Susan

MSc Financial Analysis and Fund Management 

Susan joined us from Kenya to pursue her interest in finance. She particularly enjoys the Financial Modelling module and the invaluable skills it provides. Her course highlight was taking part in the CFA Ethics Challenge and coming 2nd, which will help set her apart in a competitive job market.

Why did you pick Exeter over other Universities?

When I was applying for my Masters, I had a clear understanding of the knowledge gaps that I wanted to fill in order to launch my career in Investment Management. The University of Exeter offered exactly what I wanted through one of their flagship programmes, MSc Financial Analysis & Fund Management. Additionally, the programme would give me an opportunity to work towards CFA Level I & II which was a unique offering compared to other universities.

What were you doing before you started your postgraduate studies at Exeter?

I am from Nairobi, Kenya where I pursued a Bachelor of Commerce (Finance Specialisation) undergraduate degree at Strathmore University. I thought it was important for me to acquire some professional experience therefore I worked at a fund management company in Nairobi. At the same time, I was also pursuing the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (A.C.C.A.) professional qualification.

Why did you pick this postgraduate course?

Finance has always been an area that interested me. However, it wasn’t until I worked at the fund management company that I knew Investment Management was the area I wanted to pursue further. I really enjoyed working with the analyst at the firm and this inspired me to pursue this area of finance.

How have you found the teaching, research, lecturers, course content?

The course content is very relevant. I particularly like how the lecturers incorporate practical coursework that equips you with relevant skills that will come in handy in the work place. The lecturers are very friendly and always ready to offer help where needed, whether it is during breaks, office hours or email. I am particularly impressed by how they are eager to improve on their content delivery through frequent feedback from the students. My favourite module has been Financial Modelling, it was interesting to learn how to create and practically optimise portfolios and measure risk. Modelling is an invaluable skill to have so it was exciting to enhance this skill.

How have you found the support services and the facilities?

The University offers plenty of support to its students. Whether it is careers, wellbeing or course related support you need, the University has got you covered. The Career Zone is one valuable resource that I often interact with. Through the portal you can book various career related sessions which are beneficial as well as finding job openings. I was also part of the Career Mentorship Programme which is a good opportunity to learn from established professionals.

The Business School has access to various databases such as Bloomberg, Capital IQ, Fame, and Morning Star among others. These databases come in handy during your coursework and more importantly when writing your dissertation.

Did you find it okay settling into Exeter / the UK as an international student?

Settling into Exeter was challenging for me at first. Being my first time away from home made settling in a daunting task. However, I was able to find my way around, the international office is very supportive. Before I arrived the UK they sent me information of what I would need to settle in. And throughout the stay they send emails of various activities or relevant information you would need to know like adjusting the clock during winter and summer. There are a few shops around I can get food from home which is great! The past few months I have been able to make Exeter a home away from home.

Do you feel campus has an international feel? How does Exeter compare to where you are from originally?

The University is inclusive of every race and nationality. There many societies that are based on nationality, so you get a chance to interact with people from your country. The students and lecturers are from diverse backgrounds giving the campus an international feel.

What are your top tips for international students thinking about studying in the UK?

If you have a chance to study in the UK take it! It is a great and holistic experience. Send your University application early…as early as one year before your intended date of joining. It saves you a lot of time and effort. As soon as you have your unconditional offer start looking for accommodation as you will have more options to choose from. Be open minded and adaptable to the way of life and culture BUT do not lose your identity and culture.

Do you feel your postgraduate course will enhance your employability?

I strongly feel that the course will enhance my employability. I have learnt relevant technical skills from excellent professionals which are transferable and applicable in the modern finance world.

What do you think of the campus?

Exeter University is a breathtakingly beautiful campus. During spring and summer it is particularly magnificent when all flowers are blooming and bursting with colour that just livens your spirit. I like talking walks around the campus and discovering new areas. The air is so fresh and the atmosphere is so calm, which is suitable for productive study. There are several study spaces around the campus that allow for silent studies and the campus also caters for group study spaces that are well equipped.

How have you found the city and the surrounding area?

The city is lovely. Everything is within walking distance within Exeter. Transport is efficient and reliable within the city with great connectivity. My favourite place in Exeter has to the Quay. I love taking walks along the River Exe and watch the elegant swans going about their business. I often sit by the Quay and read a novel sometimes I canoe on the Exe. It is just such a lovely and peaceful place to spend your time at.

How is your accommodation at Exeter?

I live in off campus accommodation student accommodation. Finding accommodation is very easy just as long as you do it early enough. There are platforms that help you find suitable accommodation depending on your preferences and even housemates. I found StudentPad very helpful. I was really lucky to get a super deluxe so I really love how spacious my room is.  It takes me about a 20 minute walk to campus, but could be less if you are a fast walker. The campus is very hilly therefore I would recommend wearing comfortable trainers.

Are you a member of any societies, volunteering, or hold any part-time jobs

I am a member of the Cathsoc Society. It was important for me to keep my faith even while away from home and this society helped me do so. Additionally, it was great to meet new people and form friendships that made my stay at Exeter memorable and enjoyable. I have found that joining societies is one of the best ways to make friends and be with people that you share the same passion and values with.

What has been the biggest highlight of studying at Exeter?

My biggest highlight while studying at Exeter was coming up as the 2nd Runners up in the CFA Ethics Challenge. This involved analysing a case study and identifying ethical issues in accordance with the CFA Code of Standards. I had to make a presentation to a panel of specialists in this area which was nerve racking but a lovely experience not to mention the prizes I took home.

What advice would you give to a prospective student considering your course and Exeter Business School?

This is a great but intensive course. Be mentally prepared for the amount of work and effort you will have to put in to be successful. Take advantage of the various competitions that will be organised by the course directors. These give you transferable skills that set you apart from other candidates being considered for a job.

What do you want to do when you graduate?

When I graduate I hope to secure an analyst role in a top investment bank or work as an asset manager. I am open to working anywhere in the world as I believe this course has opened the possibility of working globally.

Any memories you would like to share or final thoughts?

My greatest memory would be when we sailed from Brixham to Dartmouth with my classmates. It was thrilling and the most amazing experience of my life. We got involved in setting up the sails and steering the ship, I never knew sailing was such hard work! I have enjoyed my experience at the University and wouldn’t trade it for any other. I believe my future is bright and I have the University to thank for that.

Sum up your experience at Exeter in just four words:

Life-changing, intense, delightful and inspirational