UCL News


Finance careers for all disciplines

1 November 2006

UCL Computer Science is launching a unique finance MSc programme for non-IT graduates interested in working in City IT or financial services.

The MSc in Financial Computing, which will run for the first time from September 2007, is a one-year programme that includes a three-month project placement with a bank. The taught components of the course will include four compulsory papers in the first term and four optional papers in the second term.

The programme is open to graduates from less technical disciplines and is designed to provide a bridge to a career in financial services technology for students from 'non-traditional' backgrounds, such as the arts and humanities.

Philip Treleaven, UCL Pro-Provost for Asia and a professor of computer science, and Dr Christopher Clack, UCL Computer Science, are behind the scheme. Professor Treleaven said: "This course is unique because really big-hitters from the City are closely involved in its development, and students will gain very important industry knowledge through their three-month project placements. There is no binding contract for a bank to offer work to someone doing the course, or for anyone offered a job afterwards to take it, but it's a great way for students who might not have thought about working in finance to develop their skills and open up a variety of careers that probably would not have been open to them before."

Dr Clack, Director of the new programme, added: "This is an excellent opportunity not only for fresh graduates from less technical disciplines, but also for graduates who have taken a career break, or who are looking for a career change."

Professor Treleaven

The programme is sponsored by leading financial institutions, which are providing funds and services for a planned financial computing laboratory that will mimic an investment bank trading floor. Goldman Sachs, Credit Suisse, Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley have pledged funds and equipment totalling £136,000, and Reuters has pledged software and data feeds worth £300,000 per year. Several other institutions have also stated their support for the programme.

For the banks involved, the programme helps to increase the diversity of the talent pool from which they draw their graduate recruits, fulfilling a major element of their recruitment strategy. Brad Novak, Head of EMEA Investment Banking IT, Credit Suisse said: "Credit Suisse are delighted to support the Masters in Financial Computing initiative as we believe that good financial technologists come from a diverse range of Bachelor degree subjects - not just from the typical computer science or engineering backgrounds. We have therefore worked with UCL to ensure this course helps prepare graduates from non-typical backgrounds, for a possible future technology career in investment banking. With the constantly changing face of IT, technology within investment banking is a dynamic and challenging environment in which to work and offers some fantastic career opportunities - not just in the variety and type of work offered but also in the context of providing business solutions on a global scale. If you haven't previously considered a career in technology in investment banking, then this is definitely an area worth exploring."

An undergraduate module run by UCL Computer Science in partnership with leading financial institutions, also called Financial Computing, has proved very popular among students, in spite of lectures being held at 8am (while early for most students, this allowed the lecturers - all practitioners in City firms - a lie-in before they went to their offices to resume a normal day's work). The module led to calls from the partner institutions for a Masters programme, and the new MSc in Financial Computing is UCL Computer Science's response. The four sponsoring banks are all involved in curriculum development and delivery of the new MSc.

An intake of 40-70 students is expected for the first year. Applicants need to have secured a place with a financial institution before applying for the course at UCL Computer Science. Standard course fees are met by the student. It is hoped that the programme will attract many of the best students from within UCL and from around the world.

To find out more about how to apply for the MSc Financial Computing, follow the link below.
Image: Professor Philip Treleaven