Month: April 2019

Study trip to Prague

During the second term’s reading week, MSc Management students were offered the possibility of going on a study trip to a European capital, to be chosen out of three options. The idea was to get to learn about a new place, from a professional perspective, but without it having any coursework, exams or any other source of stress attached. No need to say that along with that came a big dose of non-business-related fun, be it touristy visits, intense nightlife or just to enjoy our time with our cohort – there were fifty of us in Prague, so one couldn’t possibly get bored.

What brought me to choose Prague was how little I knew about the Czech Republic in many aspects, but specifically about its business ecosystem, its main industries, etc. The most surprising and interesting aspect of the trip was precisely to discover the economic reality of a country that, even as an EU member, remains very unknown for most of us. We had the chance to have a quite comprehensive grasp of how the Czech Republic is positioned in Europe and in the world in various industries. Personally, I was surprised to see how diverse and solid the economy of such a small country is, and it was interesting to hear experts from different fields talking about how they see the future and how they are preparing for it.

A trip to Skoda

We visited companies as diverse as Skoda, the car manufacturer owned by the VW group; Czech Invest, a government’s accelerator and foreign investment attraction office; the Ceska Sporitelna Bank, one of the biggest Czech banks; Avast, a global cyber security firm; and Sotio, a biomedical company specialised in drugs for cancer. Additionally, we had the chance to attend the presentation event of WeWork, which had just started operating in Prague. I found particularly interesting the visit to Sotio and to Avast, as they both are very innovative companies working on two of the most rapid-moving sectors nowadays. In both cases the speaker was a member of the direction board and their presentations were very insightful and inspiring.

Concretely at Avast, we had the opportunity to hear about the current challenges that the sector and the company face from the commercial director of the company, and then we could see the kinds of things they work on daily, with an impressive screen on the background, showing a world map with the cyber attacks that were taking place everywhere in the globe at that instant (no pictures allowed!).

Prague in the sunshine

Apart from the more “professional” aspect of the trip, I personally enjoyed a lot spending a few days with my cohort, and during the visits and during our free time we had the chance to create a much stronger bond among us. In our free time between visits we wandered around the city centre, sat on a terrace to enjoy the stunning weather, and visited some touristic sights such as the Castle of Prague and an obligatory visit to Karlovy, the five-story club that is supposed to be one of the biggest in Europe. However, if there’s something that makes Prague memorable, that is without doubt the Czech beer; world-class taste at an unbelievably affordable price. The party was served.

Overall the trip was a great experience, a good opportunity to take a break from the course in London, to build our knowledge about the realities of business in another country, and to create stronger bonds among the cohort. I am very much looking forward to the international elective I will be undertaking in May in Paris, which is going to be a more professional trip where we will apply what we have learned in class to a real business problem.

Pol Beà Navarro
MSc Management, 2019

How I Secured the Career of My Dreams

Born in a family full of engineers, I was always obsessed with numbers and formulas. However, unlike most of my cousins, I have demonstrated an extreme level of passion for business studies. By virtue of my supportive family, last year, I decided to follow my dream in a new competitive environment in London.

From Coding Amateur to Data Analyst

Having attended numerous job interviews, I am constantly being asked: “Do you have any relevant experience in analytics?” Since starting my MSc in Business Analytics, I can now evidence that I do. Believe it or not: in the first class of my master’s at Cass Business School, I was trying to run Python-based software on my laptop, without any prior experience in coding at all. To be honest, I could not even imagine where to start. Now, I feel confident about applying a wide variety of algorithms for data training and further analysis.

The content of the course and projects we have delivered have shaped my internal data analyst. Essential modules like Machine Learning and Analytics Methods for Business have equipped me with technical skills such as data cleansing, data processing and visualisation, and substantially enriched my business acumen. The course is well structured with the teamwork practice. My classmates and I have been granted an opportunity to digest dozens of the best application cases and examples for the business environment. This has been so helpful to learn how to best put forward our top skills and apply them after our graduation to secure our dream job.

Furthermore, the applied research project in which we use data analytics as a team has introduced me to the organisational approach towards problem-solving of the complex data issues. The project gave me a taste of working within a tight schedule, the way you might in a real working environment, with like-minded people.

The Secret to Obtaining Job Offers: Cass Careers Service

I am quite sure that most of the Careers Service team are familiar with me due to the high frequencies of me showing up in their office. No matter whether it’s for CV editing, target industry resources or mock interviews, the Careers Service team are always ready to give me tailored advice through one-to-one meetings. In the whole job-hunting process, I have received several job offers in London from Big Four accounting firms and investment banks across different roles like Data Analyst and Consultant. Honestly, I could not have done this without all the support from the Careers Service team. Regularly, they host networking events connecting us with experts in all kinds of industries and hold events with presentations covering the topics that we are interested in.

I would like to thank Cass Business School for offering the most desired course on the job market and equipping me with highly demanded skills to facilitate my career journey. I truly believe that choosing Cass is the best decision I have ever made.

Yipin Li
MSc Business Analytics, 2019

 

Study tour to Berlin

When I found out about the international study tours, I jumped at the opportunity to join. The study tours gave my cohort the chance to visit Lisbon, Berlin or Prague. I chose Berlin as I had the chance to discover the culture, the architecture, the food, but also to meet local entrepreneurs. We went to explore how their businesses are run, what issues they face and how they resolve them.

There is a world outside the classroom ready to back up young people who are willing to work hard. If you have a good idea and the character to pursue your dream, if London won’t be your home, Berlin could be. Personally, I have already worked in France and the UK, and I will now definitely take Berlin into consideration as another option. Cass Business school gave me the possibility to visit the city from a professional prospective that I could never had otherwise.

