Alumni profile - Sven Christen

Sven Christen graduated from Regent’s in 2012 with an MSc in Global Banking & Finance and is now working as a Mutual Funds Analyst at Bloomberg LP. We caught up with him to find out more about the programme and how it has helped his career.

Why did you decide to study at Regent’s?

I knew people who had previously studied at Regent’s and applied based on reputation.

Why did you choose the MSc Global Banking & Finance?

I wanted to study a specialised degree rather than a generic finance degree. The focus in the MSc is on banking and the curriculum is moulded around that. Courses such as banking regulation, monetary policy and investment management are very focused and not something you would expect to see in another Management degree.  I think it would have been a lot harder to apply for jobs with a generic management degree in this economic climate; specialisation is a key attribute.

Where are you working now?

I’m a Mutual Funds Analyst at Bloomberg LP. In my role I look after the maintenance of data for Swiss, German, Luxembourg and UK mutual funds as well as Israeli ETF. Other projects I am involved in include the development of Bloomberg’s own Money Market trading platform.

What advice would you give to students looking to move into your industry?

Be persistent, the industry is in decline at the moment! Most students want to work in mergers and acquisitions, investment banking or consulting, but I think it’s rare for anyone without previous experience in the industry to land a job like that immediately after graduation in this climate.

The MSc has opened a lot of doors but I also had to be realistic about how far an academic degree can bring me in an industry where career success is very dependent on how early you got in and what experiences you already bring with you.

When looking for a first job in this industry it’s important to branch out and consider a range of jobs. Few students from my class landed their dream job immediately; most are working in a role that will bring them closer to where they want to be.

I was considering a wide variety of roles as well and applied for specific jobs where I thought the experience would benefit me later.

How did your time at Regent’s prepare you for your career?

The programme gave us a very good overall understanding of the various fields the make up the financial industry.  It was exciting to learn more in depth about topical issues at the time such as the Eurozone and Greek financial crises, quantitative easing, and the long term refinancing operation.

The different modules helped us to look at the same issues from different angles and understand why they developed, and why they are tricky to resolve. The benefit of this degree is that it not only focused on abstract concepts and ‘how things are done’, but also looked at the bigger picture and gave all of us a good understanding of why previous systems have failed throughout the world. In a climate where regulations are rapidly changing, it is important to understand this. My ability to look at the bigger picture gives me a competitive edge.  In addition, the various modules contained nuggets of information which I now apply on a daily basis

In what ways do you think benefited from studying at Regent’s?

It really is the acquired knowledge from the programme that is benefitting me today in my job and gives me a competitive edge over my colleagues.

Was there a particular teacher on your programme who stood out?

Dr Michael Gavridis definitely stood out as a teacher who took real interest in his students.

Michael was teaching Corporate Finance and his approach was almost holistic: one hour was spent on discussing current issues, which helped to give us a good understanding of current affairs. He always encouraged us to read the financial news and a lot of us signed up to the Financial Times. This in itself further helped to boost learning outside of the classroom. The remaining time was usually spent on theoretical teaching but in a way that made the matter approachable. Michael was also my dissertation tutor and helped me a lot to develop my ideas and refine my approach to my thesis in the early stages.

Dr Rajiv Maluste was another teacher whose approach deserves mentioning.

Monetary policy is a very complex subject but he took the time to make his classes as interesting as possible. He would also regularly spend extra time to explain things which were not clear and managed to relate each theoretical concept to current affairs. In 2012 when the European Central Bank and the Federal Reserve were doing their open market operations, it was exciting to understand why these activities were needed and how they affect the markets.

What do you think the importance of London is in this industry?

London is still the major financial hub in Europe and most of the industry is located here. Most of the major banks have offices somewhere in the City. This has attracted all the secondary industry and most funds, brokers, dealers, custodians, financial information providers and trading platform providers have offices here as well. All in all there are more interesting job opportunities in London than anywhere else in Europe. While competition is tough I still believe staying in London will benefit my career in the long run.