After gaining his Maths, Economics and Psychology A-Levels, Dorian Beqiri took a gap year out, as he wanted to gain work experience. During his gap year, he secured a job with Apple, which helped him build up his CV. At the same time, Dorian also undertook something quite unusual: he taught himself to start trading stocks and currencies.
“It was basically just something I was really interested in, but had never had the time for during A-Levels, and so I just thought I’d give it a go. I still trade today and have learned from my early losses to form a strategy that has made a good return.”
Attracted by economics
This interest in finance was what attracted Dorian to LSBU, with the module content of the Economics course being of particular interest. “A lot of it was mathematics based, and the second and third years involved econometrics, which I felt was an invaluable tool in bettering your skills as an undergraduate economist,” he explains.
“Having studied Economics at A-Level, I really enjoyed it more than my other subjects, as it involved a bit of everything, from history to maths and even politics. Also, the fact that it is a subject that can be applied professionally to a whole range of fields, from finance to the public sector, was a big plus. I am now going into my third and final year as course representative for Economics, having been one since I started my degree.”
Dorian says that he volunteered to become course rep in year one as he felt that there needed to be a good line of communication between students and teaching and administrative staff. “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed undertaking this role, as I’ve been able to relay feedback on topics like module content and timetabling in the course board meetings, as well as keep a flow of dialogue going between my peers and our course director. It’s really helped improve my listening skills and my ability to negotiate.
“I have also been a member of the Institute of Directors for almost a year now; an organisation that brings company directors and CEOs from around the world together to network. My motivation for joining was the great chance to connect with business individuals, as I practically had no networking skills before doing so. It’s given me the chance to attend some very interesting seminars, as well as improve my networking, which has helped me a lot now when attending recruitment and graduate programme events. It’s improved my confidence in talking with people in the industry, something which I think every student should take the chance to improve on.”
Taking stock of his experience to make future plans
After finishing his second year on a high, Dorian started a seven-week internship with Hargreaves Lansdown, a FTSE 100 financial services firm, and was placed in the stockbroking department. “This was an extremely fast-paced environment, as most tasks had to be completed within the London Stock Exchange trading hours. During this time, I learned a lot about fund-trading and rebalancing portfolios, something which I had never had the opportunity to do before.
“As part of the internship, I was given a lot of tasks that would be akin to that of a new starter with the firm, which I found to be a nice surprise. I started off learning the ins-and-outs of the software and how to manage client accounts, and by the end of the internship I was processing forms for real-time trades of various amounts every day. The skills I learned studying Economics helped me greatly when crunching numbers and percentages, as well as when formulating spreadsheets.
Working in this professional environment was a distinctive experience, as every task that was given to me had to be completed by the end of the day. Absolutely nothing could be left for the following day, which is something that might be excusable at university! This experience has definitely made me want more, and I am currently applying to graduate schemes within finance and banking for 2018. My aim is to move into securities trading, where I would be working with instruments such as equities, derivatives and forex.”
Doran believes that the best thing about studying at LSBU is the quality of teaching, particularly due to the experiences he has had on his course.
“For Economics, you are taught by individuals who are seasoned professionals in their fields, some of whom have even published books and research papers, and come from all different backgrounds.
I really enjoyed the Econometrics module I did in my second year, as the coursework assessment was like a smaller-scale project on its own. It involved hours of work being put into it over several weeks, which I think motivated myself and the other students to not leave it until the last minute. In fact, it was because of this module that I chose to do Financial Econometrics in my second term this year, and I am also devising a way to base the research topic of my dissertation on an econometric model, so that I can incorporate a good level of statistical analysis into the methodology.
Dr Peter Luke, the Economics course director, has been a great help to myself and my peers, as he does his best to assign his time fairly to every student, meaning that if someone needs a little more help than the others, it is there for them, and vice versa.”