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Working hard yet trying to make most of the student experience, gaining new knowledge and skills, making life-long friends - this nicely sums up the experience of the zeb strategy consultant Kerttu Külasepp, who graduated from the Masters in Finance Part-Time (MiFPT) from London Business School (LBS) in 2018.
The part-time format of the programme responded to Kerttu’s desire to deepen and broaden her understanding of global finance, sharpen the skills, tools and techniques she was deploying at work, and simultaneously keep the pulse of what was going on in the industry. It was the perfect choice, she says.
“I was looking for a world-class Masters in Finance in a format that would enable me to stay in touch with what was going on in the world on a day-to-day basis. The combination of it offered by the MiF not only gave me that possibility, but because of the applied dynamic of the programme, I was able to put what I was learning into practice straight away, while being challenged and encouraged to reflect deeply on the what and the why of things I do in my everyday job.”
A qualified accountant and natural problem-solver with an appetite for finding new ways to resolve complex challenges, Kerttu joined the MiF with a solid experience in finance, risk and treasury in banking under her belt. Prior roles with a number of international organisations, including Deloitte, Santander and Barclays, had given her a broad perspective on global finance and banking. She chose to specialise in the CFO and Corporate Finance concentrations that the programme offered to match her interests.
“I was particularly interested in exploring the role of the CFO and dive deep into the challenges of modern corporate finance , therefore I thoroughly enjoyed the Financial Accounting and Advanced Financial Statement Analysis courses taught by Professors Chris Higson and Eli Amir respectively. To be honest, every course I took was fascinating and the quality of the teaching absolutely first-class – just what you would expect from the world’s foremost Masters in Finance. Other stand-outs for me were Eli Talmor’s and Florian Vasvari’s Private Equity and Venture Capital and Rui Silva’s Advanced Corporate Finance. Helene Rey’s Global Capital Markets and Currencies was also fantastic and Michael Jacobides’ Managing Corporate Turnarounds gave me useful insights as to what to do with a company when it’s in trouble and how to avoid problems in the first place.” Inspired by her learning to “do and learn more in the field,” Kerttu felt encouraged to try out new areas of study to expand her skillset and broaden her horizons.
Taking part in the Global Business Experience with fellow classmates gave her additional international exposure, and a chance to explore the global context in-situ.
“LBS is well known for its reputation, the calibre of its programmes and faculty, but the real incentive to study there is due to the diversity and international dimension of the student experience. In class, when we were covering case studies from across the world, my fellow students from those places could provide their personal and professional insights, which made everything even more meaningful. It was great to share the classroom with such a diverse group of individuals from a variety of finance backgrounds who have a truly global reach and experience. What you find is that your fellow students remain colleagues for a few months. After that they become life-long friends.”
Despite of being extremely busy multi-tasking between the job and studies, Kerttu also tried to make most of the extra-curricular activities on campus – holding co-presidency of the Sailing Club and committee membership of the Nordic Club. Upon graduation, she has founded the LBS Estonian Alumni Club.
The impact on her professional life has been transformational too.
“When I joined the programme, I expected to enhance my knowledge and skillset in an area that I was already working in. On graduation I realised I had grown professionally and as a person far beyond my expectations and had the confidence to try out something new. I’ve been equipped with the skills to pursue my passion for finance and, I hope, to be able to make a difference in the long-run.”
Kerttu cannot recommend the MiF programme highly enough, she says.
“It’s a tough two years working full time and studying part-time. But it is definitely worth it in the end.”