Pierre Dongo Soria Rosingana - July 31, 2014
Pierre is a Peruvian-Italian dual national who completed his Masters in Finance (MiFFT/MiF) at London Business School (LBS). Read through his posts to learn all about his experiences.
Ready to read? Take a look at tips and insight from Pierre in these posts:
My checklist: Before my Masters in Finance programme starts Getting everything together, from finances to flats.
First months at LBS: AWESOME! Packing academics, career planning, clubs and weekend getaways into an international masters programme.
New Year, New Term Getting to grips with electives and finding a job.
Almost done! (Time to think about a job) Working on internships and full-time job offers.
Nowadays, I stand ready to enhance my Economics bachelor’s degree focused on Finance and World Economy and my CFA designation, with an LBS Masters in Finance. Why? Because I believe undergoing such a program will place me within the international Finance environment and expose me to investment challenges that will shape the economic destiny of individuals, companies and even nations.
I'm really excited about meeting people all over the world and studying in a school with such a prestige as LBS, in which just a few Peruvians attend per year. Also, it will be the first time that I live abroad so I feel excited since a real adventure will come.
Actually, I'm not that nervous to start this new experience in my life; however, I may get homesickness from time to time.
My goal is to gain international experience by working in the Asset Management or Wealth Management division for a couple of years in a financial center such as London or New York. Afterwards, I will decide if I return to Peru or stay abroad.
I know that to accomplish my goal I need to boost the analytical and financial skills necessary to become a sharp decision-maker and a globally-minded leader within an international context. In this sense, I am aware that my life experiences have so far guided me in the professional path I wish to pursue; nonetheless, I also know that the LBS MiF programme is the fertile ground that will prompt all my career plans to flourish.
Yes. All my savings didn't cover the tuition and living expenses needed (London is a very expensive city compared with cities in Peru!) for my time abroad. Thankfully, Prodigy Finance gave me a cheaper funding alternative relative to financial institutions in Peru.
Most Peruvians would say their mother and local cuisine. However, I would say my whole family, friends and, definitely, not worrying about the rain (in Lima, it doesn't rain!).
Peru has so many local dishes that it is hard to choose just one! I think I would say Ceviche and a Peruvian spirit called Pisco (hope you've heard about Pisco Sours!)
August 13, 2014
Hello everyone! Today I'm writing from Amsterdam, where I'm staying for a couple of days before moving to London. Since the London Business School MiF programme has not started yet I think it is a good idea to share with you as first post the checklist I had to do before leaving my home-country (Peru). Hope this checklist helps you in some way. So, let's begin!
Of course this tops my checklist! Before thinking of anything else I need to be able to pay for my studies and to live in London (which is not cheap by the way).
First, I had to calculate the total cost of a full-time masters. LBS' webpage shows the tuition fee, and I got the living expenses calculation through several webpages and by asking LBS alumni. The total monthly budget I got was between £1,600 - £1,900.
Secondly, I had to compare the total cost with my current available money, plus expected savings. Finally, and since I got a budget deficit, I searched for the best way to finance the gap, which part was with a family loan and part with a Prodigy Finance loan.
Many people wait to arrive in London and to meet fellow students before searching for a flat together and renting it. However, I didn't want to risk not finding a good place, which I define as being relatively close to school (walking distance or maximum three metro stations away), having a good price and being comfortable (my own bedroom), so I started earlier.
What I did was contact other admitted students by mail/skype and search for flats together through blog posts in LBS' portal, talking with current students who could leave their flat when their term ended and searching in webpages as uniplaces.com or zoopla.co.uk. Also I applied to international dorms as ISH and London halls.
To open a 0-cost savings account and have a debit card is required to be completely set-up in London so you can't do this while living away. This is one of the first things I'll do when I arrive in London.
How much money will I take?
What I did was to pay in advance my flat-contract and activate my credit card for international purchases so I don't need to travel with a lot of cash. Also, since I got admitted to the programme, I started to buy British pounds every month to be less sensitive to currency fluctuations.
Since I am half Italian, I do not require a visa to go to London, but I heard that this is a long process that people should do in advance… so keep this in mind always!
In general, this was my first checklist (as well as looking for rain clothes because of London’s weather) before leaving Peru. Next time, I will tell you about my first month's experience at LBS! See you all.
October 15, 2014
Hello to everybody! This is my first post after starting classes at LBS. Let me say that the experience so far has been great! I've met a lot of nice and fun people from all over the world. And, for me, it is the first time in my life that I'm using the weather app and the iCalendar so much!
