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Kunal Sharma

  • Programme: Masters in Finance part time
  • Nationality: Indian
  • Job Pre-programme: Engagement Manager, ICF London 
  • Job Post-programme: Senior Associate, MVision Private Equity Advisers

Professional background

Kunal started his career as a Management Consultant with Deloitte before moving to the energy, resources and environment specialist consulting firm, ICF International. There he helped establish the carbon finance and sustainability practice for ICF India before moving to ICF London to assume a more global role. Kunal continued to work as a Consultant while studying on the part-time Masters in Finance programme and started his role with Aloe within days of graduating from London Business School in July 2011. He is now a Senior Associate at MVision Private Equity Advisers.

Gaining financial knowledge

I was working as a Management Consultant but wanted to be a principal – an investor (some of them were my clients) – as I clearly understood that their job was far more challenging than mine and probably more interesting as well. However, I lacked the financial knowledge that would be critical in making this transition and I needed to know more about the financial sector in its entirety.

Having worked as a consultant, I felt I had an understanding of good management practice, however my weakness was mainly a lack of core financial knowledge. Although I had five years of work experience in all, I had been in the UK for little over a year and was enjoying my job and so my decision was to go for a part-time programme. The benefit of being a part-time student, both from a financial point of view and that of the two extra years of work experience, is quite high. In addition, I was able to reduce my personal contribution towards tuition fees by over 30%, through the HMRC’s ‘salary sacrifice' scheme.

Striking a work/life balance

During the two years of the Masters in Finance, I fortunately managed to strike a work/life balance, but it was a lot of hard work. Being a consultant, I was constantly travelling, and vividly remember completing some of my assignments in airport lounges. There was very little time that I can remember wasting when I was on my own, and I guess that attitude helped free up some time for my personal life.

The quality of teaching, the content of the course and depth and breadth of each and every assignment was terrific. I studied for my first degree at one of the best engineering colleges in India (Indian Institute of Technology), so my standards were quite high, and London Business School met my expectations extremely well.

During the course, I had moved to live a stone’s throw away from London Business School. This saved a lot of travelling time, and being closer to the School enabled me to participate in most of the club activities that I wanted to attend.

Defining new opportunities

The programme helped me get my dream job; within one year of starting the Masters in Finance, I was able to define new opportunities for myself by becoming part of the Internal M&A and Strategy Team with ICF. Without the programme, I wouldn’t have had the strong foundation in finance to perform in my job on a day-to-day basis. However, the programme does not just leave you with sound financial knowledge, but also it equips you with a commercial perspective and an ability to think, which is extremely valuable.

The networking opportunities on the programme are immense. You become part of the international community and get an address book with over 34,000 (and growing) alumni entries. This is a huge addition to your ‘social capital' and the friends that you make will last for a lifetime – I think this was one of the best things I got from London Business School.