Studied: MSc Finance
Place of Work: Barclays Capital
What were your reasons for choosing Royal Holloway?
Being part of the University of London and often being regarded as one of the UK’s top 20 universities, Royal Holloway was a key factor in driving my decision to pursue a Masters there. The structure of the MSc Finance course covered a broad spectrum of financial areas which were of interest to me, some of which I was able to optionally choose which gave me a further reason to study at Royal Holloway. The fact that the professors had worked in the industry, thus being able to link the theoretical work with what happens in business, was another deciding factor.
Why did you decide to study Finance at Masters level?
After starting work in the consulting industry, following my first degree, I realised it was not quite the career path for me. I have always had an interest in finance, which was compounded during the 2008 crisis, even whilst studying for my Engineering degree. However, when applying for jobs within the financial sector I soon appreciated that my knowledge of basic financial concepts was lacking. I felt that studying for a Masters in Finance would give me the underlying theories which would allow me to pursue a career in the financial sector and help me understand which area of finance would be suitable for me in which to build a career.
What were the best parts of the course?
Overall the course gave me the underlying theory of many key financial concepts. It also covered some important mathematical aspects, used continually in finance, such as time series as well as other fundamentals; for example the time value of money and portfolio theory. The two larger modules, Corporate Finance and Quantitative Methods, I found particularly interesting.
Can you tell us about your current role at Barclays?
I managed to secure a place on a summer internship programme at Barclays Capital while completing the Masters at Royal Holloway which helped me gain a full time role. Working inside an investment bank one sees how finance works in practice. I work with the Treasury function which ensures the bank is secure for the short and long term. Treasury is a vast area of the investment bank covering a variety of key functions including liquidity management, the investment function, capital management, asset and liability management as well as the execution functions. Throughout the scheme I will rotate between all the different areas.
How have your studies helped you in your professional life?
The Masters is, of course, only one year and therefore only scratches the surface of what happens in modern investment banks and hedge funds but it gives a much needed foundation for some of the core financial topics. Having had very little financial knowledge before I read for the Masters it is clear I would have struggled with some concepts when working in an investment bank. I am continually learning while at Barclays Capital and new concepts always test my understanding. Overall having a Masters in Finance means that while working for Barclays I can build upon my now existing knowledge and easily pick up new concepts.