Aleksander Hristov

Country of origin: Bulgaria

Graduate analyst, Moody's Investors Service

Before I joined Lancaster University, I completed a BA (Hons) International Finance and Trade at the University of Portsmouth. Although the degree equipped me with a great overall understanding of many business areas, it did not fully explore the area that really interested me – finance. Applying for a Masters in Finance seemed the obvious next step.

The decision of where to study a Master’s degree was not an easy one. I knew that if I chose the right place, it would be an experience that would benefit me for the rest of my life. When researching the different business schools, it was important for the university to be internationally renowned and have a highly rated MSc Finance programme. In addition I was also looking for a university that was a partner with the CFA Institute. In my opinion, this partnership was additional recognition that the content of the studies was practically oriented and offered excellent preparation for students to enter the industry. 

The MSc Finance programme in Lancaster is intense but at the same time designed in such a way that even people who come from non-finance background have the opportunity to pick up the fundamentals before more advanced material is introduced.

While the Michaelmas term consists of only compulsory subjects, the Lent term gives you the opportunity to specialise in the areas of finance that really interest you. No matter which subjects you choose you are always surrounded by like-minded individuals who share your passion. I had a really amazing time learning from world-class professors like John O’Hanlon whose subject was financial statement analysis. He introduced us to a wide range of tools and methods for analysis and valuation of companies. The subject couldn’t have been more practical – all of the techniques and insights that were taught were at a level comparable to professional equity analysts.

One of the things that distinguishes Lancaster University Management School from most other business schools is the opportunity to prepare for the CFA Level I exam as part of the MSc programme. This was an invaluable addition to my Master’s studies and helped me a great deal with passing the exam.

During my time at Lancaster I was also an executive and journal editor at the Lancaster Investment and Finance Society (LUIFS). This was a superb place to meet and socialise with students from across the different departments who had interest in investments. 

Overall, my Lancaster experience was much more than I initially anticipated. The learning curve is steep, but also very rewarding. In terms of social life, you get to make a lot of friends not only among fellow students, but (something I haven’t come across before!) also among the academic staff. 

Shortly before I finished my dissertation I was offered a position as Product Analyst in Bank of America Merrill Lynch. The role is extremely demanding and involves supporting the New York equities trading desks.

Finally, and I say this with slight nostalgia – thank you Lancaster for a great time!