NUS MSc 20 January 2020

Our inaugural MSc in Finance intake

Finance is a fast-changing world but our new Master of Science in Finance programme aims to produce graduates who can rise to the challenge.

39 students from our inaugural batch have completed the programme. Outside-In speaks to Koh Dong Kyun (South Korea) and Yu Chang (China) about the highlights of their 14 months here.

Pioneer MSc Finance student Koh Dong Kyun is now working with Commerzbank AG in Singapore.

Q: What was your background prior to joining the MSc in Finance programme and what drew you to the programme?

Dong Kyun: When I was young, I had a goal of becoming a strategy consultant. Thus I majored in business administration for my bachelor’s degree at Ritsumeikan Asia Pacific University in Japan. However, a couple of internship experiences at major consulting firms made me realise that understanding finance is the key to success. I started to self-study for the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) programme, and in the process, found out that there are so many sub-categories and roles I never knew existed. I applied to the NUS MSc in Finance programme to explore and find what really suits me in this big wide finance world.

Yu Chang: My bachelor’s degree was in business administration, minoring in finance. I applied to NUS as the programme allows me to learn financial knowledge in a systematic way. It also broadens my horizon and offers opportunities to learn about the vibrant Southeast Asian market, as well as experience the mix of Asian culture with others.

Q: How was “The NUS MSc in Finance” experience?

Dong Kyun: If I had to choose a single word, I would say “demanding”. The constant flow of real-life case studies and projects really stressed me out! But I also have to admit that it did help me take it up a notch. I feel ready to face up to the challenges of the professional world now.

My most memorable experience was staying late with my team members in the NUS Business School building one night to work on a project. The building was locked and we were really worried that we might have to stay here overnight. Eventually the security guard came over and opened the doors for us. It would have been even more memorable if we did sleep there!

Yu Chang: Almost every module consists of an individual project and a larger group project. Despite the heavy workload, I can sense that the professors care deeply about the students. They patiently answered my questions and made sure I understood what they were talking about. They also encourage lively conversation and debate in the classroom where varied opinions are welcome.

I learnt a lot from doing projects with classmates who are from different countries, such as their different ways of thinking and more efficient ways of working. Through these interactions, I learnt about their different cultures as well.

Q: How do you think the programme has helped you in your career or life?

Dong Kyun: The NUS MSc in Finance programme covers a wide range of topics within the field of finance, so that each student can find out what topic or subjects suits him or her best. I was very keen to know more about the asset management world and thanks to the structure and flexibility of the programme, I could do a part-time internship in an asset management firm to get first-hand experience. Such exposure, coupled with guidance from professors and career counsellors, really helped.  The programme helped me establish a solid narrative about myself, which has made my full-time position search much smoother. I am now with the Interest rates, Currencies, and Commodities Trading (IRCCT) Sales with Commerzbank AG in Singapore.

I feel truly honoured to have been part of the inaugural MSc Finance programme and to be a new member of the NUS alumni community which I’m sure will be a valuable asset in the long run. I will always have a space in my heart for the great times I had at NUS, and the amazing people I had the fortune to meet here.

Yu Chang: It was a valuable learning experience at NUS Business School. One important component of the programme was experiential learning. There are many career support services provided by the school, such as websites dedicated to career fairs and workshops. There is also a portal which makes internship application process much smoother.

I chose to intern at a venture capital company for half a year doing investment research. I learnt that many countries in Southeast Asia have their own unique market environment. Fintech, retail and e-commerce, which are mature industries in China, are only just emerging in Southeast Asia. Hence, capitalists are confident of replicating and adapting the successful Chinese business model in this region. This internship had let me gain a holistic understanding of primary markets in Southeast Asia. The actual experience of working in a VC has also enhanced my capabilities.

I hope that prospective students will be able to have as rich an experience as I did.

Yu Chang enjoyed her time at NUS.