What can I do with a degree in Financial Engineering?

Financial Engineering dollar sign in gears © Shutterstock

Want to understand the complexity of capital markets? Or how to manage different types of risks? Interested in achieving a challenging technical degree with flexible career opportunities?

Financial Engineering is a cross-disciplinary field combining financial and economic theory with the mathematical and computational tools needed to design and develop financial products, portfolios, markets, and regulations. Financial engineers manage financial risk, identify market opportunities, design and value financial or actuarial products, and optimise investment strategies.

Financial Engineering graduates develop a valuable set of skills that include:

  • Applied financial, mathematical and statistical problem-solving skills
  • Strong quantitative and analytical abilities
  • Programming skills
  • Ability to critically review new information
  • Ability to design and develop a new financial product, instrument or investment strategy
  • Communication
  • Teamwork

There is currently an employer demand and international growth in financial engineering and related fields like the wider actuarial and business analytics industries.

Employers range from private industries, such as banking, investment, capital industries, security, data analysis, risk management and insurance, to the public sector (eg, the Reserve Bank, Treasury or regulatory bodies).

Past graduates of the contributing departments from related paths of study have been employed by Macquarie Capital, Deloitte, BNY-Mellon, First NZ Capital, Reserve Bank of New Zealand, Vero Insurance, Wynyard Security Group and many government agencies such as the Treasury, Statistics New Zealand and the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment.

With global demand increasing apace, there are significant opportunities for New Zealanders to work abroad as a financial engineer.

Financial Engineering graduates are ready for the international workplace in the finance and analytics industries. Financial engineers could be involved in derivatives pricing, financial regulation, corporate finance, portfolio management, risk management, trading or structured products .

Note: Some of the jobs listed may require postgraduate study. See the ‘Further study’ section.

Examples:

Financial engineer

  • Keeps abreast of current financial markets and theories, and past market performances
  • Develops simulations and predicts behaviour
  • Uses modelling to decide on saving, investing, borrowing, lending, and managing risk

Investment broker, investment trader, share broker, financial trader, quant trader

  • Develops systems, algorithms, relationships and strategies to maximise assets and minimise financial risk
  • Specialises in stock, bond or other markets
  • Makes investment transactions and may offer advice to a client or organisation

Actuary

  • Assesses the likelihood of a particular event occurring and the possible financial costs
  • Looks at past trends to predict future outcomes
  • Presents reports, explains implications, and gives advice (often to non-specialists)

Investment analyst

  • Does fundamental analysis for securities
  • Provides buy or sell recommendations

Quantitative research analyst

  • Develops automated trading strategies
  • Implements statistical trading models
  • Generates research ideas, builds datasets, conducts statistical data analysis

Risk analyst / manager

  • Identifies and manages strategic, operational and other (eg, credit or regulatory) risks
  • Develops and maintains risk management policies, procedures, and frameworks
  • Oversees engagement and compliance, and supports staff in managing risks

Business analyst

  • Utilises data and analytical models for organisational information purposes
  • Provides insight to inform business decisions
  • Liaises with different areas of the business

Statistical analyst, data scientist

  • Collects, analyses and interprets data
  • Uses statistical techniques and models to identify and forecast results, trends and needs
  • Presents information to assist decision-making

Entrepreneur and CEO

  • Develops an idea to form their own business
  • Gets involved in a start-up
  • Offers their services as a freelancer or consultant

Get started with Entrepreneurship here

As they progress in their studies and into a career, students and graduates often join professional bodies or organisations relevant to their area of interest. These organisations often provide regular communications and offer the opportunity to network with others within the same community.

Social media networks such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can provide avenues to keep up-to-date with industry knowledge, networking opportunities, events and job vacancies.

For more information

see the Financial Engineering subject page