A big Hello to all you folks reading this blog. My name is Shrey Jain and I’m currently pursuing an MSc in Investment and Risk Finance at the University of Westminster (Jan 2014 batch). My undergraduate degree is in Commerce with a specialisation in Business Management from the University of Mumbai, India. I possess five years of experience in capital markets with a special focus on asset management. Apart from analysing companies and market trends, my time is expended watching football (an ardent Arsenal supporter) and indulging in different cuisines.

Why I chose the course

I chose the Investment and Risk Finance  programme for a variety of reasons. Firstly, the structure of the course is absolutely magical. Modules such as Financial Derivatives, Modern Portfolio Management, Fixed Income Trading & Analysis and Risk Modelling and Forecasting contribute towards making this course balanced and diverse thereby maximising learning objectives. Aspiring financial professionals, in my opinion, must have knowledge of these tools in their arsenal to succeed in the financial sphere and boost their career longevity.

Secondly, Westminster Business School is amongst a handful of schools in Europe that provide students with a real life working atmosphere by way of delivering several key modules on Bloomberg platforms. The Financial Markets Suite, a simulated trading room with over 20 Bloomberg terminals, is testimony to the fact that the university believes in investing back in students and enhance their learning experience. Bear in mind that these are extremely expensive systems deployed at trading and investments desks of all major banking and financial corporations. Therefore, familiarity with such systems will give students a head-start in the industry post-graduation. This is a feature that even some of the biggest schools charging exorbitant fees fail to offer. You can see more shots of our Financial Markets Suite in this Business School video.

And lastly, the recent collaboration of Westminster Business School with the Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI, UK) is an icing on the cake. CISI is the largest and most widely respected professional body for those who work in the securities and investment industry in the UK. Students on the IRF programme are given the opportunity to add an additional feather to their cap by gaining the MCSI certification through an online integrity test. This tie up with CISI also presents students with networking opportunities with free entry into networking events organised by CISI. This is particularly beneficial for international students like myself looking to boost employability in the UK.

Bloomberg Financial Markets Suite

The highlights and challenges

I’ve just started with my second semester of studies but it has been an enjoyable experience thus far. The modules have a healthy mix of theoretical and practical exercises. The list of reference books used on the course are the ones which are adopted by all top level universities so that immediately gives you confidence to compete with graduates from some of the bigger institutes.

There are tasks which require you to work with a group of people and tasks which you must see out by yourself. The challenge almost always is to try and fit your perspective in the larger scheme of things. I suppose it’s not easy when you have people coming from different parts of the world with a different outlook but that’s where you learn to look at the picture holistically and not with a tunnel vison. The diversity of the class improves you in more ways than you can imagine.

Looking to the future

As important as it is in the field of investment to generate returns and maximise wealth, it is equally important to understand various levels of risk associated with such investments. Often overlooked by financial professionals and institutions in the past, “Risk” is now taking centre-stage as it rightly should. The abolishment of the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the organisation of Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in the UK highlights that notion.

In the near future, I would like to see myself devising efficient asset allocation strategies with a range of asset classes for a wide variety of investors. This degree will help bridge the knowledge gap that exists currently in understanding risk in its entirety, thus enabling me to construct strategies that fit the bill as far as an investor’s risk appetite is concerned.

Thinking about studying Investment and Risk Finance?

The Investment and Risk Management  programme, in my opinion, is a well-structured, intense and enlightening programme. The degree is numerical based so one should at least be open to working with numbers while signing up on this course. The support system to successfully complete this course is fairly strong, so students worried about the lack of resources available to see through this programme can breathe a huge sigh of relief. If one were to make a decision based purely on a cost-benefit analysis, I feel this course should find a lot of takers simply because it is designed to exceed your expectations.

 

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