School of Economics and Finance

Shahzaib Asif

Shahzaib Asif

What made you choose to study Economics at Queen Mary?

Economics is one of the most renowned courses at QM and that was the biggest reason I decided to study Economics at Queen Mary. QM is located in the heart of London and is one of the only campus universities in London which made it the most favourable choice and an easy decision for me. Studying Economics at QM gives you a lot of choice to decide the type of modules you want to study and this freedom is what I loved. Every student had a unique combination of modules depending on the career path they want to pursue which honestly makes this course one of the best.

 

What aspects of your degree did you find most enjoyable? What modules did you enjoy learning about and was there anything that surprised you in your studies?

The most exciting thing about my university experience has to be when I decided to create the Banking and Finance society on campus along with my best friend in my first year. QM has a range of different student-led societies which play a vital role in your integration at the university. You can join the society which interests you the most to meet like-minded people and potentially help start on the career path you want to pursue. By the end of my second year we were the biggest society on campus (which is still the biggest one to date) and we brought in professionals from the Banking and Finance industry from all the top institutions like Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan, Deloitte and all the others. We hosted seminars and networking sessions every week to help current students get an insight into the various divisions at all these firms and help them get Internships and Graduate Schemes. We did a survey in my last year which showed that we helped more than 40 students get into the financial industry which was remarkable. We are still one of the strongest societies on campus and continue to grow and add value to QM.

 

Can you describe your career path up to date and your current role?

I did my internship at Goldman Sachs at the end of my second year and decided to join full time after graduation. I am currently working within the Asset Management division. Prior to my internship at GS, I had completed two internships within the Credit Risk and Finance division in various other banks. I think the QMBFS society has had a huge impact on my growth and has helped me broaden my network within the financial industry giving me the opportunity to learn a lot from hosting seminars every week. My course was instrumental and played a vital part in the understanding of financial models and economic policies which I use on a daily basis today.

 

Can you describe what a typical working day looks like for you?

I do not have a standard day at work which is what I love about working at GS. I usually get into the office around 8 am and have various regulatory deadlines to meet. Then I will be in meetings for most of the day discussing our strategies with our counterparts to ensure we have the most efficient regulatory structure in place. It is a perfect balance between daily critical tasks and projects which is something I love.

 

Is there any advice you would give to current students or recent graduates considering their career options?

Yes definitely, I would say that make sure you invest a lot of time and research to ensure you choose the correct career path for yourself. Join many different types of societies on campus and consult your lecturers and the careers department to hear from people who have helped students choose the correct career path for years. If you are thinking to pursue a career within the banking and finance industry then I would highly advice to make sure you read about all the different divisions that exist. This industry is much bigger than Sales & Trading or Investment Banking, make sure you make a wise decision to choose the role which suits you the best. I am happy to help out with anyone who is uncertain about their choice within this industry.

 

What was so special about your time at Queen Mary? Can you give one or two examples of your most memorable moments?

I love QM being a campus university which makes you feel so close to everyone at the University. I loved playing cricket which gave me an opportunity to meet people who were not in my course. Setting up the BFS Gives brand was very close to me where we partnered with Streets of Growth charity to raise money and give back to the community. I was lucky enough to build a very strong network at the university and I think that is only because of the opportunities available for students such as being a student ambassador for my department to playing sports to having access to various student led events.

 

Do you have any role models that you look up to, both inside and outside of your field?

Within the university, I have learned a lot from Guglielmo Volpe throughout my degree who is honestly the sweetest lecturer and a good friend. Tatsuro Senga, who was my advisor for my dissertation helped me immensely to grow and definitely someone who played a very positive part in my university experience.

There are many influential people such as Bill Gates, who I was lucky enough to see live during his presentation at QM. People I look up to the most are my friends. I try to learn so much from everyone's positives and I always think that is the people closest to you that shape you into who you are.