Our graduates say...
MSc Accounting and Finance 2011-12
Prior to enrolling at Durham I was a financial analyst in New York City where I valued businesses and structured products. In researching graduate schools I wanted an internationally renowned University that could provide me with the necessary technical and quantitative skills needed to succeed in an international finance career. I ultimately chose Durham because of its CFA certification, academic reputation, ranking and knowledge that the major banks, financial institutions and global corporations annually recruit from the program. Not to mention, it was less expensive and time-consuming than comparable US institutions. During my time at Durham I was part of the MSc Investment Club where I was an energy analyst and served alongside nine other students. It provided me with the opportunity to apply theoretical concepts learned in lectures to practical situations. In addition, it enabled me to meet and learn from finance leaders from the City of London.
Durham's collegiate system made it easy to meet students across a variety of academic disciplines. It also provided an immediate sense of community and numerous clubs and societies to get involved with. I especially enjoyed the colleges convivial Formals and charitable events such as Formally Lost.
The most rewarding part of my experience was developing friendships with motivated and intelligent students from across the globe. Not only did we help each other succeed in coursework, but also I'll never forget our group dinners, coffee shop conversations and nights out. They undoubtedly enhanced my experience by helping me gain a better understanding of the cultural concepts under which different countries operate, which is increasingly important in a global world.
Durham is competitive and forces its students to challenge themselves, but from the knowledge one gains and the opportunities it provides it is 100% worth it!
Tristan Villien de Gabiole
MSc in Finance and Investment 2011-12
Before coming to Durham I studied in Switzerland where I graduated with a BSc in Business and Administration in 2010. From 2010 to 2011, I worked as an Analyst in a fund of Hedge Funds in Geneva in order to achieve some work experience prior to selecting the most appropriate Masters degree that would best match my academic objectives. A colleague of mine did his postgraduate in Durham and highly recommended Durham University Business School for its reputation.
I really enjoyed my time in Durham and was able to forge amazing friendships throughout the 12 months I was there. I have never experienced such diversity in terms of culture and nationalities. The friends I made came from Germany, Italy, Israel, Pakistan, India, USA, Russia, Egypt, Hungary, Greece, China, Spain...and more! I know that now wherever I travel, I'll have a place to stay in any country in the world! I completely owe my success on the programme to the friends that I made - without whom I wouldn’t have achieved everything I have during this year.
The modules were particularly interesting and I especially enjoyed Derivative Markets, Security Analysis and Portfolio Management. I don’t think I’ve ever improved my knowledge as fast as I did during this year compared to all of my prior education. Thanks to my degree, I got offered a job in a private Wealth Management company in Newcastle as a Junior Portfolio Manager. In addition, I am delighted to have been granted a CFA scholarship by the Business School.
I would truly recommend Durham University to anybody wishing to advance his or her career path. To be successful you'll have to work hard, but you don't have to give up all of your free time - enjoy the unique student life Durham offers. I would also highly recommend getting involved in as many societies as you can, such as a sport society. I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the rowing team of Hatfield College. I will never forget the formal dinners we had every Friday with all the traditions involved. You will discover them quickly if you decide to come to Durham.
My advice: Durham is all about a good balance between work and fun.
MSc Economics and Finance 2011-12
I chose to return to further education to expand my career opportunities following a successful career in retail banking. Having studied Economics for my undergraduate degree, I was particularly interested in furthering my understanding of the theory and application of economics in the financial market place. For that reason, I decided to invest in my interest and look into opportunities for studying my masters in Economics.
I determined which universities offered economics at the masters level and then investigated the rankings of the various universities. I was delighted to see that the University of Durham was highly ranked. Furthermore I knew Durham was a beautiful city close to my hometown of Middlesbrough, which meant I could stay with my family and commute.
One of the things that I have found most enriching about my time at university is the diversity of the student base. I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting and connecting with students and professors from all over the world. The variety of teaching styles and module selection allowed me to widen my scope of study, and as such I find I have learnt and experienced more than I ever imagined possible.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Durham, and I am glad I made the decision to return to university; I now have a broader knowledge of the global financial market place and have since enrolled in the CFA level 1 course, which would not have been possible without the grounding and support I received at Durham.
