Case study: Scott Stephen
Name: Scott Stephen. BA, MSc
Occupation: Associate, PwC CI
The ICMA centre, part of the triple-accredited Henley Business School and situated on University of Reading's open and naturally breathtaking campus has been a fantastic and worthwhile experience, not only from an academic perspective but the networking opportunities available within such a diverse campus.
The ICMA Centre has notably excelled in bringing together theory and practice in finance, which definitively places it among the top business schools in the world. It has achieved this by providing courses that have real world applicability and being able to apply these skills gained on day one of what is no doubt a very promising career after completing the masters.
Specifically there are three areas that I feel the ICMA centre excels in:
The module specialisation allows each student to tailor their degree to their aspiring opportunities. For example, those wishing to understand how businesses decide on particular investments and the valuation methods used would seek to take the Corporate Finance module, which i found to provide one of the best projects at the ICMA Centre. We valued a FTSE 100 company using a number of different valuation methods, incorporating the latest data and forecasts. This is an excellent module for those interested in Investment Banking or Private Equity. Students can also take Fixed Income Markets to understand how countries and companies hedge, sell and speculate with enormous sums. I found the modules included the most up to date cases and examples that are happening right now so as to fully engage students in the current problems financiers face today - Including the changing regulatory environment that is catching large multinationals by surprise.
The facilities were one of the main reasons I decided to study at the ICMA Centre. Despite our industry relying so much on technical ability, most universities seem to lack providing practical skills to their students. At the ICMA centre they have a number of Bloomberg terminals which can provide countless analysis and data for all sorts of projects. The Thompson Reuters Ekion terminals also provide high quality information useful in private equity research. Lastly, the ICMA centre utilise a dealing room set up like it would be in a financial institution to learn through simulations how trading is conducted while trying to make money on the FX markets and stocks, in what I found to be an exciting and engaging part of the first semester.
Not only did we have the opportunity to complete the Fixed Income Certificate (FIC) qualification that Investment Banks require those working in fixed income to do, but the opportunities extend beyond the initial Masters with extra learning opportunities, Alumni events and of course the Henley Business School brand that comes with having completed the course. For anyone looking to work towards there CFA or ACA qualifications, the ICMA centre really does give their students a stepping stone into the world of finance.
Currently I am working for PwC CI based in Jersey. Notably it is a financial focused entity which provides a range of services such as Tax, Advisory and Assurance for some of the biggest names in Banking, Asset management, Insurance and Fiduciary. Studying for a Masters that incorporates these industries has allowed me to better understand the client, the services we provide and the potential for new revenue streams and methods of providing these services.