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New MS in Finance Course Prepares Students for Risk Management Certification

As the field of finance expands into sub-specialties such as asset management, risk management, structured finance, wealth management and advisory, students must rise to the challenge of marketing themselves to employers who are seeking specific skills. For employers, the change means more specific differentiation between finance capabilities.

To minimize market confusion and develop global standards in the area of financial risk management, the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) developed the Financial Risk Management® (FRM®) certification program.

GARP’s FRM® certification is a highly respected designation among members of the financial and risk management community. The certification requirements, which include understanding of theory and tools and relevant industry experience, aid students in becoming an accomplished financial risk management professional.

The FRM® certification is a rigorous, multi-year process consisting of four major steps:

  • Part I Exam covering 100 questions over four hours
  • Part II Exam covering 80 questions over four hours
  • Demonstrated two years relevant work experience
  • 40 hours of voluntary, continuing education credits over a two-year period

The popularity of the certification has kept pace with the exploding market demand for qualified risk professionals. In fact, the number of FRM® exam applicants has doubled or tripled each year—growing from 208 exam registrants in 1997 to almost 43,000 in 2015. Those who earn the certification have excellent employment prospects in today’s dynamic financial market environment.

New Course Prepares Student for FRM® Certification

In response to the growing market, American University’s Kogod School of Business will introduce a new course designed to ready students for Part I of the GARP FRM® exam. The first class of participating students will complete the course during the Spring 2017 semester and prepare to take the FRM® exam in the Fall of 2017.

The course will closely follow the GARP’s FRM® Part I requirements by covering the following topics:

  • Quantitative analysis
  • Fundamental risk management concepts
  • Financial markets and products
  • Valuation and risk models

GARP has assembled extensive online resources that cover all Exam I topics, which will serve as the primary course materials during the class. AU is currently working closely with GARP to ensure that course topics are sufficiently rigorous and relevant to the exams focus, which changes on a yearly basis.

As an added benefit, the course will help students understand prior finance courses with a structured risk management perspective, which will enable them to demonstrate to employers that they are both qualified and dedicated to pursuing a career in risk management.

Risk management expert Dr. Bill Spinard will teach the course. Dr. Spinard is highly qualified for the position, as he has spent his career advising companies on risk management issues. He recently retired as an Executive Director with Ernst and Young and received his MBA and PhD from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The MS in Finance program at Kogod is built upon the foundation of expanding the world of financial theory and practice for our students. Many electives offered after the core courses help students prepare for a professional certification. Our FRM® course is an integral part of our efforts to organize our finance program into market relevant specialties.

 

Discover how the MS in Finance program at the Kogod School of Business positions you to compete in today’s job market.

Textbook - Part 1 Fundamentals

New MS in Finance Course Prepares Students for Risk Management Certification

As the field of finance expands into sub-specialties such as asset management, risk management, structured finance, wealth management and advisory, students must rise to the challenge of marketing themselves to employers who are seeking specific skills. For employers, the change means more specific differentiation between finance capabilities.

To minimize market confusion and develop global standards in the area of financial risk management, the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP) developed the Financial Risk Management® (FRM®) certification program.

GARP’s FRM® certification is a highly respected designation among members of the financial and risk management community. The certification requirements, which include understanding of theory and tools and relevant industry experience, aid students in becoming an accomplished financial risk management professional.

The FRM® certification is a rigorous, multi-year process consisting of four major steps:

  1. Part I Exam covering 100 questions over four hours
  2. Part II Exam covering 80 questions over four hours
  3. Demonstrated two years relevant work experience
  4. 40 hours of voluntary, continuing education credits over a two-year period

The popularity of the certification has kept pace with the exploding market demand for qualified risk professionals. In fact, the number of FRM® exam applicants has doubled or tripled each year—growing from 208 exam registrants in 1997 to almost 43,000 in 2015. Those who earn the certification have excellent employment prospects in today’s dynamic financial market environment.

New Course Prepares Student for FRM® Certification

In response to the growing market, American University’s Kogod School of Business will introduce a new course designed to ready students for Part I of the GARP FRM® exam. The first class of participating students will complete the course during the Spring 2017 semester and prepare to take the FRM® exam in the Fall of 2017.

The course will closely follow the GARP’s FRM® Part I requirements by covering the following topics:

  • Quantitative analysis
  • Fundamental risk management concepts
  • Financial markets and products
  • Valuation and risk models

GARP has assembled extensive online resources that cover all Exam I topics, which will serve as the primary course materials during the class. AU is currently working closely with GARP to ensure that course topics are sufficiently rigorous and relevant to the exams focus, which changes on a yearly basis.

