On Monday 27th June Queens University Management School played host to an event in the Great Hall to mark the graduation of the first cohort of actuarial students in Northern Ireland. The event was kindly sponsored by Spence & Partners http://www.spenceandpartners.co.uk/ and its sister company independent trustee Dalriada Trustees http://www.dalriadatrustees.co.uk/ and was attended by practicing actuaries from all the local major actuarial consultancies as well as academics, actuarial graduates and their parents.
The majority of the cohort of 42 students will now be embarking upon careers in actuarial science working in the pensions, general insurance, life insurance and investment banking environment both locally, in the republic of Ireland and in cities across the mainland U.K. These highly successful students are a credit to the school and to the university and with 75% of the cohort achieving a 1st’or 2.1 they have been highly sought after by industry. In addition to their degree classification many students gained valuable exemptions from the professional examinations which will place them in good standing as they begin their professional careers. The degree at Queens University has exemption from CT1 – CT8 of the professional examinations and it was noted that a significant number had been successful in achieving all 8 exemptions.
The event began with a welcome and introduction from the head of school, Professor Richard Harrison, who congratulated the cohort before introducing the programme director Mr Colin O’Hare to the stage. Mr O’Hare spoke about the development of the degree over the past 4 years and of the successful placement year on the programme before congratulating the students on their many efforts. Many of the graduates attended with their parents and they listened to Trevor Watkins, keynote speaker and Head of Education at the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, who spoke about the path to becoming an actuary. Mr Watkins highlighted that for the graduates their journey had just begun as they make their way through their professional careers, while studying for their actuarial exams. He also explained the high technical, professional and ethical standards the Actuarial Profession upholds and the responsibility the graduates will have to do the same.
Following the presentations students also had the opportunity to network with local employers who had attended the event.
Spence & Partners’ Founder Brian Spence in introducing the keynote speaker Trevor Watkins highlighted the growth in actuarial employment from only 4 people in the 1980s when he graduated from Queens to over 80 members of the profession today. Mr Spence paid tribute to the vision of the University in establishing the degree and noted that the emergence of the first graduates was a key development in addressing the skills shortages that had hampered the development of the financial services industry in Northern Ireland. Rebecca Lavender of Spence and Partners was also in attendance and commented on the event on the company website http://www.spenceandpartners.co.uk/archives/northern-ireland-actuaries-the-next-generation/
Business experts from Queen’s are leading a major national project to enhance wealth and job creation opportunities between the UK and the fastest developing economic region in the south-west of China.
The project, supported by the British Council, is one of only five university initiatives to win funding this year under the Prime Minister’s Initiative for International Education, PMI2, which supports partnerships between UK institutions and selected countries worldwide.
Later this week, a team from Queen’s University Management School will travel to China to build on academic connections already forged between the University and the city of Chongqing.
Chongqing has been designated by the Chinese Government as the site of the country’s new economic area – Two Rivers New Zone, which is projected to create three million new jobs and numerous business opportunities over the next 10 years. It is anticipated that one-third of the world's laptops will be produced in this zone in the next five years, and the total investment in the area during the same period will be £100 trillion.
The Queen’s delegation will be led by Director of Queen’s University Management School Professor Richard Harrison, strategic advisor to the Board of Chongqing International Investment Corporate Group, the largest management consultancy company in Chongqing. The group also includes Director of Queen's China Management Research Institute Dr Yu Xiong, Deputy Chair of the UK’s China Innovation and Development Association.
During the study visit, the Queen’s academics, working with partners Sichuan International Studies University and Chongqing University, will examine ways to develop and enhance the sustainability of opportunities for wealth creation in both the UK and China.
Among their objectives is the creation of a joint China UK Entrepreneurship School to provide a systematic approach to future entrepreneurship and employability exchange between China and the UK. The project also includes the development of staff and student exchanges between Queen’s and the two universities.
Speaking before his departure, Professor Harrison said: ”This is a unique opportunity for Queen’s, Northern Ireland and the UK as a whole to link to the fastest growing economic area in China, an area which is already on the radar of some of the world’s leading companies as a direct investment opportunity.
“The project has already attracted intense interest in China, and we will be working with a range of other support agencies and organisations, including the Department for Employment and Learning and Invest Northern Ireland, to promote it further.”
Dr Xiong, who met the Chair of the new economic zone’s Steering Committee, Dr Jieming Weng, during a visit to Chiongqing in December, said: “In the current extremely competitive labour market and global economic environment, students in both the UK and China need to acquire the knowledge and skills required for future employment or the creation of new businesses. It's a rare opportunity to have the chance to work with the new economic zone's Steering Committee.
