How to turn your Quantitative Finance degree into a successful career

“The course contains a lot of maths, programming and finance which is a nice combination. I want to obtain the skills they’re teaching us as I think that’s what the industry is looking for.” – Thomas Van Wees, International Student, Department of Maths and Statistics, University of Strathclyde

Every business venture must begin with seed money. Regardless of its status as a product or a service, ideas cannot come to fruition without the supporting capital to set them into motion. With finance forming the backbone of a contemporary, globalised economy, investment banks, hedge funds and private equity firms must do everything in their power to minimise financial loss and liability. Since money makes the world go round, this complex and universal sector is always on the hunt for qualified professionals who can maximise profit while minimising risk.

You will be well aware by now that data is all around us. From the cloud to your desktop, to the smart handheld device that lives deep in your pocket, data is undoubtedly everywhere and in everything we do. It doesn’t matter whether your job title is Risk Manager, Financial Engineer, Derivative Trader, Asset or Fund Manager – your role as a ‘quant’ professional allows you to mould organic data into innovative business strategies. And since Forbes reports that the advertised salary for technical professionals with big data expertise and in-demand skills is US$124,000 (£89,033), prospects for the quantitative finance graduate are undeniably bright.

It’s hard to know your chances of landing that dream job when so many fresh faces enter the field every year. The UK Commission for Employment and Skills predicts that around 15 percent of jobs (one in seven) will seek candidates equipped with a postgraduate degree by 2022. But is earning your Master the best way to thrive in the field of quantitative finance?

“When looking to break into the finance industry, I felt that having an MSc in Quantitative Finance from Strathclyde really set me apart from a lot of my peers,” says Noel O’Reilly, a recent finance graduate. “As an undergrad,” he adds, “I studied Economics and Finance, and the MSc helped consolidate the concepts that I had already learned, while gaining exposure to more advanced statistical topics and developing skills that I noticed were in high demand upon entering the workplace.”

If you are planning to secure a job in finance and come readily-equipped with a degree in engineering, science or business, the MSc Quantitative Finance from the University of Strathclyde is the perfect fit for you. A defining factor of this course is that, so far, 100 percent of students who secured a placement during their studies, were offered a job after graduation. Many have gone on to forge successful careers within the finance industry.

Located in Scotland (winner of the Rough Guide’s Most Beautiful Country in the World 2017) and nestled right in the heart of Glasgow, this university is home to over 22,000 students from more than 100 countries. With so much to offer, this city of culture has been labelled a ‘must visit destination’ by National Geographic. Strathclyde’s Quantitative Finance cohort gets to enjoy the fruits of this UK city of culture, also relishing the promise of outstanding graduate prospects. From Manager Transfer Pricing Economist for Deloitte and CEO Advisor at PWC, to Business Change Consultant at the Bank of Ireland – Strathclyde’s finance graduates have built reputable careers with some of the field’s most influential companies.

“Immediately after I finished my Master’s degree I joined a financial services firm in Malta, where I live,” says Dayle Scicluna, another one of Strathclyde’s successful student assets. “I started off as a Junior Risk Officer and running many different reports and spreadsheets. As the company grew larger, my roles and responsibilities changed and I learned a lot. I also had been given the opportunity to study further on some specialised topics in risk management and derivatives,” he explains. “Periodically I also travel to the London office were I meet some of my colleagues and clients.”

It’s a programme that represents a giant step up from everything you learned at the undergraduate level, instilling you with the terminology and knowledge base needed to make waves in the professional realm. Department staff are on hand to guide you through any challenges you face, preparing you to step up and take charge as you enter the working world.

Standing by its mission to be a ‘place of useful learning’, the University of Strathclyde makes a positive graduate impact that resonates worldwide. With global engagement modules that increase employment odds and link you to leading companies, obtaining an MSc in Quantitative Finance from Strathclyde leads to major career advancement. Exposure is a fundamental element of the finance sector, so by opting for studies with Strathclyde, you are far more likely to catch the eyes of the people who really matter.

“My Masters in Quantitative Finance at the University of Strathclyde has [given me] depth of analytical skills and comfort with various software programmes like R-statistical language, which has proved useful at work and has given me a competitive edge amongst my colleagues,” says Maryam, another former Strathclyde student. “My current role as a Transactor in the Project and Structured Finance Unit of a Nigerian bank requires a lot of thought to raise different sources of funds for the bank, and most times I refer to my Strathclyde notes.

“My hope for the future is to gain extensive finance knowledge,” the alumna concludes, “go back for a PhD and end up lecturing at a university to give back to the next generation.”

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