What’s it like to study during a Financial Crisis?

by Lucky Singh, MiF Recruitment Manager

In light of everything going on in the world at the moment, we decided to reach out to our alumni who studied the Masters in Finance (MiF) programme around the 2008 Financial Crisis. We wanted to get an insight into their motivations for studying the MiF, their experience of studying during a crisis, as well as their advice for prospective students during these uncertain times. Here’s what they had to say…

Marcus Ballotim, MiF Full-time 2009, BD/Portfolio Management Director for the investment partnership firm Pepix Power

“I saw the MiF programme as a way to pause for reflection, after a very fast-moving working career. I used it as an opportunity to change career, from strategic consulting into finance. I decided it was time to follow my dreams.

The hiring market in Europe went into a halt, and I could not fully explore new opportunities in that area. The MiF let me consider other career paths, including smaller partnerships with more entrepreneurial approach. It also opened my eyes to new geographies. For instance, I decided to go back to Brazil, although I had been away for 3 years, as the market was much more active there – and in other emerging markets. Instead of jumping into the safety of a big bank in a less-than-exciting position, I saw some upside in joining a small, dynamic firm.

My advice to prospective students is think hard about your career plans. This is a big shift, the world is not as it used to be – similarly to what happened in the financial crisis. There will be not only losers, but winners. As a natural consequence, new opportunities will arise. Be more flexible in what you will consider as your next career step in terms of industries, geographies, and roles. It may be a time to reinvent yourself.”

Lon O’Sullivan, MiF Part-time 2009, MD for Morgan Stanley New York

“I decided to study the MiF Part-time programme for career progression, and I wanted to learn more technical details about finance. What I valued the most about the MiF was learning the theory of markets and valuation techniques of certain products during class and through assignments which enabled me to think differently about my work during the day.”

Tansu Demirbilek, MiF Full-time 2009, MD (Research) for the Investment Management firm Campbell and Company

“I was lucky enough to already have had a part-time hedge fund job when I started the programme. The main consequence of the GFC was the massive redemptions in the hedge fund industry. The fund I started to work for went from $1Bn AUM to $200m within 2 years. It was very tough.

My advice to prospective students is put one step ahead of another. Focus on your classes. In the long run, your knowledge is what will help you. You may not find a good 1-2 year period to focus on studying new material once you start your career. This is an excellent opportunity, so make the most of it.”

Dev Chakrabarti, MiF Part-time 2009, Porfolio Manager/Senior Research Analyst for Alliance Bernstein, states:

“I made the decision to study the MiF Part-time programme to deepen my understanding of finance and broaden both my network and options. It’s a great course with a balance of both breadth of learning followed by the ability to concentrate in particular areas of finance. Now is a good time for a time out – crises rarely last 1-2 years. The financial world could look different in 1-2 years so now is a good time to re-orientate.”

Shalini Chanda, MiF Full-time 2009, working in Regulatory Compliance for JP Morgan Chase
“Although I personally was not looking to switch jobs, I witnessed lots of friends going through hardships – plans not taking off, job opportunities drying up. Studying the MiF helped me to gain a fresh perspective away from the City as I was already based in London.

LBS is a rounded experience, not just an academic one. The experience helped build resilience amongst other life skills.

I would say to prospective students that the MiF is a marathon not a sprint, it is a good year to take a step back from the crisis and be an astute observer.”

Tushar Kulshrestha, MiF Full-time 2008, Senior Manager for EY

“I made the decision to study the MiF to delve deeper into quantitative finance (financial engineering). I faced several challenges such as career uncertainty and financial difficulties, however the interview training, as well as mentorship from the extensive alumni network at LBS helped me face these challenges. I was also more confident when going for roles.

I would tell prospective students that persistence pays off, and to network, network, network! It’s tricky but make sure you focus on your studies as much as job hunting.”

We are still accepting a small amount of late applications for our Masters in Finance Full-time and Part-time programmes starting in August 2020. Please email mif@london.edu with your CV if you are interested in applying.

Considering our Masters in Finance 2021 intake? Submit your CV for an informal review of your fit for the programme.

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