My name is Ana Maria and I’m a lawyer. I’m currently studying the Master’s in Finance (formerly known as the MSc in International Securities, Investment and Banking) at the ICMA Centre, which is a part of Henley Business School. It may seem crazy enough to some people, but I decided to do a Masters in Finance! As a lawyer, I have always worked in multidisciplinary teams and that was one of the things that made me consider this programme as I truly believe in the importance of law in business.
I got married just three months before I came to Reading and I arrived with my husband who is doing the MBA at Henley Business School. As a young couple, we were slightly concerned about coming to the UK. However, Reading has surprised us in a very positive way. There are many activities to do, not just in the University but also in town. We have enjoyed our time studying here, eating different types of food, sharing with people from different cultures and attending cultural activities.
Learning experience, critical thinking and practical approach
Last term I studied four modules: Topics in Financial Regulation, Research Project, Behavioural Finance and Corporate Finance and Investment Banking. These modules awakened my interest, for instance, in understanding how financial crises are motivated sometimes by deregulation. Also, how human behaviour affects the decision-making process in investments and others financial issues. In addition, my research project has given me the opportunity to explore a topic, which I was interested in, with fully supported counselling. Last but not least, understanding how new theories suggest that profits in successful companies are the result rather than the main goal of corporations.
Lectures were combined with practical seminars where I had the opportunity to discuss cases and opinions with people from different countries, educational and work experience backgrounds that broaden my knowledge and ideas. Also, since modules have some individual and group projects, I met my group weekly in order to advance on this.
More than just study
For me it is really important to build a work/study-life balance. I have had the opportunity of joining the Catholic Society in the University, where I get the chance of sharing with other people each week not just in Mass but also in other activities such as special dinners. One of the things that I like the most is the fact that the University has a Chaplaincy, where the dialogue between different religions and beliefs is promoted. I really enjoy going there and sharing a coffee with other Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists and Quakers among others.
In addition, I go to the university Sports Centre. At this point, I have to admit that I don’t like exercising very much, however I like walking and dancing. I enjoy going to Zumba classes every week, and recently I’ve discovered a KIPS spin class which suits me, because it is a different way of doing spinning with many lights and music in the background.
Industry Insight Nights and development career events
I love the fact that Henley Business School and ICMA Centre are always conducting different events for the career development of students. I try to attend as many as possible because I have found them very interesting, with topics such as how the world is changing. This also includes the Industry Insights seminars where we’ve had speakers from various industries including Jake King-Smith from Goldman Sachs. He shared his experience about the investment banking industry, the importance of regulation and the skills that will be required in the future such as programming knowledge. Also, I went to a challenge called Play to Win, where we had to complete different tasks in teams. We also competed and reflected on the importance of planning things and how to optimize the group and individual work in order to achieve the results. Finally, I went to Design Thinking where I learnt how to develop a continuous improvement methodology.
I have discovered through these experiences much more than I expected. I realized how the world is changing and which skills I have to improve and develop in order to continue building my professional career. Also, I have had the opportunity of learning the trending topics in capital and financial markets and this makes me want to know more and connect with even more people in the market.
Find out more about the MSc in Finance programme here.