Masters in Financial Analysis (MFA): My first term reflections

By Tomás Arrarte Raffo, MFA2022

Even before my acceptance into the Masters in Financial Analysis (MFA), I had set high expectations for my experience at London Business School (LBS). Speaking to former MFA students, reading about the programme online, and attending LBS presentations led me to eagerly anticipate my experience as an MFA student. Before attending, I worried that I had set the bar for my MFA experience too high. But having concluded my first term, I can say that these fears were unfounded. The MFA has completely lived up to the hype.

By and large, my first term as an MFA student revolved around leaping forward as a professional, becoming a complete student, and improving my network. LBS is a top institution for careers, academics, and social life. And my first-term experience as an MFA student underscores that.

Careers-wise, my first term as an MFA student began before the programme’s official start date. I attended the summer panels hosted by the LBS Careers Centre to gather insights about tailoring my CV and cover letters to investment banking, my preferred sector. I also networked actively throughout the summer to speak with professionals in Investment Banking, who gave me their advice for submitting excellent job applications. Though I mostly did my summer networking alone, being branded as an LBS MFA student was essential in getting professionals’ attention.

Once the first term of the MFA began, my recruiting experience evolved into a more complex beast. Although I was networking less heavily than during the summer, starting in August, I had to send out job applications, complete employer tests, prepare for interviews, and take part in assessment centers. This stage of the recruitment process was highly enjoyable because, apart from being rewarding, it involved meeting, practicing, and collaborating with new, engaging, and driven people.

My overall takeaway from my job hunt experience as an MFA student is that securing a job is really up to you. Yes, getting admitted into LBS will give you a head start relative to many candidates. And yes, LBS will provide you with numerous resources to network, perfect your application materials, and prepare for interviews. But all of this is in vain if you are not proactive, organised or hardworking.

Academically, my first-term experience as an MFA student was very enriching. Coming from an American undergraduate institution, having all tasks, except exams, be collaborative was both new and pleasant to me.  Moreover, studying fundamental topics in analytics, asset management, corporate finance and accounting alongside students from 75 countries aligned perfectly with my desire to delve into finance alongside a diverse cohort.

The LBS faculty also made the academic side of my first-term experience special. Listening to Alex Edmans and Roberto Gomez-Cram, to name a few professors, speak about their day-to-day research during lectures was a privilege. And having lecturers connect theory to practice smoothly was something that I had never experienced before.

Finally, socially, my first term as an MFA student was fantastic. Meeting dozens of people from all over the world, each with thousands of stories to tell, was an eye-opening experience. And going out to places and events across London, the most diverse city in Europe, with many of them, brought me closer to my goal of feeling entirely at home in an international setting.

I cannot be prouder of my decision to enroll in the MFA at LBS. Not only has the programme given me simultaneous professional and academic exposure, a rare commodity in the world of education, but also it has introduced me to a cohort of people with whom I will remain in contact long after my time at LBS comes to a close.

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