UCL Computer Science


Finn Casey Fierro

Meet Finn, a Computational Finance MSc graduate at UCL Computer Science. Learn more about his student experience and what he's done since graduating.

Finn Casey Fierro

Meet Finn at our Virtual Open Day

If you'd like to know more about our Fintech MSc programmes and hear from Finn directly, join us at our next Postgraduate Virtual Open Day on Wednesday 7 February 2024.

Register now

What’s your background? 

I was raised in London, and attended Alexandra Park School and Sixth Form. I completed my undergraduate degree in Economics at the University of Bristol, with a focus on Data Science-related modules.

Before my studies at UCL, I gained experience as a software engineer, and as an accountant's assistant at an indoor gardening company, where I tried to be as techie as possible.

Why did you choose to study Computer Science at UCL?

My decision to pursue a Master's in Computational Finance at UCL was greatly influenced by the research of a UCL lecturer that I read during my undergraduate studies. The prospect of being taught by her was an opportunity I was really interested in.

Above this, I was drawn to UCL by its reputation as a global leading university, with particular strength in the field of Machine Learning and Blockchain Technologies. I was also interested by my course having an industrial placement structure - breaking it away from being a purely academic programme. 

The amount and diversity of societies at UCL were a major attraction, I was keen on there being something to explore when not in class.

What were the highlights of your CS programme?

I thoroughly enjoyed the Data Science, Advanced Machine Learning in Finance (AMLF), and Blockchain modules for the creativity they allowed. In Data Science, I innovated a metric to evaluate the disconnect between star ratings and the sentiments expressed in reviews.

The AMLF module inspired me to create a web application aimed at predicting and preventing cryptocurrency pump-and-dump schemes, leveraging insights from my lecturers' research. Moreover, in the Blockchain module, I crafted a smart contract that would tokenise collective investment funds on blockchain platforms.

What were the highlights of your time generally at UCL?

Strangely, I really enjoyed the pressure and social atmosphere of the examination season. There was one point in which many pieces of coursework were due, which as an advantage of UCL’s central location drew most of the cohort together at the library during nights.

We would get food together, joke around, talk through our blockers and work alongside each other. I have many fond memories from those nights!

What industry and career opportunities did you get access to on your programme?

During my course, I had the chance to work with the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) for my Master's project industry placement. This role offered me the experience of working in their offices, engaging with their staff, and gaining direct insights into the industry.

I was able to be a panellist at one of their conferences, an incredibly fulfilling experience. The opportunity expanded my professional network into diverse fields, including law, and opened my eyes to interests in areas I had never previously considered interesting.

What did you write your dissertation on? 

I detailed a smart contract architecture, named MISCA, to automate and standardise operational clauses in complex financial agreements such as the ISDA Master Agreement and insurance contracts.

The architecture facilitates compliance and regulation through standardising data representations and the structure of written code. I turned MISCA into a practical proof of concept by creating a decentralised web application on the Ethereum blockchain.

I then explored the potential of integrating generative AI with the lifecycle of a legal framework, examining how these technologies can revolutionise legal agreements in finance.

What advice would you give to prospective students?

Train yourself to identify and learn each module's core material early, regardless of its complexity. This approach is impactful: it will help you quickly understand the peripheral content, assess the time needed for this additional learning, and effectively manage your time thereafter.

As a result, you will reduce stress, it will allow for more time in fun extracurricular activities (I loved Poker and Mindful Soc), gives you the learning outcomes you want, and as a result, improve your experience at UCL.

Where are you working now, and what are your career goals? 

I am collaborating with ISDA on a publication based on my Master's thesis for the Butterworths Journal of International Banking and Financial Law. This opportunity has led me to present at Stanford University's CodeX group, meet industry leaders, and secure work as a Web3 Solutions Architect in Decentralised Finance start-ups. 

Looking ahead, in the short term I plan to launch my own startup, for which the UCL Hatchery is continually providing advice and support. Additionally, I'm contemplating a PhD in the longer term, which UCL has been a great resource in helping me explore.

Why would you recommend this programme?

Beyond industry-leading skills, the course at its heart aims to build your confidence in your chosen field. The faculty are attentive, care about your learning, career, and are aptly capable of providing leading academic rigour - I found this incredibly beneficial in industry and my early career.

I’m grateful for my time at UCL, it’s made me feel both impactful and empowered in the wider scope of my industry.

Register for Virtual Open Day 

  • Register for our Virtual Open Day on Wednesday 7th February (12:00 noon* OR 6:00 pm* UK time). Learn more about the department and your programme, and get your questions answered by our staff, students and alumni, including Finn.
  • Receive further information about your programme of study and how to take your next steps;
  • Find out more about UCL Computer Science, including scholarships available.
  • *Please note that both sessions are the same. Pick the time that works best for you and your time zone. 

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