By Asha Kapengut, MiFPT2021
A bit about me!
I grew up in New Jersey and went to Rutgers University where I studied Economics and Mathematics. Like many students going through university, I was unsure of what I wanted to do for my career, but I knew I wanted to live abroad at some point. After graduating, I started working for PGIM Fixed Income in Newark, New Jersey in the Portfolio Analysis Group; a team that works alongside traders and portfolio managers across different strategies assisting with model portfolios, trade flows, monitoring risk levels, analysing indices and benchmarks, and assisting with data analytics. I moved to the London office for my second-year rotation in 2017 and after a few years here, I realised I wanted stay in London permanently. I am now officially employed by the London Office working on the European CLO Analyst team where I help structure new and ongoing CLO transactions.
Outside of work, I enjoy travelling, hiking, playing football/soccer, climbing, and I’m an avid foodie enthusiast (always happy to give suggestions for restaurants/bars!) which London has been amazing for.
Why the Masters in Finance Part-time programme at LBS?
Joining the MiF PT programme was a big decision for me. I was expecting to go back to America as my expat role in London was coming to an end, so I had to decide what I wanted to do going forward. I enjoyed my job and the company I worked for, but I wanted to further myself and learn about topics outside of my day-to-day responsibilities. After doing a bit of research about the LBS MiF PT programme and speaking with LBS alumni that work in my company, I went to LBS’ Open Day. I spoke with the Admissions team and current students and it became clear after a few conversations that the programme offered what I was looking for and more. Furthermore, as I went through the application process, I became more aware of the programme and what it had to offer.
How I made a business case to my employer to secure their sponsorship and support
I had a good relationship with my managers and senior leaders that I’ve worked with in the past, therefore I was honest with my employer and I started the conversation months before I even knew I was accepted. I indicated why I was applying and the opportunities it would present to me, as well as to the company, that came from me pursuing a MiF degree. When the day came to have the sponsorship discussion, I came prepared and presented the curriculum and the electives that LBS offered that would prepare me for further career advancement within the company. My company had a strong commitment to promoting and supporting talent so I hoped they would assist me with this. In the end, we found a solution that worked for everyone.
My advice to prospective students seeking company support and sponsorship
I would say it’s important to tie together not only why your company should help you, but how the programme will advance you so you can further contribute to your company. There are lot of aspects that LBS can offer – not just a degree. It’s up to you to do the research and create a path for yourself and present that to your employer to show why LBS is the right choice over an option that your company could be providing you, or a different type of certification/career advancement path.
My MiF PT experience
I have found the programme extremely rewarding. It’s challenged me more than I thought it would and has helped me better understand the finance industry than I did previously. Covid and the lockdowns were a big challenge as classes and group work all turned virtual, but the professors and School were responsive and innovative in their approach to online learning, which kept the classes engaging. My highlights have been the people that I have met at the school. Not only are people from all over the world but it’s been refreshing to be surrounded by people that are like you, who are pushing themselves and are interested in learning through discussions and group work.
How I balance work and study
It’s a marathon, not a sprint so planning beforehand is key. The first six months were tough. People warn you but you don’t realise until you’re in it and balancing work, classes, studying, family, meeting new people, friends, and finding time for yourself. Then Covid happened which came with its own mental, physical, and emotional toil. I found that adding in some time for solitude and calm – away from the endless tasks, meetings, social media, and never-ending news cycles – has helped me day-to-day. Even if it’s for 20-30 minutes before I start my day, it helps create some mental space and peace ahead of my busy day.
How the MiF has helped my professional and personal development
The MiF helped me in more ways than I could have imagined. I’ve gained a lot of confidence in myself, my capabilities and in understanding the fundamentals of finance. I have been able to use the skills and knowledge I have learnt at LBS to progress my career forward by transitioning to a new role within the company. I am very sceptical about whether I would have been able to do this if it had not been for the programme.
My advice to people considering applying for the MiF
Reach out to someone from LBS and speak to them about the programme. Whether that be current students, alumni, staff – having conversations with people will help you better understand what embodies LBS and its community and if it’s the right fit for you.
Most importantly, you won’t get if you don’t ask! If you’re considering asking your employer for sponsorship, make a business case for yourself, find people within the company who will advocate on your behalf, and prove to your company why helping you pursue the MiF degree will be a win-win outcome for everyone.
Feel free to reach out anytime, I am happy to have a virtual coffee and to talk about LBS, living in London, sponsorship, and of course, restaurant recommendations!
You can connect with Asha here.
Greg Moore, Senior Business Development Manager shares his advice on gaining company sponsorship:
“Many companies when approached for sponsorship will be asking “why should we make this investment?” and “what’s in it for us?”. It is crucial that you articulate the expected return on investment to the decision-makers in your organisation. You should view this both in terms of your increased professional contribution through the knowledge and skills you will acquire on the programme but also the wider benefits of establishing links with London Business School. As an ambassador on campus, you can be the bridge that links your organisation with world-class faculty, a global alumni network, and a pool of highly talented students to recruit from.
Remember, the Masters in Finance at LBS is consistently ranked the number one specialist finance programme for finance professionals worldwide. It is a brand that carries pedigree and confidence both for you as an individual but also for the organisation that employs you.”
For support on building a business case for sponsorship, connect with Greg here.
Submit your profile for an informal review of your fit for the programme here.