Saturday, January 17, 2009

Back to school!

I have finally enrolled in a Masters in Applied Finance this year! The letter of offer was signed and school fees paid yesterday.

This marks the beginning of an end of my current career and the commencement of a new path.

The choice of schools and master degree courses started last November and was narrowed to a reputable local institution. I have to consider between costs, academic tenure, possible sacrifices, standing of education institution, my future career path, Singapore’s future, current work commitments and my ability to cope with studies.

Initially I wanted to study in Australia, however the minimum period was 1.5 years and it will cost me at least $60,000 to complete it. After factoring the opportunity costs, it will add up to at least $160,000. Hence I decide to pursue my Masters on a part time basis. It will take at least 2.5 years to complete the course and I will be starting in February.

I could have studied in an extension field of subject from my first degree. However, as finance was my passion for the past 5 years, it seems a natural progression for me to study in this field. In fact, given a chance to start all over, I would have given up my scholarship and read Finance in the University.

Well, it is better late than never for both studies and investment.

I will have to keep studying a secret from my boss and colleagues as I do not want to be condemned as a traitor to my specialization and be seen as just the next sucker being lured by the allure of money.

The good thing to study during a financial crisis is that there is really few interested to study it! Class size will be small and tuition fees are unlikely to go north. I heard my first module has less than 20 students. I can always have the first opportunity to discuss with my lecturers on the latest development of the financial crisis. I like that!

Meanwhile, I need to condition myself to be content with less and cope with more.

There will be less leisure time for tv, sports, gym, dates and even blogging. I need to save more money and hence will have to cut down on restaurant outings, gadget indulgence and spa.

I will also have to plan my schedule more carefully, so that my work will not be noticeably affected by my studies. I cannot apply leave to travel overseas for extended period of time as I need to conserve leave for examinations preparation.

It takes a huge amount of energy to overcome the inertia to submit the application.

There will be more stress from grappling with work, financial commitments, bear market and studying.

I am sure I can overcome it. Afterall I am just aspiring to complete the Masters in Applied Finance, and not be the Masters of Universe!

To the new year, cheers!


Rhincodon said...

Hi, the last time I checked, NUS/NTU doesn't offer Masters in Applied Finance. Could you reveal where you would be studying? SIM?
Just asking cos' I have been thinking about studying for it as well. Thanks!

Sgbluechip said...

Hi, you might want to check out SMU.

littlecupid said...

Good luck and update us on any good stuff you have learnt :)

I have a friend who finished his financial engineering. However it was very different from what was expected. It was very thereotical, eg pricing of options...the beta, gamma etc.

Well let's see what applied finance has to offer

ghchua said...

Hi Sgbluechip,

All the best to your Masters course!

Rhincodon said...

Hi Blue Chip,

Thanks for your reply.

Since the MAF curriculum is to prepare students for CFA, do you think it would be a better idea to self-study for CFA instead of enrolling for this course?

Also, what are the prospects for MAF candidates?

I, too, intend to switch to the finance industry, but I am more inclined to study for a 2-year Bsc. degree in Accounting and Finance, as I am targeting entry-level positions.

Sgbluechip said...

Hi RH, why would you want to target a degree course when you can enrol for a masters? You can also get an entry level job with a masters and even a PHD.

The higher your academic qualifications, the larger the spectrum of job you can do.

Self studying for CFA is tough and many do not have the discipline to perserve and clear all 3 levels.

MAF and CFA are overlapping in nature, it depends on your work commitment and academic background before you decide for it. MAF is not designed to prepare for CFA, it is to allow graduates to work in the finance industry.

CFA takes a min of 3 years to complete, many take more than that.

With a MAF, you would have a passport to enter the area of finance you are interested in. Job propects are really up to different individuals.

Rhincodon said...

Hi Blue Chip,

Thanks for your patient answers, really appreciated it! All the best to you in your course of study, and have a great 2009!

Ah goh said...


just wondering, any minimum criteria set to get into the course? Do u need a good honours etc? are there any interviews and stuff? Considering studying in a couple of years as well, part time like you


Sgbluechip said...

Hi AG, different schools offering masters require different entry criteria. A basic degree is required for all masters. MAF usually do not require relevant first degree though.

Adrian said...

Hi Sgbluechip,

How easy is it to enter the financial industry in your 30s? As you are in your late 20s, I believe you are at a disadvantage if you enter the financial industry i.e. paycut long working hours etc