MSc Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation student, Sarah Darwish, shares her experience on the course so far, exploring how the modules have impacted her career and how she balances work, life and study.
Virginie Mennesson started her career working for the UK Regulators. 10 years down the line, she joined the private sector working for two major banks. More recently, she was head of regulatory affairs for a large audit and consulting firm. It was at this point during the pandemic that Virginie decided to join the Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation MSc programme. Below Virginie shares her experience on the Money, Banks and Macroeconomics module.
What the module has covered for me
I completed the Money, Banks and Macroeconomics module in June 2022. The module provides an overview of the financial system in general and explores the purpose of money and the role that banks play in the system. It also covers the key macro-prudential models used by central banks and financial institutions across the world and gives you an idea of how different countries have tackled recent financial crises.
What I found particularly useful is that the module provides insights on current thinking about future trends and policy and covers relatively new concepts like crypto assets and central banks digital currencies. It gets you to think about future risks and opportunities brought on by innovation or unexpected shocks, which is particularly relevant in the current economic climate.
The module covers the economic fundamentals and how prudential risks can spread across the whole system. I now have a more complete understanding of this and how the financial sector and policy need to adjust to tackle unprecedented levels of inflation and a more volatile economic environment.
How I found the quantitative and technical content
Students on the program have different backgrounds, with some more proficient than others in the use of mathematical and economic models. I have a legal background, so found some concepts and equations a bit more challenging than students with a central bank or economist background who use those concepts day in day out. There is a maths refresher and a general economics refresher available to you when you start the programme, so you have the tools you need but you should still be willing to put in the work (no pain no gain!). Thankfully, some concepts like the three equation model and the complexities of macroeconomics and monetary policy are covered again in more detail or different angles in other modules so you get more confident and proficient over time. After all, the point is to challenge yourself and contribute in your current or future role to a safer and sounder financial system, so it’s worth it.
Cohort, teaching and assessment
The program has been well calibrated by Warwick Business School and the Bank of England and designed to fit around your work. You will still have to face competing demands sometimes, but you already do that in your job anyway. Because the cohort is very diverse, with central bankers, regulators and private sector practitioners from all over the world you have an exceptional opportunity to learn from others in live tutorials.
All tutors are friendly and accessible and this module’s tutor, Guillem Ordóñez-Calafi, took the time to translate the mathematical and economic complexities in a digestible format. For example, he set up a page on the module platform for us to exchange views, share interesting papers and ask questions we did not have the time to cover elsewhere. My advice is to make the effort to attend live sessions and other networking events to get the full benefit of this experience, but if you can’t you can always watch the recording at a time that suits you.
The module was assessed by short essays: you have a set of questions covering the whole course from which you pick two questions to answer in under 2000 words. You have 48 hours to complete this, although the exam is set so that you should be able to finish in four hours. The assessment is open book, so you have access to everything you need, but it is not as easy as it sounds: it is a masters course and you are expected to demonstrate critical reasoning and innovative thinking in your answers to some recent economic and policy dilemmas!
From recent experience, employers seem to understand the value of this programme even if it is quite new as both the Bank of England and Warwick Business School have an incredible reputation. I have even heard the programme compared to an “MBA for regulators and compliance staff” which I think is true (although I may be a bit biased as a self-confessed “regulatory geek”!).
Having joined the programme during the pandemic and now passed five out of the six compulsory modules (with the last one starting early next year), I am now looking forward to 2023 and thinking about dissertation topics while exploring new career opportunities more freely. I can’t wait to put my new skills to good use.