Tag: msc (page 1 of 3)

A Glimpse into the Quantitative Modelling within R Software

It is no exaggeration to say that much of our world is unrecognisable from how it was just a few months ago. The coronavirus has upended everyday life – how we live, how we work, and how we interact with one another. The vast majority of professional individuals have been mandated to work from home, and the work of the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quant (AIR-Q) society has shifted to mirror this new reality. As an MSc Quantitative Finance student, being a part of a student society has been an incredibly rewarding experience allowing me to network and immerse myself in the industry I am pursuing. Despite the difficulties of our current working and studying reality, I am proud as Co-president to present another AIR-Quantitative workshop on June 15th through Zoom platform, as a part of ongoing work that our society plans to continue throughout the rest of the academic year and summer.

Adam Upenieks, MSc Quantitative Finance (2020)

Hosting an event with a fellow alumna

The event was centred around the work of Olga Ponomarenko. Currently, Olga is a VP Quant at Barclays Bank in London. Her work focuses on implementing and developing advanced statistical models in Python and R. She studied Financial Economics in the joint program of Higher School of Economics and London School of Economics and has a degree in Quantitative Finance from Cass. As a Cass alumna, she was the perfect person to host an informative workshop on real-world applied statistics, using skills she developed during her time studying Quantitative Finance at Cass. The event hosted over 60 excited individuals who were delighted to catch a glimpse into some of her modelling insights.

Olga began by polling attendees on which part of the world they had joined the online AIR-Quant workshop. It was a pleasure to see participants from all parts of the world; many from London, across Europe, to North America all the way to India, as well as South and Central Asia. The talk began with a bit of Olga’s professional background. Olga talked about the state of the industry, and in data science, the difference in approach between Statisticians, Econometricians, and Machine Learning Data Scientists.

Olga’s case study: different perspectives to solve the same problem

The bulk of the presentation was centred around a case study. The goal was to demonstrate the many perspectives one can develop from analysing just one simple problem: defining the relationship between recessions and budget deficits. Olga provided World Economic Outlook data on 196 countries and took participants through a variety of techniques to break down the data. She performed naïve and Beta regressions, administered an Arellano-Bond GMM procedure to single out causality, and then applied a Bayesian approach while also displaying the importance of hierarchical models.

Opening up the floor

The presentation ended with a question and discussion period. Olga answered questions on the current state quant jobs in the industry. She gave meaningful advice to participants pondering looming career moves and to those of us soon to be starting our first quant jobs in the industry. She gave great advice on potential interview questions, which programming languages are most desirable for new hires, and specific topics to be aware of before entering any interview in the quant field. She provided us with a primer for interviews in Quantiative Finance, which can be found here. She also took us through a typical day as a Quant at Barclays and proffered the importance of staying up to date on academic literature.

Some participants later joined the discussion to share their journeys into data science – some who began with very little quantitative backgrounds and grew to be successful in their fields. Others shared their favourite programming languages and packages. Overall, the interactive event was enlightening to those of us interested in quantitative disciplines and could not have been hosted by a more qualified and remarkable guest. The Cass AIR-Quant society was delighted to host Olga Ponomarenko, and we look forward to hosting her again in the future as guest for planned AIR-Q Forum Women in Quant Finance.

Thank you!

The Presidents and the founder of the Cass AIR-Q Society Rocio Plasencia, Juan Sebastian De La Torre, Evangelos Santas, Lucy Nondi, David Flanigan, Adam Upenieks and Peter V would like to deliver special thanks to the Cass events team, the participants, and especially Olga Ponomarenko for her remarkable presentation and her insightful view on the continuously changing world of Quantitative Finance.

Adam Upenieks, MSc Quantitative Finance (2020)

The impact of Covid-19 on the insurance sector

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic has had a huge and devastating impact across the world with its ramifications starting to be discerned across various sectors such as health, finance and aviation. This has threatened the global supply chain which resulted in an economic stall.

