Marcel, you have now been working in asset management for five years. What does your field of activity actually look like?
I am employed in the business development sector with the OLZ asset management company and I also advise institutional clients. OLZ manages some 3 billion CHF in client funds, specialising in risk-based optimisation of share and bond portfolios.
Which professional qualifications from your master's programme are you applying to your everyday work?
On one hand, I can apply plenty of knowledge from my elective study courses, for instance fixed income and equity valuations. Another very valuable asset for today’s working life was the statistic modules. On the other hand, I wrote my Master thesis on the topic of factor-based investment strategies. I was therefore able to acquire some specific knowledge for my current employment in the asset management sector during my master's programme.
You completed your master's programme in 2013. What are the most formative memories of your master's programme?
My elective subjects and various term papers enabled me to specifically expand my knowledge of topics I was interested in. I also developed an article from one of my term papers which I was able to publish in cooperation with a professor from the Lucerne School of Business in a book. Good friendships also remain. I am still meeting up regularly with some former co-students.
How difficult was it to start in your job once you had completed your master's degree in Banking and Finance?
The master's programme certainly left me well prepared. But in the end, you always jump in at the deep end. Although I was well trained by the master's programme, you certainly still learn plenty of new things on the job. Yet we were well prepared for this during the master's programme. After all, your profession doesn’t just involve expert knowledge. It is also important to approach problems in a structured manner und to be able to work out complex issues by yourself.
In addition to your master's programme, you also took the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams. How important was that training for you?
Content-wise, it was an exciting consolidation of my finance sector knowledge, and certainly also a good distinguishing feature when looking for a job. The master's programme prepared me well for the CFA exams. The CFA charter holder training consists of three exams. The bachelor's programme in Banking and Finance already prepares you quite well for level I. I was then able to use a great deal of knowledge from my master's programme for level II. Due to the many professional overlaps with the master's programme, the learning curve for the CFA exams was clearly considerably less steep.
Many students are faced with the question whether to complete a master's programme once they have obtained their bachelor's degree. What do you think - is a masters' programme worth it?
In my view, studying Banking and Finance was an excellent decision. Without my MSc in Banking and Finance degree, I would not have gotten my job, and would not have been able to pursue it properly without the knowledge obtained either. And lastly, the CFA degree would have been a great deal more difficult to obtain without the master's programme.
What advice would you give future students?
I would recommend all students to consider right from the start which direction they are planning to pursue as a professional career later. Due to its many elective modules and the project work undertaken, your studies will offer you much creative freedom. It enables you to specifically prepare for your future professional career during your studies.