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Big Data And Tech M&A Boom Push Up MBA Jobs In Financial Services

Investment banks are increasing their investment in technology staff, while tech and data spurs a boom in global dealmaking activity.

Fri Apr 3 2015

MBA jobs in the UK financial services industry are being buoyed by investment in digital technologies like big data, while a boom in mergers and acquisitions has seen big banks snap up more dealmakers globally.

Figures from employers’ organization the CBI and PwC, the professional services firm, show sentiment in the financial services sector is higher than at any time in the past 15 months.

A report by Astbury Marsden, the London recruitment firm, said headcount in the City was rising on the back of the “digital agenda”, with the number of new jobs created in March jumping by 25%.

Investment banks are increasing their investment in technology staff, as well as making replacement hires for technology staff that have been lured away to join smaller financial technology – or “fintech” – companies.

Investment in fintech groups rose from $264 million in 2013 to $623 million last year, according to Accenture, the management consultancy firm.

Adam Jackson, managing director of Astbury Marsden, said: “Banks are stepping up their hiring of technology staff as they either look to replace staff poached by fintech businesses or battle to keep and support their best technology talent.”

He added that investment banks are fighting a “war for talent” with fintech companies and face losing market share if they don’t invest in IT.

Investment to tackle cyber security in particular is rising, with almost 38% of financial services firms planning to boost spending to combat cybercrime over the next 12 months, according PwC and the CBI.

Dr Konstantina Kappou, program director for the MSc Financial Risk Management at Henley Business School, said that the “electronic world has taken over”, opening up new career opportunity.

She said: “Studies that combine risk knowledge with computer science and complex technology can offer a promising career in cybercrime detection and investigation.”

Not only are banks recruiting MBAs in this area but also consultancy firms and the public sector, according to Jennifer Windus, senior career consultant for finance at George Washington University Business School. “We are seeing increased demand for risk managers,” she added.

Data analytics is another area of financial services investment, according to Astbury Marsden.

Christopher Adeyeri, associate director for technology at the firm, said: “Big data analytics teams have now become an established stand-alone functional department.”

He said that financial firms are now hiring big data and analytics specialists. “Turning data into knowledge to drive innovation and harness untapped business potential requires big data specialists with the right skills-set.”

The Stevens Institute of Technology, a private US research university, recently launched a master’s program with Accenture to address a skills shortage this area.

Christopher added that analytics teams provide senior-level executives with key insights on how they can improve profitability.

Asset management companies in particular have recognized how big data can improve portfolio management and ultimately boost profitability, driven by regulatory compliance and risk analysis. Many asset managers are also mining social media for trading insights.

Marie Kratz, director of the Risk Research Centre at ESSEC Business School, said: “With the increase of regulatory requirements, companies have had to strengthen their risk teams and departments.”

A boom in M&A, with deals struck so far this year at the fastest pace since 2007, has also ramped up demand among banks to recruit potential dealmakers at business schools.

Tony Somers, director of the Career Management Center at HEC Paris, a top business school in France, said there has been a “significant increase in M&A hiring” for junior dealmakers.

Technology IPOs remain a key market driver for M&A, while market opportunities in mobile, cloud, data and security are poised to push up dealmaking in the tech industry, according to a report this week from KPMG.

Chad Seiler, KPMG’s technology deal advisory practice leader, said: “These factors, combined with large cash reserves, are fuelling M&A activity.”

But while the PwC/CBI survey of the financial industry found 23% of City firms increased their headcount, 46% said employment had fallen in the three months to March.

Investment banks including Barclays and Royal Bank of Scotland have recently announced plans to slash jobs.

There are areas of growth at banks, but cuts have come from the FICC – fixed income, currencies and commodities – sectors, according to Coalition, the research firm.

Based on the PwC/CBI figures, employment in the financial and insurance sectors is forecast to dip by a further 6,000 in the next two quarters, to stand at around 1.1 million by the end of June 2015.

Rain Newton-Smith, CBI director of economics, said that falling headcount was driven by banks cutting staff as they make their business operations leaner by refocusing activities – a result of new capital rules and regulatory requirements.

But Kevin Burrowes, UK financial services leader at PwC, said that UK banks are reporting growing confidence, steep revenue growth and increasing profitability.

He added: “Banks’ spending priorities for the next year are focused on improving IT infrastructure and cyber security… Banks are also building new digital platforms to remain competitive and respond to changing customer needs.”

Student Reviews

ESSEC Business School




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The best intercultural university

There are more than 50 nationality in the grade, so there are opportunities to interact with people from all around the world. In terms of academics, the BBA course offers diverse courses for the 1st




On Campus

Creativity, adaptability and entrepreneurship

The Master in Management program at the ESSEC Business School allows the students to choose their courses accordingly to their preferences and their professional targets. We can also go through international exchange and take part in internships with companies that are also partners with the school. The school is also next to the city of Paris.




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Top business school in France

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Good school in France

I am currently enrolled in M2 in Essec business school. I am specialising in marketing management. The Grande Ecole programme is valued in France and my school ranks very high up. There are a lot of opportunities for internships and CDD.




The program curriculum

BBA program. The program is really practical and useful, provide us many international opportunities. Like internship and humanitarian experience, and the flexibility is also really cool, we can choose different campus and tracks as we want.




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This school is very international and business oriented. Highly recognized by the companies The campus has been renovated and is very functional and modern from now on. Excellent atmosphere. Reputation of essec is a plus




Friends, Career opportunities.

The program I did gave me the opportunity to start in Singapore. I got the chance to know all the students that started there and we bonded and made some friends for life. The career opportunities that ESSEC also gave me were unbelievable.




Practical and useful

I think the best thing about Essec is that it's not focusing on academics rather it emphasizes on future job mindset and professional experiences.. The classes are interesting and we have plenty of workshops attributing to different sectors.. The campus is very nice with a good cafe and wonderful library. The only problem is the location of the campus. It's quite far from Paris.




On Campus

Amazing experience! Must try

I think its a very amazing school with great and experienced faculty. Also the alumni network is very solid and useful. The school has a great balance of studies and work experience which is really essential for a student.




On Campus

GBBA: Diverse, Enriching, and Career-Boosting

My experience at ESSEC Business School has been outstanding. The Global BBA program offers a rich academic curriculum and diverse learning opportunities. I appreciated the chance to study on different campuses, including an international exchange, which broadened my perspective. The social environment is culturally diverse and vibrant, enhancing both my personal and professional growth. The administration is attentive, constantly offering new academic and student life opportunities. The campus facilities and classrooms are excellent. I highly recommend ESSEC for its excellence, global exposure, and career opportunities.




On Campus


The English track BBA program at ESSEC is simply exceptional. Courses are taught by internationally renowned professors who are experts in their field. The subjects taught cover a wide range of disciplines from marketing to finance, strategy and entrepreneurship. The English track is a major asset because it allows you to develop perfect mastery of professional English, essential in today's globalized business world. Some students love student life at Essec, which is one of the best in France, but it all depends on taste.




On Campus

Great program, incredible school

I love almost everything about this school, from the student life to the academic program and the opportunities it provides. I'm currently at the Paris campus, in Cergy, and I'm really enjoying it. The BBA program is very rich and diversified, you can start with geopolitics and then finance, what I mean is that there's a great balance between the subjects in this program. I was also lucky enough to spend a semester at the Singapore campus, and I loved that experience on the other side of the world. ESSEC is also known for its dynamic and rich student life, with access to several parties a week and the various associations within the school. If I could recommend just one school, it would be this one - I'm 100% satisfied.