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Hilary Wilce specialising in all aspects of education
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Specialist MSc Programmes

Published By: Cass Business School - 01 May 2007

More and more graduates are turning to post-graduate qualifications to boost their careers. But taking an MSc means a serious investment of time and money. So how do you know which is the right course for you? And which one will lead to the best opportunities once you have finished?

Prospective students need to look carefully at what a course covers, who teaches it, and what level of support and advice they will get once they embark on it.

At Cass, vocational MScs are a speciality. Susan Roth, director of the MSc programme, points out that there are currently 18 mainstream courses, organised into six clusters, which means students can hone in on exactly what they want. A student interested in finance can choose to combine it with international banking or accounting, while someone looking to study real estate can combine it with property valuation and law, or investment. “I don’t think you get this choice anywhere else in the world,” she says.

In fact Cass attracts 12,000 MSc students from more than a hundred countries, and offers courses with global reputations. “The shipping course is very prestigious and well known. It was founded 22 years ago, and Stelios Haji-Ioannou, of EasyJet, is an alumnus of that course and founded his business on the back of a project he did while he was on it.”

Students at Cass also hit the ground running. Banking students, for example, study derivatives in their first term, even though other business schools leave the subject until later.

Good advice and support is an essential part of any quality MSc package. Cass students get careers help and one-to-one consultations from the day they arrive, and on into their life as an alumnus. Students are offered help with CV writing and preparing for interviews, as well as support with networking, assessment preparation and up-to-the-minute advice from a wide range of professionals.

“All business schools offe generic careers advice,” says Lindsay Bortoluzzi, director of Cass Careers. “But because we are right on the doorstep of the City, we can draw on bankers and traders and managers who run workshops or come in to do career coaching, and who can tell people exactly what it is like to be, for instance, an equity analyst.”

Students also get opportunities to do their dissertations in a real-life settings. “We encourage companies to offer students business projects, and of course once students are going into a company to do this, it can lead on to other things.”

The school’s close relationship with employers also allows it to offer a specialist recruitment service, matching up qualified students with potential openings. “This saves companies a lot of screening time,” says Bortoluzzi, “and because we are so responsive to their needs we get an awful lot of jobs coming to us.”

Clemens Rechenberg, 26, has been delighted with his experience studying for a Masters in management. “It has made me much more entrepreneurial, and I am now thinking of setting up my own business making customized shoes at more affordable prices.

“I was working in financial PR, and Cass was recommended to me by a number of people. In fact there’s quite a buzz about Cass around the investment banks, and I’ve certainly had great guidance and teaching from all my professors here.”

Charles Chukwuka

Charles Chukwuka’s decision to take a part-time MSc in mathematical finance and trading has already paid off. He started the course last September, rejigged his CV with the help of Cass Careers, and has now started a new job with Merrill Lynch.

“Basically, I got the job because of the course I was doing. For one thing, I don’t think they’d have seen me if I wasn’t doing it. And, secondly, once I was through the door, I was able to perform at interview. They asked me about the Black-Scholes pricing equation, and I could answer everything they asked me because we’d done it extensively in class.”

Charles, who at 46 is older than most MSc students, trained as a mechanical engineer, and in IT, but after a number of jobs in the City, felt he needed more in-depth knowledge to advance his career in investment banking. “It definitely gives you an edge.”

A former colleague recommended Cass, which offered the highly mathematical course he wanted, and he has found being a student a great experience. “You get taught by some of the top guys in the field, and its all cutting edge stuff. And the teaching rooms and the library and all the resources are excellent. “