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This is a collection of former students’ retrospectives about their study experiences. These are personal accounts and should not be seen as objective assessments of any given course. Nonetheless, they aim to be informative and provide an “insider view”. Anyone is welcome to contribute their account and should read the guidelines here. Please note that the views expressed are solely those of their authors, and in no way necessarily reflect the views of the editorial team.
MSc International Finance and Economic Policy - Combining Finance and Economic Policy: a scarce opportunity
Contributed by Matthias Hilgert   

Year of graduation: 2005

Matthias HilgertBefore I came to Glasgow I did my first degree in Business Economics and Information Systems Management and used to work for a couple of years as a Business Consultant in a medium-sized German bank. To gain international experience and to pursue a Master’s degree I was looking for a reasonable programme abroad. I did a lot of research about possible programmes in the UK, but found not many which suited my needs. The International Finance and Economic Policy programme of the Centre for Development Studies was the appropriate Master’s for me, because it offered a consummate mix of Finance and Economics lectures. Therefore, it gave me the opportunity to specialise in certain subjects and to broaden my horizons.
However, the key reason for deciding to take my degree in the Centre for Development Studies (CDS) was how students were treated. This began with how they responded to my queries before I arrived in Glasgow - personal and specific replies rather than standard responses that didn't answer my questions. It then continued throughout the year.

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As the MSc International Finance and Economic Policy is organised jointly by the Centre for Development Studies and the Department of Accounting and Finance students can even take advantage of the facilities and the experienced staff of two departments.  Furthermore, you can take lectures at the Department of Economic and Social History, the Department of Politics, and the Business School. (Since 2006, students are no longer awarded with an M.Phil. but with an M.Sc.)

Besides the exams I needed to write an essay or do a group project in every course. Personally, I found the CDS courses more demanding compared to the courses offered by the other departments, because my background in economics was weaker than in finance.

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To sum up my experience in CDS - I have had one of the best years of my life, I studied and learned a lot, I enjoyed Scotland, met many interesting people and made lifelong friends. After graduation I have started pursuing a PhD at the HfB –Business School of Finance & Management in Frankfurt/Main, Germany.


Advantages:
  • High academic level
  • Almost tailored programme due to the electives
  • Very friendly, highly qualified and international staff
  • Small class sizes in the CDS (between 10 and 25 students)
  • The two days Reading party about “Strategic Negotiations between rich and poor Countries” was one of the highlights.
  • Vibrant City (which is often underestimated) 
  • International students from all continents 
  • Very good library and brilliant online resources which where accessible even off-campus  
  • Own IT facilities for postgraduate students
  • Very good student accommodation (I stayed at Queen Margaret Residences) 
  • Very nice graduation ceremony with traditions of more than 500 years

Disadvantages:
  • In the beginning, it is hard to understand the Glaswegian accent ;-)
  • The Adam Smith Building is not the most beautiful, but that’s not relevant for me…
  • Very demanding courses, especially if you have a weaker background in economics
  • If you take courses in different departments, you need to organise a little bit more.


The author can be contacted at: mhilgert@gmail.com