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January - March 2012

Worshipful Company of Actuaries event 26th March 2012
Alumni Fund Award for Peer Mentoring Scheme
Belfast’s very own Wall Street Trading Room to open at Queen’s
QUMS AS Level Taster Event attracts 400 local students
Queen's academics launch new African enterprise directory
New society 'Actuarially' very interesting
David Gibson receives OBE in Queen's New Year Honours List
QUMS Undergraduate Open Days February and March 2012

Worshipful Company of Actuaries event 26th March 2012

Over 100 students, trainee actuaries and qualified actuaries attended Riddel Hall to listen to Adrian Waddingham, Past master of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries and founding partner of Barnett Waddingham LLP speak about the history of the defined benefit pension scheme from its early days in the mid 1970’s through the boom years of the 80’s and 90’s to the current demise and gradual shift from defined benefit to defined contribution. The presentation gave students and those younger members of the profession the opportunity to hear first-hand how and why the in defined benefit promise arose also touching on the many reasons why those same schemes are now in decline. Positive thoughts about the future of defined benefit pension schemes where shared with the audience. In particular, the fact that current defined contribution provision is most likely inadequate and the consequences that this might bring in terms of staffing for employers given the removal of the default retirement age and so the ability of employers to retire older staff.

The event was sponsored by the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, a Livery company whose charitable work includes engaging with actuarial degrees across eight of the accredited university in the UK. The current Master of the Worshipful Company of Actuaries, John Lockyer spoke for a few moments at the beginning of the presentations about the history of the company before introducing the main speaker for the evening. This is the second time that the Worshipful Company event has taken place at Queen’s University Management School and the first at the new Riddel Hall facility. It was also the first WCA event since the establishment of the Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries and many of the audience were part qualified and fully qualified actuaries from the local region who now engage regularly with the actuarial students on the program through society events.

If anyone would like further details on the society or on the actuarial degree at Queens then they can contact Colin O’Hare on or

To view pictures of the event click here

To view presentation click here

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Alumni Fund Award for Peer Mentoring Scheme
Left to right are: Steven Hayes (Year 3, Co-lead Mentor), Jill Lyttle (Mentoring Academic Contact for Accounting), Danielle McConville (Senior Personal Tutor) and Nicola Quinn (Year 2, Co-lead Mentor).
Left to right are: Steven Hayes (Year 3, Co-lead Mentor), Jill Lyttle (Mentoring Academic Contact for Accounting), Danielle McConville (Senior Personal Tutor) and Nicola Quinn (Year 2, Co-lead Mentor).

The Queen’s University Alumni Fund has recognised the success of a pilot Peer Mentoring Scheme in QUMS by funding expansion of the scheme to all Year 1 undergraduates in QUMS for 2012/13.

The Alumni Fund distributes small grants to projects which enhance the student experience at Queen’s, and the awarding committee were impressed by the pilot project, which involved Year 2 & 3 Accounting students volunteering to mentor Year 1 Accounting students.

Developing the programme themselves (with support from Jill Lyttle and Danielle McConville), the mentors organised informal meetings, regular contact and a series of events ranging from ice-breaker type events  to employer-led sessions with the Year 1 students. The scheme was strongly supported and valued by the Year 1 students, with 80% meeting their mentor in the first term, and 87% supporting the scheme carrying on into 2012/13. Employers have also demonstrated their support for the scheme, with employers including KPMG and Ernst and Young working with the mentors to fund the scheme and develop cohort-specific events.

The £1500 awarded to the mentoring scheme will enable the roll-out of similar, student-led schemes across all programmes in QUMS, and recruitment of new volunteers is already underway for 2012/13. In particular, the funds provided will be used to develop the scheme, publicise it to new Year 1’s and to fund crucial Welcome Week events designed to help our new students settle into QUMS life as quickly as possible.

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Belfast’s very own Wall Street Trading Room to open at Queen’s

Riddel Hall

Northern Ireland’s first ever financial trading room is set to open at Queen’s University Belfast. The First Derivatives Trading Room, supported by Invest NI, will provide a dynamic learning environment for students hoping to embark in a career in financial services or technology.

Based at Queen’s University Management School, Riddel Hall, Stranmillis, the facility, which will replicate New York and London trading rooms, will give students a real-life experience of a busy stock exchange with the capacity to deal in equities, bonds, foreign exchange and derivative instruments. It will transform a corner of the Management School into a financial hub reminiscent of Wall Street or Canary Wharf, and prepare future graduates to make their mark in the world.

Funded by First Derivatives, a leading provider of products and consulting services to the capital markets industry, the trading room is also backed by Invest NI.