As an added benefit, the course will help students understand prior finance courses with a structured risk management perspective, which will enable them to demonstrate to employers that they are both qualified and dedicated to pursuing a career in risk management.

Risk management expert Dr. Bill Spinard will teach the course. Dr. Spinard is highly qualified for the position, as he has spent his career advising companies on risk management issues. He recently retired as an Executive Director with Ernst and Young and received his MBA and PhD from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

The MS in Finance program at Kogod is built upon the foundation of expanding the world of financial theory and practice for our students. Many electives offered after the core courses help students prepare for a professional certification. Our FRM® course is an integral part of our efforts to organize our finance program into market relevant specialties.

Discover how the MS in Finance program at the Kogod School of Business positions you to compete in today’s job market.

Islamic Finance

Kogod Leads the Way in Islamic Finance Education

The Islamic Finance market is estimated to range in size from $1.66 trillion to $2.1 trillion with anticipated growth to $3.4 trillion by the end of 2018. Islamic financial assets represent one percent of the entire global financial market, with major capitals leading the way, including London, Kuala Lumpur, Singapore, Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, and Manama, Bahrain, among others.

The Islamic Financial system operates in accordance with Sharia, the Islamic laws, meaning it is rooted in social justice. As such, Islamic investments are socially responsible, which excludes industries like gambling, tobacco and arms. As in the conventional financial system, there are Islamic banks, capital markets, asset managers, fund managers, investment firms and insurance companies, to name a few.

Kogod is the first business school in the Washington, DC area to offer a course specifically designed to help students develop the skills they need to succeed in this market. The course, Islamic Finance in the Global Economy, is offered to both graduate and undergraduate students.

Islamic Finance in the Global Economy is taught by Professor Ghiyath Nakshbendi, a Kogod School of Business Executive-in-Residence, who teaches in the Department of International Business. A Fulbright Scholar with 35 years of experience working in development financing, Sovereign Wealth Funds, and commercial real estate around the Middle East, Europe and the United States, Nakshbendi brings his international expertise and unique business perspective directly to the classroom.

The course provides a basic understanding of the principles of Islamic finance with an emphasis on the last four decades of the market’s evolution. Students learn about current Islamic capital markets and the institutions that are the major players, with a focus on issues related to insurance, accounting and auditing, and ethical concepts.

The end result is an understanding of Sharia and its impact on the commercial sector and on business transactions, as well as a variety of the unique aspects of Islamic financial institutions. Students also develop an Islamic finance business plan and learn how to introduce it into the Western financial sector.

Islamic banking is one of the most rapidly growing fields in the global financial market. Global capitals are expected to require more than 50,000 professionals worldwide in the coming years. Islamic Finance in the Global Economy will help anyone interested in entering this fast-paced sector develop the skills they need to navigate challenges and succeed in this exciting area.

Interested in expanding your knowledge of the global economy? Increase your marketability with a MS in Finance from American University.

finance-report

Capstone Finance Course Employs Theory to Prepare Students for Job Market

The Kogod School of Business’ graduate Finance program is introducing a Capstone Finance course in Spring 2017 that will be available to students who are part of the Fall 2016 cohort. Taught by Dr. Jeffrey Harris, the Gary D. Cohn Goldman Sachs Chair in Finance, the class will serve as an essential bridge between theory and practice, better preparing students to compete in today’s market.

jeffharisThe course will help Master of Science in Finance (MSF) students think critically about finance theories by covering many aspects of financial economics. Students will engage in readings and discussion, and will apply what they’ve learned to projects outside of class. As a result, students will gain an essential library of seminal literature for future reference.

The course will also highlight the economics underpinning the financial sector. Students will explore the return distribution assumptions made in investment theory; real options in making staged investment decisions; agency theory and information asymmetries in corporate and institutional settings; as well as current topics in high-frequency trading, market design and executive compensation.

When asked about the overarching goal of the class, Harris said, “The integration of theory and practice is the cornerstone of a high-quality educational experience. While much practical knowledge can be gained from on-the-job experiences, theory provides perspectives that give students a more rigorous and deeper understanding of financial decisions and decision-making processes.”

Insights into Current Market and Corporate Challenges Position Students for Success

Finance is unique in the business world in that many of its applications can be traced directly to academic work. A solid theoretical base for the study of finance gives students in the Capstone Finance course a more rigorous toolkit to apply to their careers after they graduate. The class is intended to reinforce the economics  of finance – supplemented with mathematical and statistical rigor – so that MSF students can distinguish themselves as strong candidates for positions beyond their first job.

