“The opportunity to be based in one of the world’s biggest financial hubs, meant I could network with people based here and gain a deeper understanding of the business landscape”
Stepping away to step ahead
After six years of working in a wealth management firm, I realised that I wanted to gain a deeper understanding of the investment field. I knew the skills I wanted to develop, so it was less about obtaining the qualification and more about finding a programme that could be practically applied to my work.
I began to look for a programme with a concentration in investment analysis and a focus on practical investing, which was also a stepping stone into a more in-depth investment career – transitioning from wealth management into asset management. After finding London Business School’s (LBS) Masters in Finance (MiF) programme it instantly appeared to meet all of my demands. As the number one ranked finance programme in Europe, the course material had many subjects that were actually related to investment analysis. I saw that it was taught from a practical perspective with various industry practitioners teaching the courses, alongside presenting opportunities to visit different organisations. I realised that the MiF programme would provide the perfect foundation for me to go into asset management.
Leveraging the network
I was working in Dubai at the time but I knew that I wanted to come and study in London, considering it’s the financial capital of the world. The exposure I’ve had over here, I couldn’t have gotten in Dubai, India or any other place I was already familiar with. For me, it was what I wanted to get out of LBS and London itself. The MiF has allowed me to build the skills I need due to the resources provided. The School also offers such a strong network, through which I have been able to gain professional contacts in the finance industry. The opportunity to be based in one of the world’s biggest financial hubs means that I can network with people across various asset management companies and gain a deeper understanding of the business landscape. Coming from a comparatively small market, I couldn't get this same exposure to different people from different facets of the entire financial industry.
Through most of my career, I worked and interacted with individuals who were mostly from the Middle East and Southeast Asia. This is the first time I've been around such a diverse group of individuals, whether it’s Latin America, Italy, Spain, or Iceland - there were so many people from different parts of the world that I’ve been exposed to. Due to this, I was able to develop a broader cultural understanding and improve my interactions with new people from all walks of life.
I came in with a specific mindset about what the asset management industry looked like. My mindset has since changed because of my experience at LBS. Whilst I still want to remain in the industry, I’ve now got a better perspective on the type of roles in the industry and what each role entails. Initially, I aimed to pursue a portfolio management role, but now after speaking to different people, networking and attending various sessions taking place on campus, I have decided to break into the sector by taking up a client-facing role.
I have been involved in the Women in Business club as the co-chair of the finance wing, where I handle the asset management segment. As a part of this, I have organised different kinds of panels, speaker series and networking events, to bring awareness of opportunities for women in the finance field.
I also took on the LBS career representative role for my class. From this, I've had a lot more interaction with the career centre. I think the resources that they have, alongside their network with many different companies, really helps you to break through and get interviews with different firms. The kind of coaching that we received from every single career coach at the career centre was really close to the entire interview processes that I would later experience.
Leading by example
My advice to those considering applying to the MiF programme would be to give yourself a broad idea of what you’d like to do after your time at LBS. Finance is a highly competitive industry and those who take a break from their careers to study without identifying the actual benefits of doing so, usually end up getting stuck by not knowing what they want to do next. Those who will benefit the greatest from the programme are the ones who hit the ground running and know exactly what they want to achieve. This allows you to spend your time speaking to the right people, fine-tuning your ideas about what you want to do next, or even looking into companies that interest you to understand what they seek in prospective candidates.
It’s also a great idea to tap into the alumni network early on. You never know who you’ll meet, and someone you connect with could always end up being part of your support system and mentoring you through your time at the School. The network is incredibly powerful and is likely to include many people who are a part of the companies you want to work for.
Finally, the resources available at the Career Centre are certainly worth utilising. Discover the services that are available to you as soon as possible and make full use of all the training, coaching and mentoring on offer in order to maximise your experience.