First Derivatives offers one of the largest graduate training programmes in Northern Ireland with up to 30 Queen’s graduates employed annually by the company.

And Chief Executive, Brian Conlon, sees the trading room as a platform for closer engagement between the company and Queen’s students and staff.

He said: “As one of Northern Ireland’s key graduate recruiters we recognise the value of working closely with Universities. From our perspective this is an opportunity to collaborate with Queen’s on projects and develop courses in Computational Finance which align more closely with our company’s requirements.

“At First Derivatives we are recognised in global financial centres for the quality of our people. Taking in graduates who have practical experience of the trading floor as well accessing the facility will allow our in-house training to build upon this knowledge and provide more rounded consultants to market.

“Partnerships like First Derivatives, Queen’s and Invest NI create synergies between the world of business, government and academia and drive the development of Northern Ireland’s knowledge economy.”

The trading room has the potential to make Northern Ireland a more interesting proposition to international companies and investors keen to set up where there is a pool of highly skilled graduates who blend theory with practice. And it should also make the Queen’s University Management School more attractive to international students.

Alastair Hamilton, CEO, Invest Northern Ireland believes the facility can help leverage significant investment into Northern Ireland. “Northern Ireland is already among the top global destinations for financial technology investments and Belfast is the number one city for attracting research and development in financial services software. Our impressive track record is based on the quality of talent we have in the region and on the fact that our world-class universities continue to mould programmes to meet the needs of industry. “We know the financial services sector offers further opportunity to create high value employment in Northern Ireland. Developing the skills to make this happen is crucial to growing the sector so we are delighted to support the First Derivatives Trading Room.”

And Professor Donal McKillop from Queen’s University Management School is looking forward to providing a more sophisticated package to students.

He said: “The First Derivatives Trading Room, supported by Invest NI, is an interactive virtual environment where students learn to trade financial instruments and manage financial portfolios using live prices and the latest investment and trading technology. They will have the opportunity to think and learn on their feet, building up the skills needed in the high-pressure world of the trading room.

“Having these practical skills in today’s competitive and uncertain environment will undoubtedly give Queen’s finance students a competitive edge in the jobs market. The trading room will also enable the Management School to provide new bespoke postgraduate programs in Computational Finance. There is no doubt that Queen’s is taking teaching to the next level and enhancing the University’s reputation as a global leader in financial education.”

For media inquiries please contact Queen’s Communications Office. Tel: 028 9097 3087 or email

For more information on the New Trading Room contact Donal McKillop, QUMS, Tel: +44 (0)28 9097 4852.

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QUMS AS Level Taster Event attracts 400 local students

Twenty-eight schools and colleges from across the province attended the recent AS Level event, with a record 400 pupils in attendance.

The event was specifically designed for any students who are potentially interested in applying for degree programmes within QUMS for September 2013 entry. 

Dr Shirley-Ann Hazlett, Director of Education, provided an insight into QUMS and the opportunities on offer to students whilst undertaking a degree programme within the School.

Grace Meehan, from Queen's University's Student Recruitment Team, highlighted key points about Queen's that would interest the students, including Queen's fantastic facilities.

Students were then provided a choice of taster sessions to attend to help them better differentiate between  the programmes. These were delivered by academic staff, assisted by a number of QUMS' current students who also provided an insight into their experiences of the programmes and placement opportunities.

Degree programme presentations made during the event are available below:

AS Level event 250112 Accounting presentation  
AS Level event 250112 Actuarial Science and Risk Management presentation    
AS Level event 250112 Business Management presentation  
AS Level event 250112 Economics Business Economics presentation  
AS Level event 250112 Finance presentation  
AS Level event 250112 International Business with a Modern Language presentation   

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Queen’s academics launch new African enterprise directory

Dr Diane Holt

Queen’s University Management School (QUMS) academics have launched a new Directory to help increase innovation and enterprise within the 19 countries of Southern and Eastern Africa.

Led by Dr Diane Holt and Dr David Littlewood of QUMS, the Trickle Out Africa Directory considers the role and potential contribution of social and environmental enterprises to sustainable development and poverty alleviation within the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and East African Community (EAC) regions.

Funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council, the TOA Directory is the first searchable guide of these types of organisations and will be used to guide future initiatives including training, trade links and enterprise development schemes.

TOA will mainly be targeted at those who represent or own a social, environmental enterprise, to NGOs with any commercial activity, to co-operative or membership associations that represent such organisations and to representatives of a donor/aid agency that support such bodies. Individual entrepreneurs selling green products or services also qualify.

