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Student Stories: What it’s like to study Finance at Stockholm School of Economics

Image courtesy of the Stockholm School of Economics. Credit: Krista Glödstaf

“Looking back to my decisions, I think the most important driver is the endless opportunities. Initially, I thought these opportunities represent access to better quality of education and deeper knowledge of the Western Financial System. However, there are opportunities and freedom to do what I love to do, to discover myself and shape my view of the world.” – Hanqing Jasmine He, MSc Finance at SSE

As a world-leading Business School in Europe, Stockholm School of Economics (SSE) embodies a unique, global and business-centred institution. Conducting research that resonates worldwide, while offering a diverse learning experience deeply informed by the findings of science, the SSE provides a specialised and transformative learning journey that’s recognised on all corners of the globe.

Ranked the number one Business School in the Nordic and Baltic region by the Financial Times (FT), SSE is undoubtedly a flagship provider of Business and Finance-focused education. Offering a world-class learning venture in a city known for being one of the most stunning in the world, an expedition into SSE’s unrivalled provisions pays the best returns, with a previous SSE placement report noting that 92 percent of SSE’s 2015 MSc graduates found meaningful employment within three months of graduation.

Image courtesy of the Stockholm School of Economics. Credit: Juliana Wiklund

Through a program that blends academic rigor with a research-centred curriculum, extensive real-world application and operational expertise, SSE is consistently producing graduates who will transform the future financial world. But what does it take to succeed as a student at the Stockholm School of Economics?

“My interest in Finance spans back to my childhood, actually,” says Hanqing Jasmine He, a student of SSE’s Master of Finance program. “My parents taught me the value of money by taking away my lucky money for Chinese New Year and putting them in my bank account. It was quite a hard decision for a little girl to choose between buying a doll right now and having more money to buy more dolls in the future. But this incident ignited my interest in the subject at a young age,” she explains.

Intimidated by the high-pressure backdrop and intensity associated with the academic systems within her home country, at the age of 16, Jasmine told her parents of her dream to study abroad, drawn not only by the prospect of a first-rate education, but also of gaining unique cultural insights that are now so essential in an increasingly globalised world.

“So, half a year later,” she says, “I hopped on a plane to Minnesota to continue high school studies. With the interest of studying Finance, I went to New York University for my undergraduate degree and graduated from Stern School of Business with double concentrations in Finance and Global Business.”

Settling on Sweden as her most desirable overseas destination for postgraduate study, Jasmine began the search for the School best-suited to her needs. As an institution steeped in a resounding aura of prestige, SSE inevitably came out top. As well as being the region’s top-ranked Business School, almost 50 percent of SSE’s total student body derive from international roots, making it a tight-knit and inclusive community enriched by a cultural melting-pot of unique ideas and perspectives.

Image courtesy of the Stockholm School of Economics. Credit: Krista Glödstaf

The tipping-point came when Jasmine uncovered that the School has five comprehensive English-taught programs, eliminating the additional stress of being a non-native student fighting against the barrier of an unfamiliar language.

“I would say the combination of strong academic profile and great connections with companies drove my decision to pick the MSc Finance program,” she explains. “The Finance program is ranked number 16 in the world by FT and the quality of teaching is very high.

Swedish House of Finance (SHoF) hosts seminars and presents newest researches that are a great addition to the classroom routine,” Jasmine adds. “The strong and active connection with local and international companies is also important since, at the end of the day, every student wants to get a job.”

Jasmine points out that the Career Development Accelerator (CDA) Program is another distinctive feature of the course, assigning qualified and experienced coaches to guide students through the entire MSc process. Here, students unleash their full potential, led by qualified tutors who help them realise their ambition and push towards the best possible future placement for employment.

“I think what’s great about the CDA program…[is that] some of the sessions took a deep-dive into my personality and key drivers of my motivation, which are helpful to make sure I align them with the jobs I want to look for,” she says. “When I was evaluating my internship opportunities, my personal career coach Grant was there during every step. Besides professional help, it is just great to have someone who believes in your potential.”

But with women remaining virtually ‘invisible’ when it comes to leadership positions in Business and Financial services, where females account for just the 9.6 percent of FTSE100 Company Directors, the gender imbalance within this global industry continues to roll in negative press. And SSE serves as the ultimate example of an institution that’s making leaps and bounds in terms of driving gender equality in this crucial field, with the SSE Student Association hosting inspiring annual events like Women’s Finance Day.

“I actually feel empowered being a female student of Finance at SSE,” Jasmine states. “I think Sweden is very good at gender equality and people are aware of the imbalance – especially in the Finance sector. Karol Vieker is the Equality and Diversity Manager at the School and she gives great lectures and helpful tips about battling inequality in life.”

One factor that particularly drew her to the SSE is that Swedish employers are working hard to mitigate the professional gender imbalance that affects virtually every field.

Image courtesy of the Stockholm School of Economics. Credit: Juliana Wiklund

“Many of the companies express their goals when they meet prospective candidates,” she says. “I think what matters more than hiring equal numbers of both genders at the entry level is to see an increase of female figures on the higher level. One of the key reasons I chose to do a summer internship with RBS Nordisk Renting here in Stockholm is that the CEO, Head of Legal and Head of HR are powerful and smart women. As a young female professional, being able to learn from female leaders is exceptionally valuable.”

And to prospective female international students looking to study Finance at SSE, Jasmine states just this: “Be confident. You will be surrounded by brilliant peers and professionals who value your opinions and will only help you be a better person. So be you and let your voice be heard.”

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