The insurance industry has not been spared with new questions arising as the crisis unfolds. Stakeholders want to understand the business’ exposure to the virus as well as what the future holds for the insurance market.

As an MSc Actuarial Management student, joining a student society and hosting events that impact the professional sector I am training has added a lot of value to my studying experience. As Co-President of the Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants Society (AIR-Q), it was an honour to work on the ‘Impact of COVID-19 on the insurance sector’ webinar. The session was AIR-Q Society’s take on investigating and tackling these issues. The event’s keynote speakers, Mr Michael Tripp, Mr Dimitrios Velmachos and Mr Asif John, gave their thoughts on the implications of the pandemic to the UK insurance market, risk management techniques and the future of data analytics in modelling insurance products. The speakers also addressed any questions posed by the attendees based on their vast knowledge and experience in insurance. The event was hosted and moderated by one of our society Co-presidents, David Flanigan.

Why Covid-19 is not a ‘black swan’

This question was initiated by Mr Velmachos, an entrepreneur and insurance executive by profession. He highlighted that the black swan notion was brought about by the theories discussed by Nassim Taleb in his book, ‘The Black Swan: The Impact of the Highly Improbable’.

The notion was based on the similarities between Covid-19 and author’s definition of a black swan.

According to the definition: First, nothing in the past can convincingly point to its possibility. Second, it carries an extreme ‘impact.’ Third, in spite of its outlier status, human nature makes us concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it explainable and predictable.

Dimitrios explained that the pandemic does not fully satisfy the properties of a black swan. In fact, many warned the pandemic would happen, including influential people like Bill Gates who clearly stated that the world was not ready for the next pandemic.

With such discussions setting the mood for the forum, the speakers then delved into the insurance world by giving presentations on how various classes of insurance have been impacted in the UK.

Impact on general insurance

Mr Tripp’s discussion focused on the impact of Covid-19 on general insurance segments. As a general insurance actuary working at Mazars UK, Michael stated that actions taken by the government to curb the spread of the virus has resulted in a myriad of general insurance claims. For instance, several corporations have been counting their losses following regulations by the government to close business providing non-essential services. As a result, there has been an increase in business interruption claims prompting insurers to review their policy wordings.

Michael further stated that travel insurance business has also experienced an influx of claims due to cancellation of flights after many states issued travel bans. This argument was also backed up by Mr Asif John, an actuary by profession and founder of ARGenesis consultancy, who emphasised that many travel insurance policies did not exclude coronavirus from cover. Hence, insurers are expected to settle any claim that may arise from these policies.

John highlighted that classes such as commercial liability lines and credit insurance are likely to encounter significant losses in the long haul. For example, a number of health workers have taken to legal action against the NHS claiming negligence by the government in ensuring that personal protective equipment was delivered on time, thereby endangering their lives.

Nonetheless, some general insurance lines have had better claim experience since the pandemic emerged in late 2019 as pointed out by both Michael and John. Classic examples include motor insurance and household contents whereby fewer claims have been reported due to the imposed lockdown. This move by the government resulted in many individuals normalising working from home, thereby leading to a significant reduction in the use of vehicles. With fewer cars on our roads, there have been fewer accidents occurring.

There has also been a reduction in theft leading to fewer burglary claims reported. However, Michael also brought out the fact that the lockdown has also resulted in companies relying on IT systems to deliver value to their clients. As such, there might be an increase in claims relating to cyber risk in the future, and insurers should thus tighten their policy wordings on this cover.

Impact on life and health insurance

The impact on both life and health insurance seems to go hand in hand due to the short timeframe between diagnosis and death. This has led to an increase in both the morbidity and mortality experiences as highlighted by John. The country’s health insurance sector is thus facing losses as a result of the high number of coronavirus cases. The dramatic reduction of health workers available to attend to other serious cases such as cancer will exacerbate future morbidity experience.

