Dinara Bekmagambetova is a Chevening Awards winner studying the MA in Financial Journalism
What were you doing before you decided to study at City?
Prior to coming to City, University of London I was working as a journalist in Kazakhstan for five years. I studied my undergraduate degree in journalism, and started working for a business newspaper while still at university. After one and a half years of working for a newspaper I moved on to work for Interfax, an international news agency. At the time when I decided to apply to City I was assistant editor of a business news department at Interfax.
Why did you decide to study your course at City?
Firstly, City has a unique programme that I wanted to study – MA in Financial Journalism. This specialised programme is exactly what I was looking for after a few years of working as a journalist. MA Financial Journalism has a minimal amount of theory and it’s focused is on the more practical aspects of being a journalist. We never write academic papers, we don’t even have a thesis at the end of our programme. For our assignments we write stories on real life topics – something I would be doing at my old job. Another plus – we are being taught by brilliant lecturers who are also practicing journalists at Reuters, Guardian, Independent, among others.
Secondly, City is consistently ranked as one of the top journalism schools in the U.K. It has a good reputation among journalists, from what I gathered from speaking to a few of them during my first term of City. Before applying I also spoke with some alumni of the Financial Journalism programme, all of whom found the course helpful and relevant. That was a big pull factor.
How did you find out about the scholarship?
I first learned about Chevening from the U.K. Embassy in Kazakhstan’s social media. I have known about it for a couple of years before I decided to apply. In 2018 I had to cover the initial public offering (IPO) of a Kazakhstani state company, which was quite challenging without a financial background and the necessary financial reporting skills. So that year I finally decided that I needed to improve my qualifications, so I went ahead and applied for the scholarship.
How has the scholarship impacted your experience at the University?
It enabled me to meet people outside of my programme. City Cheveners have a chat where we talk and discuss ideas. Also, it has been great to meet people from other scholarships at City’s networking events.
What are your career goals and what do you hope to achieve after you have graduated?
I hope to do a summer internship at Bloomberg or Wall Street Journal in London, and then come back to my country to work as correspondent for an English language media outlet.
What are some of the highlights on the course so far?
The best thing about the course so far is that it is very hands-on. During lectures we discuss real issues that journalists currently face, write stories about companies at workshops, explore the daily news agenda and network with journalists at career events.
I am glad to say that I have been able to apply the skills I learned during first term to my work experience at Dow Jones during term two. I report companies’ quarterly results and work on my own stories.
What advice would you give to a prospective student thinking of doing your chosen course at City?
Read the description of the programme carefully, talk to the alumni and decide if it’s what you really want. The programme is intensive and fast-paced. You will have a lot of assignments and a packed timetable, at least in the first term. In my opinion, it’s better to have at least a year of work experience before doing this course.
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