Many experienced professionals considering business school ignore undertaking a Master’s degree – this is a common mistake!
Although most Master’s degrees are indeed aimed at recent graduates, London Business School has a portfolio of programmes specifically designed for more experienced finance professionals – including our Masters in Finance programme, consistently ranked the number #1 post-experience finance programme by the Financial Times for every year of the ranking to date.
London Business School launched its part-time Masters in Finance in 1993 with the first cohort including mid-career finance professionals along with a more senior group of experienced high-achievers with a broad range of finance industry backgrounds. Whatever professional level they have reached, our students are highly motivated finance professionals who are looking to acquire greater knowledge from our world-class faculty and also from their classmates.
The 2015 intake of the part-time MiF programme includes mid-senior level executives from Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, JPMorgan, Citigroup, Mitsubishi, Ernst & Young, BlackRock, HSBC and many other reputed International Banks, Hedge Funds and Asset Management firms. This year’s cohort also consists of 73% international students and 31% women, adding to the programme’s rich diversity.
We asked Rahul Sharma, EMEA Business Manager, Prime Brokerage and Equity Financing at JP Morgan to share with us his motivations for joining this programme.
Why did you opt to study the part-time Masters in Finance at London Business School?
I graduated 19 years ago (yeah – long time!) with an engineering bachelor’s degree and an MBA with a concentration in marketing, from reputed schools in India. I aimed for a career in sales and marketing with top FMCG/consumer durable companies, but somewhere along the road I ended up working in the banking industry. After spending the first 8 years of my career in sales and strategy/management consulting, I have spent the last 11 years holding various senior positions within top-tier financial institutions across the globe and have loved every single bit of the experience so far. What interests me and inspires me most about finance is that while being a backbone of any business, company or country, it also possesses a unique ability to touch and change lives (community, health, education and infrastructure).
As I continue to grow my career in the banking sector – which continues to go through a significant transformation – I decided to further hone my technical skills and secure a robust finance degree from a business school with international recognition. The Masters in Finance programme at London Business School is the best in its class and hence was the obvious choice.
What are you hoping to get out of the programme?
During the last 19 years of my professional career, I have had the great pleasure of working closely with the top echelons (CEOs, COOs, Presidents) on strategic priorities and I have loved my experience so far within investment banking. I was not looking to transition into a different industry or a different sector of finance; I was looking to gain confidence in my technical skills in finance which will further enable me to carry out management responsibilities at a higher level. Having studied broader aspects of technology, business and management throughout my education and having worked with C-suite management teams within diverse industries, it is a focus on technical knowledge specifically relevant to my goals in finance which is of immense interest to me.
Tell us about your interaction with other students – how important is it to you that they are all experienced?
I am completely awestruck and mesmerized by the sheer talent and remarkable experiences of my classmates. I love the diverse experiences across various careers/lines of businesses, as well as the wide range of nationalities of my peer group. We learn as much from our classmates as we do from the faculty. More or less, everybody comes from a finance background, so we all speak the same language and I try to maximize the time I spend with each one of them. We have students with expertise in the finance industry, from both buy-side and sell-side eg traders, bankers, strategy, sales, quant, research, risk, legal & tax experts. It feels like the entire investment bank is sitting with you in class and that is an amazing opportunity. We learn in depth about all aspects of the finance/banking industry.
For example, I have always worked on the markets/investment banking side and having students in my class coming from an asset management background (portfolio managers, fund managers etc.) is a tremendous learning experience. Following our regular class on Saturday, we have this P2P learning session where one of the students will share their experience and talk about their current/previous role and industry for 45 minutes. This is one of the most valuable learning experiences I have had so far.
What has been the highlight of your MiF experience so far?
The world-class faculty applying the practical case-based approach to teach the complex finance topics is the main element that makes this programme really amazing, especially for the students like me who have been in the industry for many years. It is also a fantastic opportunity to meet and build partnerships with students from other programmes – including the Sloan MSc, MBA and the Executive MBA – during our electives when we are mixed together or in one of over 70 student clubs we have on Campus. Every club adds value to your learning and network and ultimately helps you to achieve your career ambitions. I am also looking forward to taking the exchange programme opportunity with one of the LBS partner schools (eg. Columbia Business School), where we can study for a block week or one full course. Although it has been only 3-4 months since I started this incredible programme, it already feels like the best investment of my life.