Besides the significant impact on mortality, Michael also pointed out that the shock experienced in the financial markets will also impact life insurance companies. This stems from the fact that they have long term liabilities and as such tend to hold long term assets. Extreme market volatility will negatively impact both the income and capital on these assets such as equity, thereby creating tremendous asset-liability management risks.

Data analysis as a tool for risk management

Being an AI and data science specialist, Asif stressed the importance of data analytics to the current situation, in particular, areas which actuaries should start focusing on. Adoption of data techniques through the use of advanced models will, therefore, succour in eliminating data issues at the input stage leading to credible forecasting.

Analysis of data at a granular level is also key for insurance companies as highlighted by Dimitrios. Granularity helps in properly understanding the data thus making aggregation of datasets into different segments easier. Better risk management techniques may also be identified as a result of having detailed data as risks will be classified and assessed homogenously.

Dimitrios also touched on the importance of incorporating epidemiological features in the modelling process in order to expand the dimensions of the output. This will help in analysing the worst-case scenario hence help in pricing and reserving and proper risk management.

What does the future hold for insurers?

Insurers need to seize some of the opportunities arising out of this crisis. It is clear that the traditional distribution channels have been disrupted indicating the need for accelerated digital transformation. Process optimisation is inevitable for insurers as working from home has become the new norm. The introduction of additional covers such as telemedicine will also be a boost to the insurance penetration in the future.

Thank you!

Being part of AIR-Q has been an incredible addition to my master’s experience: I have gained much deeper knowledge of the actuarial field, networked and built many new friendships. Myself and my fellow Co-Presidents of AIR-Q Society (Rocio Plasencia, Juan Sebastian De La Torre, Evangelos Santas,  Adam Upenieks, David Flanigan and Peter Vodička) would like to thank the speakers, attendees and the Business School’s events team for making this webinar a success. Special thanks also go to Leon Cuthbertson from the events team for assisting with the event. We’d always like to hear your thoughts, so follow us on LinkedIn or  Instagram!

Lucy Nondi, MSc Actuarial Management (2020)

Studying online: Beating shyness and becoming closer to my classmates

2020 has been an unusual for everyone due to Covid-19. Studying and working online is the new normal for most people.

My name is Dilin Chen and I am studying the Cass MSc in Entrepreneurship. I would like to share my online learning experiences, which might be beneficial for prospective students who might be wondering what it is like to learn online.

Moodle: an online hub of resources

We use the online platform Moodle as a support tool for in-class teaching. Since shifting to online learning, it has become even more important. It provides all the basic information you might need to know, such as your lecture timetable, information about your modules, the contact and the contact details of lecturers and students. It also allows you to choose elective modules, form groups for group coursework and provides you with the login information to access Zoom and Adobe Connect, which are the main softwares we use for online lectures. They both have important functions which are very useful to make the lectures interactive and to support students’ participation.

Zoom and Adobe Connect classes

Most of the lecturers encourage us students to turn on the video to see our facial expressions to understand whether we have questions or comments. This helps us to stay connected with the class and give our full attention and keep us motivated. During the class, we are encouraged to speak up and ask our lecturers questions like we would normally do in a face-to-face classes. If you feel shy to speak during the lecture, you could send an email or discuss the problem in Forum, which is a function allowing teachers and students to discuss on Moodle at the end of the class.

PowerPoint is available during classes and the lecturers sometimes use the polling function in Zoom to check how we are doing and understand our progress. If you have missed the lecture, you can watch a recorded version soon after class on Moodle

Some lectures provide pre-recorded videos to give more useful information. The reading list is mainly online, which can be found in the digital library provided by the School. We can also access a wide variety of resources, journal articles and digital books for all our subjects.

Beating shyness through interactive online learning

During my classes, the teachers make us use the break-out rooms function, which allows us to work in small online groups to discuss given questions. Here, the teachers randomly select people to join the group discussion. I find this method very powerful because it allows me to step out of my comfort zone by chatting to people I might not normally chat to and make new friends. It is such a gift to study with people from all different backgrounds and nationalities, which is very beneficial to learn about different thinking styles and cultures and keep me connected to my peers.