MSc Finance and Investment 2011-12
I came to Durham after graduating from Newcastle University, to study on the MSc Finance and Investment programme. Geographically these two universities are very close, but I have found them to offer contrasting student lifestyles. Having previously studied economics and mathematics, I wanted to obtain the specialist knowledge in order to work in the investment consulting industry. I have enjoyed the content from a range of modules and the support all students are given academically is first rate. Furthermore, I was lucky enough to form part of the MSc Investment Club. Actively managing the Business School investment fund provided a unique opportunity to apply the theory taught in class, to form our own investment strategy and take a view on the financial markets.
College life at Durham was also a unique experience and as a resident at Ustinov College, I was able to build friendships with students from all over the world. This was something I had never expected before my arrival and college events, sport and formal dinners allow everyone to make friends quickly. Unquestionably, I hope to keep in contact with my course mates and fellow college members for many years to come.
Durham University has a global reputation and the Business School in particular is recognised by the CFA Institute. This is a professional qualification I am now studying for through my employer and having the background knowledge from the MSc programme has given me a great head start. I now work at a leading global investment consultancy and I am sure my experience in Durham will serve me well for the rest of my career.
Economics and Finance 2011-12
To sum up my time in Durham, I would have to describe it as the most intense yet exciting year I have ever had. I don’t think I was ever bored here despite it being such a tiny city compared to Cairo where I grew up. With all the activities, clubs and societies you can take part in, and the wonderful people that you can meet, there is never a dull moment. I was member of the MSc Investment Club which was a great opportunity to manage real funds and gain experience as a portfolio manager. I was elected as student representative to my cohort which gave me great insight into how the program was run and how to take an active role in improving the system that I was a part of.
My program (Economics and Finance) was the perfect combination as I was able to study modules that prepared me for jobs. I find that rarely do you find a job that excludes or separates between the two and it is always better to know more than less. I found the Portfolio Management module particularly useful as I was able to implement the knowledge gained in the classroom to the actual investments carried out in the Investment Club. The module also allows you to practice and improve your Excel skills which I have found is very important for Finance-related jobs.
On the Economics side, my favourite module was Public Economics and this was partly due to the module leader and lecturer whose passion for the subject transferred to us in the lectures and seminars. I found all my Economics modules very challenging and required a lot of work as well as a good understanding of Maths. However, they were completely enjoyable again due to our lecturers and the material covered within the modules. I doubt I would have enjoyed them if they had been easy. My dissertation required a large amount of econometric modelling which I was prepared for due to the Econometric modules taught as part of my program. This has allowed me to search for technical and analytical positions more confidently and has narrowed down my interests for job hunting.
I have never experienced anything like the collegiate system before and it’s very hard to explain it. The closest I ever got was by comparing it to Harry Potter which funnily enough was partly filmed in Durham. In a way, by living or being a member of a college you form a family rather than just new friendships. If I could do it all over again I would still choose to study at Durham.
MSc Finance 2011-12
After taking my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Finance at the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia in Italy, I was convinced that only a top UK university could provide me with the skills and the knowledge to work in the fast-paced world of finance.
Specifically, the MSc Finance at Durham University Business School offered the best deal in terms of academic excellence and study environment. The course is very flexible because students can choose modules according to their career aspirations. The combination of classic financial theory with up-to-date research in modern fields, like behavioural finance, contributes to the development of a critical study approach which is extremely important for a professional. I also had the chance to put my skills into practice during the weekly seminars and gain knowledge of advanced econometric tools.
As an international student, I found the Durham experience absolutely positive. I took part in several cultural activities which gave me an opportunity to meet like-minded people and have an insight on fields other than business. Furthermore, the high level of multiculturalism which characterise the course gave me the chance to experience cultures from all over the world and have a wider perspective on international issues.
