Introducing Course Leader for Finance, Banking & Insurance MSc, Dr Stefan Van Dellen

Hello. My name is Stefan van Dellen and I am the Course Leader for the Finance, Banking and Insurance MSc degree at Westminster Business School. I am originally South African, having moved to the UK in 2003. I have been in academia for almost ten years now having previously worked in the shipping industry in South Africa, where I was responsible for tracking and planning container movements for a large international shipping line. My current research interests are the measurement and management of financial risk as well as modelling bond yield curves which allows us to correctly determine the price for these bonds.  Out of work, my favourite way to relax is to watch rugby on TV, where I am never happier than when watching my beloved South African rugby team beat their main rivals the New Zealand team.


What can you tell us about your course?

The Finance, Banking and Insurance MSc is perfect for students who want options in their career in that it allows students to specialise in insurance, banking and general finance. This one-year course is designed for students who want to work in the areas of finance, international finance, financial services, banking, retail banking, investment banking, insurance, reinsurance, fund management, hedged funds, private client advisors, and financial analysis in both the public and private sectors.

During the course, students will have the opportunity to be taught by experienced lecturers who have also worked in the industry and can therefore highlight the practical applications of what is being taught in class. Students will also have the opportunity to have guest lectures by practitioners in the market on current developments and will also be taken on a field trip to Lloyd’s of London, the world’s largest insurance market.

Students who complete the degree will have a detailed understanding of the finance, banking and insurance markets and will be able to solve complex problems in a systematic way. They will also be able to act independently in planning and implementing tasks in a professional setting as well as communicate clearly in writing and other media to inform both specialist and non-specialist audiences.


What differentiates your course?

This degree is the only one in London to offer this combination of banking, finance and insurance in one complete package. This gives students flexibility in terms of their potential careers as well as the unique ability to understand how the different areas interact with each other. The programme also has strong links with the Chartered Insurance Institute (CII), which is the leading professional body in the insurance industry. We are also one of only four universities in the UK to offer direct entry to the degree for holders of the CII Advanced Diploma in Insurance.

Highlights of the Finance, Banking & Insurance MSc include…

Students can look forward to a busy but rewarding year. Highlights of this would include the trip to Lloyd’s of London, which students in the past have raved about. Students are also given guest lectures by practitioners who discuss the latest developments in the market and the challenges that the industries are facing and have also always been willing to give advice and guidance on the job application process. Students are invited to alumni events when they can network with past graduates and get advice on the job application process. The final highlight is the social aspect of the degree, where the small class sizes mean that you will really get to know your class mates and having some joint classes with other finance programmes means that you will get to know other people. We also have held Christmas and Summer Social events for the students, the last of which was a boat trip and dinner on the Thames.


For anyone considering this course, what are the main employability benefits?

Students benefit from the fact that the course is practise-focused and is therefore focused on the skill-base needed in the industry. Successful and engaged students will have developed a systematic understanding of the finance, banking and insurance disciplines, using the most up-to-date material and exposure to the latest theory and research on these topics. The elective modules also give students to the ability to further specialise in their area of interest. Students from the degree have found employment at firms such as Citibank, Sberbank, Ernst and Young, Willis, amongst others. For example, one student now sits on the Executive Board (board of directors) of one the leading Greek insurance brokerage firms.

We have many students who have just started here at the Business School. What would be your advice to them?

Be dedicated to what you are about to do and give it 100% of your total effort, the year goes quickly and you don’t want to miss out on anything. It is also important to have a social life and enjoy the year, the friendships with your classmates should last a lifetime and London is an incredible place, make the most of it. Finally, utilise the fact that you are in the financial capital of the world and use any opportunity you have to network, even if it’s just going for a drink with someone you met at a university event.

To find out more about Westminster’s Finance, Banking & Insurance MSc, please visit the course page; if you would like to get in touch with Course Leader Stefan van Dellen, you can find his details here.

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