My job is in finance, specifically in credit risk management, and for my undergraduate degree, I studied mathematics and philosophy. As I started climbing the corporate leader, I realised that being self-taught was no longer sufficient. Being employed by one of the world's largest conglomerates, I was looking for a Master's programme in finance that would help me develop an understanding of the area and offer a decent level of detail on financial and banking systems around the world and not just focus on one specific country. I also wanted the option of being able to specialise in a certain area, and was looking for a flexible study programme which could fit around my job.
The MSc in Finance (Financial Sector Management) offered by the Centre for Financial and Management Studies at SOAS University of London was the perfect fit and also allowed me to be part of a university with an outstanding global reputation.
Distance learning was the ideal option for me as I could not commit to being at a single location for the duration of my Masters. My job offered me a few relocation opportunities. At the time, I was a Canadian living in Germany, and was looking to move to New York after a few years. My whereabouts were too unpredictable and the only other alternative would have been to quit my job and I was not willing to do that.
I managed to work and study without any issues. In fact, I was determined to be done in the minimum number of years, which in my case was two. Certainly, it was not easy at times, and it did come with a level of sacrifice, but overall, it was absolutely manageable.
The programme exceeded my expectations. How much I learned and how much I know and understand at this point is not even remotely comparable to a couple of years ago. I am very happy with the modules I took and the level of detail they offered. The programme tutors were helpful, friendly and easy to reach. I also found the assignments to be a great way of testing my understanding. The only hurdle was preparing for the exams. Even though exam papers from previous years are available, the answers are not, so you have to make sure you are fully prepared and have revised the module thoroughly.
Additionally, I was really surprised with how involved and how supportive the academic advisors, tutors and the professors are. Even though we are spread out around the world, I had a chance to meet both students and staff through the University of London distance learning programme. It did feel like I was a part of the UoL/SOAS community. Moreover, SOAS staff regularly visited various cities in the US and Canada to hold events for students, a nice touch, and I, for one, am very appreciative of that.
It is still a bit early to tell as I have just finished my exams, but the Masters has definitely opened doors for me. Regardless of whether I stay in my current role or move on to another department, or to another company, I feel more confident and am more knowledgeable in the field of finance and that is of uttermost importance to me at the moment. I could not be happier with my decision to enrol in this program.