If you’re looking to advance your career in the finance world or want to improve your current job prospects, then the highly acclaimed Masters in Finance (MiF) at London Business School is the perfect platform for you.
The much sought-after programme has taken top spot in the Financial Times’ rankings of post-experience Masters in Finance programmes for six out of the last seven years. Hundreds of people apply from all over the world every year for good reason.
Based in the heart of London, MiF students have access not only to world-class faculty, but also a networking community of experienced professionals from a wide range of leading financial institutions.
These connections can prove invaluable when it comes to finding an edge in the competitive financial services job market. This is where the Career Centre team at LBS come into their element.
“We’re in constant dialogue with employers to understand the latest finance trends, their talent needs and what they’re really looking for in a candidate to help them achieve their business goals. Many employers are alumni of our School, keen to connect with the next generation,” explains Simon Lyle, who leads the Career Development Programme for the MiF at LBS.
He says more employers are emphasising the need for interpersonal skills, “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for many financial institutions to create competitive advantage through their products and services, so their people become more of a differentiator. Those with strong interpersonal skills, great analytical skills and commercial judgement, can add value, influence and provide real insight for their clients,” explains Lyle.
“We’ve put increased attention on interpersonal skills in the programme. We design and deliver a lot of training in groups to provide peer learning and networking opportunities, but also one-on-one coaching, as we recognise individuals have specific needs. This is a core part of the MiF programme which complements the technical finance elements and helps enable achievement of goals in the competitive labour market.”
There are many more reasons why the LBS MiF is such an enticing prospect for both students and recruiters. Aside from the fact that LBS is a renowned brand in the UK and worldwide, there’s also the international flavour to the School. Over 90% of the students on the programme are from outside the UK. This brings different perspectives and experiences into the classroom.
“The possibilities to learn about other cultures and how different countries’ markets work, and network with potentially influential people from across the globe are incredible,” enthuses Lyle.
There are different global options on the programme, including exchange opportunities, exposure to Asset Management firms through an experiential programme and career treks to other parts of the world, for example in the US and Asia.
There are several student clubs in the area of finance at LBS, which work closely with financial institutions. Senior leaders from major finance companies are brought in for panel events to discuss the latest finance issues. LBS also regularly facilitate opportunities for targeted networking activities. “Our Career Centre and Programme Office teams recently hosted a speed networking event, which had more than 100 people attending, over a third of whom were finance alumni. Up to 10 years on, they’re now leaders in their field. That is the power of LBS,” adds Lyle.
Being able to call on people in industry is hugely beneficial, as recent graduate Pippa Johnson found when she was studying on the MiF. “Conceptual material is much more approachable when you engage with someone who has already applied it in a real-world scenario. Faculty would often call on people with relevant experience to support case study work – it was a great way to build an awareness of different working practices,” says Johnson, who transitioned from Head of Group Tax at Network Rail before the course to Senior Manager, Corporate Strategy and Business Development at The Walt Disney Company afterwards.
The MiF programme can be undertaken either part-time or full-time, and students have the option to undertake the full time option over either three or four terms. Those who do it over four terms tend to seek an internship, which is a great vehicle to assist in making a career change.
Within the programme itself there is further flexibility. Alongside core finance modules, students can choose a range of electives. “So if they want to particularly work in a certain area of finance or deepen existing knowledge, they can tailor their modules to suit,” explains Lyle. “We recognise everyone has their own needs and requirements, so look at ways to tailor their studies and help them on their career path. We explore what they want to do, how to plan, and then execute on those plans.”
This careers in-person training and coaching is augmented with innovative digital career learning, which has been developed considerably in recent years. There are now digital resources including advice on sectors, what’s required to get roles in each sector, and CV tools using algorithms to help students make their resumes as impactful as possible.
The job opportunities available to graduates have also expanded. “Ten years ago, most hiring would come from a dozen organisations - now the range of companies is more extensive and we have seen growth in areas such private equity, as well as the emergence of fintech,” says Lyle.
Additionally a growing number are going into corporates and the programme offers concentration opportunities for students seeking to develop careers in corporate finance or along a CFO track.
Not one to rest on its laurels, LBS is now in the process of going through a strategic programme review, helped by industry leaders, finance recruiters, alumni and stakeholders across LBS. “We’ve already got some great insights internally and externally to help us stay ahead of the curve, and look forward to developing the highly successful MiF programme even further” says Lyle.
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