Investment Management And Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) Option (checksheet)

The Investment Management Option focuses on coursework that teaches students how to analyze and value investments, including stocks, bonds and derivatives. The skills acquired through this option can be used for careers managing investments at large financial institutions (mutual funds, insurance companies, etc.), selling investments on behalf of financial institutions, and working for Wall Street firms in jobs such as sales, trading, capital markets and investment banking. At Virginia Tech, students who enroll in the Investment Management Option have the ability to prepare for and take Level I of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam after they graduate. The CFA designation is recognized globally throughout the investment management profession. To obtain the CFA designation, one must pass three-level series of exams (you are limited to taking one level per year).

Investment Management (Asset Management)

One of the most important roles for finance majors is managing investments and investment portfolios on behalf of individuals, corporations, governments and other institutions. In this career path, finance professionals evaluate potential investments, analyzing them to determine whether or not they should be bought. They also manage existing investment portfolios, deciding which investments in the portfolio to buy more of and which ones to sell.

Institutions that manage large investment portfolios include mutual funds, pension funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, and institutional money managers. Many of these manage billions of dollars of investments on behalf of a large number of investors. That money is usually invested in hundreds of different investments that must constantly be monitored and managed to ensure that the investors receive sufficiently high returns on their invested dollars.

The Finance Department’s Investment Management/CFA Track provides excellent preparation for a career in investment management (also frequently called asset management). Students take coursework that covers stocks, bonds and derivatives, three of the most common asset classes for asset managers, as well as international finance. This track also prepares students to take Level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst examination upon graduation. Chartered Financial Analyst is a professional certification that asset management firms encourage their finance professionals to obtain. The CFA certification process requires applicants to study for and pass three rigorous exams over the course of three years. Virginia Tech is a CFA Program Partner of the CFA Institute, the professional organization that oversees the CFA exam process.

Students interested in the Investment Management career path should also try to join either SEED or BASIS, the Finance Department’s two student-run investment funds. Each fund manages approximately $5 million of the university’s endowment funds, which are invested in the stock and bond markets, respectively. Another student organization that introduces students to investing in the stock market is the Society of Individual Investors.