I am an introvert, which sometimes make me afraid to speak out in front of people in class. In the online learning setting, I feel more confident to ask questions and have more interactions with my lecturers.

Online careers support

The Careers and Professional Development Team have been great at keeping us informed with job offers and providing one-to-one online meeting sessions to help us shape our careers. The careers coaching advisors have been available throughout and have been an excellent resource to help me edit my CV and cover letter as well as discussing my options for career development. There are also a lot of careers coaching events being hosted by the Cass Careers Team.

I have been positively surprised by this new experience of online learning. I have really appreciated it so far, as well as the opportunity to study from home.

Dilin Chen, MSc Entrepreneurship (2020)

 

My top 3 tips for acing your job-search

I am Iris Wang, a MSc Business Analytics student at Cass.

As one of the Presidents of Cass Chinese Careers Society, I manage the society’s public relations. Through our events with top recruiters and companies and the support of the Careers Team, I have learned many things about how to ace your job search and become more confident at networking.

Here are my top three tips:

1. Getting all the help you can get! Smartly use resources

One piece of enlightening advice can really make a difference in your job application and who knows, it may help you secure a job offer. As students at Cass, we have access to various careers resources. It is useful to get professional guidance by checking out different workshops, company presentations and 1:1 appointments with the Careers team and resources on Cass Careers Online. Going to careers society events (such as Cass Chinese Careers Society) is also a great way to seek extra help and to network and get invaluable personal advice from people who have already been through the process.

If you have interests or query about a certain sector/company/position, proactively asking professionals on LinkedIn and inviting them for a coffee chat can help you obtain more useful insights and potentially expand your professional network.

2. Focus – learn more about yourself and what you want

Choosing a career path can be very overwhelming. But instead of applying to every position available, it is more efficient if one can analyse own personal strengths and personality and then consider their compatibility with the position. A good understanding of that compatibility can help the candidates to better convince the recruiters and therefore makes them more likely to succeed. To be able to deepen this understanding, it is always useful to learn more about a particular career path through networking and explore different activities to increase self-awareness.

3. Maintaining a positive attitude – strike a good balance in life

Getting a job is usually not a straightforward process for most people. There will be ups and downs and sometimes, a lot of downs… and it is perfectly normal.

When experiencing that, it is important to surround yourself with like-minded aspiring people who can give you support to keep you going. You should also make your own effort to strike a better balance in life by improving your planning and time management skills and actively think about how to improve yourself by learning from past experience. Don’t give up! And try not to be too hard on yourself. If any of you who are reading this blog happens to be going through difficulties, believe me I understand your frustration. It is always important to improve your skills to get an offer, but honestly, it also needs a bit of luck sometimes. Good luck!

Iris Xuan Wang, MSc Business Analytics (2020)

The Future of Actuaries

Choosing Cass

I studied pure mathematics in my undergraduate degree but was already interested pursuing a career as an actuary. I became an intern in a life insurance company as an actuary and later became a full-time employee after graduation.

In my experience, life insurance products tend to have complex and long policy terms, which become a challenge for actuaries to quantify the risks and calculate the optimum premium and reserves. I found this challenging yet fun because the problem could vary every time and the products themselves are getting more innovative, which brings a whole new level of calculation complexity. These are the reasons I wanted to pursue my career as an actuary in the life insurance industry.

I decided to continue learning by studying the Cass MSc Actuarial Science. I wanted to increase my mathematical and statistical skills, with a focusing on the actuarial field, as well as broaden my knowledge of the applications of actuarial science.

Cass is well-known for its MSc Actuarial Science programme. The School offers broad and varied accredited actuarial science modules which allows students up to six actuarial exam exemptions. The assessment in most modules are a real-life application and are carried out using essential software such as R, VBA and Excel. In addition, there are also options for student to take business analytics modules which is really what got me really interested in the first place and helped me decide where to study.

