Fitting the programme in around work commitments

01 December 2021

Regulatory Affairs director Virginie Mennesson talks about why she chose to study the Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation qualification, and how she has found the programme three modules in.  

I have been working in Financial Regulation for about 20 years now. My motivations for joining the programme are that although I have had a quite a lot of empirical experience of financial regulation, having started my career as a regulator before joining the private sector, I really wanted a programme to help me join the dots and provide me with a solid academic basis to validate the experience I had accumulated. I started studying in February 2020 and am now on my third module. It is a fantastic programme and very enjoyable. 

What has been the most challenging aspect so far? And what has been the most enjoyable?

I think for me, the most challenging aspect was learning how to do academic writing. My first degree was a French law degree and each country has its own way of teaching and assessing. My fear was immediately alleviated as you have everything you need on the my.wbs platform; there was even a course I could take on academic writing. The platform is so user friendly. My advice would be to take the time to go through all the resources on the platform if you are worried. WBS really wants you to succeed and gives you every tool imaginable to do so.

The most enjoyable aspect has been getting the materials to help me connect the dots. Not to mention having such a high quality of teaching, and being given academic papers to refer to as well as being encouraged to challenge my own thinking “Why are things the way they are?” The bespoke my.wbs platform is amazing: I have had no technical issues and I can access all the resources I need in one place. The practitioner videos are particularly insightful: it is great to hear the brightest thinking in the field from the people in charge. It’s been really fun.

What advice would you give to those currently going through the application process? 

I would say reach out to the admissions team. I was not planning to apply for the full MSc, only one or two modules but the admissions team really believed in my potential and encouraged me to go for it. Now, my advice to anyone not sure about themselves is to not self-reject! Think about your goals, and speak to the admissions team, as they are so helpful. The admissions officer supported me through the application process, which was very user-friendly. You will need to think about your reasons for applying and write a couple of short essays in support, but in many ways, it is not that different from applying for a job. Think about what experience you have that would be relevant and make you a good participant.

For the interview process, it can seem a little nerve-wracking as you are recording yourself on video answering questions. However, this again is user friendly as you get a practice-run and I received a response very quickly once I had submitted my application.

How easy is it to fit the programme in around your work commitments? 

That was actually one of the worries I had before I applied, we all work in pressurised roles and environments and I thought “how can I do this and how will it work when I have a deadline?”

I can sincerely say that to this point it has been very manageable. It is so well done and calibrated by WBS and the Bank of England in the sense that everything is in bite-sized chapters and you usually take about a week per chapter, so around 10-11 hours of study per week for me. I usually work on it in the morning or even during the day when I have a little bit of a break. It’s very easy to get into it and you can really approach it in your own way.

Most students on the programme will have experience in the financial sector and some module content could be quite familiar to you and you will whizz through it. Some chapters will be newer, more of a challenge and take more time, but that is why you study this course. I’m currently studying Central Bank balance sheets which is taking me a little more time but that to me is fun as you are learning concepts you may not ordinarily use in your day to day.

You do need to plan your time carefully when doing assessments but it is do-able if you organise yourself in advance.

How have you found that you can apply the learning to your career? 

In many ways, I wish I could have done this course much earlier in my career. For instance, I have worked for two large global banks, in one I was working very closely with traders on conduct and ethics issues. So had I studied the module on conduct ethics and leadership at this time I would have known which part of their brain the traders were using to make their decisions and understood their motivations and thought process! 

The programme content is super-complete and gives you confidence in your ability to use it in all situations. I have been roles where thought leadership on regulatory matters is important, with the need to convince others to take a particular course of action. The regulatory environment is extremely complex and is changing all the time so it is all the more important to keep your knowledge up to date. The programme gives you directly applicable and cutting-edge insights as it is delivered by market practitioners regulators and academics. I think it provides you with invaluable skills for your day to day role and for the future. 

If you would like to find out more about the Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation programme and how it may benefit your career, email onlinemasters-info@wbs.ac.uk to arrange a 1-2-1 consultation.

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