Thomas Wolkanowski-Gans

"Since I received an ID verified certificate I mentioned this course in my CV. I was asked about it in every job interview and I got the chance to demonstrate my knowledge."

While studying theoretical physics at the University of Frankfurt in Germany, Thomas Wolkanowski-Gans participated in the online course Introduction to Credit Risk Management. Read about his experience.

What was your motivation for enrolling in the course?
While it was possible for me to continue my academic career as a postdoc in different institutions in Germany and around the world, these days it is very challenging to get a permanent position as a professor. In a search for a career outside academia, I started to listen to lectures on finance and I actually found this field extremely interesting. I also knew from former colleagues that, because of the increasing regulatory requirements e.g. in risk management, the financial industry is looking for young professionals with a strong quantitative background. So I searched edX for a course on this topic. Fortunately, I found Introduction to Credit Risk Management.

How would you describe your online learning experience?
The experience was really great. The lecture videos and exercises, which have been produced for this course, are quite short but very instructive. You have the chance to learn theory and concepts of credit risk management, but you also learn how to apply them - the course is structured in such a way that you learn how to directly apply the concepts you learn. In order to do so in the course you learn “R”, a programming language for statistical computing that can be used to perform most of the computations in the exercises. First you read a short text about regulatory aspects and watch a video, and then you are given a related problem for which you have to do the calculations. This strong focus on application was very helpful. In addition, it was very important for me to be able to follow lectures and complete exercises in a flexible way, whenever it was fitting in my schedule.

I am finishing my PhD in theoretical physics at the moment, and I have already applied for jobs in the financial industry. Since I received an ID verified certificate, I mentioned this course in my CV. I was asked about it in every job interview and I got the chance to demonstrate my knowledge. It was a fantastic basis for a deeper discussion. In the end I was free to choose a job from a pool of job offerings. I believe that this course is a very good preparation if you want to change from science to the financial industry and to boost your chances of getting hired.

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