This year’s cohort of 78 students come from 31 different countries, and represent a wide range of financial sectors, including Investment Banking, Asset Management and Financial Consulting. The class brings a wealth of experience and expertise to the classroom, with an average of 4 years of work experience in the finance industry before joining the programme.
Years average work experience
We spoke to members of the 2023 class at the start of the new academic year, to find out more about their career journeys so far, why they decided to join the Cambridge MFin and what they hope to achieve in the year ahead.
After graduating from UCL with a degree in Economics and Statistics, Nasar joined the finance department of one of the largest Real Estate Investment Trust managers in Dubai, focussing on accounting, reporting and restructuring. He then moved to an early-stage crypto startup, where his role as a Financial Analyst spanned across finance, technology and operations.
It was this varied background that sparked Nasar’s interest in the nuances of the different functions of finance, and ultimately prompted him to pursue a master’s degree. Nasar was attracted to the MFin programme at Cambridge as it is one of only a few post-experience finance masters programmes.
He says, “The MFin attracts people from all over the world, which provides an exciting and unique opportunity to learn from the cohort’s diverse experience. Furthermore, it is fascinating to be studying at an institution with strong historical and cultural roots, one where many famous academics, whose work I’ve regularly encountered, had previously studied and lived.”
On his expectations of the programme he says, “Throughout the year, I look forward to broadening my financial knowledge through the core courses, gain work exposure from the practical projects and learn more about the investment industry through the networking opportunities. These experiences will form a toolkit that will allow me to tackle the many obstacles that finance professionals face on the job.”
I am excited to be surrounded by like-minded, focused and dedicated peers that will inspire and support me towards achieving my career goals and to build a lasting network of future financial leaders.
Sibusisiwe Khumalo, originally from South Africa, had built a successful career in legal finance before joining the Cambridge MFin. Starting her career as a solicitor, Sibusisiwe specialised in leveraged finance at one of South Africa’s top commercial law firms. She then moved to an in-house role as the head of the legal department for a diversified financial services group.
When applying to the programme, it was important for Sibusisiwe that the MFin would complement and build upon her existing legal skillset and experience.
“The programme has a three-pillar approach consisting of theory, practice and recruitment which is well-aligned with my aspirations and areas of development at this stage of my career. It was important for me to join a programme that focuses on academics and employability after the programme. This is critical for me.”
On her career growth and the year ahead, Sibusisiwe says, “I am looking forward to immersing myself in the Cambridge culture and taking every opportunity to learn from faculty and my peers. The combination of academic rigour and exposure to an international network is invaluable for my personal and professional development. I would not be able to get the same level and scope of exposure within a 12-month period in any corporate role.”
Given my academic and professional background, the structure of the programme is ideal for me. The programme is unique in that it accommodates applicants from non-traditional finance backgrounds and includes core finance courses to ensure that all students commence the programme on an equal footing.
Valerie was working in strategy consulting at BCG for two years before joining the MFin programme, with a primary focus on healthcare and private equity clients in Germany and Europe.
Her decision to enrol in the Cambridge MFin programme comes from her desire to broaden her finance knowledge and delve even deeper into financial analyses. The range of elective courses offered on the programme, which can be tailored towards an individual’s goals and career goals, were also a significant factor in her decision to choose the Cambridge MFin.
Valerie says, “The programme’s diverse array of offered courses, all of which are highly relevant in the finance domain, align perfectly with my objectives as an experienced professional seeking to expand my expertise.”
She is also looking forward to the opportunity to connect with individuals from diverse backgrounds and to build long-lasting relationships both within the programme and beyond. Outside of the classroom, she is looking forward to joining various clubs and societies, like the Venture Capital & Private Equity Society and the rowing team.
Cambridge provides a unique environment for expanding one's own horizon beyond the studied subject by connecting with students from other programmes or learning new skills.
After completing his undergraduate degree in Finance in the United States, Parker started his finance career in alternative investing, working in the private equity real estate industry. He played a key role in launching diverse structured investment offerings and advisory on the allocation of more than $100 million in investor equity.
