Student story: Breaking into Investment Banking

Christian Hirsekorn – 3rd year Economics & Finance Student & President of QMTIS

CMy name is Christian and I’m in my final semester of my BSc Economics & Finance degree. If you’re keen on breaking into the Investment Banking industry, keep on reading:

Some background about me…

I did a two and a half year banking apprenticeship in my hometown near Frankfurt in Germany before coming to Queen Mary. I rotated through all banking divisions such as Private Banking, Commercial Banking, Real Estate, Marketing, Risk, Compliance, Insurance and Investments. This narrowed down my options of what I want to do. When I started studying at Queen Mary, I knew I wanted to get a Front-Office role in an Investment Bank or a Hedge-Fund. That’s why I joined the Queen Mary Trading and Investment Society and started going to Insight Days from various Investment Banks straight at the start. They organised an office visit and insight into Morgan Stanley’s Global Markets division which inspired me to pursue this career path.

Tips & Tricks to get where you want…

Competition for roles is quite fierce, so it’s essential to apply as early as possible, i.e. have your application ready in September. It’s good to go for informational interviews before the application season starts – this way you can find out more about careers and network. There’s tons of advice on about that. I highly recommend checking out this page – it helped me a lot!

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Graduate story: My work experience in Film

RosemaryRosemary Koper, MA Film Studies graduate

I’m currently in the final week of a two month placement with British Film Institute Education team. Having completed an MA in Film Studies and being a regular visitor to the BFI Southbank cinemas, this placement struck me as the perfect opportunity to gain some valuable work experience with an organisation whose work has interested me for years.

BFI Education run events and courses and aim to encourage new audiences to engage with film. Every February they run the Future Film Festival, which showcases the work of filmmakers aged 16-25 and gives young people interested in getting into the industry the opportunity to get advice from professionals and to network. A large part of my role has been promoting the festival, both via email and social media, and by visiting colleges and universities to screen some short films and talk about the festival. I travelled to film and media classes across London to get the word out about what the festival had on offer; as effective as a popular Facebook post can be at promoting an event, it can’t match the personal touch of a face-to-face conversation.

During the festival, I was responsible for helping to organise the crew of volunteers who’d been assembled to ensure the smooth-running of all the screenings and talks. Luckily, I had a few opportunities to attend some of the events and was able to see the impressive short films screened, chosen from over 3000 entries.

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Student story: Lessons learned from internships

26854826_1701300166586943_888886152_o (1)My name is Daniel and I am about to finish my BSc Economics degree in a few months. Read on for my insight into the actuarial profession and how you can get an internship in the insurance industry.

How did you source your work experience?

During my first year I really did not know what I wanted to do but I was very keen to find an internship. I knew I would have a sixteen week holiday over the summer with not much to do. My first internship was hard to find as there are limited opportunities for first years but after applying online to 30 places I was finally offered an internship role at XL Catlin. This is an American insurance company and one of the largest syndicates in the Lloyd’s of London market. Here I was given the chance to work with many different departments. I found working with actuaries the most interesting and this helped me to narrow my search in the second year for another actuarial role, and I found one at Allianz.

What were some of the key lessons you learnt?

The insurance industry is extremely broad and has many opportunities even if you are not really interested in insurance itself. Every insurance company holds a huge amount of reserves and have large investment divisions with plenty of internship opportunities. One of the most notable examples is Royal London, which is the UK’s largest mutual fund. This particular firm has an internship open to second years across all their investment divisions as well as a graduate scheme.

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Practice makes Perfect – MSc student Landysh’s ELBA Credit Suisse mock interview **More slots available**

IMG_9808(1)Masters student Landysh took part in the ELBA Credit Suisse Mock Interview event last term. More slots are available in early March – don’t miss this opportunity to refine your interview skills and receive valuable feedback on your interview technique with Credit Suisse employees from various fields.

Scroll down for full details, and read on for Landysh’s 5 reasons to get involved:

  • Credit Suisse is one of the world’s leading banks – This is a great opportunity to do a real-life interview without a possibility of failing. It is a good chance to practice how to prepare for an interview. And yes! Do your homework and find out more about Credit Suisse, their ongoing projects and most importantly – their corporate culture, values, and people.
  • Receive great advice on your CV – I was interviewed by a manager at Credit Suisse (!!!) and received the most valuable feedback and advice on how to improve it.
  • Get instant feedback – Though it all felt like a real interview, I received an instant feedback straight after on my performance. Normally you have to wait for the answer from your potential employer, and request for feedback which is not always given.
  • Practice how to deal with your nerves –  Even though I knew this is just a mock interview, there was no need to be nervous – it’s practice!

