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Masters in Finance

BSc Finance and Investment Banking

A career in the financial markets, investment banking and securities is the first choice for many well-qualified graduates. It’s not hard to see why when some starting salaries exceed £40,000.

At a glance

  • For 2020/21 applicants
  • CFA Institute University Affiliation Program
  • IMC Advantage partner
  • A practically oriented degree which specialises in investment banking, financial markets and corporate finance issues
  • Diverse learning in large scale lectures, small group seminars, workshops and trading simulations taught by academics and market practitioners
Level
Undergraduate
Award
BSc
Duration
3 years or 4 years with a placement year
Attendance
Full-time
Locations
Whiteknights campus (Reading)
UCAS Code
N302
Programme Director
Ioannis Oikonomou
Dr Ioannis Oikonomou

This course offers integrated theory and practice that will empower you to find your dream job in large corporations, working in investment banking, asset management, corporate finance and a wide range of other career destinations within the financial markets or the broader corporate world. Graduates will be equipped with specialised knowledge in asset classes, markets and institutions which comprise the world of modern finance, and gain a wide range of employable skills.

Our three dealing rooms are equipped by Thomson Reuters and use the latest high-frequency trading simulation software. You will experience the thrill of a live market – take positions, quote two-way prices and manage the risk of a $50-100-million trading book. This first-hand practical experience is a unique learning opportunity and will give you an advantage over other job applicants.

The BSc Finance and Investment Banking is an official Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute University Affiliation Program. This title certifies the academic rigor and practical relevance of the degree and recognises that the curriculum of the programme covers at least 70% of the CFA Level l candidate body of knowledge. It also comes with a series of benefits, including a number of annual scholarships for final-year students who want to sit the exam.

In the words of the CFA Institute itself:

“An Affiliated University signals to their students and to employers that their curriculum is closely tied to the practice of investment management and is helpful to students preparing for the CFA Program exams.”

COVID-19 update

Year 1

Compulsory modules Credits

Introduces you to the key financial markets, types of money including cryptocurrencies, and sustainable finance focussed on the role of the finance industry in mitigating climate change impact, Exchange mechanisms and the investment banks and investment management houses that operate in these markets and their various functions.

Academic author(s)
Brian Scott Quinn
Emeritus Professor Brian Scott-Quinn
20

This module aims to provide the student with an overview of the financial system. This will include an overview of the role that the financial system plays in the economy, a discussion of some of the main players in the system, the instruments they trade, and the trading prices. Part of the module will focus on capital markets and the private and public financial institutions participating in these markets. The remainder of the module covers the time value of money, longer-term securities like bonds, risky securities like stocks, and the way in which returns and the values of real and financial assets relate to each other. The purpose of the trading simulation part of the module is to introduce students to computer simulation of securities dealing and spreadsheet modelling. Students are taught the relevant theory and will experience how this theory works in a virtual dealing environment.

Academic author(s)
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand
20
Examines the principal financial statements produced by companies. You will cover many areas including the concepts of profit and capital; the balance sheet and profit and loss account; company accounts; and cash flow statements which are all essential ingredients in corporate valuation.
10

An introduction to economics for students of business and finance. The module aims to provide an introduction to both microeconomics and macroeconomics sufficient to help students of business and finance understand the economic forces at play and economic framework that underpins their specific field.

Academic author(s)
Carol Padgett
Professor Carol Padgett
20

This module introduces students to a range of quantitative techniques that are commonly applied in business, finance and management. The module will cover both introductory statistics and mathematical techniques that are necessary for a good understanding of financial theories and to be able to develop and understand the models used in business and finance.

Academic author(s)
Antypas Nikolaos
Dr Nikolaos Antypas
20

To introduce students to the ethical difficulties encountered by investment professionals as they invest other people’s money. By the end of the course students will appreciate the ethical standards imposed by professional bodies and financial regulators. They will be able to identify the ethical dimension involved in the decision-making process, and be able to discuss the conflicts between economic efficiency and ethical behaviour. It will examine the causes and consequences of both ethical and unethical behaviour, giving students the chance to see how individuals’ decisions affect trading partners, clients and the market as a whole.