Thanks to a career fair organised by the university, I got in touch with leading financial and non-financial firms located both in the UK and in continental Europe. The master’s allowed me to boost my career opportunities and provided me with a solid financial background for both the CFA and an MBA.
The course is very challenging and requires hard work, but the rewards in terms of personal and professional growth are invaluable.
MSc Economics and Finance, graduated 2012
Before coming to the UK I asked myself if I really should start my Masters at Durham University Business School, in a country where people drink interesting beer, love chips with vinegar, and adore the lady at the head of their monarchy. Now, one year later after having successfully completed my degree I can surely say it was one of the best decisions I have ever made.
Coming from Germany my motivation was mainly based on the fact that Durham University is an internationally renowned institution offering high quality education in particular with regard to its business school. Now working for the German Antitrust Authority I can say with certainty that the things I learned there were not only helpful but absolutely necessary to succeed in my job.
However, not only the academic reputation shaped my picture of Durham. With its unique international community I always felt welcome particularly at the beginning of my studies, and it gave me a unique opportunity to learn about different cultures and their perspectives on various topics in life.
MSc Finance and Investment 2009-10
Read about Chen Wang's Durham experience on International@Durham
MSc International Money, Finance and Investment, Graduated 2011
I came to study in Durham from Almaty, Kazakhstan. I was one of the Bolashak scholarship students who had a unique chance to be a postgraduate student at one of the top and old universities in the UK, Durham University, in 2010-2011.
I found the MSc in International Money, Finance and Investment at Durham University Business School to be perfect for my future career plans. Other motivations were that the length of the programme was 50 weeks and also living in the beautiful city of Durham which is famous for its landscapes and people. These facts complemented my choice of the university, which I believe contributed to my motivation to study hard in the perfect learning environment.
The programme gives students an insight into the theory of finance and economics. Moreover, the technical modules such as econometrics, financial modelling and business forecasting provide the tools and methodology to work with financial data and formalize the resulting knowledge.
Another remarkable part of the Durham experience was the student life where everyone could find activities which meet their interests. For example, I was involved in basketball and judo. All Durham students join a college where they often live and socialise. I was part of Van Mildert College, where we had movie nights on Mondays, trips to different places around Durham and formal dinners. Ustinov Collegewas very popular among postgraduate international students and I made many friends from there also. The university provides outstanding study facilities to the students, where they can have group meetings and excel academically.
Currently I am part of the Moscow based global financial institution, Vneshtorgbank (VTB Kazakhstan), which offered me a job in risk management after I returned. The Durham experience helped me to learn more about the world of finance (theory and application), structured my knowledge and helped me to make new friends from around the world. These outcomes will be invaluable for my current and future career success.
My advice for current students is to work hard and don't miss all the opportunities provided by Durham University. These include opportunities for self development, meetings with illustrious speakers and attendance at the informative research seminars. Also use the Careers Employability and Enterprise Centre to plan your future from the very beginning.
Vincent Oscar Helgée
International Banking and Finance, 2010-2011
Joining the Business School was an easy decision and one that I do not regret.
In 2010 I graduated from an undergraduate degree (also at Durham) in Combined Honours in Social Sciences and I felt it was necessary for me to have a somewhat more specific and technical background as I knew that I wanted to go into a career in finance. The four years in total that I spent in Durham were a fantastic experience; not only did I complete challenging and insightful courses that helped me secure a great job in the City of London, but I have also made friends and lived experiences that I will always bring with me.
Durham University, and the Business School in particular, truly expect students to be ambitious, independent and pro-active; and getting involved is made particularly easy by the collegiate environment students live in. For example, I took part in the Business School MSc Investment Club and I was on the executive committee of DU Tae Kwon Do club for two years. I came from abroad (Switzerland) to the UK in 2007 and it was the inviting, friendly and inclusive atmosphere of Durham that has helped me decide to stay in the UK to start my career.
In academic terms expect to put in a lot of effort; the MSc is hard work. However, you will have great fun whilst you do it.
