MSc Financial Mathematics* alumnus, Luke Jeeves shares his reflections on his course experience at WBS one year on.
Tell us about yourself and your background.
I studied Mathematics at Lancaster University before graduating and moving down to Warwick to study for my MSc in Financial Mathematics*. I was always keen to apply my mathematical background to a quantitative discipline, and having researched the courses available in the UK, I quickly concluded WBS was the best place for me to continue my education.
Why did you decide to study at WBS?
The reputation of WBS is global, and this really helped inform my decision to study for my MSc here. The course was well-rounded and varied but went into significant detail in the crucial concepts I would need for a career in quantitative finance. I was also impressed with the quality of the facilities at WBS, offering a fantastic location to learn and study for my MSc year.
Where are you working now, and what does your job involve?
I’m now working for the Bank of America, the second-largest bank in the United States and one of the largest globally, with a presence in all regions across the world. They offer banking and finance solutions to consumers, small businesses, corporations and global institution around the globe.
In my role as a quantitative finance analyst, I work in the Corporate Audit division, specifically in the model audit team. Our role is to independently audit the models used by the Bank across all business lines and functions to manage the risk we expose ourselves to as a firm, and to ensure compliance with global regulations and standards. This requires a lot of technical knowledge about the financial and mathematical underpinning of these models, which include Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning methods, in order to critically assess their performance. We need to be diligent, with a healthy amount of scepticism, to look for potential areas of weakness or improvement.
How did your MSc course help you prepare for your role?
A strong understanding of financial mathematics and quantitative modelling is fundamental in the role, so the course set me up perfectly for this role, offering a broad range of mathematical and statistical theory, economic background, as well as technical skills such as coding which are massively useful.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
For me, the variety is what I appreciate the most. I get to work on models from all areas of the business, whether that’s pricing models, market risk models, anti-money laundering or even marketing models. This broad exposure is a huge advantage for me at this early stage of my career as it gives me an unprecedented opportunity to learn about modelling on a global banking scale.
What are your key takeaways from your course and how have they helped you in your career?
My course really prepared me for the working world in a variety of ways. Firstly, it taught me how to work on multiple projects simultaneously, often needing to process information from many sources in different ways i.e. lectures, online resources, books. This is similar to life in my role now, as important information and work can come from anywhere, so you always have to be ready for it. Secondly, and perhaps most importantly, my course at WBS taught me that attitude can make a huge difference. I learnt quickly to approach my studies with a healthy desire to learn and this has carried over into my working role, where I’m always looking for an opportunity to absorb new information.
How did things change for you on completing your course?
After completing my dissertation, I moved home for a few months, living with my parents whilst I committed full-time to securing a role. By December I had landed three job offers and was fortunate enough to be able to make a choice between them. I started here at Bank of America at the end of January after making the big move down to London. The opportunity to live in such a global and diverse city was too good to turn down and I’m really loving my new life here.
Did you utilise the WBS CareersPlus team whilst you were studying at WBS?
I called on the support of the WBS CareersPlus team towards the end of my course, and they were fantastically resourceful in helping me prepare for the infamous quant interviews. However, I would advise other students to think further ahead than I did and reach out to them from term 1 as they really are a wealth of knowledge just waiting to be tapped into. It could save you the post-masters stress of searching for a job.
What would you say to someone thinking of applying for your course at WBS?
The course and the staff are fantastic, and I wouldn’t hesitate about choosing WBS again. However, it’s not all fun and games; be prepared for a serious amount of work. You won’t be getting a world-class MSc degree in quantitative finance just for turning up. Looking back I am proud, my experience was totally worth it and I am proud to be an alumnus of WBS.