MSc in Financial Mathematics | metrics table at end of article
The modern quant has to be able to communicate and collaborate – requirements that are mirrored in the running of the one-year master’s programme in financial mathematics at Warwick Business School.
The programme is administered collectively by the business school, Warwick University’s mathematics institute and its department of statistics. Even though the majority of what is taught is in mathematics, there is a significant financial component. “This cross-faculty administration gives our programme a flavour that’s quite distinctive,” says David Hobson, the course leader. “It provides us with more rounded graduates. Having teaching input from a broader category of people helps with that.”
It can also help the graduates find their way in the world, according to Alex Tse. A 2009 graduate, Tse returned to his birthplace – Hong Kong – where he worked as an equity derivatives trader at Australia’s ANZ. This experience showed him how wide the range of stakeholders is for quant finance, and that quants themselves need to be adept at bridging the gaps that exist between the various parties.
“What’s important is the ability of quants to explain technical valuation methodologies to non-specialists. In the old days, quants had to deal with traders or structurers who have a pretty good command of what’s happening with modelling methodologies, but nowadays the end-users could be regulators and senior managers in banks”.
He lists the synergy of different topics available to students as one of the most attractive aspects of Warwick’s programme. In 2013, Tse returned to Warwick to pursue a PhD and is currently a research associate at Cambridge University.
Despite the division of labour taking place between three departments, the focus on mathematics in the Warwick master’s is preserved. “We expect students to have done a mathematics degree of some form – the typical route is to have done a mathematical degree. Probability, statistics, mathematical analysis and algebra are useful,” says Hobson.
The programme is no newcomer to the world of postgraduate degrees. It was launched in 1998, and has continued to evolve. One of the innovations scheduled for next year is the introduction of a new module called ‘Topics in mathematical finance’. It will comprise mini-courses, varying from year to year, depending on the latest developments in the field. One of the topics that has been suggested is algorithmic trading.
Programming is also a component of this master’s degree – it includes compulsory study of C++ and MatLab as part of the ‘Numerical methods in finance’ course. Students also get exposure to R as part of a time series course.
Some of the students will work on the final assignment – a summer dissertation – alongside an industrial partner picked by the business school. Even though an academic member of staff oversees this collaboration, the company supervisor sets the direction for the final project together with the student.