Imperial Student Projects

Tailor your learning with electives

Our range of electives enable you to tailor your learning to meet your career ambitions and match your areas of interests. Many of the electives are shared with our other finance Master’s programmes, giving you the opportunity to expand your network.

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You will take four electives (if you undertake the Applied Project), or three electives (if you undertake the Research Project), from the following elective modules.

Applied Trading Strategies

This elective provides insight into financial trading strategies from an industry practitioner’s perspective. The elective covers the wide spectrum of strategies across asset classes and hedge fund styles with an emphasis on investment, arbitrage opportunity and risk management. The content also includes quantitative pricing models with back-testing in Python across different market regimes. You will study trading strategies in a non-technical intuitive manner using a ‘first principles’ approach. Real-life ‘war stories’ from the hedge fund and banking worlds will be used to supplement conventional textbook analysis.

Advanced Options Theory

If you aspire to be a quantitative analyst in the equity derivative area, this elective is a must. It will challenge you to expand your knowledge beyond the Black-Scholes model and apply quantitative tools to the pricing of exotic options. You will also be introduced to some of the more technical and theoretical aspects of option pricing.

Asset Allocations & Systematic Trading Strategies

This topic provides key knowledge in investments and portfolio management.  You will examine the key trading strategies used by hedge funds and demystify the secret world of active investing.  The module combines the latest research with real-world examples to show how certain trading strategies make money–and why they sometimes don’t.  You will use machine learning to look at how market price of stocks and bonds can differ from the model prices, leading to new perspectives on the relationship between trading results and finance theory.  Several different strategies will be explored in depth, including fundamental tools for investment management, dynamic portfolio choice, equity strategies, macro strategies, yield curve logic and arbitrage strategies.

Computational Finance with C++

This elective takes the key mathematical models in finance and develops the numerical methods used to solve them using C++. The numerical methods you will study are: Monte Carlo simulation, binomial trees, finite differences, convey optimisation and eigenvalue methods. You will learn about the financial models and discuss how to effectively design a numerical method using object oriented techniques.

You will have the opportunity to directly work on practical examples requiring hands-on interaction with the programming language.

Corporate Financial Management and Strategy

This elective will introduce you to some of the key frameworks and theories in each of these areas and look at a range of recent critical developments in the field of corporate strategy.

The goal of this module is to give you a solid overview of what aspiring managers and Master’s level students need to know in order to effectively craft and execute corporate and business level strategies for an organisation. This will require you to think beyond individual functions (such as marketing, finance, or operations) and take a corporate view of the organisation’s direction and the challenges it faces.

Applying the tools and concepts we cover in class to real-world situations will be a critical element of this elective.  You will use the case method throughout the module, which will require you to prepare notes on a number of case studies. You will have the opportunity to discuss the issues arising from your reading and analysis. Each case will help you to sharpen your skills in identifying strategic challenges for a range of different organisations and to evaluate the options open to senior managers in these contexts. We will also think about and critically assess tools and concepts in the light of their effectiveness when applied to these real-world examples.


In recent years there has been considerable growth in markets for derivatives contracts, such as futures, swaps, and options on financial assets. Derivatives are used by individuals and institutions to meet a variety of objectives. Firms and portfolio managers can use derivatives to hedge particular kinds of risk or alter the distribution of the returns on their portfolios in certain ways. Some institutions may use derivatives to speculate. There is a large literature on derivatives valuation. At first the theory might appear advanced and difficult, but it is in fact quite accessible. The purpose of the elective is to provide you with the necessary skills to value and to use derivatives instruments in a purposeful way. In order to provide a useful treatment of these topics in an environment that is changing rapidly, it is necessary to stress fundamentals and to explore topics at a technical level.

In this elective you will learn to develop and apply the techniques learnt in the Investments and Portfolio Management module to the pricing of a range of financial derivatives and to the determination of interest rates at different maturities. By the end of the module you’ll have an in-depth understanding of valuation techniques applicable in a variety of financial markets and sought after by prospective employers.

Introduction to Quantitative Investing (international elective)

This elective offers an introduction to analytical techniques and quantitative methods relevant for algorithmic trading. Topics include the basics of automated execution, pairs trading and long-short equity trading strategies. The elective is taught in two parts with the first part delivered online and the second part is an international study trip.  During the trip, traditional lectures are complemented by guest speakers, company visits and experiential learning activities. The class of 2017-18  travelled to New York for an intensive study experience.

There will be an additional cost for taking this elective, which is reviewed on an annual basis.

Machine and Deep Learning with Finance Application

This elective will introduce you to big data analysis using machine learning techniques. You will learn to confidently evaluate and analyse big data using machine learning methods to use computational textual analysis and empirical modelling to quantify trends and sentiment in big data.

Structured Credit and Equity Products

This elective provides an in-depth analysis of credit and equity derivative products. You will study corporate derivatives and cover the most important products, which serve as building blocks for structuring customised and sophisticated products. For each product you will analyse its rationale and mechanics, its pricing and modelling, and, most importantly, the intuition behind the trading strategies investors use them for. The range of products covered includes Credit Default Swaps, indices and options; equity dividend swaps and variance swaps as well as credit correlation products.

Topics in Fintech Innovation and Crypto Currencies

Recent surveys indicate that the majority of people, and in particular, millennials, do not sufficiently understand the term Fintech, yet it has been described as the new Industrial Revolution in our post-global financial crisis world. This module aims to give you an up to the minute understanding of this innovative finance and technology marketplace.  Fintech impacts all areas of our professional and personal  financial lives, and the module combines a theoretical understanding of the Fintech ecosystem, with regard to both incumbents and disruptors, with practical exercises, research, experiences, interactions, and insights from those who have been there and who are currently leading the way, culminating in the creation and presentation of your own Fintech business model, an understanding of the challenge and cost of scaling for Fintechs, and the impact of Regulatory Systems on this emerging and evolving sector. This involves understanding the key players, stakeholders, history, trends, regulations, business models, technologies, and resources available to enable and accelerate new entrants, and the process and strategies needed to be successful.

Electives available and module outlines are subject to change. Imperial College Business School reserves the right to alter modules whenever they need to be amended or improved. Faculty may also change as and when required.

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