What's it like to study global finance online? Thomas Bratner works in risk management and is a student on the Business School (formerly Cass) online MSc in Global Finance. We spoke to him about his experiences on the course.
Tell us about your background?
I work in the Risk Management area in a global shipping and capital markets Group whose main offices are in Norway. I'm responsible for reporting capital requirements pursuant to the capital requirements regulations the Financial Supervisory Authorities of Norway and to the European Banking Authority, including stress testing and models for Internal Capital Adequacy Assessment Process as well as constructing the Enterprise Risk Management and Governance Framework in the Group. In addition to regulatory reporting of financial risk, my daily work also involves a considerable amount of other compliance related regulations including authoring policies and instructions in those respective areas.
I have a master's in International Business from EAE in Barcelona and a master's in Political Science with specialisation in International Political Economy where my thesis was about the IMF’s economic policy in the Asian Financial Crisis towards Thailand and Korea. Before my master's I studied Finance at the Business Institute in Norway. Before I started on my present job, I worked in a clearing house as Risk Manager and before that I worked as investment advisor in an investment bank constructing portfolios of funds for clients.
What motivated you to study an MSc in Global Finance?
I am always curious to acquire deeper knowledge about the financial industry and I searched the web to identify what options were available. I discovered the MSc in Global Finance offered online by the Business School and thought the master’s would suit my needs perfectly. With reference to my background I thought the MSc in Global Finance at the Business School would be a perfect fit as I always strive to learn more about the financial theories. I have also heard so many people talking positively about the Business School and when I discovered the subjects offered in the MSc in Global Finance, my interest was for sure awakened to apply for it.
Why did you choose to study with the Business School?
The fact that the Business School holds a triple-crown accreditation implies that high quality and ethical standards are pursued. The Business School is also considered among professionals as a highly ranked and reputable business school around the world. Accordingly, I found the Business School to be the natural choice when I wanted to pursue another master’s in the financial industry.
How has the course impacted you on a personal and professional level?
I always strive to understand the connections between theory and practice. Being fortunate to acquire even more financial theories enable me to discover a deeper understanding of the “broader picture” in the financial industry. Acquiring more knowledge makes you become even more curious to learn and see things from a different aspect and angle. The Business School has given me this opportunity to which I am incredibly grateful.
We also spoke to MSc in Global Finance graduate Neetish Rampersad about his experience studying online:
Are you and your peers able to support each other online, as you would in a physical classroom?
Yes, the MSc in Global Finance is taught 100% online and the Business School offers weekly webinars where the topic of the week is being discussed with tutors and peers. We are also invited to discuss different topics during the week and comment on each other’s views and analysis. The School has acquired high quality online infrastructure which functions perfectly for online webinars and discussions.
Can you tell us about the support the academics and tutors provided you with in the online learning environment?
Academics and tutors are immensely helpful and are always accessible if we have any questions. They always invite you to discuss different topics and they provide you with feedback on your work. You're given the correct solutions after you have completed the quizzes. Academics and tutors are also available through various digital media including, email, chat, and webinars. Accompanying the highly qualified professors, skilled PhD students often hold presentations in the weekly webinars.
How did you manage your time – with your work, studies, and social life?
I dedicate much of the weekends for studies including evenings in the week. The great thing about studying at the Business School is that it's designed to be very flexible. The 12 modules offered run for seven weeks at the time and within that seven weeks you can design your schedule and plan accordingly, thus making it feasible to balance work, social life and studies. Also, between some modules you have time off so you can choose whether to prepare for the next module by reading the curriculum in advance or whatever you would like to spend your time on.
What would you say are the required skill sets to be a successful student on this course?
To be curious, hardworking and 100% dedicated to your studies. I have found great support in constructing excel models to better understand the different topics presented. We also learn a lot from each other as there are students with quite different and interesting professional backgrounds on the MSc in Global Finance.
How easy was it to get used to the online learning environment?
The online learning environment is easy to get used to and is constructed in a very professional way so students can profit from the digital learning environment at the Business School. You can download the study content on your mobile and study on your way to and from work. You can replay webinars if you were not able to attend them real time and you can continue to study when you travel.
Can you explain how the online learning environment works during a study week?
The week starts off with a short question open to be discussed among students. Then there are 3-5 lectures recorded by professors in advance. You can choose to replay or pause the lectures if you need to take notes or want to listen to them anew. Accompanied with the lectures are presentations provided in a clear and precise manner. The lectures end with quizzes where you must answer various questions. You immediately receive feedback from these quizzes as they are graded. They do not however count towards your final grade.
Thereafter follows a weekly assignment to be completed before the webinar on Fridays. In the webinar the tutors and academics discuss and clarifies any difficulties. Handouts with the solutions are also provided after these webinars and if necessary, the handouts are accompanied with clear and understandable excel models. All readings are made accessible on the digital platform including books and working papers and can be read online. The latter are in addition often made accessible as pdf files to be downloaded directly from the online portal.
How many hours a week did you spend studying?
The amount of time spent on a weekly basis, varies according to the topic taught and the workload at my work. On average I would estimate I spend between 15-20 hours studying.
How have you found the different types of assessments on the course?
The different types of assessments are very instructive and helpful. The assessments can vary from feedback from open discussions with peers during webinars, assessment from quizzes, grading and comments from academics and tutors on the end assessment which takes place after week 6 where you have about 10 days to author your final end-assignment.
What have you found to be the biggest challenge with doing this course?
I would love to have more time to dive even deeper into the theories and models, but this of course must be balanced with my work and social life. I think the corona crisis has shown us how important offering online learning is. Through a digital environment the Business School is able to provide to combine the professional, safe and robust online learning platform with a great degree of flexibility thereby inviting professionals from all around the world to share their knowledge and experiences from the financial markets with each other.
All processes by academics, tutors and peers are undertaken with the highest ethical standards and integrity in accordance with financial markets expectations. The Business School offers you a unique possibility to connect with financial professionals thereby giving you the opportunity to develop on a personal and professional level. The experience can warmly be recommended to professionals seeking a career within the financial industry.
Our MSc can enhance your career opportunities in today's rapidly changing global finance sector: