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Guest Comment: Being a financial journalist is like sitting in a Ferrari but never driving it, so I’m doing a Masters to kick start my financial career

I’m about to embark on what I believe will be one of the most exhilarating chapters in my life: moving to London to study.

But first, a little about what I’m giving up. I was previously the finance correspondent for The Straits Times in Singapore. In my job, I was privy to the blistering economic growth that captured the imagination of the global finance industry, followed by the ripples of the crisis and the ensuing recession. Although Asia emerged much better than the West, the region was not spared from the bloodletting.

I had a front-row seat to view the financial carnage as it unfolded in Asia. I interviewed heavyweights like Sir Philip Hampton, chairman of RBS, and Mark Mobius, executive chairman of Templeton Asset Management’s emerging markets group. And I often felt the adrenaline rush of bringing in a ‘scoop’ story.

I want to make rain, not watch it

The thrill of the chase was fun, but during my six-year business journalism career, I started to think how it would feel to be in the shoes of the rainmakers. Being embroiled in the worst crisis since the Great Depression isn’t for the faint hearted, but I increasingly wanted to get my hands dirty and to live and breathe finance as a practitioner.

I envisioned myself analysing companies and managing portfolios for my clients, while advising them on the risks they were taking in search of higher returns. Being on the sidelines was getting passé for me; it’s like sitting in a Ferrari, but never actually driving the car.

Could I have transitioned into finance – specifically investment management – straight from business journalism? I could have made a case, but I felt the time wasn’t right, given my capabilities and my potential to add more value to future employers if I pursued a degree.

London calling

After speaking to several industry veterans and doing extensive research into the best postgraduate courses, I decided on London Business School’s (LBS) Masters in Finance programme. Getting into the course is competitive and I was fortunate to be admitted after a battery of tests, interviews, and essays.

Financial services is at the forefront of changes in the increasingly dynamic global economy. I want the opportunity to challenge and be challenged by the perspectives of my classmates and faculty.

I expect to take subjects like portfolio management and financial analysis, in line with my career objectives. As I have a clear idea about my post-LBS plans, I seek a specialist degree that will give me depth and focus, rather than the general management expertise of an MBA.

In a few weeks’ time, I will be heading to London with my wife and I will be keeping you posted about my adventures there. Look out for more blogs as I take my first steps into a new career.

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