MA (Hons) Business Management: Financial Services

Honours degree; for employees in Scotland; duration 4 years; 20% study, 80% work

The programme

MA (Hons)
New or existing employees in Scotland
4 years
No limit
20% at University, 80% at work

The Business Management: Financial Services GA is aimed at employment in the financial services sector.

Specific roles will depend on the nature of the organisation, including, but not limited to:

  • Team Leader
  • Team Manager
  • Operations Manager
  • Investment Operations Analyst

Programme Structure

The programme is structured so that essential foundational knowledge is provided in the early stages and this can be built on during the learning that will take place in the workplace.

The programme comprises a number of courses that are undertaken through a blend of University attendance and work based learning. Attendance at University will normally be one day per week. Although each course has specific learning objectives, the learning and work-based project work associated with each course is tailored to meet each student’s individual work context.

In the third semester (over the summer period) of each year, students will be working on assessments and projects which will be supervised by a tutor from the University, course instructors, and work-based mentors.

Year 1

During the first year, the apprentice will be provided the foundations of management that include: finance and economics; a knowledge of different management and business functions; the enterprise in the context of its environment. The apprentice will also develop business skills that include: questioning and interviewing techniques; presentation skills; and design thinking.

At the end of year 1, the apprentice will be aware of the skills required within business and show an understanding of both the internal and external influences on the organisation. Additionally, they will have gained introductory organisational skills for working as managers.

Year 2

During year 2, building upon the basic business knowledge and skills gained in year 1, the apprentice will develop an understanding of human behaviour in the workplace, basic accounting, and understand themes, theories and concepts of organisational behaviour.

Projects will be undertaken to consider improvements that can be made to an operational element within the organisation and taking greater responsibility for personal development. The apprentice will also gain an understanding of contemporary marketing issues and problems faced by organisations, and learn legal principles within the context of public-, private-, and third-sector organisations.

The apprentice will be introduced to the financial services sector including understanding the role of central banking and the structure of the banking system, loan and deposit institutions, financial intermediaries, and financial regulation and markets. The apprentice will also learn about the sector’s potential and impact on related industries and international competitiveness.

Year 3

Year 3 will build up on the knowledge and skills gained in year 2. The apprentice will have had experience of project management and be able to discuss the theoretical and practical issues involved in the strategic management of organisations.

After gaining an understanding of how to carry out research in the business context, the apprentice will undertake a business analysis and consultancy project and present findings within their organisation.

The apprentice will also gain an understanding of financial regulation including domestic and global regulatory structures; regulatory tools and the importance of interest rate risk, credit risk, liquidity risk and system risk; and national and international supervision.

The apprentice will also gain an appreciation for the current trends in fintech, blockchain and digital instruments and currencies and contextualise the role of emerging markets and the social impact of fintech.

Year 4

The final honours year will see the apprentice taking full responsibility for a major work-based Capstone Project throughout the year. This project will be supported by the workplace mentor and an academic supervisor matched with the chosen topic. The apprentice will also consider the impact of various global political, economic, social and technological trends on the way we manage organisations, leading to an increased global awareness for managing international business.

Building on the operational excellence, quality management course, the apprentice will acquire the  methods, tools and techniques for measuring and managing performance as well as analysing and troubleshooting existing performance measurement and management systems.

Finally, the apprentice will gain an understanding of processes, techniques, challenges and opportunities associated with digital marketing.


Graduates’ skillset

The Business Management: Financial Services Graduate Apprenticeship is designed to produce graduates with the following high level skills and knowledge attributes:

Organisational strategy
An understanding of business/organisations and their key functions and processes An understanding and consideration of environment, organisational strategy, markets and processes – and how these work together. Knowledge and understanding of organisational strategy and models and how to apply them.
Project management
Understanding of approaches to project management and the ability to apply them
Business finance
Knowledge of financial models and how to use them to analyse performance
Digital business and new technologies
Understanding of how technology can enhance business
Able to communicate effectively using a range of media
Leading people
Knowledge and understanding of leadership styles and organisational culture
Managing people
Knowledge and understanding of how to manage people and teams effectively
Developing collaborative relationships
Understands how to build effective relationships internally and externally
Awareness of self and others
Able to manage self effectively, use emotional intelligence and core values
Management of self
Knowledge and understanding of how to plan effectively and undertake personal development
Decision making
Able to make effective decisions and solve problems based on research
Regulatory requirements
Knowledge and understanding of the regulatory environment in which the financial services sector operates.
The financial services sector
Knowledge and understanding of the sector and its relevance.
Technological change and its application
Knowledge and understanding of the impact and use of technology in the sector.
Client management
Understanding of how to manage relationships effectively.

Key areas of the programme

The primary focus of the Business Management: Financial Services Graduate Apprenticeship programme is on developing the knowledge, understanding and skills outcomes sought by employers.

Organisational performance
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of organisational strategy
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of project management
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of business finance
  • Demonstrate knowledge and understanding of digital business and new technologies
Interpersonal excellence
  • Demonstrate effective communication skills
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively lead people
  • Demonstrate the ability to effectively manage people
  • Demonstrate the ability to develop collaborative relationships
Personal effectiveness
  • Demonstrate an awareness of self and others
  • Demonstrate effective management of self
  • Demonstrate effective decision making skills
  • Demonstrate behaviour that shows the ability to take responsibility
  • Demonstrate behaviour that shows the ability to be inclusive
  • Demonstrate behaviour that shows the ability to be agile
  • Demonstrate behaviour that shows professionalism
Financial services
  • Demonstrate knowledge of regulatory requirements
  • Demonstrate knowledge of the financial services sector
  • Demonstrate knowledge of technological change and its application
  • Demonstrate knowledge of client management
Demonstrate specialist knowledge of products and services within the chosen sector
  • Retail banking
  • Commercial / business banking
  • Investment banking
  • Investment management
  • Operations
  • Insurance
  • Workplace pensions
  • Client segmentation
  • Market segmentation

Why Heriot-Watt University?

Our graduates are specialist, creative, progessive, global citizens. Graduate Apprenticeship Programmes are taught by respected and experienced academics and business professionals.

With five campuses, in Edinburgh, Galashiels, Orkney, Dubai and Malaysia, Heriot-Watt is a truly global community.

Our GA Business Management for Financial Services programme blends several core courses from our flagship Business Management programme with specialised courses such as Financial Technology, Financial Regulation, and the Financial Services Sector to help them take the next big step in their career.

David C. Steinberg, Ph.D., Director of EBS GA Programmes

Heriot-Watt University is consistently ranked at a high level across a number of key university league tables.