MSc in Finance 2011-2012
I studied at Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research and I got my Bachelor Degree in Business Administration in 2010, with a specialisation in Finance and Accounting. After graduating from KIMEP, I got a good job in JSC "Halyk Bank of Kazakhstan" as Specialist of Department of the Accounting Methodology and Recording.
I purposefully decided not to continue my education in the same place because I think an individual should be always moving forward and progressing. I decided to complete my graduate studies in the UK. I chose Durham University Business School because it is acknowledged as one of the strongest in the UK and has triple accreditation of AACSB (The Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business), EQUIS (European Quality Improvement System) and AMBA (Association of MBAs) as a great guarantee of high quality. Moreover, since finance and accounting is my sphere of interest I plan to do a CFA professional qualification in the future and the programmes that the Business School offers cover more than 70 per cent of the curriculum of all three levels of the CFA Programme. So it can make a big contribution for me to succeed.
I enjoy learning everything that the Business School offers. It is also a good opportunity to obtain an international experience, to interact with a different nation and to learn about the culture. For me this is essential at this time of worldwide globalization.
I expect to leave Durham University Business School with new outstanding world-class knowledge which will be very useful for my future career.
MSc Finance 2011-2012
I chose the Business School because it is a part of Durham University, which has a reputation as one of the highly-ranked establishments for excellent academic and professional education in the UK and the world (3th in the UK according to last Sunday Times Good University Guide, 55th in the Word, 2011). The Business School is accredited by the Association of MBAs, the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and the European Quality Improvement System, confirming the high quality education offered.
Durham University Business School offers exactly those courses in which I have strong interest. Also I like the location of the university, as I consider this country as one of the most important financial and educational centres of the world.
Another reason is that MSc Finance programme has a CFA Partnership and in the future I'm intending to get CFA qualification, so studying at the Durham University would give me an excellent opportunity to obtain highly-qualified preparation.
I strongly believe that MSc Program will help me to strengthen my background in finance, acquire new knowledge, develop and upgrade appropriate analytical skills in order to successfully proceed with a career in finance.
Studying in Durham gives me so many opportunities for the future. I especially like the seminar system which I believe differentiates Durham from many other business schools. Seminar work means deeper understanding, detailed analysis, team building, and getting closer to practical experience. These all contribute to a continuous learning process and the better allocation of study time and time management.
After graduating I am planning to work in Kazakhstan and will do my best to use the knowledge received from the Business School in my future career.
Philip O. Sarthou
MSc Corporate and International Finance, graduated 2009
Read Phil's story on the internationaldurham blog
Economics and Finance 2009-10
Before moving to Durham, I worked as an analyst at an international consulting firm in New York City. A colleague of mine, one of the lead consultants, had graduated from Durham University and he highly recommended both the school and the experience. Having now completed an MSc program, I likewise highly recommend Durham University.
I was looking for a degree which emphasises technical skills and the CFA curriculum - both of which are so valuable in today's market. The MSc in Economics and Finance stood out as a well-rounded program which covered the material I wanted to learn. I have now passed the CFA Level I examination and I know that my coursework at Durham University played a significant role.
I had the opportunity to serve as a student representative and work directly with many members of the faculty and staff. From these interactions, I found each member to be caring and concerned about the student body, and attentive to the voice of the students. In addition, they have a continual focus on keeping the program up to its high international standard.
The city of Durham itself is picturesque. Some of the highlights of my experience definitely include visiting the castle and cathedral, rowing around the river Wear, and travelling to nearby historical sites.
Above all this, the numerous life-long friends I made are easily the most meaningful part of my experience. These friends come from various countries of the world and I have gained a deeper appreciation of their cultures and points of view as a result of our friendship. In addition, my own point of view has been broadened and enriched on a range of subjects from politics to sports. Had I studied at home in the United States, I would not have had such an experience. Attending Durham University was certainly one of the most rewarding experiences of my life!