The Future of Actuaries

The ever-growing trend of business digitalisation is pushing a lot of companies to require people with technical skills related to big data platforms and automation. Companies will need more people with the ability to analyse large amounts of raw data, manipulate it, and create an algorithm to transform it into something functional for the company to then visualise the result. That is where a business analyst plays an important role.

While it is true that business analysts are needed in every sector, in the financial sector and the insurance and investment industries, business analysts require a combination of strong data analysis skills as well as the ability to quantify future risks. In these cases, an actuary can fulfil these requirements.

Combining actuarial science and business analytics: preparing for my future career

What I think will be the most useful technique of business analysis for my career is machine learning. As an actuary, I will be dealing with a lot of data to make some assumptions out of it to predict future risks. It became a much more challenging thing in life insurance where actuaries were required to predict long-term future risks based on historical data. Machine learning could help clean the data by predicting missing values or even predict new variables using unsupervised techniques.

Frequent analysis of the data is also common for actuaries, whether it is to calculate monthly reserve, performance monitoring, or premium re-calculation for Yearly Renewable products. Machine learning could speed up the process by fitting all of the analysis models and validate the result much quicker.

Muhammad Alhavif, MSc Actuarial Science (2020)

*From September 2020, Cass Business School will be launching the MSc in Actuarial Science with Business Analytics pathway, which prepares students for the non-traditional actuarial field of business analytics.

Work and study from home: how to stay productive

Remote work has become our new reality, especially in 2020.

A lot of us are new to working or studying from home. It can be challenging to organise our work processes in our homes. As a Cass MSc Global Finance student, my programme is taught online so I have unique insights into how to study effectively at home.

Here are my top three tips that help me stay productive while working and studying from home:

  1. Create a schedule

For me, the benefit of studying from home is that I do not need to follow a typical 9-to-5 schedule. While you need to be present online during normal working hours to be able to contact your colleagues and classmates and join meetings, you also have the opportunity to optimise your day according to your productivity.

Figure out what your peak workflow times are by writing down your state of mind throughout the day. Some people would rather get all of their hard work out the way in the morning, even before breakfast, while others can only start thinking clearly after lunch and reach the top of their productivity by late night, like I do. Luckily, working from home means that no matter which category you fall into, you have the choice of making a schedule that best suits your peak workflow times.

Separating your working hours from personal time is helpful too. I always include regular breaks in my schedule. I use five to 45 minutes of rest every few hours to do things like home workouts, making another cup of tea or coffee, reading the news or even scrolling through my Instagram feed. I don’t consider my break times as a working time, otherwise, I’d be frustrated by the fact I’ve been working all day long!

  1. Dress for work

I think home clothes are so comfortable! However, they make me feel too relaxed and don’t motivate to study and work. A business-casual look would be the best option for me for working from home.

The smarter you look while working from home, the more dedication you show to yourself and your peers. If you were used to taking a shower and shaving every day for the office or university, keep doing it at home too.

  1. Make a to-do list

I am a firm believer in making to-do lists, with one caveat: don’t make it too long! The optimal size for me is three to seven tasks per day. It’s easier for me to arrange the whole week in advance by evenly spreading my plans throughout the week.

Why should it be short? Because there are going to be some unexpected or urgent tasks coming up throughout the day that you didn’t expect. Your schedule has to be flexible to manage those cases. If it’s already full, it means you’ll have to delay tasks to another day, which has a knock-on effect on your next day and I know the disappointment of having uncompleted tasks in your to-do list at the end of the day. To-do lists help you to see your work progress and keep you motivated.

Following these three simple rules, I can stay productive when I’m self-isolating and I can achieve even more goals right from my home. I hope my experience will be helpful to you too.

Stay safe and work hard!

