MSc Finance student Heena Daswani shares her experience of understanding more about ethics in the finance industry and gaining exposure to one of the most important financial hubs in the world.
After a couple of years developing my career in investment banking, I decided to expand my knowledge in the financial sector and chose to study Msc Finance at WBS due to its programme structure, well-structured theoretical frameworks and focus on industry application. As part of my MSc I welcomed the opportunity to attend Rutgers Business School, to understand more about ethics in the finance industry. My decision to attend the trip was based on the following reasons; I believe that ethics are key for career development, it would enable me to understand valuable CFA material, and lastly I would gain exposure to one of the most important financial hubs in the world.
Would you give your retirement money to the bankers whose practices led to financial crisis? A lot has changed in the financial world in recent years, with advances in technology we even have robots trading stocks, but ethics remain a key issue that affects finance professionals in today’s world. Ethics is the code which financial professionals must follow to ensure long-term sustainability of their companies. A lack of ethical professionals leads to bad practice, and in turn, bad company decisions.
The Ethical Leadership course at Rutgers Business School covers the theoretical background of ethics and different ideas on how to make ethical decisions. We attended a morning and evening session taught by Professor Joanne Ciulla who has spent most of her career developing and researching the field of leadership ethics. The sessions were extremely engaging, and I learnt that two problems are never the same, and on many occasions, the ethical decision can depend on an individual’s perspective.
Blockchain and artificial intelligence in Finance
Remember those robots trading stocks? They are only the beginning of the disruption that technology causes in the financial world. Our second day was spent with Professor Chris Young, an ex-wall-street investment banker who has extensive experience in digital finance businesses. The session began with a discussion on trending innovations such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies, and how these technologies are changing the world at a very fast pace. We questioned whether investors in these types of technologies are aware of their rights and the risks they could face. As future professionals it is up to us to develop financial products that abide to codes of ethics, rather than solely focusing on profit opportunities.
CFA exam preparation and case studies
On our third day we focused on the real-life application of ethics in the financial world. Professor Mark Guthner discussed ethics with regard to CFA, and developing our understanding of key concepts that will be of great use in future studies and exam preparation. Following this, Professor Tobey Scharding provided us with real-life cases of ethical dilemmas, where we performed role play exercises followed by extensive group discussions. The session was intense and thought-provoking, and highlighted the importance of expanding ethical concepts for all professions.
Whilst on the trip we were exposed to one of the biggest financial centres in the world, Credit Suisse. We visited the trading floor to get a real life experience of what it is like to be a professional in the world of finance. Throughout the trip we explored as much of Manhattan as we could, and saw many of the city’s most iconic sites including Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park and Times Square. The trip to Rutgers Business School also gave me the opportunity to bond with my classmates and strengthen our friendships. By participating in this trip I added great value to my study experience at WBS, as I was able to engage with topics outside of the course curriculum which will be hugely beneficial in my future career.