W&J Recognized by Chartered Financial Analyst Institute

WASHINGTON, Pa. (Dec. 10, 2013)—Washington & Jefferson College (W&J) is a new member of the CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute University Recognition Program, designed to position students to obtain the Chartered Financial Analyst® designation, one of the most respected and recognized investment credentials in the world.

W&J was invited to apply to the program, said Dr. Yongsheng Wang, associate professor of economics and director of the financial economics program, for incorporating at least 70 percent of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge and placing emphasis on the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within its financial economics curriculum. Entry into the CFA program signals to potential students, employers, and the marketplace that W&J’s curriculum is closely tied to professional practice and prepares students to sit for the CFA examination.

Participation in this program makes W&J students eligible to receive scholarships for the CFA Program each year.

“This is a highly regarded professional standard” said Wang. “It is an honor to be recognized. And with the scholarship support to take the CFA exam, this will help W&J to have even more of an impact.”

Established in 2010, the financial economics major at W&J concentrates on the integration of the primary components of modern financial analysis—economic theory, financial theory, and mathematic analysis. It is intended prepare students for graduate work in finance, admission to top M.B.A. programs, and a career. This program differs from traditional undergraduate finance majors offered in colleges of business, Wang said, in that it includes significantly more economic theory and mathematics and so better prepares the student for success beyond the entry level positions in the various fields of finance and in graduate school.

“We are humbled and honored to be invited to participate. It is confirmation that what we are doing is working. We focus on both ethics and the capabilities of the future financial leaders,” Wang added.

“Students in these programs (CFA Institute-recognized) study the Candidate Body of Knowledge, which includes the core knowledge, skills, and abilities identified by practitioners worldwide as essential for successful practice,” said Charles Appeadu, Ph.D., CFA, head of university relations at CFA Institute. “By mastering the fundamentals of the CFA Program as well as the Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, these future investment professionals gain a strong foundation that helps prepare them well to join the growing CFA Institute community dedicated to promoting the highest standards of ethics, education, and professional excellence for the ultimate benefit of society.”

Courses within the W&J major cover three key areas: financial markets and institutions, investment, and corporate finance. They address topics such as the analysis of financial statements, financial structure of a firm, capital budgeting and structure, asset valuation, investment instruments, portfolio management, hedging, insurance, risk management, exchange rates, money supply and demand, monetary policy, interest rates, financial markets and regulation, and the operation of financial institutions.

One of the first graduates of the W&J program, Kaity Ogilvie now is an investment banking analyst at Sperry, Mitchell & Company, Inc., an investment banking firm on Madison Avenue in New York City. Her daily activities include everything from creating financial models and company valuations, to preparing selling materials and conducting management meetings.

“As an alum, I am very proud, but not surprised, that W&J’s financial economics program received the designation,” Ogilvie said. “I now use a lot of the financial information I learned in college at work on a daily basis, and am so thankful that I had the opportunity to participate in the program. I feel like I was completely prepared for a career in finance thanks to Dr. Wang and the financial economics program. The designation is just icing on the cake.”

The W&J financial economics program received additional recognition as one of less than a dozen colleges and universities in the western Pennsylvania region—and the only liberal arts and undergraduate institution—participating in this year’s CFA Institute Investment Research Challenge hosted by the CFA Society of Pittsburgh.

With a real company as a subject company, the challenge will be composed of a written report and a presentation taking place at the end of February. The winner of the local challenge will travel to New York City to compete at the regional level next April. Winners of the regional competition will compete again against a global team to determine the overall winner.

Team members are Connor McKenzie ’15, Conor Crowe ’15,  Ross Nappi ’15, Sammi Taylor ’14, Taryn Meyers ’15.

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W&J CFA Institute Investment Challenge Team, from left: Connor McKenzie, Conor C