Taking ‘Topics in Finance’? You’ll want to read this… (Don’t worry. It’s good!)

Topics in Finance: The secret prize you didn’t know existed

DinaAs another Spring Term sets off, flashbacks of last year come to mind. I was in the third and final year of my BSc in Finance and Investment Banking degree at the ICMA Centre. ’Twas the year of incredibly high expectations, stress like you’ve never known, goodbyes, the opening of new doors and – of course – optional modules! After much consideration, I decided to go for Topics in Finance as one of them. Like me, you might have chosen this module to challenge yourself in essay-writing, but what you might not know is that it comes with a prize at the end, and I found out in the best possible way…

Getting into the essay-writing

I can’t say the module wasn’t tough! What constitutes a “good essay” is pretty subjective, but there are some basics that we all need to know. Luckily, Dr Tony Moore, the module convenor, made sure to hold a class or two to discuss essay-writing skills and teach us how to reference properly – wouldn’t want to go around plagiarising anyone! I must admit I ended-up thoroughly enjoying the module, especially considering the host of interesting, diverse and knowledgeable speakers that were brought in to discuss all kinds of “topics in finance”.

The topic I enjoyed most was Behavioural Finance – a growing field that challenges many of the assumptions in classical financial models, including investors being “rational”. In fact, not only does the ICMA Centre offer an MSc module on this, but it also has a whole MSc degree specialised in the subject. Since it was my favourite topic, I decided to write my ‘big essay’ on how I believe markets to be informationally inefficient, and that the reasons behind that are behavioural.

The prize for the best essay

Given the firmness of my stance, I was very nervous about the result (to a point where I remember being too scared to pick up my feedback sheet). Fortunately, that anxiety was misplaced and Dr Moore actually awarded me the highest mark in class! It was only then that I found out about the module’s £300 cash prize for the best essay, sponsored by the Worshipful Company for International Bankers.

To top all this off, winning the module’s award also gives access to the WCIB’s Lombard Prize – an even bigger reward for the best essay across all the universities affiliated with the company. The deadline for this is months after graduation, which means you can still celebrate for weeks on end in the summer before you need to get right back to work!

So, for those of you just starting Topics in Finance now, and those of you planning on taking the module next year, this prize is even more of a reason to put in the effort and stay determined!

To sign off, I wish you all a productive Spring Term and a happy 2017!

Until my next blog,

Dina

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