Month: December 2018

How intense is business school?

 

There are many reasons to undertake a master’s. Some study to gain knowledge, others because they feel lost or want to change their career paths. For me, an MSc in Investment Management was a way to learn more about the trading floor.

Whatever the reason, almost every student comes prepared to fight a battle. This became apparent in my first lecture. No one needed to be pushed. Everyone seemed motivated to study the content, ask questions and actively participate in class.

I would be lying if I said that this wasn’t intimidating. I came from an undergraduate degree and all my knowledge was either theoretical or acquired first-hand from short internships. By contrast, most of the students I’ve met have more experience in the financial sector, so have a better understanding of the practical application of academic theory.

But I was determined to outdo expectations. So I picked up every article, book or journal I could find. I asked a thousand questions to my peers and lecturers. The lecturers didn’t mind explaining the same concepts repeatedly until I understood them – that was a major benefit for me. Coursework was fun but also draining. If you got a hardworking group, you sailed through. But this same group could also end up pushing you too hard – we were assigned teams and so couldn’t pick them. However, in my case, luck was on my side and I got blessed with an amazing team. Not wanting to let anyone down, I pushed myself to work extra hard to deliver the best for them. For almost a month, from 9am to 12am, I was either at the university library or the lecture hall. I lost count of the days and the library, especially, became my home.

This is where friends served as my strongest support. Being an international student, they were the closest thing to a family and I’m grateful for their solicitude.

Lastly, if I have frightened you off the MSc course, then think again! Find the motivation, because for me yes, it has been tough it has helped me to grasp the inner-workings of finance, nonetheless. I want a career in private equity an emerging branch of finance and this goal always motivated me to push through. Ultimately, if you love your subject, your passion and ambition will help you weather the most intense and stressful situations.

Mansi Patel,

Investment Management MSc (2019)

Keep Calm & Trust Cass Careers

After one long year of brainstorming, I finally decided to quit my Senior Actuarial Analyst job at AXA XL Catlin in New Delhi and begin an MSc in Actuarial Management at Cass Business School.

Like most of my peers, I aspire to work in the UK and I’m keen to explore the various routes to employment here.

Two weeks into the course, Cass gave us an opportunity to meet more than 60 employers under one roof at the Cass Careers Fair. Here, we could network with an array of leading companies: Aviva, KPMG, Deloitte and many more.

Before the Careers Fair, we were given access to online sessions and workshops on how to make the most of the event. Looking back, it really helped me understand the application process of the companies that interested me.

The Cass Careers Service organises weekly sessions to enhance our employability. In those sessions, they address various topics like the preparation of CVs, covering letters, interview skills and sessions on industry-specific knowledge.

I made sure I attended each session at least once and they turned out to be very helpful in the application process. Moreover, the Cass Careers website has a real-time update on graduate jobs in different industries in the UK market, making it easier for us to keep track of opportunities.

I was invited to a telephone interview with KPMG. Afterwards, I had to record a series of answers and send them back by the end of the day. I had classes until 3pm that day, so I went to Cass Careers immediately afterwards. Although I’d not booked an appointment beforehand, they assigned an expert who helped me refine my answers until they were perfect and ready to be sent off.

As of today, I’ve been invited to five video interviews (stage three of the applications process for many companies). I’ve made it this far thanks to the Cass Careers Service. The detailed guidance and feedback at every stage– from drafting application answers to psychometric tests – really makes it easier.

The Cass Careers Service employ experts who have worked in the industry for more than 10 years, so they understand better than anyone else what makes your application stand out from a pool of thousands of other applications. Soliciting their advice throughout the different stages of the application process is really helpful.

So, if you enrol to Cass, then you can be confident and trust their Careers Service.

Sambhav Jain,
MSc in Actuarial Management (2019)

If you have any questions for Sambhav or any of our other student ambassadors about the student experience, visit our Ask a Student page. 

Heading Out

This year’s induction sessions began on the 17th of September 2018. As a MSc Actuarial Management student, I expected numerous lectures throughout the week involving a lot of mathematical calculations, group assignments and the inevitable long hours at the school library.

For the most part, this is the expected life of an Actuarial student. But Cass Business School provides way more than that for its pupils.

Our weekly timetable includes a module on Professional Development. Again, I expected this to be a typical lecture series which theorised about competition and personal development. However, the course turned out to be a very practical module, drawing upon the wisdom of experts in various fields.

One of the most popular sessions held was titled ‘Networking with Fun, Confidence and Professionalism’, hosted by Sue Tonks from The Career Farm. Surprisingly, as mathematically-minded actuarial professionals, networking is not exactly a natural skill for us! It is something we would rather avoid in favour of complicated spreadsheets and data models.

However, with the increasingly global reach of most professions and the requirement to engage with a wider variety of stakeholders, it is something we must all do at some point.

The session was led humorously by Sue, who also provided many key insights into the following matters:

  • How to prepare effectively for a networking session: this involves everything from logistics to emotional and physical preparation;
  • How to break the ice when meeting new people: acceptable topics include asking where the other person is from, how do they know the host, what brought them to the event, and the weather (always a safe topic in London);
  • How to discuss business matters: enquire into people’s current interests and plans and generate a conversation from this;
  • How to work the room: engaging people with courtesy and politeness and, importantly, how to join and leave groups;
  • How to maintain contact after the event: keeping in touch by exchanging business cards or contact information.

As the module is available for all Cass students, I highly recommend attending, even for just one key insight. Other useful professional development sessions included: ‘How to Effectively use LinkedIn’, ‘Write Effective Cover Letters and CVs’ and ‘Building Industry Awareness’.

Heading to Middle Earth

As hinted above, weather in London can be dreary and cold for most international students. I recommend taking a day trip outside London; that will cure some of those weather blues! Me and a few classmates visited both Warwick and Oxford one weekend in October. Here are some highlights:

  •  Our visit to The Collegiate Church of St Mary, Warwick: Originally founded in 1123, the church is a treasure of Gothic architecture. Nearby, J.R.R. Tolkien (author of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, for all the non-middle earth fans) married Edith Bratt at another Warwick church, St Mary Immaculate, in March 1916.
  • Visiting Oxford: Exploring some of the locations from the Harry Potter films is a must, and so we paid a visit to the famous Oxford University colleges. Most famous of all is Christ Church College, that inspired the design of the Great Hall in the Harry Potter movies. At Christ Church, both muggles and non-muggles are welcome to visit!

Joan Wanja Mungai,
MSc Actuarial Management (2019)

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