“Seeking to be taught by world-class professors, pioneers in the fintech field, and my eagerness to study with like-minded individuals in a competitive, highly intellectual and driven environment were also reasons I sought admission at the Business School.”
Read Kalina's story
What was your career experience prior to studying this programme?
Prior to Imperial College Business School, I pursued a Bachelor of Sciences Computer Science degree at Queen Mary University of London, which I graduated from in July 2020 with First-Class Honours. I continued on as Data Analyst and then Consultant in the Strategy, Analytics and Mergers & Acquisitions division of Deloitte Bulgaria’s Consulting practice, where I was introduced to finance for the very first time. Two years and six projects later, I developed a passion for the field and the goal to deepen my knowledge of it through pursuing an MSc Financial Technology degree, which I was fortunate enough to be accepted into at one of the best schools for Fintech in the world – Imperial College Business School.
Why did you choose to study MSc Financial Technology at Imperial College Business School?
Starting my work at Deloitte with little knowledge and experience in finance was one of the biggest, yet most rewarding challenges I have experienced. Six projects, many finance trainings and thousands of hours later, I received two great gifts: fintech – my career passion and a mission to start a company in the sector. This is namely the reason I chose to apply to the MSc Financial Technology programme – due to its entrepreneurial nature and the ability to tailor the programme to my choice of career. Seeing first-hand the demand for expertise in the financial technology sector and its exponential growth, while discovering my affinity and aptitude for it at Deloitte Bulgaria, Imperial College Business School was the only choice for me – being the leading school for fintech in Europe with a large entrepreneurial base and strong industry ties. Seeking to be taught by world-class professors, pioneers in the fintech field, and my eagerness to study with like-minded individuals in a competitive, highly intellectual and driven environment were also reasons I sought admission at the Business School – as I believe that the right community is as crucial to one’s success as academic achievement.
What are you enjoying learning about the most?
The opportunity to tailor my studies to my chosen career path was one of the reasons I decided to apply to the Business School and the MSc Financial Technology programme. The modules I have enjoyed and derived the most value from are the electives I selected in Semester 3 – namely Real Estate Investment, Entrepreneurial Finance and Big Data in Finance II. Having pursued Big Data during my Bachelor’s degree, it was particularly interesting to see how I can apply my technology knowledge and skillset in the career I strive to pursue – by using neural networks in the prediction of stock returns, as an example. The Entrepreneurial Finance module is also extremely valuable and relevant to my career aspirations of working in the start-up ecosystem and I thoroughly enjoy the teaching style and real-life case studies discussed by Professor Ramana Nanda. Real estate investment is another valuable skill which I am thrilled about obtaining through the module of the same name, as I am also exploring various real estate opportunities in Europe, US, and the Middle East.
"The programme modules themselves are an integral part of staying up to date with recent developments. Most of the faculty at the Business School also work in industry, which makes it especially interesting to discuss current pressing issues and trends with them. "
How does the programme help you stay up to date with evolving industry trends, themes and challenges in the real world?
The Business School has been very successful in organising invaluable formal and informal networking events, which has helped me, and my peers stay up to date with evolving industry trends, themes and challenges in the real world. A recent example of this was the “Celebrating 25 years of excellence in Finance” event at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park, which was an incredible networking opportunity where we learned about Net Zero investment strategies and the impactful science and technology being used to tackle climate change.
Another example is the “15th Annual Hedge Fund Conference”, where we learned about the relationship between financial markets and macro economy, as well as the organisation, skill and performance of financial intermediaries. These examples of major events were accompanied by many smaller industry talks and seminars throughout the year, where we were able to learn more about both the buy- and sell-side of finance.
As students of Imperial College Business School, we also have unlimited access to the Financial Times, the Economist and other digital finance and economic newspapers where we stay up to date with emerging technology and finance trends. The programme modules themselves are also an integral part of staying up to date with recent developments; for example, Entrepreneurial Finance provides an in-depth understanding of the start-up ecosystem and the latest themes and challenges faced by entrepreneurs and venture capitalists by discussing real-life case studies from both the UK and US Silicon Valleys. Most of the faculty at the Business School also work in industry, which makes it especially interesting to discuss current pressing issues and trends with them.
How are you planning to use your Master’s for your future career?
As a Women in Finance scholar, I have always aimed to obtain the most out of my education – not only do I want to graduate with distinction, but also I want to participate in the various career-development initiatives at Imperial such as the Continental Europe Business Club, Data Spark programme and Enterprise Lab, which have equipped me with the full set of soft and technical skills necessary to succeed in my career. This builds upon my experience at Deloitte that has laid the groundwork for my professional ambitions which, together with the invaluable knowledge and experience gained at Imperial, propels me into the fintech industry where I will be able to use both my computer science and finance knowledge to advance and work with a diverse range of clients and projects. I have always firmly believed that hard work, ambition, and commitment are the pillars of success and have used this conviction to succeed within this chapter and beyond.
"As a Women in Finance scholar, I have always aimed to obtain the most out of my education – not only do I want to graduate with distinction, but also I want to participate in the various career-development initiatives at Imperial."
How has the career support at the Business School helped you achieve your goals? Have you secured a new role as a result of your time at the Business School?
The Business School Careers Service has been an invaluable resource when searching for employment in both the UK and abroad. The opportunity to speak 1:1 with professionals when it comes to perfecting my CV, preparing interview answers and doing mock interviews has been incredibly helpful during the long application process and their ongoing support has helped me reach the last round of interviews at my dream company where I am currently awaiting an outcome.
What advice would you give to someone who’s considering applying for this programme?
There are three pieces of advice I would give to each student considering an application to Imperial College Business School, which I believe led to my offer and my subsequent Women in Finance scholarship award. Firstly, it is to perfect their statement of motivation which is the core and most important initial piece of the application that showcases their interest, personality, and ambitions. It is important students talk not only about their interest in the programme, but also about the Business School as a whole and how a degree from it will help secure their dream career post-graduation. The second piece of advice I would give is to apply as early as possible, especially if hoping for a scholarship, as spaces are awarded on a rolling basis and there is a higher chance of acceptance in the early stages of the admissions cycle. The third piece of advice is, should there be an interview, to prepare possible answers and questions ahead of time, to showcase a positive personality and ambition beyond studies.
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Discover the programme
The MSc Financial Technology is a one-year full-time programme providing graduates with in-demand quantitative and analytical skills, including coding and programming capabilities, necessary to embark on a successful and exciting career in fintech or in the financial services sector.
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