Before starting at Queens University Belfast, I was a pupil of St Patricks College Maghera where I studied Economics, Business Studies, and Physical Education at A-Level. After my years at St Patricks College, I studied an undergraduate in BSc Business Economics within the University of Ulster. The course was a total of three years which consisted in teaching the fundamentals of economics and the interrelationships between businesses within the macro and micro economy. After completing my Undergraduate degree with a 2:1, I then completed a Masters within Queens University Belfast (Risk Management and Financial Regulation). I obtained a distinction level accreditation and graduated December 2015.
Where are you now?
I am currently an Analyst II within FinTrU. FinTrU provide high quality, cost-effective resourcing for Financial Services. I joined FinTrU in April 2016 after completing a six-week academy process. Since the academy, I was selected to be part of a Non- Market Risk Team for a Tier 1 Investment Bank. Within this non- market risk team, I specialise in Trade Surveillance and report directly to the risk manager in New York. The area of focus is within the Foreign Exchange market, which I cover globally. I currently use systems such as SMARTS and Actimize, which are systems used across several Tier 1 investment banks for Trade Surveillance. I am also involved in the surveillance of Precious Metal, Futures and the Best Execution of Commodities & Listed Derivatives.
How did you get there?
To date my experience and knowledge gained throughout my undergraduate degree and my masters has helped me gain a valuable insight into the theory of how businesses work and the components of various asset classes. I knew I wanted to go down the path of business and within the investment bank structure, so I tailored my learning towards this. Risk within the investment bank structure is at the forefront of how these banks now operate; especially since the financial crisis of 2007/2008 there has been an emphasis and importance of having an effective risk department and culture within their organisation. Studying MSc Risk Management and Financial Regulation within Queens University was one of the main steps that has led to my current position. Having regular presentations throughout my education not only increased my knowledge in the topic of discussion but helped me gain confidence in speaking to a larger audience. One skill I development within Queens, that helped lead me to my current position was working within the FinTrU trading room within Queens University. The access to the Bloomberg terminal provided me with experience that I use on a day to day basis within FinTrU.
Making use of Careers, Employability and Skills
One of the main ways I looked for employment was through careers fairs. These fairs give a valuable insight into the range of careers that are available in Northern Ireland and/or abroad. The importance of these career fairs is having conversations with those employees already within the firm. Having one to one conversations encouraged me to apply to the companies that I felt I had an interest in and had in some instances progressed to employment. Apart from the careers fair, I also went to employer presentations to gain a similar insight into the role they play. Employer presentations helped give a much more detailed overview of the company and the opportunities available.
Advice for current Queen's students
I would say it is important to take as many opportunities as possible within your time at Queen's. It is important to network as much as possible, this could be at careers fairs, part time work, volunteering or even joining sports teams. All off these are a great way to meet new people and to find out other opportunities that are available to you. I would advise to avail of opportunities and guidance to improve your CV and to also have an updated CV when attending careers events.
If I was to do university again I would consider having a placement year abroad, this will not only help me gain experience in the industry but also the opportunity to travel while working abroad.
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