“Coming from an engineering degree, my finance knowledge has improved drastically since joining the MFA Everything I’ve learnt in the classroom, hasn’t just given me the knowledge, but the practical ability to apply what I’ve learnt in the workplace”
Before London Business School (LBS) I studied industrial engineering back in Turkey. I was always interested in finance, taking various relevant electives and completing an M&A internship. After graduating, I went to work in corporate finance at EY’s Istanbul office. After a year and a half there, I began to realise I wanted a more dynamic working atmosphere in a more global city, seeking a switch in terms of both location and function. I thought a master's degree would accelerate this and provide me with the theoretical background in finance I needed. After looking for programmes in London, I chose LBS particularly due to its renowned career services, as transforming my career was a big priority for me. Alongside this, the Masters in Financial Analysis (MFA) programme appeared to focus on both technical and soft skills which suited my needs perfectly. Furthermore, I was attracted to LBS because of its reputation as a global school, the diverse backgrounds of the students, the credentials of the faculty and the alumni networking opportunities on offer.
A view of the world
One of the most powerful things about the MFA programme is its global perspective. When you're in class, there are many diverse backgrounds, with different points of view that you’re exposed to. You gain a broader understanding of the topic you’re learning, and also just about life. For case studies, my classmates frequently give examples from their own countries, which is extremely eye-opening as finance is completely different from country to country. You learn how to work with people from different places, which is great preparation for a future career – especially for those such as myself, aiming to work in a global industry like investment banking.
Under the wing
Networking isn't just contained within the MFA programme, we study alongside lots of MBA students who are highly experienced in their respective fields, so you can easily reach out to them and ask about their experiences, backgrounds and how they’ve found working in a particular sector or industry. This is useful because you have the chance to learn from their perspectives - the organic learning process in the classroom is really strong. For instance, I've just taken a real estate course and there were many MBA students in the class who were already working in the sector for several years, many of whom openly shared valuable information that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.
As part of Career Services, we have peer leader sessions where you meet with MBA students and they volunteer to become your advisors. Therefore any students who want to work in a certain field can ask them about their experiences, what they expect from prospective candidates or insightful tips that help you in your job applications – both through group and one-to-one sessions. Also, in the networking events held by companies for which they work, having an existing contact to name-drop is a great way to network and meet even more people.
Lectures for life
Alex Edmans’ corporate finance course was one of my personal favourites, as rather than just being theoretical, it was highly practical - including case studies and valuations which is very much the style of LBS. The extracurricular topics in each class also discussed different things going on in finance, and the practical finance world – such as what's on the news, or how topics translate in the real world.
Coming from an engineering degree, my finance knowledge has improved drastically since joining the MFA. Everything I’ve learnt in the classroom hasn’t just given me the knowledge, but the practical ability to apply what I’ve learnt in the workplace. Even the soft skills I’ve developed through Career Services are already proving valuable; whether it’s building CVs, how to be ready for the technical aspects of the interview process, getting the most out of networking and even how to ask better questions. They don’t just help you to find a job, these are life skills that remain relevant across your whole career no matter your field.
No stone unturned
There are so many things going on in the school it can be hard to keep track of them all. You receive emails from everywhere - the classes, clubs and networking opportunities, all whilst having resources available to help you apply for jobs and get your foot in the door with different organisations. A year can pass very quickly, so my advice would be to make yourself aware of what’s on offer before you start, and plan to take advantage of as much of what the school offers as you can.