“This joint project will provide a strong platform for leading higher education institutions to share common issues and mutual concerns, and for students to explore new models in business education in the largest city in the world, with a population of some 32 million people."
Accompanying Professor Harrison and Dr Xiong will be Dr Johan Lindeque from Queen’s University Management School, and four Masters students, Enda Scanlan from Ballymote, Co.Sligo, Ronald Cumberbatch from Guyana, and Liang Meng and Mao Mao, from China.
Two MSc International Business students have been awarded £2,500 Santander Scholarships, and will undertake field research in the China Centre for Economic Research and the National School of Development at Peking University, Beijing in June.
Leanne Morris and Rachel Ann Montgomery have been awarded £2,500 Santander Scholarships, and will undertake field research in the China Centre for Economic Research and the National School of Development at Peking University, Beijing in June. During this time Leanne and Rachel will be able to experience living in China’s capital and sit in on lectures at Peking University. This visit will also provide them with a unique opportunity for the students to collect data for their MSc dissertations where appropriate. The visit has been financially supported through the Banco Santander Studentship Scheme, made possible as a result of Queen’s University and Peking University’s participation in the Santander Universities Network.
Last academic year Lisa O’Neill and Conor McDonald were awarded with Santander Scholarships and also visited Peking University. Lisa is now employed in Randox Laboratories as an International Business Development Executive in the Distribution Department. Conor is currently undertaking a PhD sponsored by the Economic and Social Research Council and the China Britain Business Council.
Lisa said about her experience:
“The whole class got the opportunity to apply for a studentship from Santander (£2500) to travel to Beijing to undertake research for their upcoming dissertation. There were two studentships and I was lucky to be awarded one, after submitting a research proposal giving an outline of my potential dissertation topic and why I felt I deserved a studentship.
Conor McDonald and I went to Beijing in June 2010 for three and a half weeks. Dr Eunsuk Hong, Programme Director, had contacts in Peking University, Beijing so we teamed up with the university there and were looked after really well. I had the most wonderful three weeks, experiencing Chinese culture, climbing the Great Wall, making lots of friends from all over the world who are studying in Beijing or teaching English out there. I will forever be grateful to Queen's for giving me such an excellent opportunity."
Four Masters students from QUMS are preparing to spend one month in China, accompanied by three academic staff from the School, as part of the PMI2 initiative*. The grant was awarded to QUMS - one of only five universities in the UK to succeed in this year's bid - by the British Council. The students, who are in the final stages of their master’s programmes, will use the visit to China to conduct research as part of their dissertation.
· Ronald Cumberbatch, MSc Environmental Management, from Guyana will investigate “The Eco-preneurship influences in industry transition to a low-carbon economy”.
· Liang Meng, MSc in International Business, from China, will investigate “The Change of Entrepreneurship in an Emerging Market: How Entrepreneurs in Chongqing have been influenced by Globalisation”.
· Enda Scanlan, MSc Management, from Ireland will study “entrepreneurship from the point of view of an internationalising Irish SME". It will look at the opportunities and business models from Irish businesses to export to China.
· Mao Mao, MSc Accounting and Finance, from China, will focus on “Sustainability Issues of Companies in China: Challenges and Opportunities”
Talking about the visit Mao Mao said:
“Participating in PMI 2 is an excellent opportunity for me to develop more in-depth experience and understanding of the current China capital market and its huge potential for UK business developments. The project leaders from Queen’s have been very supportive and co-operative from day one. It is a great opportunity to widen my horizon and enhance my postgraduate experience. I am currently planning to conduct surveys and interviews with companies based in China regarding to their strategies of sustainability and potential business opportunities. I believe this is a great dissertation topic and the results from this report will not only be beneficial for me, but more importantly can facilitate the cooperation of UK and China business further."
Enda Scanlan commented:
“I first became aware of the PMI2 project in December of last year and immediately I was struck by how great an opportunity it was. I submitted a research proposal and heard back at the beginning of 2011 that my application was successful. Since then, I have been busy reading and exploring the topic of my dissertation which of course will explore the business links and opportunities between Chongqing and the UK.
The support, encouragement and feedback I've received as a member of this initiative has been brilliant. It really is a good feeling to be able to connect many of the theories and concepts I've learned as part of my MSc Management and explore them further in one of the most dynamic business environments in the world.
Talking about the MSc Management programme Enda said “the course has been very challenging yet rewarding. I feel I've been exposed to a lot of new theories and ideas which will be very useful as I move forward to develop a career. The staff and lecturers at the management school are all approachable and friendly and really have a lot of knowledge and experience of their subjects.”
