About our CFA affiliation and scholarships

The University of Vaasa is only the fourth Nordic university accepted into the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program. The obtained CFA affiliation positions students well to obtain the CFA designation, which has become the most respected and recognised investment credential in the world.

“The close links of the Master’s Degree Programme in Finance to the highest standards in the profession through the CFA affiliation will help us bring highly-skilled, ethically-oriented professionals to the business world. We are glad that the obtained affiliation provides our students with new opportunities to enhance their CVs”, says Professor Janne Äijö.

CFA Institute

Chartered Financial Analyst® (CFA) Institute is the global association of investment professionals that sets the standard for professional excellence and administers the industry gold standard CFA charter. The organisation is a champion for ethical behaviour in investment markets and a respected source of knowledge in the global financial community. CFA Institute has more than 160,000 members in 166 countries.

For more information, visit the CFA Institute website.

The CFA Institute logo

CFA program

The CFA Program sets a standard for developing the skills, standards, competence, and integrity of financial analysts, portfolio managers, investment advisers, and other investment professionals worldwide. It is widely considered the investment profession’s most rigorous credentialing program. Administered in English, the CFA curriculum and examinations are identical worldwide. Fewer than one in five candidates who begin the program successfully complete it and go on to earn the coveted CFA charter, the “gold standard” for investment professionals. The top employers of CFAs globally include JPMorgan Chase, Goldman Sachs, UBS, Morgan Stanley, Royal Bank of Canada, and BlackRock.

To become a CFA Charterholder, students need to pass three levels of CFA exams, submit reference letters, achieve qualified work experience and submit an application.

As the University of Vaasa has an affiliation with CFA, it confirms that the curriculum of Masters’ Degree in Finance covers at least 70% of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge (CBOK) and emphasises the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice within the programme. The coverage of at least 70% helps students prepare for the CFA exams because they already have a lot of knowledge on those issues that will be asked in the exams.

The core CBOK curriculum includes the following topics:

  • ethical and professional standards
  • quantitative methods
  • economics
  • financial reporting and analysis
  • corporate finance
  • equity investments
  • fixed income
  • derivatives
  • alternative investments
  • portfolio management and wealth planning
Information about CFA exams
  Level I exam Level II exam Level III exam
Question format Multiple-choice questions Vignette-supported multiple-choice questions Vignette-supported constructed response questions and multiple-choice questions
Exam results Within 60 days Within 60 days Within 90 days
Advancement Meet CFA Program enrollment requirements Pass level I CFA exam Pass level II CFA exam
Pass rate 43% 45% 56%
Details Quick Start Guide for Level I (pdf)
Level I Details
Quick Start Guide for Level II (pdf)
Level II Details
Quick Start Guide for Level III (pdf)
Level III Details

CFA scholarships

Students of Master’s Degree Programme in Finance can get scholarships to pay the overall fees applied to those who try to pass CFA exams. For example, the normal one-time enrollment fee for registering for CFA Program and level I exam (that is not applied to subsequent exams) is USD 450. Further exam registration fee for each of the levels is USD 700 with an early bird registration or USD 1,000 with standard registration.

Being a CFA-affiliated university, the University of Vaasa is eligible to provide its students with 6 scholarships per year for taking CFA exams.

The CFA student scholarship waives the one-time enrollment fee (USD 450) and discounts the exam registration fee to USD 350. This means that students may save up to USD 1,000 by receiving the CFA scholarship. Students do not receive cash/money transfers and the scholarship is used via a provided link while registering for the exam. Students also receive full access to the CFA curriculum and all available study tools for preparing for the CFA exam.

When applying for a CFA scholarship, students need to provide a full CV. The CFA scholarship application deadlines are regularly sent to the students of the Master’s Degree programme in Finance by representatives of the University of Vaasa.

A full guide (pdf) on how to apply for a CFA scholarship is provided by the CFA Institute.

The CFA scholarship is valid for one year from the date of receiving it. Students should still register/enrol for the exam before the expiration date. It is the students’ responsibility to be aware of and abide by the important exam dates.

CFA challenge

The CFA Institute Research Challenge is an annual global competition that provides university students with hands-on mentoring and intensive training in financial analysis. Students work in teams to research and analyse a publicly traded company. Each team writes a research report on their assigned company with a buy, sell, or hold recommendation and the best teams are asked to present and defend their analysis to a panel of industry professionals.

The first-ever CFA Institute Research Challenge competition was hosted by the New York Society of Security Analysts in 2002 and involved just five teams from the New York area. Since then, the competition has grown to involve tens of thousands of students from over 1,000 universities in more than 80 countries.

The competition consists of a local final in Finland, Northern Europe sub-regionals, EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) regional finals and the global final.

More information on the challenge is on the CFA Institute website.

Attending the competition has several benefits for the university and the students as it:

  • Provides career opportunities for students
  • Gives students practical training equity research and exposure to industry experts
  • Adds a lot to classroom learning
  • Extends the network with professionals, peers from other universities, and others in the community
  • Helps to represent the university on a global scale and improve its reputation

The University of Vaasa encourages students to participate in the CFA Research Challenge. One to two teams representing the University of Vaasa participate in the CFA Research Challenge on an annual basis. Based on the results of the provided report, students can get up to 5 ECTS to their studies. The quality and sufficiency of the report are preliminarily evaluated by a university advisor.

Student testimonials

Tuukka Kivinen – CFA Challenge Participant 2021

The competition required a lot of time, a lot! However, I am now a master of those things that seemed challenging in the beginning. I got real skills considering financial statement analysis, corporate finance, market research, and valuations. The competition taught me skills that are way beyond normal finance courses and I think that is a great asset.

I also think it is important to have a dedicated team participating in the challenge. It is important to motivate every member of the team to contribute so the work was split equally. I would choose to participate in the challenge even now when I know how much time it requires.

I am now sure that I want to pursue my career in corporate finance as I know a lot more than my fellow students.

Tuike Tommila – CFA Challenge Participant 2021

In my opinion, it was very useful to participate in the challenge and it provided a practical skill-set for the working environment. Especially, it helped me with my modelling and valuation skills. This is definitely useful for my future career since I am pursuing a career in investment banking. The most difficult issue was time management. But the overall experience was great!

Further information

Tatiana Garanina
Associate Professor

School of Accounting and Finance, Accounting

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