London-trip MFM

Monday, 23 February 2015, 12:08 | Category : Masters
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Grab your woolen mittens and scarfs, we’re going to London!

4 days we could leave our books behind, visit the most prestigious financial companies, network with the most respected people in the industry and of course, reinforce existing friendships amongst each other.

Let me tell you how we discovered London and how some of those experiences will have their impact on our future career paths.

No one of us ever imagined walking through Bloomberg, which is the cream of the crop concerning financial news and information. We got enlightened how financial analysists, journalists and many more work together to provide the financial market with the news it needs to properly function. As Michael Bloomberg believed news should be transparent and accessible for all, the open working environment reflected this by using glass walls.

After a fish and chips lunch, we all went to discover London, each at our own terms. The discovery consisted of the London pride-monuments such as Buckingham Palace, London Eye and the Big Ben. Some of us went even to West End to experience the story of the Phantom of the Opera. But of course, as we are young, also the pubs were discovered that night!

After a late pub-night some of us faced a very early morning cured with plenty of water and the necessary painkillers. Luckily, half of the hangover cure was provided by JP Morgan as we were welcomed with coffee, tea, fruit juice and water. Despite the bouncing heads and tired eyes no one felt the desire to rest as the explanation of Vlerick Alumni Tom Vermeulen encouraged the students to discover the secret to become a JP Morgan-worthy candidate. Also Vincent Juvyns was interesting without a doubt when he explained JP Morgan’s view on the current market. After both presentations we were again spoiled with delicious food; delightful sandwiches, exotic fruits and creamy cheese were all available to us. Some of us even took the liberty to take a look around in the elegant and refined building where the interior was just stunning and the panoramic view on the Thames made all students take their cameras, not only our Chinese student, Qi.

For the third time this trip we got new badges in the afternoon. This time they were Goldmann Sachs-visitor badges. In the meeting room we were given a presentation by the Managing Director of IBD Europe, Dirk Lievens, who proved to be a very attention-grabbing speaker. Mister Lievens explained how investment banking works and how Goldmann positions itself in the sector in comparison to their peers. Afterwards we got a quick tour through the building where we got a view on the absurd facilities the company offers its employees; gym, ping-pong corner, sushi restaurant and even a spa were present!

The evening was filled with networking possibilities in the Royal Anglo-Belgian Club. During the walking dinner we got the chance to meet some of the Vlerick Alumni who are living and working in London. Not only the financial alumni were present (who work in Barclays, JP Morgan, Morgan Stanley) but also Vlerick Alumni that decided to work on a non-financial basis such as Michael Vanderweeen (Linklaters) and Sarah Vanwelden, (Christies). All of them were open to networking and sharing experiences, which resulted in an formal and informal advice to start off a career in London.

With less sleepy eyes and more energy we visited Lloyds the next day, an interesting tour for many reasons. The building itself with the pipe-structure outside, the retired broker who guided us through the building and explained us how Lloyds works and the more detailed HR-information we received afterwards.

With some spare time until our next visit London got discovered more in detail. Most girls preferred to check out Covent Garden and Oxford Street whereas the boys got to know the best bars. Also tea-time was not skipped!

After tea-time Soecieté Générale welcomed us with a presentation on debt capital markets and fixed income by the director and managing director. Also HR gave some very valuable tips how to start off a career in London, how to stand out. The people from Société, invited us afterwards to a pub called Sammie’s for a drink. Which, let us be honest, turned into quite a few drinks accompanied by a drinking game between students and bankers. Talking about an interactive networking event!

Last day in London. So tired. Luckily we had an active experience on how a trading floor works in the ESCP Business School. For the first time, we could test our trading talents! But let’s be honest, those talents can still use some (or a whole lot more) practising. But, as always, the competition was there and everyone wanted to be the best trader on the floor!

With new insights in the financial market, the knowledge of the London pubs and beautiful memories we returned home. London gave us an opportunity to experience the heat of the financial world and made our courses come to live.

Thank you London for having us!

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