*The PMI2 Further Education Partnership Fund is specifically directed at the Further Education sector in the UK to support their position in international education. The Partnership fund provides grants to UK FE institutions to develop mutually beneficial partnerships with FE institutions in a number of countries.”
Business experts from Queen’s University are joining forces with the Chinese Embassy in London to forge closer trade links between theUnited Kingdom and China.
Representatives from Queen’s University Management School will host a major networking forum in London on Tuesday (24 May) to address the role of higher education and entrepreneurship in building science and technology links with the country.
The China Britain Business Council, the China Innovation and Development Association and the British Council are also involved in organising the event.
Keynote speakers will include Professor Richard Harrison, Director of Queen's University Management School and Chair of the University’s China Management Research Institute (CMRI), and the Institute’s Director, Dr Yu Xiong.
The CMRI encourages local entrepreneurs to look towards China as a source of new trading partners and markets and undertakes education exchange and research programmes. The Institute works with a diversity of Chinese organisations, including educational institutions, businesses and local government.
Professor Harrison described Tuesday’s forum as “a unique opportunity” to enhance business links between the United Kingdom and China.
He said: "China is an increasingly important economy on the world stage and is emerging as a major research and education centre, which is investing heavily in science and technology.
“The fact that we at Queen’s were invited to host this event with such prestigious partners recognises our work in leading research into Chinese management and business practices.
“Next week’s discussions will provide an excellent opportunity for the business and science communities in both the UK and China to explore future areas of research collaboration and business partnership.”
The Embassy’s Minister Counsellor for Science and Technology, Mr Futao Chen, will also address the forum, at which he will reveal planned developments in science and technology in China over the next five years.
Fiona Barbour, MSc Environmental Management alumna, has been successful in winning the regional and UK Young Persons' Network Paper Competition. The competition is hosted by the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers (IGEM). Fiona will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Kuala Lumpar to visit and to attend the World Gas Conference in September 2012. Fiona will also have the opportunity to present her paper at the IGEM Annual two-day conference in June and return to the national heats next year as a judge. Fiona’s paper was entitled "Making Business Sense – Improving the Environmental Performance of Gas Companies".
Speaking about her achievement, Fiona said:
"I am absolutely delighted and proud to be the first to win this award on behalf of Phoenix Natural Gas and to win it on a presentation based on my academic research is one of the biggest compliments I could ask for. It is very overwhelming to think that it has been less than a year from the early beginnings of working with Phoenix in a student capacity to winning this much laudable award so early on in my career, and studying Environmental Management at Queens University was definitely the key to opening that door for me."
Fiona graduated from the MSc Environmental Management programme in December 2010. Along with a group of students from the MSc Environmental Management programme Fiona undertook a consultancy project with Phoenix, conducting market research into the commercial viability of the company’s in-house carbon calculator tool.
This very successful project led to a summer internship for Fiona with Phoenix Natural Gas within the Commercial Operations Department. During her internship Fiona conducted research both for Phoenix and as part of her dissertation entitled "Improving the Environmental Performance of Gas Companies – A Case Study of Phoenix Natural Gas". Fiona was successful in securing employment with Phoenix in the same department in the Grid Control Room after her internship.
A team of undergraduate students from QUMS reached third place in the 2010-11 IBM Universities Business Challenge (UBC), which is a UK-wide competition open to undergraduate students.
Speaking about the challenge Harry Davies from the team said "I would definitely recommend it to anyone interested in business; it's been a really great experience."
Securing third place was an excellent achievement as more than 1350 students took part in Round 1 of the 2010/11 challenge. Round 2 saw the top 73 teams compete, followed by 8 live semi-finals which were hosted by the UK’s leading graduate employers at their corporate offices around the UK. The live Round 3 Grand Final took place on Friday 25 March 2011 at IBM Bedfont Lakes, London.
The UBC offers students a fantastic opportunity to improve their knowledge of the business environment whilst putting theory into practice and developing core skills such as team-working, leadership and employability. The students worked as management consultants in a series of realistic, simulated companies, and made all of the critical business decisions that affect the company's performance.
Speaking about the competition Harry said:
"we had to run a virtual company with the aim being to make the most profit and maintain high levels of customer satisfaction. During the first round, last semester, we received the financial statements of the company (a brewery) every week along with a scenario for that trading period.
