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.