To be recognised as one of Financial News’ 2019 Rising Stars of the European Asset Management Industry, makes me feel incredibly lucky. It has also caused me to reflect on the support I’ve gained from many amazing people since graduating from London Business School’s Masters in Management (MiM), several of which are LBS alumni - an MBA alumnus from a few years before me even played an instrumental role in jump-starting my career. The European economic environment at the time meant that competition for jobs was tougher than ever, but he helped me to secure an internship which then converted into a full-time position. He taught me the ropes and later invited me to come with him to Hermes Investment Management after being approached for a role there. As you’ll see from my current role, this has steered my career to where it is today.
This award is a culmination of several things – one of which is the recognition of our team’s industry leading investment process. Through our organisation’s efforts in research, business development and trading, we have been able to capitalise on industry trends. This has resulted in serious business growth, despite the recent volatile market, which has suffered through major changes in the economic and interest rate landscape. Another thing that I believe helped me to achieve the nomination, is the personal progression I’ve experienced within my career. Much of this I’d put down to one of our senior management team, who has been very supportive of me over the years. He’s given me many opportunities to step up and solve problems that have added real value to the business, resulting in me securing a number of promotions over the years. This in turn, has encouraged me to work even harder and find new ways to impact our organisation.
After studying economics for my undergraduate degree, I decided that working in financial markets would be the most interesting way to apply my knowledge. London is undoubtedly the global heart of the finance industry, and with London Business School’s reputation and connections, it seemed like the perfect place for me to start. At the time, the MiM was one of few early career programmes, and gave me the opportunity to be surrounded by and learn from more experienced individuals from across the school, such as MBA, Executive MBA and post-experience MiF students.
When studying for my undergraduate degree, nearly 100% of students were from Russia. This really limited my exposure to other cultures outside of travelling, and while travelling, the culture you do experience is generally quite minimal. During the MiM programme, we worked very closely within our study groups. My group included a huge range of nationalities from different backgrounds. Having exposure to such diversity was an extremely valuable experience, especially ahead of joining a highly multi-cultural team within London’s finance industry.
Most industries are becoming increasingly diverse, with more being done to balance the workforce than ever before. LBS’s commitment to creating diverse learning experiences is integral in shaping the minds of young professionals that will go on to become industry leaders 10-20 years down the line.
The MiM programme is academically rigorous and provides good practical skills for young professionals looking to jump-start their career. However, learning from the people around you and the LBS alumni is what truly makes a difference and makes LBS a stand-out school. Value the time with your study group and be open-minded to other cultures and personalities. It’s a learning experience that will help you immensely down the line as it’s a good proxy for what you face in your future career.
The School’s alumni community is like one big family. You get unique access to the best professionals around the globe, giving you a rare opportunity to pick the brains of highly experienced individuals in your target industry and other sectors. The time I’ve spent catching up over coffee with numerous alumni in the asset management industry has allowed me to unlock precious insights and knowledge to help shape my career aspirations. This helps you to not only better prepare for interviews, but also understand where within the industry you fit and what type of team or company you should pursue.
One of my biggest pieces of advice to pass on, is that it’s key to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Think about what is it that you enjoy, and that is likely to be your biggest strength. If you don’t enjoy something you are unlikely to succeed in a career that requires that skill or quality of character. Try to learn as much as you can about the type of roles you are targeting, and whether these roles have requirements that spark your interest. It’s important to examine where a prospective career path will lead you. In today’s ever-changing global environment, some roles are becoming redundant and others are rising in demand. Don’t just follow what the career books say as they often can’t keep up with reality.
If possible, aim to join a company that you admire and a team you really like. You will be spending more time with them than with your family, and what you think about your boss and how your relationship develops over the years is ultimately what will shape your career progression. Also, as my first mentor told me, always stay humble. Arrogance will not win you any friends over the long term.
I try to give back and volunteer as much as I can. As various individuals played key roles in my career, I find mentoring others a fulfilling and efficient way to add value. I have mentored both London Business School students and other professionals within the industry. Not everyone has the advantage of access to such a powerfully connected network, so having the chance to ask for advice and get feedback on your career can be invaluable for young business minds – something I look forward to continuing to help with as my own career progresses.