Mark Brown

Country of origin: United Kingdom

Investment Assistant, Investec Wealth & Investment

Mark's placement year on the Business Studies degree confirmed his ideas of where he wanted his career to go – and he then completed the MSc Finance to build his professional expertise.

Before coming to Lancaster I went to an international school in Hong Kong. I initially chose Lancaster based on the Management School’s high ranking, but after completing both my undergraduate and postgraduate degrees here, I have taken away so much more than a degree from a top university.

I can honestly say that choosing to study here has been the best decision I have made. The flexibility of the degree programmes was one of the biggest selling points for me. As a fresh-faced high-school graduate, I had no idea what career path to take, and the BSc Business Studies programme allowed me see what areas of business I liked and didn’t like.

The programme is set up in such a way that you can study a range of subjects, everything from to business law to marketing. The staff at LUMS are all friendly and happy to have a chat to help guide your career in the direction you want to go.

In my third year of my BSc programme I undertook a placement year at Kantar Worldpanel, who are the market research consultancy arm of one of the largest media companies in the world - WPP. This was a great way for me to gain experience in a corporate environment and to put into practice some of the lessons learnt in the classroom. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work in their London office, servicing their largest client. I finished my placement knowing exactly what direction I wanted to take my career.

I had always been interested in the finance industry, but wanted to learn more about the ins and outs of finance before deciding on what specialisation to go into. Choosing Lancaster to study Finance MSc was an easy choice for me given the positive experience I had as an undergraduate. I was lucky to receive some funding from an Alumni Scholarship and from the Peel Trust Studentship for the tuition fees.

Although the Masters in Finance programme is intellectually demanding, it is impossible to leave the programme without learning a lot. You are taught by academics that are at the top of their field, not just in the United Kingdom, but internationally. The best thing about the programme is that it is kept in line with professional qualifications like the CFA and ACCA.

After graduating in September 2012, I htook up a graduate job at JP Morgan Chase in Edinburgh. Having being born is Scotland, but brought up in Hong Kong, it was great to be able to work in my home country again. I worked in fund accounting at JP Morgan, producing Net Asset Values for some of the largest OEICs and Unit Trusts. The Masters definitely helped in my new job: I was able to see investment strategies that I learnt about on the programme being used in practice by the funds that I valued. In 2014 I moved on to a new position with Investec.

Without sounding too clichéd, my best advice to anyone thinking of studying at Lancaster is that you really do get back what you put in to the university. There are so many opportunities at Lancaster that the biggest thing to worry about is finding the time to do everything that you want. In the years I have spent at Lancaster I have been a part of the Lancaster University Rugby Team, I have represented the Management School at the Red Rose Business Weekend, at the Citigroup Trading Competition Finals in London, and as a tour guide. The opportunities to get involved really are endless, which for me makes it a great place to study.