After completing an Accounting undergraduate degree in Nigeria, I was drawn to the Chartered Financial Institute (CFA) qualification. I searched online for international postgraduate courses that would enhance my global outlook and ensure alignment with my goal of obtaining the CFA charter. I came across the University of Stirling’s MSc Investment Analysis course and was captured by the robust package: CFA program partnership status, a study-friendly location in Scotland and the impressive sport facilities on the campus. I applied for the September 2016 intake in January 2016!
The course began with the Flying Start Leadership program for all students of Stirling Management School. This was a great start, allowing students to get to know each other and the university facilities. Flying start activities included team tasks which ranged from managing a business using building blocks to outdoor boot-camp style drills. This was sound preparation for the semester, enhancing our communication skills and aiding our understanding of the diverse international cultures of our colleagues. The MSc Investment Analysis course incorporates a good chunk of the CFA syllabus and is taught in a practical and hands-on way. The style of education is such that you get the most out of the effort you put in. It is best to rekindle your childhood inquisitiveness; after all, curiosity, they say, does not kill the cat.
The approachable Faculty of the Accounting and Finance Division stimulates and steers students’ educational journey. Active participation in lectures, seminars and coursework assignments guarantees understanding and application. Both the Autumn and Spring semesters of the course were packed with academic and related activities. We had a variety of talks full of valuable real-life lessons from industry professionals including the CFO of the Lego Group.
The Amplify Trading Boot Camp exposed students to live trading on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the effects of economic and political policies on global commodity prices. Also, I was fortunate to be a member of the team which represented the University of Stirling in the 2016 CFA Institute research challenge and we were first runners up in the United Kingdom finals. This involved research and valuation of a company stock, culminating in an investment recommendation to buy, sell or hold. This experience gave me an insight into the job of a research analyst and taught me to confidently tackle tasks even if I have never been exposed to them before.
I learnt to manage the full schedule of the course by always returning to the sound advice of the course director, Dr. Kevin Campbell, who encouraged us never to panic but to be strategic when faced with numerous tasks.
Aside from academic study, I joined the women’s basketball team and played matches against teams of other universities. The sport was a great way to unwind from academic pressures and mingle with a diverse set of people. Gym classes and swimming at the pool were also an enjoyable way to let off some steam. I enjoyed hanging out at the Chaplaincy between lectures for relaxation and good conversation over tea. There were also extra-curricular events and talks organized by different groups within the university. One of the most memorable was a Women in Leadership talk where we learnt from and interacted with women who have advanced to top positions in their careers.
Come September 2017, when we conclude our course, I am confident I will be prepared for a promising future. I will start with the first level of the CFA examinations, for which I received a CFA recognition scholarship, via the University of Stirling.
In terms of employability, the personalized guidance and care from the Student Support Services of the University has taught me the communication tactics required to stand out in a crowd of job applicants. Also, the knowledge and skills acquired on the course include both theoretical and practical application to ensure job competence. Most importantly, the thirst for more that has been instilled over my time here should keep me up-to-date with the evolving dynamics of the investment industry.
Studying at the University of Stirling is a “full cup” and as the Dean of the Stirling Management School, Prof. Sharon Bolton, advised us in our welcome meeting in September 2016: “MISS NOTHING!”