Each week represented 6 months in the life of the company and the scenarios were varied to incorporate all sorts of things like the current recession to a boom in demand due to international expansion. There were 8 teams in each group (with a total of 280 teams competing) and to get through to the next round you had to make the most profit in your group. The financial statements comprised of the balance sheet, income statement and cash flow statement with further information on the market being included. We were able to make decisions on pretty much anything; for example what price we charged for goods and how to fund the business to the amount we spent on materials and marketing etc. Obviously, the decisions we made regarding price and such directly impacted our competitors and vice versa. We also had to make decisions on ethical matters.
Thankfully, we managed to get through to the semi-finals which were held in the RBS headquarters in Edinburgh (an incredible building!) and this was similar to the first round (although now we ran a mobile phone company), but condensed into a day. As well as the competition they also added more activities which focused on employability skills; for example we had to make presentations, pitches and act out an advert for our product.
Following this, we managed to make it to the finals which were held in IBM's base in London; the set up being the same, however this time we took charge of a large perfume company and the share price was also taken into consideration. In what was a very very close final all of the way, we ended up in 3rd place; which we were really pleased with."
Further information about the IBM Universities Business Challenge is available at http://www.uk.ubcworldwide.com/content/index.asp
Professor Istemi Demirag has recently been selected, as a distinguished member of accounting academe, to join an Inaugural International Advisory Board. The Board has been established by the Centre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability (CAGS) at the University of South Australia (UniSA).
The Board will meet to discuss issues affecting CAGS and accounting research. The membership of the Board is aimed at building strong international relationships that enable CAGS to receive current advice in order to maintain and improve the quality and innovation of the Centre's research activities and service to the accounting research community.
Speaking about the Board Professor Demirag said "I am delighted to be invited to join the board. This will help to develop academic and research links between CAGS and Queen's University Management School."
"CAGS, which was established in 2007, provides a concentration of research talent and available postgraduate and honours supervisory capacity in accounting. The mission of CAGS is to provide leading edge research expertise on accounting and its impacts. The major aim of CAGS is to promote, conduct and encourage research at the University of South Australia with an emphasis on contemporary issues related to accounting and reporting, sustainability accounting, integrated reporting, social and environmental accounting, accounting education and governance. Its researchers are also actively publishing on a range of issues including management control, professionalisation, management and accounting history, public and non-profit sector accountability and accounting communication. CAGS receives significant advice and guidance on its activities from its Advisory Board which meets to discuss issues affecting the accounting profession in all areas, particularly sustainability. " Further information on CAGS is available at: http://www.unisa.edu.au/cags/
Queen's University Management School played host to an annual series of actuarial presentations sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Actuaries (WCA). The event, held on 28 March, was opened by Graham Clay, who gave brief introduction to the roles of the livery. Graham is an experience actuary is also the current Master of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries. Chris Davkin, a senior actuary and independent consultant, gave a presentation which provided an opportunity for him to share his findings on actuarial discount rates following a piece of research commissioned by the Institute of Actuaries.
This was followed by a networking event at which students from the Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree were in attendance along with representation from all the local actuarial employers. The students and employers were then able to discuss the findings over refreshments. This helped the students to broaden their understanding of actuarial developments whilst networking with employers.
The event was very successful and it is hoped will lead to more opportunities to bring together student actuaries and practicing actuaries from the Northern Ireland market in a social setting.
*Chris is a senior actuary and independent consultant who qualified in 1973. Chris has developed a long and varied career including being the Government Actuary of the UK from April 1989 to September 2007, and the president of the Institute of Actuaries 1994-96 as well as many other senior appointments. In the Institute & Faculty of Actuaries he is a member of the Qualifications Executive Committee and the International Committee and chairs the International Education Committee.
Chris Daykin, FIA. Speaker and co-author of the discount rate paper
Students on the Actuarial Degree
Graham Clay, Master of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries
Students on the Actuarial Degree
Chris Daykin, FIA. Speaker and co-author of the discount rate paper
Brian Spence, FIA of Spence and Partners with Daniel Melarkey
Chris Daykin,FIA with Mark Shimmons,FIA of Deloitte and Karen Clarke
Graham Clay talking to students
Mr. Colin O'Hare, program director. Mr. Mark McClintock, FIA, with students
Graham Clay talking to students
Neill McConville Kerr Henderson Hewitt, Patrick Cunningham, Martin Mc Allister
Mr.Colin O'Hare and Mr.Graham Clay with students
This year's KPMG Distinguished Visiting Lecturer was Baroness Onora O'Neill of Bengarve CBE* and her lecture addressed the issues of trust, trustworthiness and accountability.
