Leon Bezverkhni

Programme: MSc Financial Mathematics (2013)

Current role: Investment Banking Associate, Citigroup

I was previously based in Beijing, working in a small firm, helping high-net worth individuals with overseas investments, when I decided that I wanted to make a career change into the banking industry.

My ambition was to work for a major banking institution, so I knew that an MSc would give me the skills and knowledge I needed to make my next career step. I searched for a top university, and found that the Business School (formerly Cass) offered an MSc in Financial Mathematics, a strong mathematics programme, which also focuses on financial applications. Of course, London is the ideal place for banking, and the financial industry in general, so with its reputation, location and close links to the financial sector, the Business School was the logical choice.

The quality of the professors and lecturers at the school is extremely high. Many were, or still are, practitioners, and, as such, offered invaluable insights into the financial industry and the application of mathematics to finance.

I found the MSc to be quite challenging, but also very practical. For me, the key highlight of the programme was the balance between theory and practical applications to modern finance, which allows students to become both academically strong and very good practitioners.

The networking opportunities at the Business School are tremendous. Firstly, through the international cohort, which was made up of people with different backgrounds and experience, I have made many connections and friendships, and still keep in contact with people located across Europe, London and China. Secondly, the Careers Team offered great resources and connections with the banking industry. They did a very good job of organising a lot of talks with representatives of major banking institutions, who we also had a chance to talk to and connect with.

The Careers Team was also immensely helpful, giving me the tools, assistance and encouragement to plan my career move effectively. Members of the Careers Team had previously worked in the industry, and some had worked in the banking sector, so they had inside knowledge of how banks and financial firms recruit.

As a result, I was able to fulfil my goal before I finished the programme, securing my first role at Deutsche Bank as an Analyst in the Asset and Wealth Management division in Switzerland. I started just after the end of the course – before graduation.

18 months later I moved back to London, starting a role with Citigroup as an Investment Banking Analyst. Today, I’m still working with Citigroup, progressing as an Investment Banking Associate in Hong Kong.

Overall, the MSc has had a remarkable impact on me personally and professionally. It has enabled me to work at some of the largest banks in the world and allowed me to develop strong friendships with my fellow classmates, who are now based all over the globe.

The program shaped me as a young professional and offered me the opportunity to do what I wanted to and helped me shape my career. I would strongly recommend the MSc to anyone else.