June 20, 2019Print | PDF
On Saturday, June 15 thousands of people in 170 cities around the world sat down to write their Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams. Those who pass levels I, II and III become globally-recognized by the CFA Institute for having the requisite knowledge of accounting, economics, ethics, money management and security analysis.
Since 1963, nearly 1.5 million people have written the CFA level I exam but only about 220,000 have gone on to pass level III, making the CFA one of the most difficult financial certifications to earn.
What sets those who pass the exams apart from those who don’t? Likely, it’s a combination of things like determination, dedication and natural ability, but it’s also a matter of having a community of support standing behind you along the way. This community is what has come to define the success of the Lazaridis Master of Finance candidates at the Lazaridis School of Business and Economics.
"We spent a lot of time thinking about what we could do to help as many of our students earn their CFA."
The Lazaridis MFin program boasts a CFA level I pass rate of almost 100% in the last few years whereas the average global pass rate is only about 43%. MFin program director, Tony Tang, PhD attributes this success to the quality of candidates the program attracts and the MFin courses that prepare students well for the examination.
“We are looking for the best of the best because that is what’s waiting for our grads when they enter the working world. Our small class sizes and condensed learning time in the Toronto program mean you will be part of a tight-knit and thriving network of alumni. In fact, more than 60 per cent of our grads work at financial institutions immediately after graduating, with 30 per cent of them working at one of the big six banks.”
Building a successful finance curriculum was the easy part for Tony and the Lazaridis School when they launched the program in 2014. The real challenge was building a community of excellence built on research and practice that reflects the condition of today’s industry and ensures grads can hit the ground running.
“We spent a lot of time thinking about what we could do to help as many of our students earn their CFA,” says Tang. “So we developed in-program and extra-curricular training opportunities that could give our students and edge in the exams.”
This edge comes in many forms. The Lazaridis MFin program offers CFA preparatory courses for all candidates as well as mock exams with rapid result feedback to give them a sense of what areas need improvement before writing the real thing.
The program also offers several practical experiences that you can use to excel in the exam, including becoming a member of the Lazaridis Graduate Student Investment Fund where students make investment decisions using real money in real markets. The program also offers students the opportunity to showcase their skills in real boardrooms during stock pitch simulator meetings with some of Bay Street’s top investors.
All of these lessons and experiences combine to give MFin candidates and grads the best possible preparation for the CFA exam.
“Without a doubt, courses offered by the Lazaridis MFin program helped me a lot in preparing for the CFA exam,” says Ying (Zoey) Zhu, MFin ’18. “Every course targets a specific financial topic with related projects which helped me achieve a thorough understanding and deep insight into what is required to pass.”
In addition to the curricular preparation, Zhu also found the MFin program was a great place to find support from her peers. “Almost everyone is writing the CFA exams from level I to III and everyone is supportive of each other and willing to help. Being immersed in that atmosphere definitely motivated me to earn my CFA designation.”
The Lazaridis Master of Finance program is currently accepting applications for the Sept. 2019 start date in Toronto. For more information, contact Chau Truong-Wood.
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