By Akshat Vyas, MSc Financial Risk Management student at the ICMA Centre
Studying at a educational institution like the ICMA Centre not only allows you to learn in a well-renowned environment but also gives you the opportunity to participate in competitions and exams of some of the prominent professional organisations in finance. This includes the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute, CISI (The Chartered Institute for Securities and Investments) and GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals).
I am grateful for this opportunity to participate in the CISI Educational Trust award. I got to know about this award opportunity from the CISI presentation at the ICMA centre. The presentation highlighted the importance of continuing skill improvement and professional development to be successful in the finance industry. It also introduced the students with CISI’s purpose, its exam qualifications structure, different career paths and scholarship opportunities.
One of the takeaways from the presentation was the high acceptability and recognition of these certifications and competitions in the finance industry. This motivated me to put forward my application for the CISI Educational Trust Award and exam scholarship. It also encouraged me to do my best in the Part 1 exams, which led to my nomination for the award and to achieve the exam scholarship for the CISI Diploma in Capital Markets exam.
The award celebrates excellence amongst the undergraduate and postgraduate students at CISI partner universities (ICMA Centre being one of the CISI’s centre of excellence) and rewards them with financial awards to further their careers in finance. I was delighted to find out about my nomination which secured me a place to compete in further rounds of the award along with students from participating universities.
The next round was the essay submission on the topic of ‘What is Green Finance? Discuss whether it is a passing trend or a fundamental change’. It was nice to research and write on a topic relevant to current times. It was also interesting to see how it related to the topics of climate change and ESG that we covered in one of the modules in Term 1 and the Industry Insights talk on Green Bonds. It all fitted in and I was able to write a structured essay on Green finance. The personal statement was also an important submission in this round where I wrote about my future career aspirations.
My essay was selected as one of the top 5 postgraduate entries and I was invited to participate in the final round which was the Interview Day at the CISI head office in London. It was a proud feeling to represent my university at this prestigious event. The Interview Day provided an amazing opportunity to interact with senior industry professionals from the Educational Trust and peers from other universities. The day started with a general knowledge quiz on current affairs in finance and knowledge of CISI. The interview experience was enriching with discussion on the essay topic, current news in finance and personal statement.
It was also exciting to visit the Sky Garden and soak in the amazing views of London. This was followed by a presentation where the final winners were announced. It was a great honour to be recognised as the top performing postgraduate and be invited for the CISI Annual Awards ceremony at the historic Mansion House in London. It was a memorable experience to receive the award in the presence of distinguished professionals from the financial services industry. It gave me a great opportunity to network with the other award winners and senior leaders from the sector.
From my application to becoming the award winner, the whole journey has been an incredible experience. I am grateful to the careers team and faculty at the ICMA Centre for helping me achieve my goal of winning the CISI Educational Trust Award.
Looking forward to the next challenges!