Alumni insight: helping people from more disadvantaged backgrounds gain the same opportunities

03 November 2021

MSc Finance & Economics alum Dinesh shares his experience of studying at WBS with a 50% scholarship, and how it has helped him to take on a role that doesn’t feel like a job.

My name is Dinesh Patel, and I studied MSc Finance & Economics at Warwick Business School from 2018 -19. My current role is as an Analyst for Barclays, based at Canary Wharf, London.

Making the decision to study MSc Finance & Economics
I joined WBS for the master’s programme after completing my undergraduate degree at Aston University in Economics and Management.

I decided to study at WBS because of its reputation as one of the best universities in the world. Before accepting my offer, I researched some of the recent alumni of the MSc Finance & Economics programme on LinkedIn to see what kind of roles they went on to do. It was clear that many of the alumni were working at bulge bracket investment banks, hedge funds, and highly regarded boutiques, which was well aligned with my ambitions. 

Getting the opportunity to study at WBS with a 50% scholarship
I received the 50% scholarship from WBS. The scholarship gave me the opportunity to come to WBS. Without it, the tuition fees would have been too high for me to attend. The scholarship also enhanced my motivation to want to help other people from more disadvantaged backgrounds gain the same opportunities. This is something that remains very close to my heart. At Barclays, I have continued to push this agenda, engaging in their mentoring schemes and also completing the preparatory steps to be a governor at the school that I went to as a child.

Stepping into the role of Analyst at Barclays
I currently work for Barclays within model risk. I feel privileged to have a role that doesn’t really feel like a job. One of the reasons why I wanted to do a master’s degree is because I love understanding how models work at a fundamental mathematical level. This is something that was really pushed by my lecturers at Warwick. There was a big emphasis on the lectures and exams not just being a memory test. I was forced to develop a mindset of learning how a theory works and not just memorising how to apply it. At the time it was challenging and I probably didn’t appreciate how valuable that mindset would be. But it has set me apart in my role at Barclays. I get to do this every day when I’m analysing the prediction models used within the bank.

The content that I studied at Warwick is really well aligned with the work that is done at Barclays and probably more generally in the industry as a whole. Most of my lecturers had worked in the industry in some capacity before and so they are able to explain how the things they are teaching are applied in practice.  It has been really easy for me to settle into this role because I’ve already got an understanding of how the bank operates. When I interact with people across the bank, I have an understanding of what they do and, to an extent, what their objectives are in their role.

Key lessons from Warwick
The key lesson that I took from Warwick was: don’t think about learning as an opportunity to memorise a model/theory so that you can apply it. Understand how every single formula works and the specific situations when it might fail. This is a broad idea, but taking it into my career has helped me to make a real impact from the very beginning.

I think the culture at Warwick is also very different. Everyone on my course was applying for the same roles. You are able to learn from the mistakes that others have made, but also understand what top candidates are doing to set themselves apart during the interview process. So much of what I spoke about in my own interviews at Barclays were taken from conversations I’d overheard at Warwick about “the extra mile” that someone else had gone to stand out in an interview and then copied the same idea myself.

Advice for anyone thinking of applying to MSc Finance & Economics at Warwick Business School
I would say that WBS gives you a fantastic opportunity to be in a world-class environment. The culture at the university, the people you interact with on a daily basis, and the material you study will force you to upgrade your standards. It will be challenging to balance work, securing a graduate role, and also social activities. But if you are willing to really apply yourself for a year you will have everything you need to be successful. Trust that the process will help you get to where you want to be, because it definitely worked for me. I also still do some mentoring with students at WBS and so if anyone needs any advice, I’m happy for them to reach out on LinkedIn.

Warwick Business School offers up to 50% scholarships to the change makers of the future. Discover more about our scholarship offering here.

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