What happened to our freshly graduated students from last year? Jasper Wijnands, current student at AMS, interviewed some of them.
Meet Thomas van Rompaey, alumnus Master in Finance, one year later.
Can you give a brief introduction about yourself?
Hi, I am Thomas! An ambitious Belgian native that graduated AMS’s Master in Finance last year (2020), former nurse and currently an (real) asset management analyst for the Benelux region at AXA Investment Managers. Besides my main job I am the President of Basel Business Club which is a by-invitation organization that aims to connect young potentials and currently has members in 18 countries.
I have a bit of a peculiar background in the sense that I graduated first as a nurse. I have always been passionate about finance though; I ‘ve managed my own portfolio since I was 18 and my family has a business in the field of real estate.
Tell us some more about your job?
AXA Investment Managers has assets under management across Real Estate, Infrastructure, Private Debt, Alternative Credit, Private Equity & Hedge Funds.
I’m working in the real assets side of the entity, as an analyst I am part of the Benelux asset management team that manages a portfolio of various types of real estate such as offices, hotels, logistics and more. I joined the company in April 2020, in the middle of the first lockdown in Belgium. Consequently it was an atypical onboarding in the sense that the entire business had to go entirely digital in a very short timeframe, which I think they did great and was an early example of AXA IM’s ability to innovate and adapt rapidly when necessary.
A lot of my time is dedicated to ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) in line with AXA IM’s commitment to bring carbon emissions across all assets to a target-based net zero goal by 2050. As I’m very passionate about sustainability and its applications in finance, I am now also studying for the CESGA (Certified ESG analyst) accreditation of EFFAS.
Besides ESG, there’s the entire more financial analysis part of real estate that includes the review of DCFs, WACCs and a lot of modelling etc. to which my education as Master in Finance contributed to.
“Through the various guest lectures and events organized by AMS and its partners, I gained a real idea of where I wanted to continue my career.”
How has your master at AMS contributed to your career start?
The curriculum aided me in closing most of the knowledge gaps I had and building out a solid foundation which is beneficial to me up to this day. Through the various guest lectures and events organized by AMS and its partners, I gained a real idea of where I wanted to continue my career: being in Asset Management and working in a company with a strong focus on sustainability, two things I found with AXA IM.
The Master in Finance was not a walk in the park and came with the related workload, late nights and stressful periods. The program (to me) builds the required work ethic, attention to detail and basis for a career in finance. It comes with a dedicated and passionate team of academic tutors and program manager who will do everything they can in order to offer the most value to their students. The various events and guest lectures were of enormous added value for expanding my network (I was even able to partake in a panel with the Belgian Queen), gaining more expertise in several topics such as block chain, ethics in finance, wealth management and so forth. Looking at the more social side of the master, I’ve met and built friendships with people all over the world which I will cherish once borders open up again.
“The program builds the required work ethic, attention to detail and basis for a career in financer.”
What was your reason to apply for the master at AMS?
Before applying to AMS I already completed an exchange in Basel, Switzerland and gained working experience in The Hague, The Netherlands. After these experiences, I was looking for a master in the Benelux region that did not just focus on finance in general but more specifically on the quantitative side in order to bridge one of my main backlogs which were not touched as elaborately in my previous studies.
What attracted me to the Master in Finance were the courses such as Advanced Investment Analysis, Financial Risk Management, Raising Capital and Investing in Global Financial Markets and Computer Applications in Finance as these were all subjects that I felt to be important for a career in finance.
Since my first experience in finance, being in the field of impact or climate dedicated finance, I have been very passionate about sustainability and its application in the financial field.
Something that attracted me to AMS in general was its reputation in the field of sustainability and global leadership skills, a reputation that was even strengthened this year as AMS was rewarded the price for best sustainability report.