City University adds Masters degrees

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Early reactions have been positive, according to the business school, which is keen to stress that the degrees have been tailored to the needs of the financial industry following many discussions with investment banks and other institutions.

'This is not generalist training, but offers instead a very specific function,' says Mark Salmon, the Deutsche Morgan Grenfell professor of financial markets in charge of the MSc in finance, economics and econometrics. 'Most large financial organisations put their graduate intake through long training programmes. We are looking to supplement and take over that sort of work.

In devising this course, Salmon had many consultations with organisations such as Nomura, Goldman Sachs, Deutsche Bank and the Bank of England, to try to discover what sort of holes they found in the knowledge and abilities of their graduate intake.

This MSc overlaps to some extent with the other new degree, the MSc in banking and international finance. The role of the latter is 'to cast a light on financial intermediation, whether that is done by banks or markets, anywhere in the world,' says Gordon Gemmill, professor of finance and head of the department of banking and finance.

But the main role for City University Business School in providing these degrees is to fill a need for better qualified people when it comes to the quantitative analysis of financial markets. 'What we are really keen on is to give people a practical insight into the theory,' says Salmon.

Seeking above all to be relevant, this new MSc offers regular speakers from the City, with Tim Congdon teaching macroeconomics.

The launch of the two degrees comes at a time when there isn't a great deal of competition in this area in the UK. Salmon set up a similar MSc at Warwick University a few years ago and there is one at Birkbeck, but it is reputed to be much more theoretical in flavour. Salmon, who also teaches regularly in France, is clear that there is a need in the City for more specific skills training which can be provided by such degrees.

'Universities in the UK are very unresponsive to true demand - they offer what they offer. But the business schools have picked up on what is needed and identified the appropriate skills that are necessary. With all the recent turnover in the City we are very interested in the people who may need to be retrained and this degree is also partly for them,' he says.

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