Paul Harte - MSc Finance

Having completed my undergraduate degree in University College Cork, I was delighted to be returning to pursue an MSc Finance. Between the high calibre of the University and Cork being a unique and vibrant city, I knew resuming my studies here was a great opportunity.

I commenced the masters programme in September and it has been of an incredibly high standard thus far. From day one, the course has been exceptionally practical, for example in the use of case studies in our lectures. Our professional development module has also allowed us to enhance our presenting skills, improve our CV’s and prepare us for interviews for future employment.

Whilst the content of the course has been very interesting so far as a whole, what I have found most stimulating is the analysis of the capital structure of firms. In two of our modules, Investments and Treasury Risk Management, students are currently participating in competitions as to how they would invest in equities and also bond and currency markets. This gives us all an opportunity to gain experience, knowledge and understanding of markets that will stand to us academically and professionally.

The M.Sc. Corporate Finance has an excellent reputation and this is verified by the large number of international students participating in the programme. Students have come from as far as China, India and parts of South America to study Corporate Finance. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people from different cultures and learn from their experiences. As I completed my undergraduate degree here in UCC, I have been able to help some of the students on my course who are unfamiliar with UCC and Ireland and share tips and experiences with them.

Outside of academics, I have recently joined the UCC Commerce Society as their Postgraduate Liaison Officer. Having taken advantage of what societies have to offer in my undergraduate degree, I am passionate about helping postgraduate students to take the opportunities available to them in societies to enhance their experience in UCC.

I am delighted to say my return to UCC has been a successful and enjoyable one thus far and I look forward to the opportunities and challenges ahead!

To find out more about the MSc Finance, please click here

Paul Harte - MSc Finance

Blog Post 2

Since my last blog post, the continuous assessment element of the M.Sc. Corporate Finance modules have increased greatly. In most cases, this required my course-mates and I to work in groups on various projects. This varied from assessing the interest rate expectations of major central banks, to conducting financial analysis of publicly listed companies. The assessment that I found most interesting was the evaluating of macro-prudential strategies of European central banks. This involved assessing the tools they were using such as countercyclical buffers and reciprocity and evaluating if any further tools could be used. The assignment educated us on the capital requirements banks are expected to meet and how central banks try and protect the financial system as a whole.

One of the highlights of the semester for me was the business leader event in November, where Frank Saul was interviewed by Prof. Thia Hennessy, Dean of Cork University Business School. Frank Saul sold Chevy Chase Federal Savings Bank to Capital One in 2009 for $476 million and is currently CEO of Saul Centers. Frank shared his personal business experiences, how the family business started three generations ago and shared his tips on how best to succeed in business.

There is no doubt in my mind that UCC is the most beautiful campus in Ireland. Winter or Summer, the quadrangle and the President’s garden are magnificent spaces for students to have at their disposal. During breaks, it’s great to walk around the quad or the garden to clear your head before getting back to work. I spend most of my time on campus in the library or the designated computer lab for Corporate Finance in the ORB building. The computer lab is a great facility for students to share opinions and ideas and gives us a space to learn from each other.

Regarding semester two, I’m eager to get back to work and start new modules such as Corporate Restructuring and Equity Valuation. The two events I’m most looking forward to are the UCC Commerce Society Conference in February and the CUBS Conference in March. Both conferences have had very impressive speakers in the past and I look forward to seeing the calibre of this year’s speakers.

 I’m also delighted to be heading into the second semester having secured employment for the Central Bank of Ireland, once I have completed my Master’s. It’s an exciting opportunity, but for now I look to the semester ahead and the opportunities and challenges to come.

Outside the ORB

Commerce Conference

Picture: Commerce Conference 2019

Paul Harte - MSc Finance

Blog Post 3

It’s hard to believe it’s already April and my Masters is coming to an end, the year has certainly flown by. As I finish up my fifth year in UCC, I can confidently say it has been one of my most enjoyable. Whilst the work has been challenging at times, with a good mix of continuous assessment and final exams, there has always been opportunity to have a good college/life balance.

Two of the highlights, outside of college work this year, were the Commerce Conference and the CUBS Conference. The Commerce Conference, which took place in February, was themed a “New Éire”, examining how far Ireland has come since the world economic crisis. Some of the excellent speakers on the day included Peter Bellew, Chief Operating Officer of Ryanair, and Dee Forbes, Director General of RTÉ. Having attended the conference in previous years, it was wonderful to see the high standard of the conference maintained year on year.

The CUBS Conference, which took place in Cork Opera House in March, was also an excellently run event. The speaker who stood out to me the most, at this event, was Jim Cunha, Senior VP for Treasury and Financial Services at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston. Jim gave us an insight into the work he does, his journey to where he is now and also how strong his links are to UCC and how highly he rates the University.  Overall, both conferences were phenomenal opportunities for students to hear valuable perspectives on the business environment and how it’s developing.

As part of the Masters programme, we were also fortunate enough to have Leslie Buckley, former chairman of Independent News and Media, as a guest speaker. Leslie focused mostly on his charitable work, mainly in Haiti through the Haven Community Foundation. It was refreshing to hear a speaker delve so deeply into their charitable efforts and remind us all of the importance of corporate social responsibility as we head into our professional careers. 

The Masters itself has been a genuinely great experience. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know and work with students from various international backgrounds, and the experiences and knowledge I have gained will undoubtedly help me in the future. The standard of lecturing and teaching has been of the highest quality, and I have no doubt that I made the right decision in choosing a Masters in Corporate Finance.

All in all, the past few months have been an excellent journey and I look forward to taking up my position in the Central Bank of Ireland in September.

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