Thanks to Duncan Harris, 4th year Physics & Music student for sharing his experience with Prosper
“Going into the third year of my Physics and Music degree I began to look for ways to use the skills I had been learning on my course for something beyond the realm of quantum mechanics. A friend pointed me in the direction of Prosper Social Finance, I applied to join and have been involved ever since.
Prosper is the
UK’s first student run social finance fund, started by some students here at
Edinburgh a couple of years ago. We take on student analysts and train them in
the fundamentals of financial analysis, stock markets and sustainability
assessment methods whilst they research companies who might be suitable for our
fund. This culminates in a stock pitch to our panel of industry experts who
select the best stocks to invest in with money from the University. We invest
with a longer term view, holding our investments for 5 years after which we
sell and take any of the profits and distribute them to social enterprises and
charities in Edinburgh.
I joined with no investment experience, and one of the great strengths of Prosper is that it brings voices from all degree backgrounds to the table. I found the maths from my degree put me in a good position to understand all of the financial analysis, and the complex systems, analytical thinking helped me pull apart the messiness behind the sustainability issues facing companies today. I of course learned a lot as well, not least that there is far more complexity to sustainability than just net zero carbon targets and tote bags. What’s best is the programme and collaborative nature of the research allowed me to actually develop all of those skills that look great on a CV in a way that I feel I will definitely be able to apply in the future.
It has given me some great experience in an industry I would not have otherwise considered, and though I don’t think I will pursue a career in asset management specifically my time at Prosper has given me such a good foundation in finance, sustainable business practice and a broader approach to social issues that I feel well placed to pursue my interests in any of those areas.
We run the course each semester so if you’re looking to get involved in a project outside your degree within which you can build and apply your skillset, meet likeminded people and be involved in something that makes a difference I can’t recommend Prosper enough. I hope to see you there.”
involved with Prosper Social Finance follow the link to the website and apply
there, or find us on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.
Congratulations to the 15 School of Physics and Astronomy students who received an Edinburgh Award at a ceremony in April.
The Edinburgh Award
The Edinburgh Award recognises the non-academic University activities, such as volunteering work, community activities or part time work, which some students take part in. The Award encourages students to reflect on and develop the skills gained through taking part in such activities. One of the important aspects of the Award is the opportunity for students to articulate what they have gained from such activities – a skill which will be of advantage when communicating with potential employers.
The School’s Edinburgh Award recipients had contributed to the School’s Physics Outreach Team or the Maths Buddies scheme.
Maxwell’s Angels came 4th in the grand final in London!
Over 300 teams UK-wide took part in this highly competitive challenge, the majority from university business schools. The School of Physics & Astronomy got three teams to the Edinburgh semi-final (one winning best presentation) and this team (mentored by Vicky Clark of The DataLab) to the London final so did Edinburgh proud. It just shows how good our students are – and how studying physics & astronomy can make you capable of doing more than you might think!
The Universities Business Challenge Worldwide is the world’s longest established simulation-based competition designed to develop employability and enterprise skills. Supported by the UK and South Africa’s leading universities and graduate employers, over 30,000 students have benefitted from taking part in the UBC Worldwide Challenge since 1998.
Maxwell’s Angels won the semi-final so onto the final in London on the 22nd!
Team Kepler came third and won best presentation on the day
Here’s what Tommaso said:
Even though we didn’t qualify I’m still happy with the semi-final as I wasn’t even expecting to get there. As a theoretical physics student I had no background in business or any related subject (not even in high school) and I feel I have learnt a lot from it.
I am very proud to be supporting all three School of Physics & Astronomy teams who have made it to the IBM UBC semi-final in Edinburgh today. The teams are Maxwell’s Angels led by Sania Lewis, Kepler led by Adam Thomas-Mitchell and Maxwell’s Demons led by Wesley Shao. SOPA teams have done well in this competition so I am wishing them lots of luck. If you want to know more about the IBM UBC, you can find it here.