Nikita Kozachenko, MSc Global Finance (2020)

Finding work in China and the UK with a student society

Cass Chinese Careers Society

I am the Co-President of the Cass Chinese Careers Society (CCCS), along with Wendy Zhang and Yilun Fu, two master’s students at Cass. While the three of us manage the whole society together, I specialise in Public Relations and lead a team of my own to establish and maintain relationships with guest speakers, alumni and external organisations such as companies and societies.

CCCS is a student-led society working together with the Careers team, aiming to support Chinese postgraduates in achieving their professional aspirations. CCCS not only helps enhance the job-searching skills of Chinese students by holding practical job-related presentations and workshops, but also serves as a useful information-sharing and networking platform for its members to pursue their dream jobs in both the UK and in China.

There are three major divisions within CCCS: Marketing, Events and Public Relations. The Marketing team produces weekly job-related insights on our main social media platform WeChat, sharing job opportunities and application preparation tips. They also share events they feel will be relevant to students and offer information on specific companies and industries.

Our events

In our first semester, we held two major events and facilitated two additional events organised by Cass Careers Office:

  • Alumni Panel Event – Getting a job in the UK
  • Christmas networking event at Devonshire Terrace
  • Standard Charted Company Presentation
  • Financial Friends Online Conference – Job application tips on financial services in mainland China

All events were very well received by our students. For example, in the Christmas networking event, the venue was fully booked with 60 attendees— both students and alumni. Over 120 students attended Standard Charted presentation!

Alumni panel event

At our alumni panel event, we had eight guest speakers from four sectors that students are most interested in: banking, consulting, auditing and insurance. Our speakers are employees from high-profile companies (HSBC, Barclays, KPMG, PwC, Accenture and Aviva).

After a short introduction, the panel coordinators asked questions tailored to current applicants’ key concerns. After guest graduates shared their experiences and tips, there was also a Q&A and networking session. The topics of the questions cover the guests’ typical day/week, challenges and opportunities, reasons for choosing this role and company, specific applications tips and advice about the job-searching process as a whole. We had excellent feedback with some of my fellow students calling thing event ‘insightful’ and ‘very practical’.

What I have gained from being part of CCCS

Being a part of CCCS has been a great experience of mine!

CCCS provides excellent networking opportunities for its members. As the president responsible for Public Relations, holding society events gives me a great opportunity to build connections with not only a strong community of aspiring students, but also with experienced professionals such as Cass alumni, company representatives and even Shanghai Free Trade Zone delegates. By talking with experienced professionals and listening to their personal stories, I gained helpful insights about different job markets and received valuable guidance on exploring career options and further progression. During my busy application period, our community also offered me great encouragement and support which was just what I needed then for even better performance.

From a more personal perspective, the president role helped me enhance my leadership and communication skills by giving me an excellent opportunity to lead and manage a team of my own, which I believe will definitely benefit me in my future career and more generally in life.

Aside from skills development, the thought of making positive impacts within the Chinese student community always keeps me motivated. I deeply understand the difficulty and various struggles of finding an ideal job for Chinese students, so the feeling of being able to offer help and support makes my society duties a lot more enjoyable.

Iris Xuan Wang, MSc Business Analytics (2020)

Meet Cass AIR-Q Society’s Presidents of 2019/20

I am Peter Vodicka, PhD Candidate at Cass and Founder of Cass AIR-Q Society – the Cass Actuarial, Insurance, Risk and Quants Society. We are focused on bringing together students with like-minded interests, the society organises meetups, workshops and networking events allowing students to immerse themselves in the actuarial, insurance, risk and quantitative finance industries.

The Society is made up of five Co-Presidents: one undergraduate student and four master’s students. I spoke to our Co-Presidents and asked them about their time at Cass so far and their plans for AIR-Q. Meet the Co-Presidents:

Rocio Plasencia, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020) from Peru

I decided to study at Cass to continue my personal and professional development. Cass is not only providing me the appropriate tools to improve my skills and to progress my expertise and vision in insurance business, but also it is giving me the opportunity to get to know the worldwide leading insurance market. I have met incredible and inspiring people from all over the world. I am looking forward to all our future events at Cass AIR-Q Society.

