Case study

Academic lead — Dr Vikram Finavker

Having already achieved two Masters degrees, Dr Finavker set his sights on a career in academia by completing the Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCertHE) and then a PhD, before taking up the role as academic lead for research centres at The London Institute of Banking & Finance (LIBF)

Why did you decide on a research career?

During my MSc, I enjoyed working on the dissertation - the process of identifying research gaps, collecting data, cleansing data and then analysing it using various methodologies to answer questions.

I found this process of conducting research and contributing to the advancement of knowledge very fulfilling.

The data generated in banking and finance is vast. It provides the opportunity to delve into complex topics and to challenge existing theories to uncover something new and better understand how things work.

I started my PhD as I wanted to understand more about how to find answers by analysing and utilising the available data. This allowed me to learn technical skills to understand data and analyse them with various methods to answer the underlying research question.

Tell us a bit about the subjects you're a lecturer for.

I have taught several subjects in the field of corporate finance and investment management. I have delivered lectures on financial management, derivatives, international financial management security analysis and portfolio management.

Previously, I have taught microeconomics, macroeconomics, econometrics, quantitative data analysis and statistical software for research to undergraduate students. I have also taught Excel to banking and finance students.

What do you enjoy about the job?

The most enjoyable part of the job is sharing knowledge and interacting with students, guiding, and mentoring them. It is very fulfilling to see the students grow, develop their skills and knowledge and succeed. It also allows me to stay current in the field of banking and finance by conducting research. Discussions with students also keep me updated with the latest developments in the field of banking and finance.

What are the challenges?

Finance is a fast-moving sector - it's constantly changing. So, one of the most important challenges is keeping up to date with the changes, and new developments, and understanding how these are affecting banks and finance companies.

Some of the issues include:

  • cyber security and protecting customers' accounts
  • competitive challenges from new developments - for example, in payments and customer service, and the use of artificial intelligence (AI)
  • new types of digital finance - including crypto-currencies.

Not only that, but there are also regular changes in the standards that the banking and finance sector companies must meet to demonstrate they are compliant with relevant regulations and legal obligations.

This can range from how they are meeting climate change and CO2 emission obligations and targets, to adapting to new country-specific changes. For example, in the UK, financial companies must set out how they will comply with the introduction of new consumer duties that will take effect in 2023.

What advice would you give to students looking to study at LIBF?

I would advise students to make the most of the resources on offer while studying at the institute. They should take advantage of our webinars, videos and podcasts - we regularly invite industry experts to discuss different subjects and current issues. These talks help link theory with practice, which will help students understand their subjects better.

Also, students should take every opportunity to connect with other LIBF students, alumni and industry professionals while studying here. There are a couple of ways to do this - by connecting with your fellow students on the portal and by attending webinars and joining in the conversation.

One of the most effective things you can do is to set up a LinkedIn account. You can connect with people working in the sector, you can connect with other banking and finance students, and you start to build your professional profile and networks online. That will help you when you are looking to start or progress your career. It's simple to do, and it's free.

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