Virginie, 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.
Global Central Banking and Financial Regulation participant, Tadiwanashe Muganyi, shares his experience on the Financial Markets and Financial Risk Management module.
Why did you decide to join the Financial Markets and Financial Risk Management module?
I was attracted to this course as I would be able to not only strengthen my theoretical understanding of financial markets and financial risk, but also get first-hand knowledge from industry experts. As the course is in collaboration with the Bank of England, we gain an understanding of what's actually happening in the market and this is very important if you're dealing with big clients every day and if your job includes strategic decision making.
How did you find the my.wbs online platform?
The my.wbs bespoke online platform is probably one of the best digital platforms I've interacted with. What makes this platform unique is it's so intuitive and easy to use. You can access it at any time and you have access to research papers and textbooks, unique research that has been done by the Bank of England, as well as latest conferences and conference papers. This is helpful when applying theory to the real world, as the digital resources are timely and relevant.
How easy did you find it to communicate with your tutors and cohort?
I think that when it comes to communication it has kind of been peer-to-peer. There is always this expectation that the professor is somebody whom you cannot approach but for most of these modules, we have direct communication on the platform, so you can actually share thoughts or questions and you would have the professors respond quickly. The live sessions are also extremely interesting as they promote an open discussion, where you get the theoretical knowledge but you also get to talk about what's pressing in your own career, what's pressing in relation to the course and what you see happening. That ability to interact, engage and share ideas at a peer-to-peer level is extremely beneficial.
Were you able to attend any live sessions?
I think it's unrealistic to expect that you'll be able to join all the live sessions, but all the sessions are recorded and are available to download. You can also ask questions on the portal with regards to the recording where your peers and the professors will respond, so the my.wbs digital platform provides access to what you need when you need it. If you feel like you're falling behind you have enough time to catch up, so it's really something that's suited for somebody who has a busy lifestyle because most of us are working. The programme is crafted for busy professionals; you are able to keep up with work at your own pace and at your own convenience.
How technical was this module? Was there a large quantitative component or did it focus on the policy decisions?
Those two things are not necessarily mutually exclusive, as you do have to have a rudimentary technical understanding of the models, so that you can actually come to the policy decisions that are made. There was a mathematics booster available for people who are not coming from quantitative backgrounds that provided an understanding of the models that are being used and applied. However, that's not the core focus of the program, the models are basically the foundation but ideally it's the conclusions that you're able to come to by using the models. This is where the regulatory and the policy application part comes into play. Most of the questions that you're going to encounter in the course will be looking at application, so although you need a basic rudimentary understanding of the models, ideally you're going to be learning more on the application side and trying to understand what it all means at the top line strategic level.
Have you been able to apply your learnings to your day-to-day work?
I think everybody living through these times has to deal with a lot of uncertainty, and it doesn't matter if you're in the legal field, the financial field or even in politics. In regulation on the central bank side, you have issues to do with rising interest rates, inflation and energy prices; you have a lot of uncertainty every day. By understanding how financial markets work from a conceptual framework point of view, you are able to see how the pieces fit together. I see it every day in my work, as I work with a lot of large companies that have a footprint all over the world. A large part of what they want is to have an understanding on how they can model their operations and minimise the risks that they are likely to face in different markets. This course has given me a much stronger grasp on understanding how the pieces fit together and more generally has enabled me to be able to deal with the uncertainty and make decisions that affect what's currently happening in financial markets.
Was it easy to fit study in around your professional and your home life commitments?
There is a recommended study time of nine to 11 hours per week, and I think those hours are pretty accurate, but one thing that I have to emphasise is that it's not every week that you have to put in the nine to 11 hours. We do get time in the middle of certain lessons to be able to catch up and go through certain concepts, so if you were to average it out I would actually move to about five maybe six hours a week. This is then possible to fit into your schedule. I always find it useful that I can have the my.wbs platform on my iPad, so before I start my day I can look at a lesson for 15 minutes, then over the weekend I can review some of the comments that my peers are posting before finally going through the live lesson and exploring the reading material. The my.wbs platform provides flexibility, so that there is enough time to catch up.
What was your highlight from the Financial Markets and Financial Risk Management module?
There is a strong industry focus, so you are exposed to the latest ideas and latest thinking in financial markets and in financial risk management. This gives you a broader picture on how it all works and it also reminds you that nobody has it figured out. There are various ways of looking at a problem, and you can produce hybrid solutions to fit the certain contexts. For me that has been the biggest takeaway from this course, being able to look at issues and problems in financial markets and financial risk from a multi-dimensional perspective and using the latest tools from central bankers all over the world to be able to have a deeper understanding. Having the collaboration with the Bank of England on the program gives it that overall strength.
How was the module assessed?
For this module we had an online exam, so basically you have the exam uploaded online and once you have downloaded it you will have a certain fixed time for you to complete it. However, it should not be something to be worried about as before the exam we were able to go through a mock exam, which you can complete in your own time. This enables you to have a clear understanding of what the exam is going to be like in terms of the how questions are structured and what's expected of you.
Why would you recommend this module?
I highly recommend the module 'Financial Markets and Financial Risk Management' to anyone interested in gaining a deeper understanding of financial markets and the tools and techniques used to manage financial risk. This module provides a comprehensive overview of the various types of financial instruments and markets, including money market instruments, bond markets, foreign exchange markets, and equity markets. It also covers the basics of financial risk management, including concepts such as risk identification, measurement, and control. Whether you are just starting out in your career or are looking to expand your knowledge and skills in the field of finance, this module is a valuable resource that will help you succeed.