Academic author(s)
Ioannis Oikonomou
Dr Ioannis Oikonomou
20

Year 2

Compulsory modules Credits

The module aims to build on the techniques for portfolio selection that have been introduced in the Securities, Futures and Options module. The module examines the issues involved in understanding the investment market, constructing a competitive investment portfolio (of an active, passive or smart beta style), evaluating the performance of that portfolio, and adjusting its composition through time. It will also consider issues revolving around the management of risk. The compulsory, practical project of the course will provide students with hands-on experience in constructing and managing a realistic investment portfolio.

Academic author(s)
Antypas Nikolaos
Dr Nikolaos Antypas
20

This module focuses on corporate value, considering how it is measured and how companies can create value through their strategies, financial decisions and governance practices. The module aims to offer students a good grounding in corporate finance theory and an appreciation of the related empirical evidence. There will be a focus on shareholder value maximisation and alternative corporate objectives, including a consideration of the impact of ownership and control on those objectives.

Academic author(s)
IMG 8782 1
Dr Indrajeet Mohite
20
  • Financial Modelling: Provides a rapid introduction to using MS Excel to solve a variety of practical problems related to finance. Many careers in banking and finance now require candidates to possess a strong grounding in spreadsheet modelling and a working knowledge of Visual Basic for Applications (VBA).
  • Career Management Skills: Provides you with the opportunity to develop self-awareness in the context of career decision making, extends knowledge of the career opportunities that are available to you, and the skills to make effective applications.
Academic author(s)
Gitanjali Persand
Dr Gita Persand
Schopohl Lisa 201
Dr Lisa Schopohl
20

There are two overall objectives to this module:

  1. To develop an appreciation of the “fixed income” market by exploring traditional and innovative debt instruments and methods of pricing.
  2. Moving to a portfolio context, you will explore how different financial institutions use portfolios of debt instruments to achieve stated objectives.

The module also extends and builds upon the computer simulation of securities dealing that was examined in the Part I module Introductory Finance/Trading Simulation I.

Academic author(s)
Gail Rolland
20

This module introduces students to the econometric techniques that are used in the empirical finance literature. Building on Introductory Quantitative Techniques for Finance module, this module aims to give students a solid understanding of the econometric approaches that are commonly employed to test financial theories.

Academic author(s)
Schopohl Lisa 201
Dr Lisa Schopohl
20
Optional modules Credits
20
Choose from a variety of foreign languages (from beginner through to advanced). For more information please visit IWLP(Institute Wide Language Programme).

A non-credit module that provides participating students with an opportunity to apply their knowledge and learning gained in their first one or two years in a business context through a mini placement, enhancing understanding and skills of working in a business environment, and reflecting on this experience to enhance awareness of the graduate employment market.

Academic author(s)
Ms Sarah Rourke
0

Year 3

Compulsory modules Credits

Designed to combine the theoretical and practical approaches to derivatives pricing and trading. You will gain an overview of derivative securities and markets and a thorough understanding of derivatives pricing and trading. You will also be guided on the use of derivatives data and shown how to apply theoretical models and strategies presented in class through a number of case simulations in the dealing room. The trading cases involve both discrete and continuous time models and will require you to both trade and build hedging portfolios using put and call options.

Academic author(s)
Michael smith
Dr Michael Smith
20

Introduces you to current techniques for measuring and managing risk in financial institutions. This module will help you to develop critical risk management skills that are now considered indispensable for anyone wanting to undertake a career in the financial sector. Topics include: types of financial risks, bank capital regulation, value-at-risk and expected shortfall, back-testing, variance forecasting, VaR decomposition and minimisation, credit rating systems and credit risk modelling.

