Diego moved to London to study MSc Finance at Imperial College London and graduated in 2015. After graduating, he founded the platform Unibuddy, which allows universities to connect prospective students with current students. We spoke to Diego about his time living and studying in London.
Why did you choose to study MSc Finance at Imperial College London?
I wanted to study in an international city and realised I’d rather it was in Europe, so London was a natural choice. In fact, the hardest bit was choosing the specific course and institution (which was also the reason I created Unibuddy).
After much research, I went for Imperial College because of its location in the centre of London, as well as its reputation for mathematics, which is a passion of mine.
What did you enjoy most about your course?
Meeting people from such a huge variety of backgrounds. It really opened my mind to the world and its opportunities.
The course also completely changed my mindset about the future. Before I started, I was convinced that I needed to graduate in finance and forge a lifelong career in banking. I would never have pictured myself running a tech company in education!
Why did you choose to study in London?
As I had a specific career in mind, I wanted to be in a financial centre in Europe and somewhere well connected for travel. Besides, there’s nowhere else quite like London.
How would you describe London in three words?
Vibrant, inspiring and connected.
Can you tell us more about Unibuddy?
Unibuddy is a platform that allows universities to connect prospective students with its current students.
Applicants can directly message a student at their targeted university and ask them anything about the course, city, student life or application. This gives them reassurance and a real-life view of studying there.
What motivated and inspired you to develop this project?
My own journey into higher education was my inspiration. There’s so much information available from universities in the form of official marketing, but what I really wanted to know was what it was like to study there from a student.
Frustrated by a lack of opportunities to connect with current students, I realised it was a good time to do something about it.
How has your university supported you with the development of your project?
Imperial College London has really supported me by connecting me with brilliant people on my degree – one became Unibuddy’s co-founder!
It also helped me to meet high-profile people from the finance industry, who later went on to become our first investors.
Of course, I have to mention that they did the most important thing any university could have done… they became one of the first partners to take on the Unibuddy platform.
Have you drawn on any wider support within London to develop your project?
Whether it’s been to raise funds or to grow the company faster, I think being introduced to people with the right connections in our industry has been invaluable.
The great thing about London is that there’s always someone who can help.
Do you have any advice for other students thinking about studying in London?
Make the most of your time, because there’s so much happening. Take advantage of the diversity and connect with as many people as you can – that student sitting next to you could be your future business or life partner.