As a Peruvian lawyer, the diversity of the modules on the MSc Insurance and Risk Management can be a big challenge, but it was one of the main reasons I chose this master’s. What I love the most about the insurance industry is the possibility of getting to know people with different perspectives and professions.

As one of the Presidents of the Cass AIR-Q Society, my objective is to contribute to the society becoming a reference point and a source of knowledge at Cass and in the industry by hosting specialised workshops and seminars.

Lucy Nondi, MSc Actuarial Management (2020) from Kenya

Located at the hub of UK’s capital, Cass attracts a blend of cultures from all over the world. This has been one of its outstanding attributes, on top of the quality of education it provides in the fields of finance and business. My first three months have been very exciting as I have been able to attend various events that have helped sharpen both my networking skills and clarify my career path.

Joining Cass AIR-Q as one of the Presidents provides a great platform for interacting and learning from different professionals who are already in the finance field. I will therefore be able to keep up to date with what is currently happening in the industry through the networking events are planning for in the new year. Cass AIR-Q will also be an opportunity for me to improve my networking skills that is really essential in my career goal as an actuary.

Evangelos Santas, MSc Financial Mathematics (2020), from Greece

Being a postgraduate student in the heart of the financial capital and being in contact with world-leading finance leaders, every day here at Cass just feels so amazing. The professional environment have made me feel back in my element and comfortable. The many helpful people I work with every day made me quickly forget about London’s rainy weather. It’s a great way to entry in the world of business!

Coming from a university in a different country, I had to face with a completely different study culture. Understanding how to approach my finance classes, as I come from a quantitative background, were challenging but incredibly rewarding.

Joining AIR-Q Society as one of its Presidents has been a great opportunity to give back to the Cass community. I’ve had the chance to meet interesting people, to learn about the industry’s current trends and to develop my organisational and communication skills by preparing interesting events, focusing on quants master’s students.

Adam Upenieks, MSc Quantitative Finance (2020), from Canada

 

Walking through the doors for the first time, I noticed that Cass is more than just a place to learn. It is a place to meet people, gain connections and learn about your peers. The atmosphere of Cass and the energy of London has made it a great place to train for a career in finance.

The biggest challenge of any graduate programme is time management. It is a crucial part of being a successful student and an invaluable skill to have for a successful career. Currently, I am balancing my time between studying for my CFA level II, taking extra-curricular Python courses, and studying a full course load at Cass. This is a challenge, but I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Being part of AIR-Q presents you with opportunities to gain invaluable knowledge through meeting industry professionals and networking. It is also a fantastic opportunity to create tailored events for our peers in the quantitative disciplines. As a President, you need to have your finger on the pulse of what is happening in the world of finance, what is interesting to your peers and to organise remarkable events. My goal this year is to bring meaningful information to my peers in the world of quantitative finance, so that we can all learn and move forward together.

Juan Sebastián de la Torre, MSc Insurance and Risk Management (2020), from Ecuador

Joining Cass and AIR-Q has been amazing and I’m enjoying every moment. The campus facilities are excellent— you have access to every resource you need for your research and studies. The master’s programme encourages you to give your best and reach your potential.

Finding a balance between studies, social life and hobbies is a must. At the moment my modules have been amazing providing me with a lot of knowledge and that encourages me to seek for more information and always be investigating about new trends in the insurance market.

I decided to run for Cass AIR-Q President because I’m passionate about the field I’m studying and it is a great opportunity to provide my classmates and Cass students with great opportunities to assist to workshops, discussions panels and events organized by the society with interesting and experienced workers in the field. My goal with Cass AIR-Q is to provide quality events that will benefit the students and increase the society group members.

