Business Finance MSc, 2013
What does working as an Investment Risk Manager at Mitsubishi UFJ Asset Management look like on a day-to-day basis?
I look after a wide range of portfolios, mainly focusing on fixed income. This means I have exposure to lots of different areas of the investment process, ensuring that investment risks are identified, understood and managed properly so portfolios are efficient in terms of the risk-return relationship. It also means working closely with lots of different teams, including the investment, compliance and client relationship teams, to ensure that we are managing the portfolios in line with client expectations as well as from a regulatory perspective.
Alongside my work, I am currently studying an MSc Economics.
What made you choose your current role?
It was a combination of things such as my background, I originally studied engineering, have the right personal skills and investment has always been an area of interest for me. The modules I chose during my MSc Finance were focused on asset management, and I feel that it definitely gave me an edge during my career.
The role forces me to work very closely with the investment team while producing quantitative and qualitative assessments of the portfolio risk exposures. Consequently, that requires me to use complex models to estimate the portfolio exposure to risk factors, but at the same time understand how different elements - such as economic/political events, changes on monetary policy or shifts in consumer behaviour- could impact the performance of the portfolio.
Can you tell me about a key turning point in your career?
Coming to London to do my MSc was a key one. It’s difficult to find better places than London to work in investment management. Working with academics based in London and being right by the City puts you where you want to work, and opens up London-based opportunities.
How did your time studying Business Finance at Queen Mary equip you for life after university?
There are two main aspects to the course, the first is theoretical modules, which gives you the background, and those ones are generally standard across universities. But the workshops Queen Mary has, usually these are after class or on weekends, give you exposure to people working in the industry and a chance to apply the theory.
I took part in QUMMIF which is the investment fund of the university, it was a great activity to get involved with, really hands-on, and gave me exposure to people working in the industry.
There are other training programmes and competitions, around trading, company and project valuation, programming applied to finance and much more. You have to be smart in choosing, as you can’t do them all, but if you pick the more relevant ones to what you want to do, this is where you can get the edge during interviews afterwards.
Why did you choose to undertake an MSc in Business Finance? Why did you choose Queen Mary?
I chose to complete an Engineering degree previously because it gave me a strong quantitative background which can be applied to different fields. At the end of that degree, I was very interested in learning how to allocate capital into different projects and construct portfolios, and that’s why I decided to do an MSc Finance. During the programme I confirmed that Investment Management was where I wanted to focus.
The main reason I chose Queen Mary was that I wanted to be in London, and within London I wanted to be as close to the City as I could. The reputation of the university was the next factor. And finally, the modules available – the School of Economics and Finance has a wide range of electives, so you can tailor your MSc programme to where you want to go.
What’s a piece of advice which changed your perspective?
Usually when you leave university you expect recognition to come fast, but it takes time. I had that advice from my first manager. As long as you deliver, the market or your employer will recognise that, but it does take time. I notice it now when a fresh graduate joins the team, they want to progress quickly through the company, but they still need to develop professionally, learn how to work with clients, and so on which takes time. Even when you think you’re ready, quite often you need a bit more development.
What advice would you give a current student or recent graduate considering their career options?
I think it’s important to understand the current demands of the job market, and work to ensure your skills are aligned to those requirements.
What was the most memorable thing about your time at Queen Mary?
Some of the professors who taught me were great – Alfonsina for example. I think also the opportunity to interact socially through the various activities I mentioned, and with people from a lot of countries and cultures is a big one as there isn’t a huge amount of diversity in Argentina where I’m from. I particularly enjoyed socialising with the PhD students as they were very supportive and you could have really great in-depth discussions with them. And again, they were all from different places and had different perspectives, which made things interesting.
Do you have any role models that you look up to, in or out of your field?
One of my role models is actually someone I met at a networking event whilst I was studying. He works in same area as me, and I admire his work ethic and professionalism, he’s got a strong knowledge and is very successful as well. Culturally too we share a lot of things, and he has become a kind of a mentor to me throughout my career. He is great at giving advice and supporting me on my career development. I think it’s really important to find someone outside your organisation to mentor you who is able to give you an unbiased opinion.