Ilse osorio figueroa

Ilse Osorio Figueroa

Tell us about your course - why did you choose it? What elements of the course inspired you to study here?

I chose to study MSc Banking and International Finance at Leeds University Business School because the course content covered the central issues in modern banking and financial markets. The university also has a strong research culture as part of the Russell Group and the business school holds triple accreditation from the three leading bodies AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. Leeds University Business School has also been named a Centre of Excellence by the Chartered Banker Institute. 

What is the best part of your studies? What are you enjoying the most? 

The best thing about my course is the modules. The core modules have a perfect mix of quantitative and theoretical views, encouraging critical thinking and connecting ideas across subjects. We also choose optional modules to have a more personalised learning experience and to gain skills for real-world application in the financial labour market. 

The knowledge that I have acquired has allowed me to understand situations that I experienced daily as a Business Consultant from another perspective. I think this will allow me to move from the execution of projects to a more strategic role in the future. 

What are your career aspirations? Do you think the experience and skills you will gain on your course will help you in your future career plans? In what way? 

Although my work experience helped me to develop project management and interpersonal skills, I would like to keep growing professionally. Studying MSc Banking and International Finance was the perfect opportunity to gain the knowledge, tools and strategies necessary to aspire to a management position in a consulting firm or a banking institution. I feel prepared to face the challenges that the sector currently presents and maximise the value I bring to my team and the institutions with which I collaborate. 

Do you have any noteworthy achievements from your study at the Business School that you can tell us about eg. prizes highest scores etc? 

I have completed a Bloomberg Market Concepts Certificate and am a student member of The Chartered Banker Institute, both covered by the University. Additionally, I was one of the 25 students selected to represent the University of Leeds in the Postgraduate Study Tour to Frankfurt School of Finance and Management in 2023. 

If you are not from the UK, how was the transition to a foreign country? Did the University offer support or services that you found helpful? Can you offer any advice?

For me, the most difficult part of the transition was to adapt to a new language. Although I had a good level of English, having exposure to different accents and using another language all the time was a process that required time and patience. However, week by week I was gaining fluency and understanding everything better. The strategies I followed were to talk to other people as much as possible and listen to the radio. 

The professors are very understanding when it comes to international students studying in a language that is not their mother tongue and the university has many resources to improve your language skills: computer centres with online courses; exchanges with native students who want to learn your language; sessions in the library on writing essays, public speaking, or tips for reading and answering exams. 

What is your impression/experience of the facilities, the staff, your peers, the student union, the City of Leeds and the Yorkshire region? 

I love the university's facilities - everything is so modern and there are so many things to do on campus from academic activities to cultural performances and free events for all kinds of interests. There are study spaces that meet all your needs such as silent study, group spaces and cafes around campus. In my spare time, I enjoy exercising - The Edge has amazing facilities and over a hundred classes to join and keep yourself fit, have fun, and meet people. The University’s societies host events from cultural activities to networking and skill-development sessions which has also allowed me to explore other interests.  

Leeds is a young, diverse, and vibrant city for creativity and culture. One of my favourite areas of the city is Hyde Park, here you can find great places to study, chill or meet pals. I really enjoy a good cup of coffee and nice music while I’m working on my assignments, exploring vintage shops, running at Woodhouse Moor park, and discovering art galleries, exhibitions, and music performances. 

You were a recipient of the Masters Excellence Scholarship. How has this benefitted you and your experience whilst studying at Leeds? 

Receiving the Masters Excellence Scholarship has been an incredible honour and a life-changing opportunity. It has enabled me to pursue my academic goals and has given me the financial support to engage in a range of extracurricular activities that have broadened my perspective and enriched my overall experience. The scholarship has provided me with the means to participate in the PGT International Study Tour at the Frankfurt School of Finance and Management, and to become a member of the Women in Leadership Society, connecting with inspiring female leaders in my field. Additionally, I have been able to attend various networking events and conferences, including those hosted by FinTech companies, the Bank of England, UBS, and the Royal Bank of Canada, which have helped me expand my professional network and gain valuable insights into the industry. I am also grateful for the student membership status to the Chartered Banker Institute, which has allowed me to access a wealth of resources and further develop my skills. Finally, earning the Bloomberg certificate in Financial Markets Concepts has been a significant accomplishment, and I could not have achieved it without the scholarship's support to focus solely on my academic pursuits. Overall, I am immensely grateful for the Masters Excellence Scholarship and the opportunities it has brought me. 

Are there any experiences outside of your studies that you particularly enjoyed?

I particularly enjoy the meditation session organised by the University's Support and Wellbeing Service. The sessions are guided by a specialist and help me control stress and manage my emotions better. On weekends I usually meet friends to go to museums, visit nearby towns or go hiking (Yorkshire has so many beautiful natural and historical places to explore). 

What would you say your defining memory of studying here was?  

The first exam period because I felt closer than ever to my classmates. I felt the support of my friends as well as the satisfaction of finishing the last exam and going out to celebrate. 

Would you recommend the Business School to others who are considering studying here? 
Definitely, the university has a strong research culture as part of the Russell Group, the Business School holds triple accreditation from the three leading bodies AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS, and has also been named a Centre of Excellence by the Chartered Banker Institute.