“If you look at other major financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong, most of their laws are based on the UK system. That’s a big selling point if you graduate from LBS”
Throughout his career, Albert Ateng has gained a wealth of knowledge and expertise while working as a planning analyst and financial controls lead. His finance industry experience extends to seven years, which begs the question: Why come to London Business School (LBS) in 2017 to take the Masters in Finance (MiF) Full-time?
“I’ve worked predominantly in corporates, overseeing activities such as budgeting, reporting and forecasting,” he says. “Most of my experience was in the compliance side of accounting. I knew a bit about valuing companies and mergers and acquisitions (M&A), which I’d picked up on the job, but I wanted to know more. I signed up for the LBS programme to get greater knowledge of those subjects.”
He adds: “In my current role at Bukapalak (Indonesia’s leading online marketplace), I deal with credit, treasury and M&A, and I develop and maintain financial policies and operating procedures. I’ve done all of that in previous positions, but the solid grounding in finance I got from LBS means I can do this job more effectively.”
Exploring the key aspects of finance while taking the CFO concentration – one of four options for MiF students who want to take a specific study route – gave Ateng a greater understanding of data analytics, financial accounting and analysis, corporate finance and valuations. “You learn the fundamentals and how to take that knowledge and theory and put it into practice,” he says.
Ateng also studied non-finance related subjects such as organisational behaviour and strategy and entrepreneurship. He and his cohort covered everything from negotiating and bargaining to financing the entrepreneurial business and managing corporate turnarounds.
“I oversee more than 60 people at Bukapalak, so management was a key topic for me,” he says. “We’re in the middle of digitally transforming our finance operation, which needs to be completed within three months. At LBS, I learnt about managing people with different perspectives and motivations, which is incredibly important when working together on a major project.”
For Ateng, putting his career on hold and leaving Indonesia to study in London for a year was a relatively easy decision. Aside from gaining the education in finance that he craved, Ateng – who is familiar with the expat lifestyle – recognised the benefits of residing in the world’s leading finance centre.
“I lived in Australia and Singapore when growing up and did my undergraduate degree in Canada, where I also worked for a while. After returning to Indonesia, I ended up moving to Nigeria to work there for a year. These countries all have something in common: the UK. If you look at other major financial centres such as Singapore and Hong Kong, most of their laws are based on the UK system. That’s a big selling point if you graduate from LBS.
“London is the centre of finance with people who bring specialist skills and expertise that you won’t find in other cities,” he adds. “For example, you have consultants working in corporate restructuring. Being in London opens doors and gives you a broader understanding of how the global finance industry works.”
When not studying, Ateng relished spending time with fellow students. He held executive positions with LBS’s Energy Club and Asia Club, giving him access to people from different backgrounds and cultures. “You’d meet people who had studied or worked in engineering or law, for example. That’s the great thing about LBS – the School attracts very high-profile people from around the world.”