Q&A with MSc Global Central Banking & Financial Regulation student Jun Anthony Garcia
18 November 2020
From networking opportunities to immediate impact at work, MSc Global Central Banking & Financial Regulation participant Jun reflects on the benefits of the course as he answers your top ten burning questions.
1. Why did you choose Warwick?
The flexibility was a key factor for me. For people working full-time, having an online programme which is equivalent to an in-person taught programme is important. Secondly, the reputation of the Business School; WBS is one of the top-ranked business schools globally and, added to that, the Bank of England partnership brings you closer to first-hand experience from banking professionals. Thirdly, the course is very relevant to the work I do. Having a formal qualification that complements the practical side of things at work helps career-wise.
2. How have the skills you have learned translated into your current role so far?
In my role at the bank, I work in the risk and compliance function and the best way to describe it in simple terms is that I’m an in-house advisor to the traders, advising them on regulation, so the regulation side of the course is very important to me and it actually is aligned to what I do. There’s practical use of the course and it gives more credibility when I’m speaking with senior management within the bank.
3. Are there opportunities to network with the current cohort?
We have a WhatsApp group for the cohort which we use as an additional support for asking questions, floating ideas and just generally making friends and widening our networks. It's not just for the people on the course, I’ve recently added our previous lecturer in the course. It’s good to have that group available to ask questions and help widen your network.
4. What would you say to someone considering applying?
I would advise weighing up the pros and cons; for me, the part-time element is critical because I don’t want to lose momentum in my career at the bank and working alongside the course proves to my management that I can be flexible and disciplined. In terms of the value it brings, really you have to look at what you’re currently doing and what your career aspirations are – where do you see yourself in two or three years? What do you want to do inside your own firm? Where does the course bring value? For me, personally, having that formal qualification and showing initiative in investing in my own career shows my own management that I’m serious about progressing further. So the career progression element was also critical to my decision to apply.
5. Have you seen any impact so far in your current role?
I recently conducted a project that entailed some knowledge around central banking, money markets, wholesale funding, and then bringing all that knowledge together to come up with a new product for the bank. The course has opened up a broader coverage, developing my knowledge and understanding.
6. How many hours per week do you study?
It depends on the workload. There’s a lot of required reading for each lesson and you do need to carve out the time in your busy schedule to keep up with the timetable. I've found spending an hour each day works for me; it doesn’t have to be a full block of one hour but I do spend an hour each day to catch up on reading. I do the bulk of my studies on the weekend when I have free time; on average I would say I study around seven hours a week.
7. How do you find the online assessments?
I had to get used to the style of the assessment being an essay type. It's important to be disciplined; you may have a month to prepare but that month can seem very short, especially if you’re working and getting used to doing the referencing. The assessments are challenging but fair and all the questions asked so far have been covered by lessons on the module. So, from a preparatory point of view, you need to make sure that you’ve really covered the lessons in the module and you work on the areas that you feel you need more focus or find yourself less comfortable.
8. How would you describe the demographics of your class?
It’s a varied cohort and you’ve got a breadth of experience. The majority of my classmates doing the Financial Regulation module work at a regulator or a central bank. There’s also a few of us that work for investment banks and some of them work for hedge funds as well, so it’s a very varied group of individuals. In terms of geographic scope, people are from all over the globe. I have classmates from the U.S., classmates from Uruguay, from Zambia, Nigeria, Kenya, and Luxemburg, for example; it’s a very global cohort of students. Most of the cohort have a combined experience in the industry either in regulation, central banking or just investment banking combined, with experience between 10 to 15 years on average.
9. Should students start on their thesis earlier – in the first year?
I’m not sure whether I would advise starting your thesis in your first year, especially if you’re working; that would entail a significant amount of investment and time commitment. Also, as I recall, there’s a separate module for the thesis on your third year. I think starting it at the outset may mean that you short-change yourself in term of topics that you may want to cover during your thesis. I would advise against it but, if you’re keen, it’s something you should discuss with the programme leaders.
10. What advice would you give to a prospective candidate on approaching their employer for support?
That’s a really good question because that’s a conversation that I actually had with my manager before I applied. I am self-funding the programme but the support I get from the bank is the flexibility around my schedule; you need to have that 1-2-1 conversation with your manager or whoever that might be and present them with the value that the programme brings to what you do on a day-to-day basis. If they offer you financial support then that’s even better but you do need to weigh the pros and cons of taking up that support from a career perspective. My advice would be to look at what you’re doing now in your role and look at the modules to identify where they may improve or enhance your current role and then present your proposal to your manager requesting either flexibility with time, workload or financial support.