“In finance you’re predicting the future and making decisions based on those predictions. That’s exciting.”
Rocio Pineda spent four years in Goldman Sachs, most recently in its investment banking division in New York before applying to London Business School (LBS). “I wanted to come to LBS to make the transition into real estate private equity,” she explains.
Her talents won her a Merit Scholarship to study the Masters in Finance (MiF) Full Time programme. “I can’t thank LBS enough, it’s an incredible privilege to receive this award from a leading international institution. I was shocked when I heard the news! I think it shows LBS is committed to bringing high-calibre candidates to the programme and supporting them along their journey.
“I was looking to study at a top business school where I’d gain a global network,” she adds. “I wanted to make connections in Europe.” She was impressed by the warm responses she got from LBS ambassadors. “I was used to a culture at Goldman where you always get a reply. A person I contacted at another school in the UK said they couldn’t speak for two months! The LBS alumni I reached out to were so different – there’s real collaboration. There are so many professionals I can reach out to thanks to the LBS network.”
She also liked the fact that MiFs have access to all the student clubs and do electives alongside MBA, EMBA and LBS Sloan Masters in Leadership and Strategy students. “There’s a broader range of age and experience, as well as the culture of mentorship.”
Pineda is a member of the Young Patrons Circle of the New York City Ballet and the Friends of Covent Garden, Royal Opera House in London. “I liked the idea of doing something artistic but I realised I had no talent whatsoever,” she laughs. “I was always good at maths and more analytical classes so I figured, ‘That’s my path!’”
As an undergraduate she studied economics and econometrics at Louisiana State University, but she found the focus on historical data frustrating. “In finance you’re predicting the future and making decisions based on those predictions. That’s exciting. If you can anticipate the correct trends you can make money out of that by buying the correct asset.”
Looking ahead, she’s confident she will secure a great job thanks to the LBS Career Centre. “The advisors have had successful careers in the finance industry before coming to LBS – they know what they’re talking about and have the right connections. Down the road I would love to have my own private equity fund. That’s the dream.”
Meanwhile, she is a summer associate with Real Asset Partners, the founder of which (who also took a MiF at LBS) was impressed by Pineda’s credentials and experience. Pineda represented LBS at the MBA Wharton Private Equity Competition in New York and took part in the Investment Banking and Private Equity treks, both in New York. Ten students were selected to attend the Private Equity Trek. She was the only woman.
“You have to be really good at your job if you want to work in investment banking or private equity – it’s tough for everyone. It doesn’t matter if you don’t fit the stereotype, you just need to stay focused, work really hard and create your own journey.”
But it’s not all work and no play for this finance wizard. Yes, there are evenings spent meeting recruiters – but then there are student clubs and Sundowners (weekly socials where everyone comes to relax), and one of the world’s greatest cities to explore. “London is amazing… you have the financial centre, the government and tech hubs in one place – and the architecture is beyond beautiful.”