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Student story: My experience as a Parliamentor

27939680_1835768086441757_1340946386_nKate Reynolds, 3rd Year History student

This year I am taking part in the Three Faiths Forum’s Parliamentors scheme, which is a UN award-winning leadership programme. As a Parliamentor I work with a team of 5 students from Queen Mary who all have different faith and cultural backgrounds. We are working on a social action project centred in our local community, whilst being mentored by a local MP, Stephen Timms.

I applied for the programme because I was excited by the prospect of creating change in my local community and building my team work and leadership skills. I was also interested to be mentored by an MP as I have a keen interest in politics. Alongside being a Parliamentor, I am the co-chair of Queen Mary Labour Society, and a Beaver Scout Leader at my local Scout group. Parliamentors has offered me the opportunity to work with people of varying faiths and political alignments.

21728098_1821426744551785_8786501112084559778_nParliamentors kicks off with a training residential in September, which gives you the chance to meet the other Parliamentors both from your university and from across the country. It was a massive learning opportunity as we received training in everything from public speaking, engaging with your community and an introduction to Westminster politics. The range of people and faiths represented meant that everybody could to learn from each other. But the training doesn’t stop there – the Parliamentors team offer continued training and support throughout the year.

My team decided we wanted our social action project to focus on building interfaith relations on campus at Queen Mary. We felt that there are tensions that exist between different faiths on campus, and we wanted to do a project that would address this and bring about greater interfaith dialogue. My team are in the process of planning an interfaith gardening project focused on an onsite allotment. We believe that by bringing people of different faiths together through this allotment, we can break down barriers and challenge student’s assumptions about people of different faiths.

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SBM QConsult: Landysh’s journey

Landysh & teamMy name is Landysh Yanborisova, and I’m a Postgraduate student studying Marketing at Queen Mary. The reason why I decided to apply for QConsult is that I believe it will be a brilliant opportunity to gain valuable Project Management and Consulting experience working on a real-life project with a real client.


One of the best parts of working for Queen Mary is the valuable training we always receive which helps us not just with this particular project but my personal development as well. The training was about the role of consultants, the skills necessary to develop,  and professional conduct with tips on working with your clients. We also had great mentors working in consulting in various fields share their experience with us.

My team

This project is a great chance for many of us to meet like-minded people with different knowledge and expertise, and then brainstorm and work on strategies that will improve and grow the business. Our team consists of five students from China, UK and Russia, studying business management, finance and marketing.

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Getting started with SBM Qconsult: Lin’s story

Qconsultant_team 5I am Lin from MSc Business Analytics and this is my first year studying at QMUL. I applied for SBM Qconsult as I would like to gain experience in teamwork, project management and most importantly, consultancy. Being interested in consulting since my undergraduate degree, this is the perfect opportunity for me to be involved in a real case and make practical contributions to solve client’s problem. Absorbing creative ideas from team-mates and constructive suggestions from the consultant could be a brilliant opportunity for self-improvement.

Before the training session, I was sent our project brief and as a member of team 5, I would work together with 4 other teammates from different programmes and levels during the next 10 weeks and propose strategies in terms of introducing and promoting business competitions for SBM. It feels exciting to try to figure out an existing problem together with my team-mates from our school’s perspective and give suggestions that could be applied in the real world. However, it is also challenging to get the work done and gain valuable insights through our research, since not much data has been published in this field and we need to collect extra information ourselves.

A training session was given at the start of project, in which 3 field experts were invited to give a talk and share their experiences/suggestions on project work. We, as a team, were inspired to brainstorm questions like ‘why companies hire a consultant?’ and ‘what behaviours, expertise and outcomes we should possess when delivering ideas to client’, both of which make it clearer for me to understand my role as a QConsultant. Later on a briefing meeting gave us a further chance to exchange ideas with our client and realise their expectations for the project. As for now, we are preparing for a survey and face-to-face interview with students as was suggested by our coach and I am ready to face these upcoming challenges! 😀