By Luca Fiume, MIFPT2022
My very first experience with LBS goes back to 2018. I moved to London that year in March with a lot of plans for my career and my future, however, before autumn, I did not consider joining a university course again.
I attended an Alumni event to understand a bit better what LBS was and how an MBA could have boosted my career.
I would have never thought that was the beginning of a journey
When I first graduated in Law from the University of Padua, I expected to follow the typical path for law graduates in Italy: a trainee period of 18 months followed by a state exam, followed by a career in a law firm. But I didn’t really like this.
My personal strong interest in macroeconomics topics matched by my quantitative background (coming from a scientific high school) helped me differentiate from the masses. These key assets helped me, first, secure a role in Unicredit bank and, after, with JPMorgan Private Bank London in March 2018.
At the end of 2018, I realized that I wanted to become an investment advisor, however the path ahead was not easy at all. Personal interests in certain topics, studying for the CFA and showing ambitions to growth were not enough; here is when LBS helped me.
When I joined my first introduction to the program I thought: “ Ok, I am like Oliver Twist asking for some more here” thinking that, being a JPM employee in London, put me already in the 95th percentile compared to my peers in Italy.
The reality was that the impact the LBS community had on me was astoundingly effective.
The choice and the plan
Initially, I planned to apply for the MBA, it looked like the best option, and my story would have been easier to “sell”: law graduated with a passion for economics, working for a leading global bank looking for a career change.
Sometimes all the squares line up, sometimes it is not the case. You may need to regress a little to progress forward, or even overturn your strategy completely and try a different approach, which is what occurred to me.
The more information I got on the MBA the more I was inclined towards something more technical. This is when the Masters in Finance (MiF) took over; in the end, I knew I wanted to be an investment advisor, and the MiF, with its rigorous academic curriculum, could offer the understanding of finance I was looking for.
What ultimately opened the door was my dedication: I almost got obsessed with the school. I wanted to know everything, from the history around its foundation to the LBS clubs I could join, from the elective courses on the MiF to the University gym, etc…simply everything.
I spoke to former and current students, I reached out to colleagues at my firm who attended the MiF in the 90s and I always found the same traits in all of them regardless of their seniority; all made me understand how the LBS experience changed their life and I always caught the same pathos and passion in all of them.
The experience and friendship
I have to admit that being a 2020 MiF was not easy.
Covid, working from home (as I was a part-time MiF) and restrictions all influenced our entire lives but the LBS community made the impact feel lighter thanks to the great inclusivity and level of engagement.
The program itself is not a walk in the park (sometimes a random walk for a few of us…this is for the nerds), you need time to study and dedication … a lot of it. There is no real formula to succeed. I am personally not an early bird hence I was studying late at night or during the day when possible, but my biggest strength was planning the day into several different time blocks. By doing so I knew how much time I was supposed to allocate to the daily tasks.
Was this working every time? No. Was it efficient? Yes, on paper. Was it helpful? Absolutely.
The more I studied and collaborated with my study group the more I realized how lucky I was; not only for the level of knowledge I was getting by sharing experience with them and by studying the program but also for the new friendships I was building.
We started attending class in-person at the beginning of 2021, the next steps were going to the gym together, running in Regents Park in the morning (not my favorite activity), and ultimately going back to normality. We even introduced the MiFPT reunion in Mallorca, something we are planning for 2024 too.
Once the program and parties were over our bonds remained, and today I call them friends.
The path ahead
I graduated in 2022, but I was able to reach my goal and became an investment advisor in 2021. I had to move to a small little town called Luxembourg: lovely during Christmas and with plenty of career opportunities.
This did not prevent me from traveling to the UK every weekend. I actually found it exciting after 2 years of restrictions.
The program is worth it and helped me secure what I wished for my career and life.
My suggestion is to definitely join the program, however, even if the whole LBS experience is a great huge plus, it is granted only if you add dedication, time, and commitment and you keep very well in mind why you started this and where you want your career to go.
Do not think you are not enough or below average, everybody has their own story and willpower is by far the strongest asset any human being has in their arsenal.
Also, I am pretty sure even Bill Gates thinks there are smarter people than him, but this did not prevent him from being Bill…
My story with LBS is not over, it changes and evolves for the better as more or less everything in life.