“The MFA was intense but that was exactly what I was looking for – we only had one year and it goes by really quickly”
“What I really like about finance is the combination of skills it requires,” says Masters in Financial Analysis (MFA) graduate Maud Chiche. “There’s a geeky side to it, as we play with numbers all day long, but we also need to be able to communicate efficiently with clients. On the technical side, the impact of the MFA is obvious – we studied several areas of finance in depth and had to apply the theories learnt in class to real life scenarios during tutorial sessions – but we also had workshops on networking, leadership and teamwork. The programme truly prepares you for everything that comes next.”
After taking a Bachelor of Commerce undergraduate degree at McGill University, Maud Chiche looked carefully for the right masters programme. “The MFA at London Business School (LBS) met all my needs,” she explains.
Firstly, the location was perfect. “If you’re going to start a finance career in London it’s best to be there to do all the interviews, meet people and benefit from the London LBS community,” she says. Second, the programme was comprehensive, allowing her to explore different fields of finance: “I wanted to see a bit of everything, from asset management and corporate finance to financial markets, to get a better understanding of the industry as a whole.” Third, she enjoyed the supportive community and its diversity: her classmates were of 35 different nationalities.
“Finance is very competitive but at LBS competition comes exclusively from other schools, it cannot be felt inside the classroom. I met people from everywhere around the globe, and because we had the same ambition and were looking for the same jobs it was very easy for us to connect. What made my experience at LBS unique was that everyone in the MFA was helping each other – especially through the recruitment process.”
Maud, who graduated with distinction in July 2017, calls the programme “extremely challenging, more than I had imagined it would be. All the classes were highly technical but also very hands-on – we had several assignments and a lot of projects to do in groups. The MFA was intense but that was exactly what I was looking for – we only had one year for this masters and it goes by really quickly.”
One of the highlights was the chance to experience the mix of entrepreneurship and finance in Silicon Valley on a GIFT trip. And then there was the social life. “Most of the people in the class, myself included, had never lived in London before. It was a lot of fun discovering the city together.”
Just before coming to LBS, Maud did a summer internship at the independent corporate finance advisory firm, 13advisory. Post-programme, she interned in the Investment Banking division of Morgan Stanley, which led to their offering her a full-time position. Before joining the company full-time in summer 2018, she is exploring some other areas of finance; she is currently working in Venture Capital in the FinTech team of BlackFin Capital Partners, an independent investment firm in Paris.
“I came to LBS with a very open mind and no clear idea of what I wanted to do after the MFA. Thanks to all the finance courses, events organised by the school and discussions with my classmates about their past experiences, I realised that investment banking was something I wanted to do - so I am excited to go back to Morgan Stanley next July,” she says. “But it’s also important to have a broad range of experiences. I’m taking a long-term view and completing different internships now will allow me to get a better understanding of what I really like, giving me more flexibility later on.”
Some of her classmates went into consulting. “The MFA gave them a great technical background and helped them develop transferable skills, a great network and friendships,” she says.
At LBS she was active in the Asset Management Club, Finance Club, and Women in Business Club: “It was great to be invited to breakfasts at banks and have people from different companies coming to talk to us – and what I really liked was that, even though events organised by the Women in Business Club were primarily targeting women, everyone was invited – men could share their experiences of dealing with diversity at work.”
What’s it like to be a woman in finance? “There are plenty of efforts made at the beginning of the career but we don’t see many women in senior positions, so there’s still a lot to be done,” she says. “But I’ve never felt as if I were being treated any differently. I’ve always felt very comfortable.”