UCL Institute of Finance & Technology


Student stories

We spoke to several of our students about their experiences on our programmes

Weiwangzi Wei
Banking and Digital Finance MSc 2022-2023 

Weiwangzi Wei

Driven by a vision of a future dominated by AI and Big Data, I chose Banking and Digital Finance with determination but little experience in programming. The journey at IFT was transformative. The curriculum, steeped in practicality, along with the inspiring guidance of professors, reshaped my understanding and skills. I was not just learning; I was evolving, supported by a community of peers and mentors who were as invested in my success as their own.

From a beginner to a skilled aspirant, my transformation was rapid and profound. In just a year, I went from grappling with the basics to securing a Data Scientist position. IFT wasn't just an institute; it was a crucible where my potential was realized and honed, preparing me for the challenges and opportunities of the professional world in AI and Big Data.

Olivia Junge Fan
Venture Capital and Private Equity with Financial Technology MSc 2022-2023 


Coming from a finance background, I was particularly attracted to the program’s distinctive emphasis on the intersection of venture capital, private markets, and FinTech start-ups. Over a full year immersed in study, the course not only equipped me with a solid understanding of traditional finance but also opened my eyes to the dynamic world of financial technology.

Alongside my studies, I have been given the chance to interact with industry experts, mostly from our Wednesdays industry exposure days and regular guest lectures. All these opportunities provided by this program made our learning not just from textbooks and PowerPoints but from real-world practitioners. The industrial professors brought their experiences to the classroom, enriching the learning experience. The collaboration between industrial professors and academic tutors not only deepened my understanding but also fortified the overall educational experience.

The integration of case studies into the curriculums, especially within the ‘valuation concepts and principles’ and ‘portfolio management and asset allocation’ modules, provided a platform for analysing tangible, real-world examples. This allowed me to apply theoretical financial knowledge to different practical scenarios to enhance my analytical and technical skills. On top of that, all these practical skills increased my employability further, acting as the foundation of my career. This hands-on approach enabled me to identify and address challenges in rapidly changing global markets, a crucial skill in today's business landscape.

Yang Tian
Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Financial Technology MSc 2022-2023 

IFT Graduate, Yang Tian

My academic journey through the realms of Venture Capital, Private Equity, and Financial Technology has been both challenging and rewarding. The rigorous coursework demanded dedication and perseverance, but the intellectual rigor proved to be a catalyst, unlocking my potential and saturating my intellect with a wealth of concentrated knowledge. This arduous journey was not without its rewards; it equipped me with invaluable tools that I am confident will serve as a cornerstone in my future endeavours.

A notable highlight was our Machine Learning assignment, where we employed Long Short-Term Memory (LSTM) networks to forecast stock market trends. This exercise wasn't just academically enriching—it also translated into practical success, as I leveraged these insights to secure a 40% investment return over six weeks. However, the learning extended beyond the confines of structured coursework. The weekly guest lectures were a conduit to the pulse of the financial sector, offering a window into the sophisticated mechanics of today's cutting-edge financial markets.

Keisi Mancellari
Banking and Digital Finance MSc 2021-22

Keisi Mancellari, an IFT graduate
"My programme was well advertised as the ‘course of the future’. Fintechs are the future and this course can get you in.

I would definitely say that the programme pushed me to reach a potential I didn’t know I had, especially in terms of technical skills. I came in not very confident in my programming skills, but I came out securing a job as a data analytics engineer. I feel extremely grateful, especially for Luca Cocconcelli’s module. We got exposed to developers’ work, engineers’ work and advancements in tech that made that world a newly discovered ambition for me.  

I'm excited to apply the skills I have gained at IFT to my graduate role, as a data analytics engineer at Checkout.com." 

Aiaz Mamedov 
Banking and Digital Finance MSc, 2021-22

Aiaz Mamedov, an IFT graduate, outside the UCL portico building
Having completed a Bachelor's in 2020, I spent the next 12 months gaining practical experience in the financial industry. During this period, I started realising how important the implementation of contemporary technology is to modern finance. The opportunity to gain essential knowledge about digital finance and the application of artificial intelligence (AI) inspired me to apply for the MSc Banking and Digital Finance course. 

We were fortunate enough to learn about the advancements of modern finance and banking from leading academics and industry practitioners. This unique combination provided us with thorough knowledge of the industry and, more importantly, an understanding of the dynamic development of the financial sector.

Zihao Liu 
Current PhD student (2019-)

Zihao Liu, an IFT PhD student
I find the PhD programme to be a very good combination of Finance and Computer programming and Machine learning (ML). If you seek a job in the investment bank to be a quant, then both financial and programming knowledge are needed. IFT completely supports my research direction and the ideas I have, no matter how early-stage or advanced. My supervisors (Professors Medda and Okhrati) make me feel we are a team - it's a very friendly atmosphere, with hardworking and self-disciplined students who achieve great things.

Andrea Bassani
Banking and Digital Finance MSc, 2021-22

Andrea Bassani, a UCL IFT graduate
I came across IFT when researching for a programme that would combine a specialisation in finance while developing my quantitative and programming skills to better position me for the job market. Throughout the programme, practical exercises and coursework have helped me to put into practice my financial and coding skills to address current challenges through the adoption of ML and AI models. The lectures were able to create an interactive environment to discuss case studies and material that also helped me to further develop my problem-solving and communication skills.

Overall, my MSc was a fun but challenging year! I'd recommend IFT because it is a great academic environment to increase your network, where you'll find a diverse group of people to test your knowledge and vision of financial and technology topics.