What is MSc Money, Banking and Finance?

Before the Easter, the taught modules in LUMS were almost finished. Therefore, I would like to share some experience and thoughts about the Money, Banking and Finance programme.

The first time I saw MBF, I was quite confused since I had no idea about what I would study in this programme. Besides, in other business schools, I normally found the programme call Banking and Finance. After two semesters studying, I would like to describe MBF as a comprehensive programme which includes the knowledge from the economic part and also the financial field.

MBF is a jointly taught programme since it has the modules from both accounting and finance department and economic department. In the past two semesters, there are 5 modules in each term, and the curriculum is well-organised. During the first term (Michaelmas Term), we only have compulsory modules, which are more like preparation courses. After that, you would know which direction you were good at and you could have a better choice of the optional modules in the second term. To be more specific about the modules, the two main things about all modules is Central Bank and other commercial banks. So in MBF, you would learn how do central bank and commercial banks work and what is the relationship between these two; finally how to control the risks during the working process. As I say, it is the combination of finance and economics. Firstly, the central bank needs to be responsible for the whole economic environment. Therefore, we learned the DSGE in Macroeconomics and know how the central bank set up the interest rate. Secondly, under the fierce competition of capital market, increasingly commercial banks expand their business to stock market. So we learned the operations of financial derivatives in order to control the risk of commercial banks. Thirdly, we would learn some corporate finance as well. It because the commercial banks would issue debt to firms, we need to know the risk of firms to distinguish whether finance this company. I would recommend the people who would like to work in banks and have finance and economic background to learn MBF as a master study.

Lastly, lets talk about the exams in MBF. Most of the modules in MBF are marked by the final big exams. So that sometimes you need to review 4 modules in one week and take 4 exams in the next week, which can be challenging if you are not prepared. In this case, here are some suggestions from my personal experience:

  • Firstly, before the revision, you should clearly know the range and the way of exams. Some exams may have 5 questions and you only need to choose 3 of them: in this situation, if your revision time was limited, you could only revise the lectures which you are familiar with (although it is definitely better to revise all of them).
  • Secondly, it is better to revise all modules in each day. If you focus on one module for few days, after that you may forget some of them.
  • Thirdly, it was suggested to us to take time at the beginning of each exam to just read the questions – this reading time is crucial, do not waste it! I still remember the first time when I was taking the exam, I tried to answer  questions during the reading time, although I was not writing anything. During the exam, I did so bad since I did not recognise which question was hard. I ended up missing the questions that I would have found easier, as I wasted too much time in the hard one! My experience is that the reading time is really important for you to make a whole plan of your exams.

End of Lent Term and Hey! It’s My First Spring!

As a postgraduate student, I really can’t describe how fast the time went by. It feels like yesterday I was excitingly starting my first day of the Masters orientation, but now 6 months has passed and it’s already the end of Lent term. During 6 months of study, I might say that I have learned a lot from the classes that I took. As I have a background in Information Technology and Management, I took the MSc in Information Technology, Management and Organisational Change (ITMOC) at the Organisation, Work and Technology Department.

During my studies, I have learned many things including how IT can help organisations/businesses to reach their optimum competitive advantages and current trends in technology development. One of the most interesting courses that I took is IT and Digital Strategy where I learned about how IT can also bring harm to people if it is not being used properly: this effect is called the dark side of IT. One of the dark sides of IT is the stress which people can get if they get too much information from overflowing information from the internet or what we call technostress. Sometimes we feel that we can’t live without IT and work during the weekend or our leisure time! I can relate to this course a lot because somehow I feel that “yeahhhh, that’s totally happened to me all this time!” 😀 This course made me realise that we still have to use technology wisely even though it helps our life significantly.

After we ended the Lent Term, I believe that many of you will have numerous deadlines and exams after the Easter break. Me as well! It must be super stressful for many of us. To relieve this stress, I recommend that you look around our beautiful campus and see that spring has finally sprung!

As a student who comes from a tropical country with only 2 seasons (rainy season and not-so-rainy season :p), it’s really exciting for me to see how the flowers started to bloom beautifully after a long winter. I took many pictures because it’s also my first time to see cherry blossoms! Around Lancaster, you might see some cherry blossom trees and for me this kind of healed my stress.

During the spring, another difference that I feel is in terms of clothes because finally I can get rid of the fluffy and thick winter coats! The weather is also getting warmer as the sun shines more often, yet we also have to be ready for sudden rain because hey! It’s Lancaster 😀 Make sure to always check the weather forecast app on your phone to prepare for what clothes are suitable that day.

If you have some spare time, you might also try to travel somewhere outside Lancaster to refresh yourself after finishing the term and getting ready for assignments and exams. As for me, I write this post while I am on holiday in Greece. After I get back to the UK, I’ll be ready for all the deadlines! ;D

Don’t forget to relax and, to my fellow Postgraduate students, get ready for your dissertation. This too shall pass! 🙂 Stay healthy and happy during the break!

Guest post:Putting theory into practice

Nadeem Khan, a current student on the MA Human Resources and Consulting,  has already started putting the theory from the programme into practice, working with a bank in Pakistan. Here, he talks about how he applied what he has learnt so far on the programme.

Nadeem (far right) delivering the session for SBP in Pakistan.

Nadeem (far right) delivering the session for SBP in Pakistan.

As an HRD Consultant I had worked for several years prior to starting the programme. Before leaving Pakistan I had informed clients of my schedule during the programme and that I would be open for assignments during my winter break. The National Institute of Banking and Finance (NIBF), a subsidiary of The State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) wanted me to deliver a two-day learning intervention in December 2016 on ‘Building Dynamic Teams’. I believe this proved to be a great opportunity for me to put the theoretical frameworks and skills that I had learned from the programme into practice.

The design and dynamics module had prepared me early on to outline the structure and activities that were to be incorporated in the two-day learning intervention. I picked up lots of ideas and activities drawing from the coursework. As there were 18 individual contributors from teams from all branches of SBP, I also had to keep in mind learning from difference. The careers module played a significant role when it came to selecting the relevant content for the SBP intervention through its focus on communication and effective team dynamics.

The MA HRC is set in a way that I had the opportunity to both study and experience firsthand group structures and processes, feel the power dynamics and struggles in teams, live the communication patterns and decision making and experience team leadership on the programme. Therefore, when I was delivering the workshop I was able to share my experience of being in similar shoes to the participants, making my examples more credible and worthwhile.

Overall, the improved design, theoretical framework and quality content enabled me to score higher feedback than previous interventions I had facilitated at SBP.