Parker says that his early years in private equity have deepened his enthusiasm for finance and international investment, and he hopes to use his time on the MFin to further hone his skills as a private equity professional.
“Cambridge offers me a unique opportunity to temporarily step away from my professional pursuits and concentrate on strengthening my knowledge and skills in finance. This experience will allow me to proactively address my weaknesses in finance, equipping me with a solid foundation for my future career endeavours.”
On his expectations from the programme and the year ahead, he says, “I am enthusiastic about the opportunity to cultivate lasting international relationships while refining my financial expertise and technical skills through the depth and rigour of the programme. Ultimately, I am aiming to leverage my Cambridge experience to enrich my professional network and enhance myself as a professional in the private equity industry.”
The prospect of delving into intricate financial theories and concepts alongside a cohort of accomplished peers, each bringing a diverse wealth of professional experiences and backgrounds is an unparalleled opportunity that sets Cambridge apart.
Originally from South Africa, Zubair Verachia began his career as a civil engineer. After completing his Master’s degree in International Business in Japan – where he graduated as one of the top performers in his class – he decided to switch his career into financial services.
Zubair joined Visa’s Leadership Accelerator Programme, and after successfully completing the programme he joined the digital partnerships, fintech and ventures team. In this role he structured over 50 commercial partnership deals with fintech’s, crypto exchanges, mobile networks, and issuer processors, spanning across twenty markets in the region.
His decision to apply to the Cambridge MFin was driven by a combination of factors, including the programme’s reputation, a curriculum that offers a mixture of both theoretical and practical elements, and the opportunity to work with one of the specialist research centres.
A recipient of a prestigious Chevening Scholarship, Zubair is enjoying College life. He says, “I am a member of St Edmund’s College, and I am looking forward to taking part in the formal dinners and the May Balls. Beyond the social experiences, these events will provide a platform for me to build meaningful friendships and engage in intellectual discussions with exceptionally talented individuals from around the world. The interdisciplinary nature of Cambridge’s academic environment will broaden my horizons and offer fresh perspectives.”
Contemplating on his career growth and the year ahead, Zubair says his ultimate career goal is to focus on developing markets and make a positive impact. He explains “These markets present immense potential for growth and innovation. By facilitating access to financial services for millions of people in developing markets, we can create inclusive financial systems for the underserved and unbanked segments of the population.”
The Centre for Alternative Finance within the Business School has done extensive research on fintech in developing markets which aligns perfectly with my interests and career aspirations. Being able to engage with this research and potentially contribute to it is a compelling prospect.
Before embarking on her MFin degree, Yui Yoshizawa was working as a Financial Regulator at the Government of Japan’s Financial Services Agency, where she worked on a framework for promoting Japan’s financial digitalization. She was part of a team that conducted a comparative study of the financial digitalization policies of five countries’ overseas regulatory authorities. Having recently completed a secondment as an investment banker, Yui is looking forward to gaining a deeper understanding of financial practices and markets.
Cambridge’s international community and the diverse MFin cohort were also key drivers behind Yui’s decision to apply to the MFin programme. “Cambridge Judge Business School is renowned for its vibrant mix of students, scholars, and residents from all over the world. So, I am really looking forward to meeting classmates from various backgrounds and engaging in stimulating conversations, participating in cross-cultural events, and forming connections with individuals from different walks of life.”
After the MFin, Yui would like to use the knowledge and skills she gains over the next twelve months to promote financial innovation in Japan, through further deregulation, to help enable new IT firms to participate in Japan’s finance sector. “After the programme, I would like to update Japan’s financial regulations so that financial institutions can expand their business opportunities by adopting and utilizing innovative technologies.”
I want to gain a systematic understanding of the theoretical foundations of finance and economics, both practical and theoretical, and an understanding of the market from multiple perspectives. I am excited about the Group Consulting Project and the City Speaker Series, and to learn from front-runners from the financial industry.