We met inspirational entrepreneurs who made us see the city through their own eyes. One of them in particular invited us to see beyond the cold German architecture and the cloudy weather, and instead look deeper to appreciate the thumping heart of the city, so open, dynamic and cosmopolitan. Germany is a country that has stood up twice from its own ruins, and both times it became stronger than before. The future is bright in Germany’s capital.

We mostly visited start-up incubators, so since the first day, I started questioning myself and wondering whether I should set my own business instead of working for somebody else. I had never thought seriously about this option, as it once seemed to be a world so far away that it was hard to imagine what it would really look like. However, by meeting these professionals who so openly talked about the failures and the challenges they had to face to get where they are now, I think I now have a realistic overview of what it takes to be an entrepreneur:  a mix of passion and resilience.

I was really inspired by the quote: “ask yourself where the pain is bigger.” This was told to us by Maurice Grassau, CEO at Architrave, which develops digital processes and solutions for the real estate industry. He delivered an incredible speech about launching a start-up that I will remember forever. He explained to us that from his experience, if you will ever find yourself looking for a valuable idea to base your start-up on, you should focus on what is the factor that causes more issues to get done, the thing that is so tricky or time consuming that people would love to pay for getting it sorted. During his speech, he gave us other important insights about managing a business, such as choosing a partner who will often challenge your ideas and thinks differently from you. He also imparted that you should always acknowledge the pressure on your co-workers, as he said “you can’t keep people on stress mode for 12 straight months”.

I’d like to thank Cass for the possibility to listen to such experienced people and see another part of the world. Sometimes we are so focused on the textbooks that we forget that the things we study are aimed to be applied. This trip was a good reminder of that.

Prost!

 

Bianca Gabellini
MSc  Management, 2019

 

Cass: the catalyst of my career

“Ok guys, we are going to apply tonight.” Those were the words I said to convince myself and two friends to apply to Cass Business School one evening in March 2016.

These were words of hope. We were lost and all we wanted was a breakthrough. We were three confused students, with an obsession for the stock market but clueless about the financial world. At least I was! Like most people applying for an MSc degree, we were clueless as to where the degree would take us. If you are reading this, you might be asking yourself the same questions. All of us came from disadvantaged backgrounds, with little or no experience, but that did not stop us— it became a fuel for our unstoppable thirst for success.

I moved to Brixton in London when I was 13, long before the area was gentrified. At 15 my secondary school teacher told me that I would not go far in life and by 16 I wanted to drop out of college. As if it was not enough, I was also working ridiculous hours to help my mum at home as she was a single parent.  None of my friends knew what university was, and the ones who did didn’t bother applying.

Fast forward to eight years later and I was about to make the hardest decision of my life:  applying to a top business school with no money for the fees. I had passion, a willingness to learn and I saw Cass Business School as a catalyst to my success.

 

Michael Salvi and his cohort

I strongly believe that the environment and people you are surrounded with have a strong impact on your life. Many transformative events took place during my time at Cass, but meeting Professor Nick Motson (Associate Dean of the MSc Programmes) a year into my MSc was one of the most significant. As I walked in, his secretary offered me cake after telling me off for being late. The meeting was brief. I complained and explained my frustration about my current job situation, and how I was failing to see the use of my time at the Business School. Nick listened, like a wise man with a long white beard from a movie. Then he spoke, and I listened. Nick taught me about alternative investment and made me fall in love with the hedge fund industry. He described it with so much fascination, triggering my interest in the field I currently work in. During this meeting, I remember being surprised because for the first time, someone really believed in me. He wasn’t just speaking in platitudes, his words were firm and confident.

Nick’s words were the catalyst which I had looked for for so long: words of encouragement and wisdom, which I then went sharing to my friends, who similarly to me felt demotivated. I eventually completed the MSc with flying colours, winning the Beta Gamma award for excellence whilst completing the CFA Level One and working full-time. I borrowed to pay for the MSc, in fact we all did. During those two years, we were rejected, defeated, laughed at and told we could not make it, but my first conversation with him stood out above everything else. This conversation overpowered all negativity that had surrounded us before.  Nick’s favourite words were, “there is no free lunch in the financial markets”— and believe me, there really isn’t.

In the end, my friends and I all went to work our dream jobs. One pursued his love for deals and works in investment banking. Another chased his love of coding and became a quant at a hedge fund. Finally, as an enthusiast of equity analysis, the last friend became a research analyst at a leading asset management firm.

If you are looking for a breakthrough like I was when I applied back in 2016, my suggestion is to cast the doubt away and go for it. You won’t be able to connect the dots just yet, but rest assured that once you complete the degree it will all make sense. On completion of our degrees, my friends and I have now been able to connect the dots going backwards. With determination and perseverance, you can achieve what we’ve achieved too.

Michael Salvi graduates

Studying at Cass wasn’t just a means to an end. It provided me an overview and guided my career choice. Each of the modules that I studied helped me steer my ship in the right direction, all of which would not have happened if I didn’t have some amazing crew members as lecturers!

Here I am now, listening to one of my favourite songs, Craig David’s “Rise and Fall”, as I write this post on my flight back to London. I have learned many lessons, and there are many more to learn. The most important is to take all the chances that come your way. Fear is always going to tell you that you can’t, hope says that you will, but it takes determination and drive to reach and produce endless results.

 

Whether you are a student applying for the Cass Business School or not, remember that when everything might seem to be going against you, “planes take off in the opposite direction from the wind.” Fight your fears and any other forces trying to stop you from moving forward. If the plane can manage to take off with all the resistance, trust me so can you!

Michael Salvi

 

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