“I felt it necessary to get a proper education in finance to move forward in my career”
Thomas Druet has an ambitious career path in mind for when he finishes the Masters in Finance (MiF) Part-time programme at London Business School (LBS). The Belgian student’s long-term goal is to launch a quantitative hedge fund that uses algorithms or systemic strategies to make trading decisions.
“I’ve always been quite entrepreneurial and want to set up my own business at some point – but I don’t expect that to happen for some time,” he says. “After LBS, I’ll focus on my finance career and go from there.”
A quantitative hedge fund is a sound business idea for someone with a background in physics and engineering. Druet, who has the scientific skills to analyse data and produce algorithms, says: “LBS will give me the solid grounding in finance to make or recommend investments.”
From 2008–13, Druet was a researcher in theoretical nuclear physics at l'Université Libre de Bruxelles (Free University of Brussels). He then worked at EY as a senior consultant in quantitative financial risk, before taking up a market risk manager role at Credit Suisse. His latest job is at Natixis, the corporate and investment banking, asset management, insurance and financial services firm, where he develops mathematical models to price derivatives and analyse data.
Despite working in finance, Druet has had little opportunity to develop his knowledge of accounting, valuations and analysis. The MiF programme is helping fill in those blanks. “I felt it necessary to get a proper education in finance to move forward in my career,” he says. “It’s about the big picture and understanding how and why companies make investments based on the algorithms and mathematical models I develop.”
The MiF programme has already enhanced Druet’ understanding of accounting and financial analysis. “The needs of the clients I work with at Natixis are driven by their balance sheets,” he says. “Being able to read those statements is essential for helping them with how they can achieve their investment goals.”
Druet attributes his decision to study at LBS to the School’s “world-class reputation”, diverse culture and international network featuring alumni and fellow students. “The people in my class have such varied industry experiences and unique backgrounds – they’re incredible at what they do both as professionals and business students,” he says.
The Career Centre – which connects students with expert coaches and potential employers while providing job interview training, advice on writing CVs and cover letters and personal development programmes – was also a big draw.
Studying when juggling a full-time job and family commitments (Druet has a young daughter) has been the biggest challenge. Nevertheless, he insists striking the right balance is about organising your time and planning ahead. “It’s a simple strategy, but one that works for me,” he says.
Good time management will be critical if Druet achieves his aim to go it alone. That and the financial skills he’s developing at LBS give him the ideal platform to fulfil that ambition.