Breadth v depth: how the syllabus and course structure benefitted us

Harriet O'Connor graduated in October 2017 with a First Class Honours degree in International Financial Services. Reflecting on her time at JIBS University Centre, Harriet evaluates how the degree balanced breadth and depth, through the broad syllabus and the detailed industry insight provided to students by guest lecturers and event speakers.

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The JIBS University Centre degree covers 24 modules over two years from Financial Accounting to Service Management to Business Law. The broad nature of the degree offers students the opportunity to touch on many different industry sectors which is beneficial when you are unsure which career path you want to go down after graduating. Each module is covered over a nine-week period, all of which are structured to support one another, for example studying Taxation at the same time as the Role of International Finance Centres meant that we could use knowledge from one module to support our learning in another as the two modules were heavily interlinked.

As the two-year degree is completed in Jersey, a leading International Finance Centre, we had access to industry experts which complemented our learning in the classroom. During my time at JIBS many industry experts came in to speak to us about the current economic climate and certain geopolitical events such as Brexit and how this would affect the longevity of Jersey as a leading IFC. This not only provided context to our theoretical learning but also deepened our understanding of the domestic economy and how geopolitical events can have serious repercussions on the wider global economy.

To add further context and enhance our understanding, JIBS also offer the opportunity for a two-day work placement, known as the Undergraduate Employment Programme. This enables us to work in industry, which allows us to apply their textbook knowledge to a real-life business situation and helps to contextualise our classroom knowledge.

Furthermore, in comparison to universities based in the UK, JIBS have significantly smaller cohort sizes. This means that we had more contact time with lecturers who were easily accessible to answer any queries we had regarding assignments, course content or exams.

As a JIBS student, I also had access to JIBS CPD events; for example, last year I attended the 12th Annual Compliance & Economic Crime Symposium, which offered a valuable opportunity to reflect upon the challenges faced by industry, whilst also looking at key risks in compliance and the right against financial crime. The contextual knowledge that I gained at the Symposium was invaluable as I could apply what I learnt to the relevant modules such as Risk Management and Regulation.

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I have now graduated from JIBS with a First Class Honours degree and believe that I have left JIBS with a holistic view of financial services. Not only has the degree improved my understanding of the global economy and how financial services typically sit at the heart of global economic activity, but also how Jersey operates as a leading finance centre and the different sectors that make up Jersey’s finance industry.