Chartered Financial Analyst

Make your finance resume really shine

For finance MBAs seeking to add extra wattage to their glowing resumes, it all comes down to three little letters: CFA.

Just as lawyers take the bar exam and accountants sit for the CPA, finance experts who want to rise to the highest level focus on the Chartered Financial Analyst exams.

A growing number of future financiers are taking advantage of TCU’s curriculum, which incorporates exam prep into the degree program. Unlike at most schools, where the CFA exams are a side project heaped on already-burdened MBAs, at TCU the first two levels of CFA preparation are integrated into the program as electives.

TCU MBA Andrew Sweeny, who competed against grads from Wharton and Yale for a coveted PepsiCo corporate finance internship, says it’s rare to get academic credit for the CFA. “At TCU, it’s built into the curriculum. It’s not just some separate thing you do on the side, and then the school says, ‘Hey, congratulations!’”

Why is CFA status such a big deal? It’s the ultimate credential in the financial world. This coveted designation certifies a deep technical knowledge of financial concepts and instruments. Experts say you’ll need 150 to 200 study hours to pass each of the test’s three levels.

“CFA certification separates you from the pack,” said TCU MBA Hank Thompson. “It shows that you can dive deep and that you have the highest level of technical understanding.”

TCU’s CFA courses are taught by Dr. Larry Lockwood, an expert in investment and portfolio management and winner of the Dean’s Award for Teaching. He serves as the academic coordinator for the Dallas Society of Financial Analysts and has taught CFA classes in Zurich, Milan and London.

Why choose TCU for a finance MBA?

  • Company connections: Recent students landed top-level internships with PepsiCo (TCU had two in 2011), Nomura Securities (the world’s 10th largest global investment bank) and State Street (one of the world’s biggest investment companies).
  • Real investment experience: TCU’s Educational Investment Fund, valued at more than $1.5 million, is the second-oldest student-run fund in the country. The fund regularly outperforms its Wall Street benchmarks, and a portion of the revenue is donated to charity.
  • A winning record: TCU MBAs won first place at the 2010 ACG Cup Competition and third place in round two of the North Texas ACG Cup Mergers and Acquisitions case competition. In its initial appearance in the 2010 Tulane Finance Case Competition, TCU competed well against teams from Tulane, Rice University, University of South Carolina, Vanderbilt and Washington University (and TCU earned a standing invitation to return.) These contests require students to present their strategic recommendations to private equity investment banking experts.
  • Hedge fund course: In this elective, you will learn basic absolute return strategies and create a plan to develop a new hedge fund, including identification of potential investors. The course is led by Bryan Hedrick, CFA (MBA ’08), investment officer at the Fort Worth Employees' Retirement Fund. Serving as a resource to students in this class are Walker N. Moody, managing director and chief operating officer, Tudor, Pickering & Holt Asset Management, and Jim Hille, CFA (MBA ’92), TCU’s chief investment officer and former CIO of the Teacher Retirement System of Texas, a $100-billion public pension plan.

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