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Studying Islamic Finance


Studying Islamic Finance

EUROGRADUATE speaks to 28-year-old Sandra Ernts about her experience of studying Islamic Finance.

Which course did you undertake? 

I did the MSc Arab World Studies program, which is cooperation between the universities of Edinburgh, Manchester and Durham at the Centre for the Advanced Studies of the Arab World (CASAW) which was set up by a government initiative to build crucial expertise on the Arab World and provide students with a good proficiency of Arabic ( The first yearís focus was on Arabic (4 hours a day) and building qualitative and quantitative (statistics) research skills while we were free to focus on a specific area in the second year

What were your expectations of the course/program?
I had done a lot of research on the Islamic Finance programme in Durham and knew about its excellent reputation. My expectation was to gain a thorough understanding of the underlying idea of Islamic Finance (Islamic Political Economy) and to become aware of practical issues in the Islamic Finance world. 

How has this course benefitted you? 

The course helped me to gain a very good understanding of Islamic Finance and Islamic Political Economy. Furthermore, the lectures and tutorial groups were excellent to clarify and discuss ideas and to strengthen my understanding of the issues. I am currently working for an Islamic REIT in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysia is the country with one of the best regulatory environments for Islamic Finance and hence, it is a great place to be as an Islamic Finance graduate.  

What advice would you give to a young graduate who is considering a career in the finance sector?
Try to work hard for your degree but donít forget the importance of acquiring transferable skills during your time at university. Try to engage in extracurricular activities, be active in university societies and learn how to work on projects from the beginning to the end. Be interested in the world outside of academia as, depending on the area of finance you want to work in, knowledge about current events and an excellent understanding of whatís happening at the world markets is crucial and general knowledge is something you canít learn overnight. 

German-born Sandra Ernts did a BA (Hons) in Int. Business Management before her MSc. at Durham University. She had worked in banking for 5 years before taking up the BA.