By Sophie Eleftheriou, MSc International Shipping and Finance student at the ICMA Centre
Truly lucky! This is how I felt once my first semester at the ICMA Centre had come to an end. Having spent 4 amazing months here, it’s safe to say that joining the ICMA family was the right decision.
From the course content, to study visits and extracurricular activities, the experience has so far been extremely rewarding!
Course content & the most interesting thing that I’ve learnt
The curriculum is designed in such a way that the theoretical and practical courses supplement one another in a consistent and coherent manner. For example, the classes of Securities, Futures & Options and Fixed Income and Equity Investments introduced us to the finance world by providing the necessary background on financial instruments and pricing strategies, whilst during the trading simulation classes we applied these pricing and trading strategies in a real-world setting.
As an MSc in International Shipping and Finance student, I also participated in the courses of International Maritime Trade and Maritime Economics & Business, which provided a solid introduction into the Shipping industry. While all courses are of equal importance, I found these two courses extremely interesting, as they were delivered by ICMA lecturers, as well as senior industry experts. This provided us with a holistic understanding of the Maritime world and set a solid base for the more specialised courses delivered in the second term.
The most interesting thing that I’ve learnt this past term is how the volatile and cyclical nature of the Shipping industry must be seen as a source of unlimited profitable opportunities, rather than an obstacle!
What I greatly value about the ICMA centre is its professional, yet friendly environment. High quality services are provided by everyone, from lecturers and TAs to the reception and careers officers. At the same time, they all make sure to be very friendly and approachable so students can feel comfortable reaching out for advice and assistance at any time.
Study visits & events
The study visits were definitely a big part of my first term here at ICMA. During our first 4 months we visited the International Maritime Organisation and the Baltic Exchange, as well as attended the Marine Money conference, during which we met and engaged with industry professionals. The networking opportunities were plenty and the university staff made sure to best prepare us for these instances.
The networking and social events were not limited to senior professionals. An alumni event was organised for us to meet ICMA graduates and learn from their own experiences and insights. The Christmas party back in December was another highlight of the term, since it was a great opportunity to come closer to university staff in an informal setting!
Another important part of my experience here at the UoR is the societies that I have joined! The university routine can be very busy and tedious sometimes, so it is crucial to make some time for extracurricular activities. Joining the finance, yogalates and tango societies has been a great way to let off steam and meet new people who share the same interests as me! To anyone thinking of joining university societies and clubs, do so asap. There are tons of societies to choose from and it is super easy to join, you will love it!
Thoughts on the ICMA Centre experience
Looking back to the person I was in the beginning of this academic year, I am surprised to see how much knowledge and personal development these past 4 months at ICMA have given me! My advice to the upcoming Master’s students would be to kick start their time at ICMA by getting to know well their lecturers, careers advisors, fellow students, as well as to make the most of the services the ICMA Centre provides. These will give you the necessary knowledge, contacts and confidence to face the real world upon graduation. And finally, dare to push boundaries and go after your dreams, but don’t forget to do so with respect for your mentors and peers! Your hard work will pay off and will be worth it!
As the new semester has now begun, I am looking forward to our class field trip to Athens during the Easter break, as well as the work placement during the summer term. I can’t wait to apply all the knowledge and expertise taught in class to the real world and gain a more international and industry exposure!