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Arpita Bhabhera (MiF2019) left Mumbai in search of independence, an international perspective on business, and the skills needed to thrive in finance. Now climbing the ranks in investment management, she explains how the Masters in Finance programme helped her get where she is today.
Growing up in Mumbai, the Indian equity market was a regular topic of conversation at the dinner table. My family owns a stockbroking firm (J J Bhabhera Share Brokers Pvt Ltd), so we would often discuss stock market indexes like Sensex and Nifty over dinner. As a child, I definitely ended up watching more CNBC than Disney! Being exposed to this early on meant I always felt like I was destined for a career in business and finance.
Before coming to LBS, I studied and worked in Mumbai. Having graduated with a bachelor’s degree in management studies from Narsee Monjee College of Commerce & Economics, I simultaneously studied to become a Chartered Accountant at The Institute of Chartered Accountants of India and passed all three levels of the CFA. While studying, I registered as a sub-broker with my family’s firm and began bringing clients on board. My academic background, coupled with my experience in finance, helped me land a role in the Valuations (Financial Advisory) team at Deloitte India.
It may sound like I’ve always been career-focused, but I strongly believe in developing a well-rounded personality and trained as a classical dancer (Bharatnatyam) for eight years in India. As well as learning the basics of salsa, jive and belly dancing, I also pursued speech and drama and hold a diploma in public speaking from Trinity College London.
Leaving Mumbai was a big decision, but one I felt I needed to make. I always loved the city: it’s where I’m from, where my family live, and where I started my career. But I was keen to live away from home to gain more independence and develop a more international perspective, which I knew would be good for my personal and professional growth.
Moving to London wasn’t quite the culture shock I expected it to be. It’s a multicultural city, so I found that wherever I went – walking through Regent’s Park or drinking hot chocolate at Said in Soho – I was always surrounded by so many different nationalities. This instantly put me at ease, and meant I quickly adapted to my new life in the UK.
The diversity at LBS is astounding – in my class alone, there were 120 people from 34 different countries. In my first term, I connected with a fellow MiF student from Venezuela, Geronimo Mansutti. When we were asked to pick a country experiencing a financial crisis in my World Economy class, I reached out to Geronimo for his perspective on the situation in Venezuela. This brought real-life context to the assignment, which without LBS’s diverse cohort wouldn’t have been possible.
The Career Centre helped me secure three internships in just one year at LBS. It’s an amazing resource that offers everything from CV workshops and interview prep to live job opportunities and presentations from a whole host of organisations. I secured my internships at Albar Capital and AltaOne Capital after seeing them advertised by the Career Centre, and also learnt about my summer internship with AB Bernstein when they came in to do a presentation.
My summer internship at AB Bernstein ultimately led me to my current role as an Investment Analyst at AllianceBernstein. During the internship, we received a training session from Mark Phelps, the CIO of Alliance Bernstein’s Concentrated Global Growth Fund. Inspired and fascinated by what he had to say, I reached out to him after the training and requested feedback on an investment report I’d prepared in my Value Investing class. After meeting to run through the report and receiving a positive response, I enquired about internship opportunities. Although there was nothing available at the time, we reconnected months later. After further meetings and an interview, they offered me a full-time position.
London is one of the world’s leading cities for finance, so the opportunities here are unrivalled. In my current role as an Investment Analyst at Alliance Bernstein, I work for the Concentrated Global Growth Fund Equities team. It’s a sector-agnostic role so I’m constantly reading and learning about companies and industries in diverse sectors. As a bonus, I love the firm’s culture and my team is amazingly supportive!
If I’d returned to India and secured a similar role, I doubt I would have been able to gain so much exposure so early on. From liaising with the senior management and investor relations teams of global organisations to interacting with the sell side analysts on a range of stocks in different sectors – the sheer variety contributes to a rich professional experience that will only benefit me in the long term.
I joined LBS’s student ambassador programme and peer leader programme because I wanted to give back. I remember reaching out to other students for advice; it really helped me gain some much-needed clarity. Choosing the right education is a big decision, and having someone on hand to answer your questions is essential. It’s been great speaking to different people about my personal journey – why I applied to LBS and what the School has done for me. It feels good to be a positive influence on those trying to figure out their next steps.
LBS is rich with opportunity so it’s important to identify your objectives before coming here. This could be being specific about the kind of role you want in London, or the list of countries you want to travel to in Europe. In your first month or two, it can feel overwhelming: there are so many different events – social and professional – happening every day. But whether you’re drawn to an LBS Perspectives event, an investment banking presentation or a social outing post-Sundowners, it’s important to have a clear vision of where you want your LBS journey to take you. My advice would be to decide what you want to do and periodically reflect whether you’re heading in the right direction. Whatever that may be, LBS will help you get there.
Learn more about our Masters in Finance programme.