Author: Maha Khan Phillips
After graduating with a bachelor of science degree in pharmacology from the University of Aberdeen in 2009, Christian Burgin, CFA, changed tactics. “Pharmacology was a hedge between medicine and business,” he explains. “I wanted to do either.” According to Burgin, Pharmacology was a great introduction to data analysis and problem solving, which he continued to use throughout his career. But in the end, he settled on finance.
In 2011, Burgin completed a masters’ degree in accounting and finance, also at the University of Aberdeen. He joined Standard Life Investments as a graduate trainee, going on to become a product development manager. “I worked on progressively bigger projects, until eventually I was running five to eight projects simultaneously. There was a fair amount of staying organised and juggling. It was very good training,” he explains.
Four years later Burgin studied at Babson College, Boston as part of a leadership development program, the Saltire Fellowship, before doing a placement at Money Dashboard, a personal finance management proposition that focused on aggregating client accounts. “It was a great financial inclusion tool that could help people manage their goals and their outcomes,” he explains.
In 2017, the University of Strathclyde launched their Fintech programme, and Burgin offered his support. “Financial services disruption is a big theme and will continue to be. It is interesting to see how investment management is developing and how people are reacting with financial services in better ways. Financial services are more inclusive and accessible than they used to be, with different apps helping people save, or access cheaper products,” he explains
In addition to guest lecturing at Strathclyde, Burgin is currently working with a start-up, set up by the founder of Money Dashboard. “We want to improve people’s financial lives through financial inclusion. A lot of it is about getting a very good understanding of people’s data and behaviour. It’s about automating the very basic decisions that people have to make to help with budgeting. We are about to start fundraising in earnest now.”
In his free time, Burgin volunteers his time to both CFA UK Scottish Committee and IT Committee. The Society, he says, is focusing on promoting the interests of members through career development, diversity, and an interesting series of events, including Fintech. Burgin also likes to ski, and walking the hills where he lives, and on occasion, surf. “Though to surf in Scotland, you need a very thick wet suit!” he jokes.