The event was held on 9 March 2011 and was hosted by the Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Gregson. He began by thanking KPMG for their support of the Distinguished Visiting Lecturer initiative in association with Queen's University Management School for almost a decade. The Vice-Chancellor also explained that Baroness O’Neill has had a number of links with Queen's over the years. In 1986 she was one of a number of philosophers invited to take part in a Royal Institute of Philosophy conference at the University. She returned to Queen's in 1991 to give a paper to the Philosophy department and in July 2003 she gave the Inaugural Address at a very successful Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association. In December 2005, she was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Literature for distinction in philosophy and ethics by the University and was described as a 'philosopher, writer and champion of practical reason'.
In his introduction, the Vice-Chancellor acknowledged that Baroness Onora O'Neill is living proof that the philosopher can be as important to our society as the applied scientist, and that society has recognised that importance in the case of Onora O'Neill in the prominent roles and honours that she has been given.
In her address, Baroness O'Neill explored issues of trust, trustworthiness and accountability in public, professional and commercial life. She commented that we currently face a ‘crisis of trust’ in public, professional and commercial life, and many steps have been taken to deal with this supposed crisis. Some of the remedies being tried aim to improve trustworthiness by requiring new or stronger forms of accountability; others aim to secure greater trust by demanding greater transparency. Unfortunately, both types of remedy can backfire.
Baroness O’Neill suggested that an intelligent approach to trust and trustworthiness should focus on providing what is needed to place and refuse trust intelligently. She concluded by emphasising the importance of ensuring that the communication on which we depend when judging the honesty, competence and reliability of others’ claims and commitments, is intelligible and assessable.
* Baroness Onora O’Neill comes from Northern Ireland and was educated at Oxford and Harvard where she worked under the late John Rawls. She has taught in the US and the UK, was Principal of Newnham College, Cambridge until 2006 and teaches Philosophy in Cambridge. She was President of the British Academy, the UK National Academy for Humanities and Social Sciences from 2005-2009, and chaired the Nuffield Foundation from 1998-2010. She has been a member of the House of Lords since 1999, and is an independent, non-party peer [http://www.parliament.uk/biographies/onora-o'neill/37723]. She has served on Select Committees on Stem Cell Research, BBC Charter Review, Genomic Medicine, Nanotechnology and Food and Behavioural Change.
Baroness Onora O’Neill writes on ethics and political philosophy, with particular interests in international justice, the philosophy of Immanuel Kant and bioethics. Her books include: Faces of Hunger: An Essay on Poverty, Development and Justice (1986); Constructions of Reason: Exploration of Kant's Practical Philosophy (1989); Towards Justice and Virtue (1996); Bounds of Justice (2000); Autonomy and Trust in Bioethics (2002); A Question of Trust (the 2002 BBC Reith Lectures) [http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2002/]; and Rethinking Informed Consent in Bioethics (jointly with Neil Manson, 2007). She is currently working on practical judgement and normativity, trust and accountability in public life; and the ethics of communication.http://www.kpmg.com/ie/en/Pages/default.aspx
QUMS students were out in force to receive their City & Guilds Licentiateship Award at the recent Awards Ceremony at Queen’s University Belfast. Eighty students from across the disciplines* were made the award, all of whom have successfully completed their placement year as part of their honours degree. The licentiateship award is a recognised accreditation for the students' internship in the world of work.
Barry McAleer, who received the award, undertook his placement with Kerr Henderson, Consultant Actuaries. Barry has since secured part-time employment with the company, and will join them on a full-time basis when he completes his degree in the summer of 2011. Barry, who is studying the BSc Finance degree, said "I didn't have any professional experience before this, it is a good stepping stone, and has been very enjoyable." Barry said the position has helped him improve his communication, team working and analytical skills.
"The City & Guilds Licentiateship (LCGI) recognise personal achievement and the application of professional knowledge in the workplace, allowing progression to the very highest levels of achievement.” Further information http://www.cityandguilds.com/42963.html
*Actuarial Science and Risk Management, Business Management, Finance, Economics and Finance, Economics and Politics, Accounting with Hispanic Studies, Business Management with French, Business Management with Hispanic Studies, Management with Hispanic Studies.
Queen's University Management School is holding two Open Days on Saturday 12 February 2011 and Monday 11 April 2011.
Prospective students holding offers for 2011 entry will be able to attend either of the events to learn more about the programmes before making their Unconditional/Conditional Firm and Unconditional/Conditional Insurance choices through UCAS.
There will be many opportunities for prospective students to speak informally with staff and students, recent graduates and members of the business community who employ many of our graduates.
In addition, there will be short informative talks from all of the Programme Directors, staff from our Admissions Service and tours of the main University campus, including Elms Village (student accommodation).
Register online at: http://www.qub.ac.uk/mgt/ProspectiveUndergraduateStudentsRegistration/