MSc Investment and Financial Management - Esther Sylvester
Esther Sylvester graduated in 2020 from the MSc Investment and Financial Management course at UEA.
She currently works as an Investment Banking Associate in Ghana.
In this interview we discussed her experience of finding a community at UEA, and completing her studies whilst also taking part in university-sponsored training programmes and certifications.
What does your current career entail?
I am an investment banking associate, which essentially means I help companies raise capital.
We look at different forms of funds, such as debt equity. And then I'm also involved in the advisory side of things, which means advising companies on capital structure.
This job is keen on attention to detail, team orientation, and talking to clients. You need to develop the ability to present information to people who may not be experts in the field. So the ability to switch from professional language to layman’s terms is important.
It has been rewarding to develop my confidence, and I have also been able to travel to different areas and meet new people as part of my job.
How did UEA's MSc Investment and Financial Management course prepare you for your current career?
One of the reasons I came to UEA was because I wanted to study a course that aligned with my career trajectory.
Not just in theoretical terms, but also in practical terms, so that I would be able to enter the workplace after graduating.
We had a class on corporate governance which was interesting and detailed, because the lecturer used examples from different parts of the world. So I gained a wide horizon of knowledge that is applicable to lots of different situations.
What was your experience as an international student at UEA?
I was able to get a scholarship, which meant that I was able to focus on exploring and settling in rather than having to find work alongside my degree.
I met people from all walks of life, and now I have friends from China, India, and parts of Africa.
It was good to make friends, but also it was important for improving your networking skills. I found that my viewpoints were widened by meeting people with different ideas and beliefs.
What were the classes like on this course?
It took me a little while to get used to the teaching style here rather than my home country Ghana, because at UEA lecturers kept us on our toes by encouraging students to do presentations in class.
It was a challenging course, but it made me feel prepared for working in an international landscape.
I also developed an understanding of human resources on this course, which helped me to see how everyone is different within the workplace. There were things said in class that I will never forget.
Did you get involved in any careers events on this course?
There were two careers fairs, in which a large number of companies came in and students could sign up to have sessions with them.
There were also walk-in sessions at CareerCentral which I took advantage of. They offered CV reviews, so I did go in there a number of times to seek input on my CV, and I think that was a really good opportunity for careers advice.
Did you take part in any societies whilst at UEA?
I remember in one event we heard from a woman who spoke about her job in the investment and business industry, and she spoke about how women are underestimated in the workplace. That will always stick with me because it showed me that the world can belong to me as well.
I also joined the African Society, which I would really recommend because it stopped me feeling homesick because I was able to meet people with the same cultural perspective.
Did you participate in university-sponsored training courses?
I had three training courses that I signed up for to develop my abilities to use specific software and research skills: an amplify trading course, a Refinitiv Eikon course, and a Bloomberg training course.
Those were great because I still use Bloomberg in the office now.
I also got scholarships for two certifications: one within the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment, and the other to become a chartered financial analyst. The scholarships were given to the top five students on the course, so I had to be very motivated and goal-orientated to get onto them.
What advice would you give to someone considering studying Investment and Financial Management at UEA?
It’s a good choice for people to make, because if you are keen on finding opportunities in the finance space then it is a great learning curve where you build on technical, theoretical, and practical skills.
You should also look out for any opportunities for training or certifications that will aid your marketability in the industry.
I would say not to underestimate the power of teamwork, because I worked with lots of different coursemates to prepare for assessments, and in the workplace there is definitely a need for teamwork because you need to be sharing ideas.