Speaking during the launch, Alison Coutts, British Council Kenya Director hailed the unveiling of the Trickle Out Africa project, terming it a step in the right direction: “Trickle Out Africa is very timely for not only identifying viable enterprises that will impact positively on communities within the targeted regions, but also as a useful guide to future projects.”

Dr Diane Holt, Principal Investigator, QUMS, noted that the creation of the Directory would also assist in the networking of the enterprises within the SADC and the EAC. She said: “The primary role of the project is to create a comprehensive directory, which will have crucial information on the types of business models, funding and business history for the benefit of the SADC and EAC regions.  We hope that in some small way, the TOA project will help showcase the innovative, home- grown, truly transformative business models that form the bedrock of modern Kenya and other countries in Eastern and Southern Africa.”

After completion of the project, organisations in the SADC and EAC will be able to correctly identify potential partners in other countries. Businesses in these regions will also be in a better position to identify potential suppliers and customers will also locate these firms.

Support and donor agencies will also be able to identify potential recipients of their initiatives, and those firms without a web presence will have the opportunity of having their details available on the web free of charge.

TOA is expected to last for the next 26 months. It will seek to evaluate these enterprises through survey and case study research, to measure, map and analyze their characteristics and identify their triple bottom line impact in economic as well as environmental and social terms.

More information can be found on the Project at


Further information from the Communications and External Affairs. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email 

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New society ‘Actuarially’ very interesting

Colin O'Hare

Colin O'Hare, Programme Director, BSc Actuarial Science and Risk Management with actuarial employers from the Belfast area.

The first society for actuaries and those with an interest in the profession is being launched in Northern Ireland.

The Society of Northern Ireland Actuaries (SONIA) will launch next month at Queen's University Management School at Riddel Hall, Belfast.  

SONIA will be a society for actuarial professionals and those students undertaking the Queen's University Management School's (QUMS) Actuarial Science and Risk Management degree. 

Speaking about the motivation for SONIA, Colin O’Hare, President of the Society and Programme Director for the actuarial science degree at Queen's, said: "The idea of establishing a society that includes professional actuaries and undergraduate students as its core membership has never been tried before in the United Kingdom. It not only offers employers the opportunity to engage with and learn from academics who are working at the cutting edge of actuarial research, but also provides an opportunity for students to develop the necessary business awareness skills that can sometimes be difficult to teach in the lecture theatre.

“Northern Ireland has a small but strong actuarial base, and with the establishment of the actuarial degree at Queen’s four years ago, now has the capacity to grow rapidly in the future. A further motivation for the development of SONIA is to provide an actuarial visibility for Northern Ireland as it develops as a centre of excellence in actuarial science and risk management across the UK.”

Funded by Invest NI, SONIA will offer a platform for local actuaries to provide their opinion on issues from pensions to investments and beyond. For students it will offer an unrivalled opportunity for networking, professional development, engagement with industry. It will allow students the opportunity to develop into more rounded professionals, while studying the theory such that on graduation they will be able to engage with the issues immediately.

Supported by the Institute and Faculty of Actuaries, the inaugural event will take place at 5.30pm on 7th February. President of the actuarial profession, Jane Curtis, will speak on the new education strategy and the latest thinking on topics such as Enhanced Transfer Values.

Anyone seeking further information on SONIA should contact Colin O'Hare at QUMS on +44 (0) 28 9097 4671 or email


Further information from Lisa McElroy, Senior Communications Officer. Tel: 028 90 97 5384 or email


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David Gibson receives OBE in Queen's New Year Honours List
David Gibson
David Gibson

David Gibson, only recently voted  the Most Innovative Teacher of the Year at the Times Higher Education (THE) awards, has received an OBE  in the Queen's New Year Honours list for services to Higher Education in Northern Ireland.

David said “ I am very happy to  receive this honour which is the first OBE awarded for enterprise education in the UK.  It recognises the work myself and colleagues have carried out at Queen's University in enterprise education.  I hope it will lead to  further opportunities for Queen's to develop their international profile in this important area.  As a region we can only prosper  if we create  more enterprising graduates”

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QUMS Undergraduate Open Days February and March 2012


QUMS is holding two Open Days for Prospective Undergraduate Students

Saturday 11 February 2012 and
Friday 30 March 20129.30 am to 1.00 pm
(tours commence at 1.00 pm)

These events have been specifically designed for prospective undergraduate students who have received an offer for one or more of the degree programmes within our School.

The purpose of this event is to give you an opportunity to speak informally with staff and students within the School, to find out more about the specific degree programmes for which you are holding offers, to learn more about Queen’s University Management School and life at Queen’s University in general. Ultimately, we hope that you choose our programmes as your firm (CF) and insurance (CI) choices.




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