20 January 2020

Immy shares her experience of the first semester of the MSc in Finance, Technology and Policy.
Students chatting

This year is the pioneering year of education in Fintech for many universities in the UK, including the University of Edinburgh. The reason I chose to study the MSc Fintech programme here over other universities is that it is like nowhere else, as it also integrates the sociological point of view to understanding the industry.

While other university programme names pivot around 'Financial Technology', at Edinburgh it is 'Finance, Technology and Policy'. I think that the policy part is crucial for the participants of this industry, especially managers.

What's Involved in the Core Courses?

Academically speaking, we had five core courses in the first semester focusing on each area of our programme: finance, technology, and policy. The finance courses started off with a recap from our bachelor's degree, but the materials and tutorials also had us go through some more empirical stories from the industry. We also covered some areas that many finance undergraduate degrees may have left off, such as behavioural finance, derivative securities, and IPOs.

The technological aspect of the programme involves the qualitative side of things (as with the Data Value Chains to Constellations course) and the quantitative side (such as Python Programming, which I personally struggled with so badly).

Lastly, Market Design and Policy, the mind-blowing subject for most people from a finance and accounting background who had never had a glimpse of sociology at all, makes you think about markets from a 'big picture' perspective. In addition, we could choose to take Learning by Action in Fintech, a course that talks about current issues, and allows you to develop a Fintech product and business model. This course was organised by Joel Ko, a Fintech entrepreneur who is currently working in the industry.

We've Learnt a Lot from Industry Visitors

Aside from academic life, we have had many opportunities to attend seminars with guest speakers and network with them. In these seminars we talked about a wide range of current issues, such as 'open-banking', and what it takes to work in this industry.

Overall, I really appreciate the opportunity to be a part of this programme. In the past, I have often found school boring and feel that what I learn is so outdated and cannot be applied in the workplace. However, this programme is organised so well that I can see how this is benefitting me. It is easy to see that there has been a lot of time and thought invested in creating the classes. We have had four different lecturers talking about their own research topics for the Market Design and Policy course, and three hands-on workshops about how blockchain works, guided by guest speakers, in the Data Value Chains to Constellations course.

If you are a finance or business graduate who wishes to widen your knowledge and experience of the Fintech environment, I think this programme is a good choice for you.

Immy Asavabhokhin is a student on the MSc in Finance, Technology and Policy