In September we welcomed the newest cohort of MFin students to Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS). Here we introduce you to some of the class as they embark on their MFin journey.
With 91 students from 28 different countries, this year’s MFin cohort comes from a diverse range of financial sectors, from Investment Banking to Financial Consulting, and Asset Management to Venture Capital. With an average of four years of work experience, the class brings a wealth of financial experience and expertise to the classroom.
We spoke to members of the 2022 class at the end of the Michaelmas Term, 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.
Navnidhi Begwani was working in Mumbai as a Deputy Manager in the forensic practice at Deloitte before joining the MFin. Her work included identifying risks associated with target companies as part of the transactional due diligence process, and helping international clients reduce their reputational risk exposure at the pre-merger and acquisition stage.
Having spent four years in financial advisory, Navnidhi was looking to develop her corporate finance skills and accelerate her career. “As one of the few post-experience finance programmes, the MFin course design reflected a fine balance of core finance principles, management concepts and next-generation themes in finance like sustainability and fintech.” Being a part of the Cambridge ecosystem and drawing on the strong connections and networks at the Business School, proved to be the driving factor for her decision to choose the Cambridge MFin.
She continues, “I am most excited about making meaningful connections, immersing myself in peer-to-peer learning, soaking up all that the University has to offer, and making an impact for the next generation of women in finance during my time here at Cambridge.” Navnidhi is one of the MFin Alumni Women in Finance Scholars, and she also sits on the Cambridge University Technology Enterprise Club’s committee which, she “aims to build bridges for technology and innovation and especially help women build the table, not just have a seat at it.”
On her expectations from the course she says, “I look forward to building a solid foundation of corporate finance and work as a consultant to help clients manage financial and operational risks, including critical risks like climate change and their impact on business as usual. I am equally thrilled to build lasting friendships with a diverse community of people and look forward to a long-lasting relationship with the University for years to come.”
After completing his undergraduate degree in Economics in Spain, Rodolfo Herrera joined Banco de Credito de Bolivia as a Corporate Credit Risk Analyst. Structuring financial solutions for private and state-owned clients, he worked with some of the bank’s largest clients.
Rodolfo was attracted to Cambridge from a very young age. He explains, “Growing up in Bolivia, Cambridge seemed like a faraway place reserved only for the extraordinary. A place where history, culture and fraternity would meet.” He knew that the Cambridge experience would play an important part in his MFin journey.
As a post-experience degree, the Cambridge MFin was the ideal choice for Rodolfo. He continues, “Cambridge offered exactly what I was looking for. I decided it was time to take my career to an international level, and to achieve this goal I needed a top degree in finance. I had been working for more than two years, so I did not fit a pre-experience programme. The MFin covered my specific needs.”
Looking back on his first term in Cambridge, Rodolfo is embracing everything that Cambridge has to offer, “I have never been in such a vibrant place like Cambridge. Every day is a new challenge. As a student, you must achieve a high academic performance but there are also lots of opportunities to develop your artistic, cultural, or sports skills. You must make the most out of what such a spirited community offers.”
On his career growth and the year ahead, Rodolfo says, “I look forward to meeting brilliant people, building long-lasting relationships, sharpening my academic and professional skills, and building connections between my country (Bolivia) and Cambridge.”
He continues, “After the MFin I plan to join the energy finance sector, with the longer-term aim of developing Latin America’s clean energy production potential.”
Tom Mosher, originally from the United States, had built a successful capital markets practice at an international law firm before embarking on his MFin. He structured cross-border transactions, including the bailouts and rescues of troubled banks in the aftermath of the global financial and eurozone crises. He also drafted some of the earliest green bonds, advised sovereign governments, and worked on development projects in rural India.
“My time as a finance attorney gave me the chance to see first-hand how the financial sectors in places like New York, London and Hong Kong can fuel great excess and instability, but at their best can also engender responsible and prudent commerce,” says Tom. “I came back to university hoping to explore so many questions: how can we build a more thoughtful, human-centric economy? What is the role of capital in fostering development?”
Tom says that he has always been fascinated by the behaviour of financial investors, speculators, and lawmakers, and he hopes to use his time as a student to sharpen his understanding of both mathematical and behavioural approaches to finance. “I arrived at Cambridge hoping to study my favourite subject with more rigour,” says Tom, “but I quickly came to realise that the greatest advantage of being here is the people. I never could have imagined how much I would be inspired by this breathtakingly accomplished group of entrepreneurs, professionals, academics, and business leaders–among my own classmates, the faculty, and a series of world-renowned visiting speakers.”
Born and raised in China, Tracy Pei was working in Hong Kong for one of the big four accounting firms, before joining the MFin programme. Starting out in financial services, she soon developed an interest in green finance and transferred to the climate and sustainability team, where she helped clients quantify climate change into financial impact.
Tracy was attracted to the Cambridge MFin because it is a post-experience programme with a specific emphasis on finance. She says, “Unlike most pre-experience finance master programmes, the entire MFin cohort has at least two-years of professional experience in various finance sectors. It provides a great opportunity to learn from peers. The strong alumni network was another motivation for me, and I had some insightful conversations with several alumni before applying to the programme.”
She adds, “I am looking forward to meeting people from different backgrounds in different disciplines. The most amazing thing about Cambridge is that the University opens doors to a whole world of different programmes, international and diverse students, and rich history. The experience is different from a traditional business school which focuses purely on the commercial world.”
Having worked in sustainable finance before joining the programme, Tracy would like to move into an investment-focused role after she completes the MFin.
“My target organisations are investment firms in London and the green finance hub, where I can broaden my horizon in a mature green financial market.” After only a few months in Cambridge, she adds, “The various networking events, such as the City Speaker Series, have already helped me to build connections with professionals in the sustainable investing field and facilitate my transition geographically.”
For Nidradee Pongwattanakitkul, joining the MFin programme was an easy decision. After completing her Cambridge MBA degree in 2020, she decided to return to Cambridge for a second time and embark on an MFin degree.
She says, “Coming back to Cambridge after two years is like a dream come true. At the start of the MFin programme, I couldn’t help feeling excited and nervous. But luckily, I’m not alone on this journey, as I am surrounded by smart and supportive classmates to help me make the most of my MFin year.”
Being a Cambridge student has always been a dream for Nidradee, and after completing her MBA degree in 2020 she started working in the technical and financial consulting industries. She adds, “During the two years after my MBA, I realised I would like to expand my knowledge in finance. The Cambridge MFin was undoubtedly my one and only choice because of the deep and strong connection I have with the University and the cohort’s diversity in terms of nationalities and different professional backgrounds.”
Returning to her former College has also been a highlight for Nidradee. She concludes, “I also received a warm welcome from Queens’ College, and I’m so grateful to have another chance to enjoy my Cambridge life for another year. As a Cambridge MBA alumna, this is a treasured opportunity to return to Cambridge to further develop my technical skills in a familiar and warm learning environment. I already know this is going to be one of the best years of my life. After all, I couldn’t be happier to be able to fulfil my dreams… twice!”