Academic author(s)
Sangiorgi Ivan 204
Dr Ivan Sangiorgi
20

For the remaining modules you may choose four of the following:

Optional modules Credits

This module seeks to introduce students to Fintech as well as cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of how and why firms are implementing blockchain technology in their day-to-day business as well as the challenges they face. The module also covers cryptocurrencies, their governance and properties behind the most popular cryptocurrencies. This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the major areas of FinTech, the ability to understand blockchain technology and why so many firms are implementing the technology, as well to reflect on the history, behaviour and impact cryptocurrencies have had on the financial sector. Students will gain a broad appreciation of recent develops in FinTech, including money and payment, digital finance, alternative finance and importantly FinTech regulation.

Academic author(s)
Andrew U
Dr Andrew Urquhart
20

Designed to combine theoretical and practical approaches to exotic derivatives in different markets: equity, FX, interest rates and credit. The objectives of the module include providing you with an overview of the exotic products in different markets, familiarising you with the different pricing approaches and models, highlighting the importance of engineering and innovations in financial products and showing how to apply the theoretical models and engineering strategies presented in class through a number of assignments.

Academic author(s)
Miriam Marra
Dr Miriam Marra
20

The aim of the research project is to allow students to define and execute a piece of research in finance on a topic of their choice, with direction from an academic supervisor and with assistance from a doctoral student support supervisor.

Academic author(s)
Charles Sutcliffe
Professor Charles Sutcliffe
20

The objective of the Private Equity and Venture Capital module is to develop students’ appreciation of the practical aspects of investing by private equity and venture capital firms, understanding the dynamics between the venture capital investor and the entrepreneur, and also the practicalities of raising PE&VC funds from institutional investors. The focus of the module is on venture capital and high-growth ventures from the viewpoints of both the entrepreneur or management team and of the investing institution (general partner), although private equity as a whole is covered (including management buyout transactions) as well as the relationship between the private equity or venture capital firm and its own investors (limited partner institutions). This is a highly practical module; extensive use will be made of case studies and a group project in addition to guest lectures from invited experienced practitioners or entrepreneurs.

Academic author(s)
Keith Arundale
Dr Keith Arundale
20

This dynamic and interactive module aims to inspire students and provide them with the entrepreneurial skills and confidence needed to put plans into action. Students will learn from the experience of successful entrepreneurs and are given a solid understanding of the realities of a business start-up. Topics include entrepreneurial forms and behaviour, creativity and innovation, idea development and feasibility testing, understanding market dynamics and satisfying customers, raising finance, intellectual property, networking, writing a business plan and pitching to investors.

20
Choose from a variety of foreign languages (from beginner through to advanced). For more information please visit IWLP(Institute Wide Language Programme).

This is an applied course with little quantitative content. It deals with one of the most important groups of institutional investors - pension schemes, focussing on occupational pension schemes. Pensions are in a state of crisis and change, and have become the subject of popular debate and controversy. They employ fund managers to invest many £trillions on their behalf. Developing countries, such as China and India, have the potential for an enormous expansion of their pension schemes. Therefore the assets under management of pension schemes globally are likely to increase considerably. The investment of pension funds requires an understanding of how pension schemes work, which is hard to acquire as it has not been taught by educational establishments. This module will provide a detailed knowledge of a major group of institutional investors (pension schemes) and the real would problems they face.

Academic author(s)
Charles Sutcliffe
Professor Charles Sutcliffe
20

The course is designed to give students a basic practical working knowledge of the hedging and trading of derivative securities, and in particular options. Most textbooks on the subject are either too mathematical/theoretical or too practitioner oriented, and this module attempts to bridge the gap between the two. By the end of the course students should be able to “speak the language” of the derivatives market whilst at the same time have an intuitive grasp of the subject. Whilst option theory is of obvious importance, the emphasis of this course is on practical application – in particular, we will look at the time/risk dynamics of options in a trading environment. The derivatives industry impacts on all sectors of investment banking, and whether or not students choose a career in derivatives trading/sales/research, they will find this course extremely useful. The overriding philosophy of the course is: “learning by doing”.

