Souren Gharnagharian

Souren Gharnagharian

Country of origin: Armenia
Programme: MSc Shipping, Trade and Finance, 2017
Current role and company: Investment Analyst, Australis Maritime Ltd
Location of current role: London

Why did you decide to study the Cass MSc Shipping, Trade and Finance?

I didn’t come from a traditional background as my undergraduate studies were in biomedical sciences. After completing my bachelor’s, I spent a year working in shipping and trade in Dubai at MAG Container Lines.

I’d heard from people that the Cass MSc Shipping, Trade and Finance was the best programme to study if you wanted to progress your career in the industry. I liked the fact that the programme combined both shipping and finance elements and I was drawn to its reputation and its strong alumni network of industry leaders.

Because of my medical undergraduate background, the programme was definitely a challenge. There was a lot more maths than I was used to in biology, but I like a challenge!

Tell us about your career since studying at Cass

For my final dissertation at Cass, I did a month-long project for a shipping company in Athens, Greece. I met the company’s founder, an alumnus of the programme, at a lecture he gave at Cass. The dissertation project was a practical way to move into the industry and gave me insight into what it is like to work in a shipping company in a big centre for shipping like Athens.

The programme also helped me find my next internship role as an analyst where I conducted a benchmarking project for the London-based Borealis Maritime Ltd. Both experiences were excellent introductions to the industry.

Earlier in the academic year, I had applied and been accepted to a permanent role at Reederei NORD as a Business Market Analyst in Amsterdam and worked there for two years, learning the ropes.

Today, I work as an investment analyst at Australis Maritime Ltd, a finance advisory and credit portfolio management service provider, exclusively focused on the maritime sectors. My role involves supporting deal origination, analysis, execution and monitoring. The company finances maritime assets in partnership with institutional investors, so every day is unique and interesting.

I was excited to move back to London for my current role as it’s the best location for maritime services and shipping finance. Furthermore, Australis and Borealis are sister companies and I had really enjoyed the nature of the work and the culture during my internship at Borealis.

How did the programme help build your professional network?

The strength of the alumni network has proven true: in both my current job and my previous job, I was hired by alumni of the programme!

The owners of both my previous and current employers had studied the same programme at Cass in the 90s and early 2000s. Before starting both roles, I was lucky enough to meet my employers at Cass when they came to do presentations at the School. In my current job, I also work with four fellow graduates of the programme, each from a different cohort.

Cass has many student societies focused on specialised industries. During my time on the master’s, I was the President of the Shipping Society which was a great opportunity to organise events in which we met alumni and industry experts. Ultimately, I was in the fortunate situation of meeting a large number of our alumni network in person.

I also received invaluable support from the Careers and Professional Development Team at Cass. I had help with my job applications, preparing for interviews and writing my CV.

What was your favourite module?

All of the modules were relevant to my career as the finance and trading elements programme had a specific focus on the shipping industry.

The commodities module in particular stuck with me. It was a nice introduction to all the different types of commodities and Professor Michael Tamvakis offered interesting, entertaining and challenging lectures. The classes were always intriguing, as they also covered economics and geopolitics.

What are your best memories from the master’s?

I have many great memories from my time of the programme: late night sessions in the library, jazz evenings at the Nightjar in the winter, rooftop bars in the summer and countless memories in student accommodation with my cohort. I am still in touch with many people from the course and see many of them regularly.