The MSF Capstone course draws heavily on Professor Harris’s personal experiences with research in market microstructure, and from  his professional experiences with Nasdaq, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the U.S. Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC). Harris’s research has appeared in the Energy Journal, European Financial Management, Financial Management, The Financial Review, the Journal of Finance, the Journal of Investment Management, the Journal of Financial Economics, the Journal of Financial and Quantitative Analysis, the Journal of Futures Markets, the Review of Futures Markets and the Review of Financial Studies.

The Capstone course is supported by a team of dedicated faculty members who are experts in the areas of fixed income markets, financial data analysis and international finance.

 

Discover how the Master’s in Finance program at the Kogod School of Business can position you to compete in today’s job market.

fsit-lab

The FSIT Lab Brings Wall Street Directly to You

One peek into the Financial Services and Information Technology (FSIT) Lab at the Kogod School of Business is all you need to get a sense that this is a nexus of learning and real-world experience. Students and faculty are busy modeling and analyzing data, conducting financial market research or participating in any number of other projects and activities. The FSIT Lab is a place where theory and practice come together in a unique, hands-on learning environment, right here on the AU campus.

Professor of Finance Octavian Ionici oversees the Lab as its Executive-in-Residence. He refers to it as a “mini Wall Street,” where students bridge theory and practice in financial services, information technology and applied research.

“The FSIT Lab provides an opportunity for students to get hands-on experience using the same technology that finance professionals encounter every day,” he said.

The Lab has three separate objectives, all united under one singular goal:to help students advance their careers. The FSIT Lab aims to:

  • Prepare students for careers in global finance and technology related areas.
  • Help them advance research and facilitate stronger ties with the corporate community.
  • Give anyone with a career interest in corporate finance, investments and accounting a competitive edge as they enter the world of finance.

The FSIT Lab Difference

16 Bloomberg terminals. 50 Thomson Reuters licenses. Access to news, market data, calculations, instant messaging, charting, and instantaneous downloading features. These are just a few of the unique features of the FSIT Lab.

What really sets the FSIT the Lab apart from others of its kind is its integration into the MS in Finance curriculum.

In the Lab, students learn how to locate, retrieve, manipulate and use technologies to solve common business problems. Classes like Financial Modeling provide an experiential learning “core” from which students encounter the pulse of Wall Street as they act as investment bankers, stock research analysts, portfolio managers, corporate finance executives and traders.

Workshops and courses that use the FSIT Lab prepare students for the Bloomberg Certification, a respected and highly valued endorsement in the financial industry. To date, 250 students have passed the Bloomberg Certification. And each semester, Professor Ionici offers 30 specialized workshops and topic-based training seminars on:

  • Fixed Income Analytics Using Bloomberg
  • Equity Analysis with Thomson Reuters
  • Bloomberg Jump Start
  • Thomson Reuters’ Portfolio Analytics
  • @Risk.

The FSIT Lab demonstrates Kogod’s commitment to preparing students for careers in global finance and technology related areas, to advancing research and establishing strong ties with the corporate community.

Interested in building upon your finance expertise? Learn how an MS in Finance can increase your marketability.

finance-smif

Experience the Art of Investing with the Student Managed Investment Fund

Imagine pitching an investment idea to real partners and a real board before you hit the job market. The Student Managed Investment Fund (SMIF), offered to graduate and undergraduate students at the Kogod School of Business, is a truly unique opportunity to gain real-world experience in securities analysis and portfolio management.

Each semester, approximately 24 students in the SMIF course manage an equity portfolio valued at nearly $500,000 that includes holdings in Fortune 500 companies such as American Express, The Walt Disney Company, EMC Corporation and Procter & Gamble, among others.

In the program, student analysts pitch an investment idea each week, which is then submitted to an advisory board for final approval. Taking advantage of Kogod’s cutting-edge Finance Services and IT Lab, participants keep tabs on the fast-paced financial industry and gain practical knowledge that pays dividends in the competitive job market.

The SMIF course mimics the structure of a real asset management team, similar to those at Fidelity or Vanguard. Students develop and apply their portfolio management, valuation and financial statement analysis skills every week – in a one-credit course for three semesters or in a three-credit course for one semester.

Your Experience Pays Off

The Executive Committee and Analyst Development Council of Kogod's Student Managed Investment Fund traveled to New York in April to present on the performance of the fund to Kogod alumni.

The Executive Committee and Analyst Development Council of Kogod’s Student Managed Investment Fund traveled to New York in April to present on the performance of the fund to Kogod alumni.

