Thea Constantinou, MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering 2019-20, student at Imperial College Business School

Programme: MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering

Nationality: Cypriot

Education: BSc Mathematics with Economics, LSE

Job after Imperial College Business School: Credit Risk Analyst, JP Morgan Chase & Co

About you

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

During the first and second year of my undergraduate studies, I undertook two internships, at PwC in the Deals team of the Advisory Department, and at KPMG in the Audit Department, both located in Nicosia, Cyprus. The summer just before starting my MSc studies at Imperial College Business School, I completed a 10-week internship at JP Morgan, in the CIB Credit Risk Division, which gave me an in-depth understanding of a Credit Risk Analyst’s role and which I managed to convert into a full-time position.

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

First of all, given the uncertain era of today’s world, risk was always an area which piqued my interest. After completing my internship in the Credit Risk division of JP Morgan I knew I had made the right choice with my decision to study this programme as it allows me to further explore the world of risk management and prepares me for a successful career. At the same time, having studied mathematics at an undergraduate level, I wanted to apply my quantitative skills and mathematical knowledge in the finance industry and this quantitative-oriented programme is well known for offering a plethora of modules which combine finance, maths and coding.

Did you receive a scholarship?

I feel very privileged and honoured to have been awarded the Women in Finance Scholarship, which is awarded on the basis of academic excellence and career potential. I believe it is very important when your effort and skills are being acknowledged, especially from a prestigious institution such as Imperial College Business School. Being awarded this scholarship, I have become even more motivated to work hard, succeed in my studies and live up to the expectations that come with it.


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

The MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering programme is ideal to enhance my knowledge by providing an analytical, quantitative-oriented study of the topic. I really enjoy the fact that by studying this programme I am getting equipped with all the necessary skills that will help me excel in the financial industry. I am also drawn to the fact that the programme gives a plethora of elective modules to choose from, something which allows each student to tailor the MSc, taking it to the direction they want in order to fit their individual aims and goals.

Which has been your favourite module so far and why?

My favourite module so far has been Risk Management and Valuation since it provided me with some in-depth knowledge that prepares me for my career as a Credit Risk Analyst. Even though I enjoyed other modules as well, such as Stochastic Calculus, I already had previous experience in that subject given my mathematical background, whereas Risk Management and Valuation touched on topics completely new and interesting to me.  

What has been the most rewarding part of the programme?

I find that the most rewarding part of the programme is looking back to the beginning of the year and realising how much I’ve learnt over this period. It has really been a steep learning curve and it is truly amazing to have gained this amount of knowledge in such a short period of time.

What has been the most challenging part of the programme? 

I believe that the most challenging part of the programme is its fast pace. The programme is intense, and the material builds up very fast so you must always try to stay on top of it. Given the fact that exams are at the end of each term, studying systematically is the key to success.


How would you describe your cohort at Imperial?

I am glad to be surrounded by ambitious, like-minded individuals who share similar interests. I would also add that the cohort is well-diversified educationally, as people have studied various degrees at an undergraduate level, as well as geographically since people come from all different countries of the world. Working with them on various projects throughout the year has been a great experience, as you can learn a lot from each and every one of them.

Did you have a favourite professor/lecturer and why?

My favourite Professor is Enrico Biffis who teaches the Financial Engineering module in the spring term. He has great communication skills and demonstrates deep knowledge and passion for the subject, in a way that captures the students’ attention. His clear way of explaining things and the real-life examples which he gives during lectures make the module even more interesting.


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

Imperial gives students great opportunities on an ongoing basis, from famous guest lecturers and modules taught by exceptional faculty and industry practitioners, to networking events and recruitment presentations which all students have the option to attend. Furthermore, Imperial College Business School has a very strong alumni network and as a student I have opportunities to attend well-organised alumni events which have allowed me to meet many of today’s business leaders and expand my network on an international level.

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

I am a Student Ambassador for my programme, a role which allows me to represent both the programme and the School to the wider community. I find it truly rewarding to be able to help prospective students to learn about the programme by giving them necessary insights and answering their questions at open days and events, as well as online.

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

Throughout the year, students are required to work in different study groups to complete coursework and projects, something which has given me the opportunity to meet and collaborate with other students and share diverse perspectives. Furthermore, the Business School provided numerous opportunities to meet and socialise with students across different programmes in a wide range of well-planned events. For me, the highlight of the year in terms of the social events was the welcome party at the Natural History Museum, which was a once-in-a-lifetime experience!


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

Starting my career as an Analyst at JP Morgan, my aspiration is to learn as much as I can, gain experience, climb up the ladder and develop as a professional in the financial sector. Since joining Imperial College Business School, I feel that I have enhanced my knowledge. Each and every day I am learning something new and useful which prepares me to enter the finance industry and provides me with the necessary tools to achieve the successful career I am dreaming of.

London location

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

London is considered to be a major financial centre and studying here allows you to have strong access to the industry. This, in combination with the networking events organised by the Business School, puts students in an advantageous position regarding employment opportunities.

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

Even though the programme requires a lot of studying, I always find time to work out at the gym, on an almost daily basis. Furthermore, at weekends, I enjoy exploring London and going out with friends.


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

When I applied for the programme, I attended one of the on-campus information sessions, which I found really helpful. Even though the website is very well-structured and can provide all the necessary information, I would definitely recommend that prospective students do attend such events since during the session you get the chance to learn all the details about the programme from the experienced Academic Directors, ask the Recruitment and Admissions staff any questions you might have, and also speak to current students, as well as alumni, and find out what life and studying at Imperial College Business School could be like.

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

I would definitely encourage anyone with quantitative skills aiming to enter the financial world to apply for this programme. It requires a lot of work but at the same time, it is very rewarding and can open many doors for the future. So, work hard, be organised and stay focused on your goals!

Programme: MSc Risk Management & Financial Engineering

Nationality: Cypriot

Education: BSc Mathematics with Economics, LSE

Job after Imperial College Business School: Credit Risk Analyst, JP Morgan Chase & Co