Friday, 31st August was my first day at Imperial College Business School in London. The MSc Finance and MSc Risk Management and Financial Engineering programmes start one month earlier than the other programmes at the business school because of additional foundation courses and to allow students to begin working with the college's careers team on CVs and job applications. Apparently, it is advised to apply as early as possible for positions in the finance sector in the UK, even if you're still at the beginning of your postgraduate degree.
The greeting by the MSc Finance programme team and the business school staff was very friendly. As a welcome gift each student received a bag containing textbooks for the first term's lectures, a calculator and further information material. As pleasant as this was, it should be noted that the students of other ICBS programmes will be receiving iPads when they arrive on campus at the end of September. While getting books instead of a new tablet computer might sound like a bad deal at first, I understand the programme team's point that the textbooks should be more useful to us, especially considering the quantitative nature of most lectures.
In addition to the mandatory introductory talks about the college itself, about the programme, IT-related issues and the library services, there were presentations by two of the business school's partners, CISI and the CFA Institute, both of which were more promotional than informative. Luckily, the team also organised a speed networking session for the students, which I found both entertaining and extremely useful in getting to know some of my fellow students. The induction was concluded by a campus tour and an informal drinks reception for all students. Imperial's main campus is located in South Kensington, just a short walk from Hyde Park and near some of London's finest museums, such as the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum. Although I've yet to explore most of it, I've already spotted some nice places to read and relax on campus, most notably the Queen's Tower.
Lectures will begin on Monday. In September we will only have four foundation courses, namely Markets and Securities, Financial Modelling, The Finance Industry (with careers sessions) and Business Valuation. But as said, students have been advised to begin planning their careers and possibly sending out applications already, so the first month's volume of lectures seems appropriate. After all, things should get really busy from October, leaving little time for career development.