Asper school of business to launch chartered financial analyst stream

New MBA concentration to sharpen U of M’s competitive edge, give students a boost into financial sector

Photo by Megan Colwell

Beginning in the fall of 2016, students in the Asper school of business will be able to focus their master of business administration (MBA) studies through a financial analyst concentration.

The University of Manitoba will be the first school to offer the stream between Ontario and British Columbia, giving students an option to study for their chartered financial analyst (CFA) designation in central Canada.

The financial analyst focus will open opportunities for students to pursue higher-tiered employment in lucrative fields such as wealth management or hedge funds, said Asper MBA student Mark Williams.

“The courses offered could give me much-needed background to understand and possibly help enter [the industry],” he said.

Marci Elliott, executive director of the Asper MBA program, said the concentration will prepare students to write the three exams required to achieve the CFA designation.

“The difference between an MBA in finance and this particular stream […] is that this preps students to write [chartered financial analyst] level exams,” she said.

A CFA tag opens numerous job opportunities at higher-level positions at brokerage firms and investment banks. It also provides students a background in capital marketing strategy.

However, conquering a CFA exam is no easy feat, Elliott said.

“The reason that we’ve undertaken this is that the level one exam, in particular, has an exceedingly high failure rate,” she said. “Students can do CFA exams on their own but they perhaps don’t know how to equip themselves as well, or they may [lack] face-to-face instruction from people that are available for discussion.”

She noted the concentration will answer the local market demand and has already received some student interest.

“There’s definitely student interest but we have not yet recruited [anyone],” she said. “I’m right in the throes of that now. Starting this month, you will see it pop up through my marketing and advertising channels.”

Elliott added the program is part of the larger aim of elevating Asper’s brand.

“I view the MBA program as continuous improvement,” she said. “Everything we do is directed to the quality of the program and the quality of the student experience.”

“As with all things in Winnipeg, we fly under the radar [but] we’re AACSB-accredited,” she said, referring to the accreditation offered by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, which less than five per cent of business schools are able to earn.

With the announcement of such an exclusive concentration, Elliott said she hopes to generate a reputation for Asper as competitive in a multilateral, multinational sense.

“Business isn’t just local,” she said. “It’s not national or international – it’s global.”