Academic author(s)
Michael smith
Dr Michael Smith
20

Bond and Money Markets explores the economic drivers and relationships between bond, money markets and central bank monetary policies. The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of how these connections affect trading strategies, funding liquidity management and the challenges faced by practitioners as well as regulators/policy makers. The course also covers the overall functions, structure and operation of the money market. Additionally, the module will help students develop mentoring and coaching skills, personal effectiveness, action planning and career decision-making skills.

Academic author(s)
Sangiorgi Ivan 204
Dr Ivan Sangiorgi
20

Please note that you cannot choose both a Language and the Practice of Entrepreneurship.

Careers

Here at the ICMA Centre, we recognise the importance of career development and have integrated specialist career management into the programme, thereby providing our students with a tool kit to help them achieve their career aspirations. Our graduates enter the market with knowledge and skills to enable them to gain excellent careers in areas such as sales and trading, asset management, operations and risk management. Our statistics show that typically more than 90% of graduates are in employment or further study within 6 months of graduating

Internships

Through the duration of this course, students are expected to undertake an eight to ten week working internship throughout the summer vacation between the second and third year. This invaluable experience can provide students with excellent experience and skills to add to their CV, as well as the opportunity to network. The ICMA Centre provides assistance in identifying and applying for internships with CV grounding and honing interview techniques.

Accreditations

CFA Institute

The ICMA Centre is part of the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program. This partnership signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that the university curriculum is closely linked with professional practice and is well-suited to preparing students to sit for the three levels of CFA exams.

The CFA recognises that MSc Investment Management students cover more than 75% of the CFA level 1 curriculum over the course of their degree. Participants of this programme also have the chance to study for the CFA exam alongside their studies and sit for the CFA level 1 exam in June. Tuition fees of MSc IM include registration, tuition and support for the CFA level 1 exams. For more information regarding the CFA institute, visit www.cfainstitute.org/

CFA Institute

“National league tables show that Henley Business School consistently provides one of the most satisfying and rewarding student experiences in the UK.” Professor John Board, Dean.

Part of the University of Reading and the triple-accredited Henley Business School, the ICMA Centre has a global reputation for its excellence in undergraduate, postgraduate and executive education in finance, as well as professional and policy development research and consultancy.

Based in University of Reading’s award-winning Whiteknights campus – a short train ride from London, the financial capital of the world – the ICMA Centre is the product of the first active collaboration between the securities industry and a university finance department.

Find out more about:

Student blogs

nanjing

Ollie Jarvis, 1st year BSc FIB student, wanted to explore as many opportunities during his time at university, in order to enhance his employability prospects. In his blog, Ollie shares his experience of attending the 12 day academic and culture programme with the Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, based on their campus in Nanjing, China. Read the full blog here.

Student experience

Want to know what it is like being a student at the ICMA Centre? Take a look at our blog from Nick Pilkington and Ellis Murley, about what they think sets their degree apart from the rest. The uncontested access to the study facilities such as the three separate dealing rooms and the Bloomberg and Reuters terminals, to listening to practitioners discussing current issues. Find out more about their experiences here.

Aaron luo

Kunhui (Aaron) Luo, 3rd year BSc Finance and Investment Banking student reflects on his time studying at the ICMA Centre. As the winner of the Best Performing Student on the FIB programme, for 3 years in a row and the recipient of the Deans Excellence Award, Aaron discusses the experiences which led to ICMA Centre becoming his 'Home'. Read the full blog here.

The thing which sets ICMA apart: the uncontested access to practical study facilities. Having three separate dealing rooms and access to Bloomberg and Reuters terminals has enriched my learning experience here more than I could have imagined.

Ellis Murley BSc Finance and Investment Banking BSc Finance and Investment Banking

The support from the staff is invaluable. No problem is too big or small, the staff endeavour to give the best support to students, everyone from the lecturers, admin staff to the careers staff.

Nick Pilkington BSc Finance and Investment Banking BSc Finance and Investment Banking