So, here's a summary of what's happened during my first months at London Business School.
We started with 2 prep-courses that were alright. These were followed by 2 core courses which were finance-related (Investments and Financial Accounting), plus a course to help you learn more about yourself and your life goals. But, if you have a strong financial background, as a CFA degree, the courses would be pretty basic.
From day one, LBS Career Services gave presentations telling us how we need to start thinking about our career path... and to start networking. And, the autumn recruitment process started a month ago, so I attended to a lot of presentations from major banks and corporates. I was surprised that so many companies come to campus so early in the Masters.
A piece of advice - you should already know the industry and potential companies you want to work with since there is not much time with a 10-month programme. Another piece of advice that might help, and one that I've heard from everybody is: networking, networking and networking. So, I'm in the process of doing that. London Business School is also promoting the entrepreneurship path. There have been a lot of presentations and one-on-ones with actual entrepreneurs and LBS has its own incubator.
LBS has a lot of clubs run by students which offer a great deal of activities. From tasting wines and cheeses and learning salsa dancing to doing stock pitches and going to Ireland to hear the experiences of tech-company managers.
It's been busy month in this department! Every Thursday at 'Sundowners', LBS invites students to their campus for free beers and wines to have a nice time relaxing away from their studies.
Besides that, London has a lot to offer. There are pubs and discos for any type of music preference, nice restaurants with different cuisines and plenty other night time activities. I even managed to find a couple of Peruvian restaurants! LBS also offers cool events such as the Treasure Hunt, where I had to dress as a pirate and walk around London West End doing fun challenges.
Also, London is so well located that it's possible to do weekend breaks and travel to other nice cities. I visited Scotland and a few cities around London. And, I'm planning to go to Spain before the end of the month.
And on top of all, the weather has been good, not that much rain and very sunny days. However, this seems to be changing now...
Until next time!
January 16, 2015
After my first term ended in November we had a month of holidays and plenty of time to enjoy the UK and Europe in general.
Most of the students took what's called "Block Weeks" in the first weeks of December. A block week is an elective course packed in an intense-full-time week. I took Topic in Asset Management. And, the course was great! I really enjoyed it.
If you are thinking of pursuing a career in the Asset Management Industry, I'd strongly encourage you to take this course. After it, most people took the rest of the holidays to go back to their home countries to spend Christmas and New Year there. I actually stayed in London for Christmas and took advantage of its location. I was in Europe and could travel nearby for New Year's Eve.
Now that the holidays are over, it's time to work hard again. The spring term (from January to March) is meant to be the hardest one. Most of the electives fall in this term and that's why I'm taking 5 courses! Typically, people recommend taking between 3 or 4 at a time. If it's too much for me, I'll let you know how hard it is so you can make the best decisions for you.
In addition to our courses, the spring term is important in one major respect: it's time to get a job. The next couple of months are going to be focused on job applications for summer internships, full time jobs and, of course, on interview rounds.
So, in general, this new term would be a challenging one. But, we'll see how it goes! Wish me luck!
May 25, 2015
Hello to everyone!
In my last post, I mentioned that the spring term was going to be a challenging one. And indeed it was. Besides taking five courses, I started a part-time internship so my free time was quite limited. Thankfully, I worked for exceptional grades and after the April holidays, I will return to work on the internship. It was tough, especially the last two weeks. But, I managed to get through it. And, the term summer term is meant to be more manageable since I am taking few courses.
I want to share a couple of thoughts from my experience of the last couple of months regarding job hunting.
As a Master in Finance, you can search for part-time internships, summer internships or full-time jobs. This degree is a little more flexible than an MBA in that sense. However, it is very tough to get a job. The available spaces for summer internships are limited, so expect just a handful of students to get one; the vast majority will not. Part-time internships are not very well paid and aren't likely to become a full-time offer. But, these provide you with experience and improve your CV, especially if you do the work in London.
Full-time jobs are quite hard to get. Since the beginning of the programme, Career Services recommended that we network - and not depend solely on jobs posted on LBS' Career Services page. I suggest you follow that recommendation. Furthermore, I would suggest that if you need to be sponsored by a company to be able to work in the UK, expect a very low probability. Fortunately, it's not my case, but I saw plenty of people struggling to get a job because of this issue. So, bear it in mind. But, it can and will happen if you work at it and remain motivated.
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