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Ask an expert in accounting, finance, banking and investment

Stirling Management School’s Masters degrees equip students with the skills for a variety of careers in the financial sector. Many of these are professionally accredited.

Professor Graeme Acheson delves a little deeper into the benefits of studying at Stirling and answers some of your top questions.

Graeme Acheson

Professor Graeme Acheson

Professor Graeme Acheson joined the University as a Professor of Finance in 2013. Graeme's research applies contemporary econometric techniques to historical settings. Much of his work examines how the evolving legal environment in nineteenth-century Great Britain impacted on investor behaviour and governance structures in early British companies.

What are the benefits of studying a finance-related Masters degree at Stirling?

“Trust in banks and other financial institutions was eroded by the financial crisis and has led to more emphasis being placed by professional bodies on ethically responsible behaviour. At Stirling, we encourage students to reflect on the benefits of a more ethical approach to banking and finance. We ensure that students are aware of the importance of sustainability in financial decision making, and in particular how social and environmental risk factors affect financial performance.

Industry engagement and future employability is central to our teaching. We have a vibrant guest lecture series that provides our students with access to professionals from industry on a regular basis, and our highly skilled academics incorporate the most recent advances in academic research into their teaching. Students at Stirling also benefit from a focus on practical, real-world learning.”

What is the Amplify Trading Boot Camp?

“This is an award-winning initiative that is an integral part of all of our finance related degrees. It enables students to trade in a simulated environment across a range of futures contracts quoted on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME). It is delivered over one week by Amplify, a London-based proprietary trading firm.

The Amplify Trading Boot Camp benefits our students by enabling them to experience real-time financial market trading using virtual money, which bridges the gap between academic understanding and real-world behaviour. Students experience the exhilaration of making money, and the pain of losing it, without actually putting any money at risk. They also take away a Certificate of Participation, which can be used to demonstrate their experience to employers.”

What is the CFA Institute Research Challenge?

“The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Research Challenge is considered to be the ‘investment Olympics’ for students and requires participants to assume the role of an Investment Analyst to produce a detailed equity research report on a publicly traded company, with a buy, hold or sell recommendation. These reports are then graded by professional investment analysts, with the best teams invited to the local final where they give a presentation and answer questions on their findings in front of a panel of industry experts.

The record of MSc Investment Analysis students in reaching the UK Final in 10 out of 12 years is unrivalled among UK Affiliation Partner universities."

Several courses within the Stirling Management School are ‘accredited’. What does this mean?

“Accreditation with a professional body signals to employers the relevance of course content for the world of work. Our Program Partner status with the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute means that we are required to cover at least 70 percent of the CFA curriculum on the MSc Investment Analysis. Students are given a solid platform to go on and become CFA Charter holders, the ‘gold standard’ qualification in the industry.

Our accreditation from the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) gives graduates of the MSc International Accounting and Finance automatic exemption from four ACCA papers, and exemptions from two further papers if particular spring semester options are studied.

Courses accredited by the Chartered Banker Institute offer graduates of the MSc Banking and Finance credit against the Chartered Banker qualification and the opportunity to apply for Associate membership of the Institute.”

What would be your advice to prospective postgraduate students?

“I would advise students to thoroughly research courses to check their content, structure and assessment methods. Postgraduate study requires greater self-direction and resilience than undergraduate study, so think about how courses match your approach to learning.

Look at job adverts to find out the qualifications required for your intended career and choose an accredited course if achievement of a professional qualification is expected. Check out the jobs occupied by course alumni using social media such as LinkedIn. Finding that former students occupy senior roles is a good sign and means your degree will be recognised.

Networking is an important element of career development, so do your homework and choose a course that will give you the widest possible access to professionals in your chosen field.”

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