Picture yourself sitting across from a Wall Street recruiter, interviewing for an entry-level job in one of the most competitive fields in the world. Nerve-wracking, no doubt.

Now, imagine going into that interview with a distinct advantage – a professional investment pitch that has been vetted by fellow students and faculty advisors. In the SMIF course, you’ll work alongside your classmates, just like an asset management team, to keep a close watch on market developments and hone your management and decision-making skills.

The SMIF experience has been a significant advantage in interviews with potential employers, such as Citigroup, Merrill Lynch and J.P. Morgan. But don’t just take our word for it. Hear what former SMIF participants have to say about what the program meant to their careers.

Seth Borko, BSBA ’12, who served as the fund’s portfolio manager during his senior year and now works in the private banking division of J.P. Morgan, said, “No class truly prepared me for the real world, but SMIF came about as close as it gets.”

Gerardo Rodriguez, BSBA ’07, an associate at Morgan Stanley, agrees. “Being on the other side of the [interview] table now, it’s noticeable who is knowledgeable and who just memorized the headlines,” he said.

Now it’s your turn. Participating in the SMIF course will help you gain the skills and experience you need to compete in today’s competitive global financial job market.

 

If you want to gain the real-world experience you need to compete and succeed in today’s job market, consider a Master of Science in Finance degree from Kogod.

kogod-finance-intensive

Hit the Ground Running This Fall With Our New Finance Intensive Course

Beginning this summer with the Fall 2016 cohort, the American University Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program will offer a new, weeklong Finance Intensive course. The course will provide an overview of concepts covered in the first semester and introduce students to all that the Kogod School of Business has to offer.

Get on the path to success before your first semester even begins. We understand that, as an incoming student, you have a lot to get to know before you even start your first core courses in the MSF program. The benefit of the Finance Intensive is that you will arrive to class on the first day of the fall semester fully prepared and comfortable with your cohort.

The course, taught by the director of the MSF Program, will go beyond academics and finance basics for an introduction to Washington, DC, the AU campus, the Kogod School of Business, our state-of-the-art Financial Services Lab and your fellow classmates.

During the Finance Intensive, you will address issues of financial statement analysis, project valuation, corporate capitalization, firm governance, equity, fixed income, derivative issuance and analysis, as well as working capital and cash management, among other topics. You will also gain familiarity with the tools available to you in the Finance Services Lab, including real-time data feeds from Thomson Reuters, Bloomberg, databases such as Compustat and CRSP, and the software application @Risk.

We’re excited to offer this comprehensive course for all new MSF students. We believe that it will provide an invaluable opportunity for our incoming cohort to gain an in-depth introduction to and review of the concepts needed for the first semester courses in the program. Students who are waived from this requirement are still encouraged to attend to review key concepts and get to know classmates.

We look forward to seeing you this summer for the Finance Intensive.

 

Find out how you can hit the ground running in the MSF program with our new Finance Intensive course.

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New Course on Alternative Asset Management Helps Prepare Students for CAIA License

By MSF Faculty & Staff

Hedge funds, private equity, renewable energy, real estate. These are just some of the alternative investment areas that are generating buzz and opportunity. In our era of market turmoil where investors are looking beyond traditional stock and bonds, training in alternative investment vehicles is essential for finance professionals.

Beginning this summer, the Kogod School of Business will offer Alternative Investments, a finance graduate course designed to give students an in-depth look into alterative investing methods. The course prepares them for the Chartered Alternate Investment Analyst (CAIA) Level 1 Exam, arming students with the knowledge they need for a successful career in Alternative Asset Management.

Boost Your Career Prospects in a Growing Field

Kogod has set the Master of Science in Finance (MSF) program apart by augmenting its learning experience to include preparation for the industry’s gold standard of professional certification – the CAIA designation. Why blend the theory and practice of the MSF program with the exposure to the professional certification of the CAIA? Just hear what Chartered Alternate Investment Analysts are saying, according to recent CAIA Association survey results:

  • It is good for your career. New members report that earning the CAIA designation helped them move into a new position (49%), take on additional responsibilities (43%), and increase compensation (20%).
  • It’s practical and relevant. Nearly 90% of members would recommend the CAIA designation to a colleague and more than 70% say the program is applicable to their career goals.
  • It increases your marketability. CAIA designation holders claim an increased marketability among peers, proficiency in alternative investments, and preparation for future career opportunities.

Gain proficiency in alternative investments while you prepare for the CAIA exam. A CAIA designation will expand your career prospects and boost your earning potential in the field of finance.

 

Visit us online to learn more about Alternative Investments and the Master of Science in Finance program.