width=240As worldwide financial markets tighten, the need for postgraduates in finance grows. Graduates with an MSc in Finance are able to demonstrate to potential employers their focus and dedication to a career in this field, something which can put them one step ahead of other candidates with only a Bachelors degree, says Daniel Lay of the Cass Business School Careers Service. In addition, students with a Masters degree tend to progress on their career path quicker than those without as they are able to hit the ground running when they begin their first job.

Competitive candidates
An MSC in finance will also give graduates an edge when competing for future jobs says Daniel. As the financial services sector becomes more competitive in Europe, particularly, students realise that an MSc in Finance will help to make them a more competitive candidate. Also, with emerging economies, there is a great demand for skilled professionals with an understanding of international financial markets. Many students from these countries take advantage of the year of highly international study that an MSc in Finance such as is taught at Cass can give them.

Jag Sharma did an MSc in Management from Cass. You get experience in so many different areas of business that you really feel prepared for a number of things. You also gain so much more than the text book knowledge, like team working, working with different personalities and cultures, and how to debate and negotiate and how to present effectively. I really feel that when I start my new job I'll have a great head start and lots of confidence.

Part of City University in London, Cass is a leading business school and the largest provider in Europe of specialist Masters courses geared towards the financial services industry, with more than 20 programmes ranging from Actuarial Science to shipping. It was formerly known as City University Business School but changed its name in 2002 following a substantial donation from the Sir John Cass Foundation, a leading educational charity.

A postgraduate qualification in finance helps to arm graduates with the skills to tackle their future career, says Daniel. An MSc advances the students overall skill-set and allows them to put in to practice what they have learnt from the course very early on. A Finance MSc arms graduates with practical skills and knowledge - something that is not as well defined at undergraduate level. Daniel says that all of Cass's Masters programs are kept regularly updated in order to meet the changing needs of employers. Innovations to programs to reflect developments in the financial services industry are regularly made. In 2007 and 2008, for example, we launched a new elective in Islamic Finance recognising the burgeoning career opportunities for graduates with an understanding of this sector.

Developing focus
He says that employers are looking for graduates with a general understanding of finance and also the confidence and ability to interact with clients. The Cass MSc in Finance is also quite broad in that it allows graduates to develop a focus of finance within a multitude of sectors. There is also a flexibility associated with this course which makes graduates suitable for a wide variety of roles.

Graduates from Cass move in a diverse range of financial sector careers: investment banking, securities sales and trading, foreign exchange, hedge funds, private banking, credit products, financial and credit risk management and consultancy.
David Khau did an MSC in International Accounting and Finance in 2005 and now works for Pricewaterhouse Coopers in Luxembourg. The program I studied at Cass helped me to achieve my career objectives because I learnt to adapt myself to different situations quickly, and in my field it is important as you are moving from one client to another every two to three weeks. In addition, my Cass Masters degree helped me to sharpen my critical and problem solving skills which are essential within the environment I am working in.

Cass's proximity to the City of London makes it a perfect stepping stone for looking for future employment. Hanna Carnegie from Sweden did an MSc in Corporate Real Estate Finance and Strategy at Cass: It has a great London location too. This made the milk run a lot easier, as a lot of the companies you get to meet up with are London based, making you closer to the market you eventually want to break into.

Something else that Cass prides itself on is the quality of its careers advice. Surojit Roy Choudhury, did an MSc Investment Management and now works for a top UK Hedge Fund: I undertook an MSc in Investment Management because my ambition is to become a top investment manager for a well established fund management company. Having also been accepted at LSE and Warwick, Cass was always my first choice, not only for its excellent reputation in finance related programs but also for the importance that it places on the practical application of theory.

Cass's location, on the doorstep of the City - exactly where I hoped to be working on graduation - was of course an added bonus. However, I was very aware that if I was going to stand a chance of landing the job I wanted then the right course, the right principles and the right location were not going to be enough. I was very conscious to take full advantage of all the help Cass Careers could offer me. I made sure that I attended as many of the workshops, seminars and relevant company presentations as I could, that my CV was in shape and uploaded on the Careers website by mid-October and that the majority of my job applications had been sent out by November. I was offered jobs by several high-profile investment banks before accepting my current position at one of the biggest hedge funds in the UK.

Career strategies
Firat Bakici, did an MSc in Logistic, Trade and Finance: When I enrolled at Cass I was uncertain as to exactly what my career goals were. Cass Careers helped me to focus my thinking and understand what it was I was looking for from my career. This enabled me to begin to formulate a coherent career strategy. Once I had a clearer understanding of the sort of role I was looking for I attended all the relevant career events, workshops and company presentations - one of which was given by Deloitte, with whom I now work.

Applicants to the MSc in Finance at Cass will need a minimum of a UK Bachelors degree with a 2.1 classification or above, or international equivalent. They will also need to show competence with numerical subjects through some previous study of subjects such as finance, economics, mathematics and quantitative methods. A GMAT score may be asked from students who do not have a strong enough background in quantitative subjects. Students who have not previously studied a degree program taught in English will also need a minimum IELTS of 7.0 or a TOEFL of 107.
Daniel has noticed that demand for their courses is on the rise worldwide: Finance programs are popular in countries with emerging economies that are rapidly developing their financial services industries.  This year, we are receiving a high number of European applications as well as increased numbers from Russia and Kazakhstan.