The CFA® Program Exam Prep: Blending Corporate & Academic Background in the Corporate Finance Review Course

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By Dr. Andrea Anthony, Finance and Economics Department Chair & Associate Professor of Finance at Golden Gate University

finance-masters-degree-cfa-andrea-anthonyI find all dimensions of finance fascinating: the theory, the tools, and the practical application. From teaching Corporate Finance at the bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD levels, as well as holding various corporate finance positions at the Boeing Company, I have a long history of working with students to grow their corporate finance skill set. I am very excited to continue this work by teaching in the Level I CFA® Program exam review courses offered at GGU. I will be applying the curriculum I have been teaching for the past 10 years at GGU, Oregon State University, and the University of Oregon to the Corporate Finance section of the CFA Program review course. The CFA material mirrors the Master of Science in Finance coursework material most closely. Often the students who take CFA Program review courses have more experience in investments, rather than in corporate finance, and thus it is even more important that I help students fill in any gaps in their understanding.

To me, these courses represent a sweet spot between theory and application. In academia, we teach a lot of the theory and how it links to concepts, tools, and implementation. Slightly different from master’s-level courses, the CFA Program exam review material focuses almost solely on the tools and implementation. The challenge of the Corporate Finance part of the exam is connecting the various tools to the theory and the application.

This fall was the first time we offered the CFA Program exam review courses on GGU’s campus in partnership with the CFA Society San Francisco (CFASF).

The CFA exam requires that you know enough about the theory to make decisions when things are not perfectly clear. In the real world, often things are in a gray area. What if half the capital budgeting procedures recommend accepting an investment opportunity while the other half recommending to reject the project? For example, the NPV says accept but IRR criterion says to reject the project? If you understand the theory, you understand why they conflict and what to do. The CFA exam expects the test taker to understand how best to move forward in a gray area such as this.

This fall was the first time we offered the CFA Program exam review courses on GGU’s campus in partnership with the CFA Society San Francisco (CFASF). I found the students motivated and very hard working. The breadth of material covered on the Level I exam is immense and these students were putting in the work needed for a better chance of success. I’m looking forward to more opportunities to work with the CFA community in the future.


You may register now for live, classroom-based prep courses for the CFA® Program at GGU. For more information, contact David Kaczorowski, Academic Program Manager at GGU.

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