Follow AIR-Q Society on LinkedIn

David Flanigan, BSc Actuarial Science (2020), from the United Kingdom

I am in my final year of BSc Actuarial Science and have benefited hugely by making the most of the resources and facilities offered by Cass and would urge new students to do the same!

As well as my role as President of AIR-Q, I am also President of the undergraduate Society of Actuaries and hope to establish a strong link between master’s students and our undergraduate students who may be looking for mentors or advice.  Collectively, we can recognise the benefits expanding our networks to draw on our peers’ expertise.

Cass Innovate 2019: Entrepreneurial challenges put under the microscope

I attended the event Cass Innovate which took place on the 13th November 2019 at Cass Business School.

Cass Innovate is an annual conference with the purpose of discussing entrepreneurial challenges and leading research within the entrepreneurship ecosystem. These topics are, thereby, discussed with the best of both worlds by drawing from both theoretical research and practical knowledge. The edge of this event is that everyone aspiring in entrepreneurial topics can attend – you can be a student who strives for gathering the latest research in this field or a founder of an existing business who wants to discuss recent challenges with other founders.

I was one of this year’s volunteers that supported running the event, welcoming the guests and speakers in the morning, answering questions and guiding attendees to the correct panels, workshops or talks as well as looking after the smooth course during the day and of the final panel in the evening.

As an MSc Entrepreneurship student, it was an incredibly valuable experience for two main reasons:

1) Hosting an event

I learned many things in terms of event organisation and what it takes to successfully set up and run a conference this size. The organiser Aurore Hochard gave us the responsibility to organise ourselves, react flexibly to upcoming challenges and, of course, decide when to ask for help.

2) Networking

Networking and discussing the raised issues with entrepreneurs and industry experts gave me great insight from the perspective of people who have been working in the field for 20+ years, which has definitely changed my opinion on some of the topics.

Professor Scott Moeller: What should a startup do next? IPO, Acquisition or Dual Track

My perspective on the topic of a founder exit was that it was a question to deal with in the later stage of launching a company, after successfully running it for several years. However, after attending Professor Scott Moeller’s session “What should a start-up do next? IPO, Acquisition or Dual Track”, I had a conversation with him on this topic, and he said it is crucial for an entrepreneur to think about the exit even when you haven’t yet founded your company.

From my own experience, I would encourage everyone who is an (aspiring) entrepreneur or interested in these topics to keep an eye out for next year’s conference.

Fabian Ronig, MSc Entrepreneurship (2020)

Strength in Diversity

Recently, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILT) hosted the first ever “Logistics and Transportation Diversity Challenge” event, a day designed to demonstrate how increased diversity in a team leads to higher productivity, performance and drives innovation.

The event drew 30 teams from companies such as Coca-Cola, DHL, National Express, Siemens, and more. As students in the MSc Global Supply Chain Management course, we have student membership to the CILT and were able to participate. So along with eight of my course mates in MSc Global Supply Chain Management, I travelled up to Newark to represent Cass Business School at the event.

After arrival and putting on our team shirts, the day began with a keynote speech highlighting the aim of the day and the significance of diversity in the work environment. Then we were off! Our team was tested through 14 challenges, requiring different levels of skill, stamina and problem solving, all while being incredibly fun. We climbed an unclimbable ladder, we learned archery, and we performed a Haka. We tested our knowledge in trivia, strategized through an assault course and more.

As we worked through the challenges, we were able to experience the benefit of diversity within our own team. Our varying backgrounds and identities helped us be strategic in earning the most points for each challenge. Each individual shined at a different event, and by the end of the day we were much closer as a team than we had been going into this diversity challenge.

While we may not have scored the top spot and coveted “Team of the Year” award, we did place 3rd out of the 30 competing, which we were very excited about! Overall, it was a great day of practicing team-building skills and meeting professionals from the logistics and transport industry. I look forward to future teams representing Cass and taking away as much from this event as we did.

Julia Elliott
MSc Global Supply Chain Management, 2019

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