Preparing for the CFA Exam and a Career in Finance: MSF Student Taylor Tsao


Taylor Tsao recently completed a year in the Financial Reporting & Accounting Services division at CalPERS — the largest public pension fund in the United States — and is taking online classes from Golden Gate University. A student in the Master of Science in Finance program with a concentration in Investment Management, he is preparing to take the first of three CFA exams this December.

Tsao says that the Master of Science in Finance program’s recent admission to the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program is important to him. “It shows that what we study aligns with the CFA exam curriculum,” he says. “For example, the Corporate Finance course that I took with Dr. Andrea Anthony covered most of the Corporate Finance topic material from the CFA exam and also went into greater detail.”

Students in Dr. Anthony’s class were challenged to fully analyze a fictitious company by using its financial statements to forecast future cash flows and give a recommendation based on the data. “Not all of the assignment skills are covered on the CFA exams, but they will be very important to succeed in finance, such as determining a company’s intrinsic value.”

At a modest-sized University like GGU, Tsao says he gets more personal attention and that faculty members are always very responsive online. For example, Finance Professor David Kaczorowski helped Tsao get a scholarship for a discount on the price of the CFA Exam as well as a discount on the CFA Society of San Francisco’s review that comes with the CFA Institute University Affiliation Program.

I started to explore GGU for a master’s degree in finance because of their great reputation in the fields of tax and accounting. Networking-wise, there are a lot of opportunities with fellow students and employers because of GGU’s location within San Francisco’s Financial District.

This is not Tsao’s first career transition. After graduating college with a degree in accounting, Tsao went to work for his family business for several years—handling their accounting records and running day-to-day operations.  Studying at GGU, Tsao is hoping to streamline his entrance into a new field and aspires to work on the investment side of CalPERS as an analyst and hopefully one day as a fund manager.


Related post: Career and Educational Paths in Finance: An interview with Professor David Kaczorowski

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