Postgraduates from our MSc in Financial Economics get talking

We asked some of our postgraduate students what’s it’s really like to study the UCC programme Financial Economics (MSc) and where it took them. The UCC Postgraduate Open Day on February 10th is a great opportunity to speak with lecturers and students on this course.


Mr Peter Corcoran, B.Sc. (Finance), M.Sc. (Financial Economics), Corporate Treasury, Investec Bank.

When I started looking into the available masters in finance, the highly quantitative nature of this course caught my eye straight away. Every employer at the time was looking for candidates with strong quantitative and analytical skills. These credentials are still very much in demand today, if not more so than when I graduated.

This course gave me a much greater understanding of how global markets actually work and the financial theories upon which they are based. During the lectures we were encouraged to ask questions and to get involved. In addition, the assignments were very well thoughtout. The vast majority were real work problems that pushed us to think outside the box and not just to come back with generic solutions.

Having completed this course, it helps me every day in my role with Investec Bank where I am responsible for providing cash & foreign exchange management, and other treasury services to the bank’s corporate and institutional clients, to help them achieve their strategic goals. Each client has different needs so every solution has to be tailor made.

Mr Maurice Howell, B.E. (Electrical Engineering), M.Sc. (Financial Economics), Portfolio Analyst, Pioneer Investments.

I found the MSc Financial Economics programme to be of exceptional quality and quite accessible even though coming from an engineering background many of the facets of finance and economics were new to me. The lecturers made the material interesting with expert and enthusiastic delivery while maintaining a focus on practicality with a good balance between both qualitative and quantitative material.

The assignments and project work were of particular benefit to me. Collaborating with peers of different backgrounds and viewpoints taught me a lot about myself and how I work with others as well as how to leverage each person’s prior experiences to maximise the outcome, a  crucial skill in an industry that’s increasingly drawing on a multidisciplinary talent pool. The projects themselves required practical application of the concepts learned, but always with strong support from faculty.

The broad scope of the material is in keeping with the latest standards in the investment industry and prepared me for roles with both fixed income and equity funds. As an analyst, being able to understand and apply both bottom-up and top-down analysis while maintaining a portfolio viewpoint means you can immediately start to add value in many different roles.

The MSc in Financial Economics has been a fantastic platform and has given me the tools and confidence to pursue a career in any investment firm.

Mr Diarmaid Cronin, B.Sc. (Finance), M.Sc. (Financial Economics), Financial Services Authority, UK.

I did the MSc in Financial Economics for two main reasons. I wanted to have a deeper understanding of Financial Markets, Derivatives, Central Banking, Financial Product Valuation, Foreign Exchange and Interest Rate Risk Management. I also wanted to conduct Independent Research in the area of Stock Market Valuation. Therefore I felt the MSc in Financial Economics was the course for me. I found the course very challenging but highly rewarding. It helped me to fully understand Equity Markets, Derivatives, Banking and Risk Management. In addition I really enjoyed the guest speaker presentations throughout the year. They included Economists, Portfolio Managers and Stock Traders. I feel the course has added value to me and guarantees great employment opportunities. Having completed the course I now intend to pursue a career in financial markets.

Michael O’ Sullivan, B.Sc. (Business Information Systems), M.Sc. (Financial Economics), Business Analyst, AIG Europe.

When I decided to undertake a postgraduate course, the MSc in Financial Economics was my number one choice. I wanted a course which would provide an in depth understanding of finance and give me the skills and qualification I needed to get ahead in the work-place.  After completing the course I know I made the right decision. The course provides an excellent theoretical background of financial and economic topics. More importantly, it focuses on the most up to date and relevant material and helped me to develop skills which I could immediately apply in the work environment. I am now working as a Business Analyst with AIG Europe and I know that completing the MSc in Financial Economics was critical to me securing my position.

Ms Siobhán O’Connell, B.Sc. (Finance), M.Sc. (Financial Economics), Research Analyst, Central Bank of Ireland.

In my view, the MSc in Financial Economics provided me with an ability to develop my knowledge of economics. The modules while varied are focused on developing the knowledge needed that I feel has helped me to immediately settle into my role as a research analyst in the Central Bank. The teaching staff are both helpful and deeply engaged in their individual areas and provide teaching that is up to date on the current debates in the real world. We were also allowed to experience the world of stock markets and trading, which allowed us to apply our knowledge and competitiveness all in one. The programme provides opportunities for students to focus through the minor thesis onto an area of our interest.


 Mr Jonathan Irwin, B.A. (Economics), M.Sc. (Financial Economics), Associate, Investment Banking Europe, BNP Paribas. 

I selected the MSc as I wanted to be part of a class and a department which was highly motivated and eager to learn. This enthusiasm, facilitated by the positive atmosphere of a small class, made the learning experience extremely valuable as there have been many different class discussions and interactive group exercises, which add a new dimension. The MSc allowed me to examine many different career paths within the Investment Banking and Risk Management sector. The course contains modules both specific and broad giving students a huge advantage in their ability to select a future career path. Moreover upon completing the MSc you are able to demonstrate a variety of skills including, analytical, commercial awareness and a understanding of ethics. This synthesis of competencies gives student a clear advantage in the job market.

Mr John Twomey, B.Sc. Finance, M.Sc. Financial Economics, Deputy Head of Research, Abbey Capital.

The in MSc. Financial Economics has stood to me greatly throughout my career. I entered the course from an undergrad in Finance, after which I felt I had a good grasp of the core foundations of the industry. However the MSc. Financial Economics equipped me with the detailed knowledge that would be required for front office and investment roles. Allowing me to broaden and deepen my understanding of key topics such as portfolio management and derivative securities which I now use every day.  The strong course material was complemented by the time and effort put forward by the lecturing staff, which was truly exceptional. Office doors were never closed to someone who wanted to ask a question or resolve an issue. I would strongly recommend this course to anyone considering a career in portfolio management, capital markets or financial research.




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