Semi-final winners! Maxwell’s Angels led by Sania Lewis – Emma Elley, Elizabeth Applequist, Hildegard Metzger, Olivia Ngan
Team Kepler led by Adam Thomas-Mitchell, Brendan Martin, Amilah Choudhury, Rebecca Cassidy and Thomas Stanton
Maxwell’s Demons led by Wesley Shao, Karel Vesely, Clara Edmonds, Tommaso Bruggi, Margot Van Laar
There are some great opportunities available within the School. Full details will be on the School wiki and on MyCareerHub. Closing dates 23rd & 24th Sep.
Remember you can do an Edinburgh Award alongside these to get a) recognition on your academic record and b) some great support to help you get the most out of the experience and be able to present it well on applications and at interviews
Student Ambassador – we are looking to recruit ~10 students to this post who will provide degree information, share student experience & conduct tours for prospective students at Open Days etc. Paid at Grade 3 (approx. £10/hr) with approx. 15 hours input across the year on a ‘student experience’ guaranteed hours contract.
Communications Representative – we are looking to recruit 1 student to contribute to writing and publishing communications on the School’s social media channels and forthcoming blog. Paid at Grade 3 (approx. £10/hr) working approx. 1 hour / week on a ‘student experience’ guaranteed hours contract.
Public Engagement Volunteers – we are looking to recruit 10-15 volunteers to set up and run demonstrations and experiments explaining physics concepts to members of the public and secondary pupils (at science fairs, secondary schools etc). This role is a voluntary position, with volunteers each involved in approx. 15 hours input from October to March.
A huge pat on the back for the two undergraduate teams (mentored by Standard Life Investments and iHandover) who made it to the Edinburgh semi-final of the IBM University Business Competition.
They were the only non-business/finance teams and it’s a hugely competitive, prestigious competition so big congratulations to team leaders Anna Oprandi and Freddie Ferguson and their teams (Dafydd Cian, Jon Maxey, Luke Stevens, Sophia Self, Keir Parker-Mian, Georgia Clark, Brinley Terrell and Aidan Marshall)
They didn’t make the final this year but all agreed it was a great opportunity and they learned a lot from the competition process, from each other and it’s an impressive achievement for their CVs.
If you’d like to be part of one of the two teams we want to submit, please contact Judy Hardy or Rosie Edwards in the School asap. They will submit names to me and I have to register them on the UBC site before 24 October. I also need each team to nominate a team leader. Each team can have up to five team members. It’s a great experience to be part of and brilliant for your CV.
Here’s how team member Ziyi Zhang reflected on the Challenge:
“Thank you for being at the competition and supporting us throughout this experience. I realized studying physics not only made us “book smart” but also taught us critical and logical thinking which can be applied beyond academics”
Get in touch with Imran and his team – they’d be happy to tell you about their experience.
Facilitated by Susan Bird (Careers Consultant, School of Physics & Astronomy), the School submitted two teams, one team making the semi-final in Edinburgh. After a keynote introduction from Shelagh Green, (Director, Careers Service), the teams did a series of intensive, timed business simulations culminating in a 60 second innovation pitch.
The Physics undergraduate team – students Imran Marwat (team leader), Fidel Elie, Ziyi Zhang, Adamos Spanashis and Brandon Christman – not only won 2nd place at the semi-final – but also won Best Business Idea on the day, beating 19 teams from other UK universities.
The School funded the team’s travel & accommodation expenses to the London final, the team was mentored by Mike Ross from Standard Life Investments & supported by the Careers Service – a good example of how we work with Schools & industry partners to support the employability and professional development of our science students.
The UoE team of physicists went on to win third place in the final gaining a prize of £250 and beating a number of business teams from universities across the UK. A real coup for the School of Physics & the University of Edinburgh.
Here’s how team member Ziyi Zhang reflected on the Challenge:
“Thank you for being at the competition and supporting us throughout this experience. I realized studying physics not only made us “book smart” but also taught us critical and logical thinking which can be applied beyond academics.
Combined with creativity and hard work, physicists can be successful in any field of our interest. We should all branch out to areas outside of our textbook, and explore our hidden potential.”