
Undergraduate Education:

Actuarial Science, University of West Indies Mona