MSc Economics and Finance 2009-10
After completing my undergraduate degree in Economics in India I studied the MSc Economics and Finance course at Durham and it was even better than I had expected it to be. The course provided a strong theoretical foundation coupled with practical application. What was taught in the lectures was fortified with practical application through case studies and problems during seminars. Learning from professors who brought in varied points of view was a stimulating experience for me; just the sheer scope of the knowledge which I could absorb was overwhelming. The entire framework of instruction really opened up my thought processes and helped me develop my analytical abilities. My dissertation, on Credit Risk Models, was extremely helpful for me to develop my skills of research, independent thinking and analysis. The wheel of expanding my frontiers has been set in motion.
My MSc course was complemented by a most wonderful college life in Durham. Being an international student, I was quite anxious about fitting into the college life here. Even though I was living out, my college's Induction Week programs helped me meet new people in my course and college, make new friends easily and fit in and become part of my college. I became the Social Secretary for Ustinov College and hence played a major role in the social life. I also formed and presided over the Durham University Indian Society and was part of Ustinov's Network Communications Group, hence keeping myself busy. I also took part in the MSc Focus Group. Durham was a wonderful place to study in because being a student city it provided a good atmosphere for studying but also had a good nightlife for my friends and me to enjoy. I have collected such wonderful memories here.
During this past year I have learnt and grown a lot. The Business School has been like a second home with its free coffee and I have made good friends for life. Overall, my one year stay in Durham for the MSc course at Durham University Business School was one of the most satisfying, productive, brilliant and enjoyable experiences of my life!
MSc Economics and Finance 2009-10
Before coming to Durham, I had worked as a Mortgage Loan Customer Manager in China Merchants Bank for nearly two years. With a drive to further understand the workings of macro economy and capital market, I decided to engage in further academic training at Durham University Business School, acting as the same time as a research assistant in the area of corporate governance for Dr Wenxuan Hou. As my undergraduate alumna recommended, Durham is a wonderful place to live and study. With fantastic faculty support and an international diversity of students, I settled into life in Durham quickly and met many new friends.
I particularly enjoyed the dissertation because it gave me the opportunity to conduct empirical research in a joint area of finance and computer algorithm. I also had a great supervisor--Dr Wenxuan Hou. During my study at Durham, I felt honoured to represent Durham University Business School in the Morgan Stanley "Portfolio in Peril" competition and in the CFA UK Challenge. I practiced hedging currency exposure and understood the business model of a UK real estate firm in these extra-curriculum activities.
With the help of the School's Business Development Manager and the Programme Director, I obtained a summer internship as a financial consultant in Formica Limited based in Newcastle. I advised the CFO on sales expenses and inventory management. It really was an exciting experience.
Additionally, the average of the nine modules I studied was above 70 (Distinction) and I was therefore granted a CFA Scholarship to sit for the Level I exam in June 2011. In sum, my experience in Durham was invaluable.
MSc Finance and Investment 2009-10
After graduating from one of the top Chinese universities--Renmin University of China--with a bachelor degree majoring in economics, I decided to further my studies by applying for the MSc Finance and Investment programme at Durham University Business School. I chose Durham because of its world-class reputation and high position in rankings which both reflected teaching quality and ensured the degrees are strongly competitive in the job market.
I made the right decision. The well-designed module structure and the excellent lectures have provided me with a comprehensive understanding in the field of finance. My favourite module was the Advanced Financial Theory taught by Dr Wenxuan Hou. Compared with my former knowledge, this module provided me a fresh view about the development of financial theories.
As an international student, I was far away from home, but the collegiate system made each college just like a family, and I never felt lonely. After a whole day of study, chatting with friends and having a drink in the college bar or going to play basketball were most enjoyable times. By attending various social events in the college, for example tutor dinner, college seminar, various culture parties and so on, I also experienced different cultures and met many new friends from all around the world.
After successfully finishing my studies with 6 distinctions out of 9 taught modules, I was recommended by the MSc programme director Thomas Renström, and received the CFA scholarship for taking the Level 1 examination in December 2010.