MS Financial Analysis Frequently Asked Questions

How long is the program?

The Master of Financial Analysis degree is a 33 credit program that can be taken on a full or part-time basis. This is a lock step program for full-timers, meaning students will take the same set of academic classes. Classes begin on July 7 with a 6 week (2 meetings per week) financial accounting class. Following this summer session, full-time students will take five courses in the Fall and five courses in the Spring.

Part-time students have up to 4 years to complete the program and must take the same set of classes in their first and second semester. After that, they are free to take the remaining classes at their own pace, within the maximum time frame. Part-time students are only accepted in the Spring semester. They do not need to participate in the summer session, but must complete an Accounting for Managers course before the first semester. 

Please review our curriculum for more details.

Rutgers University is a CFAI program partner school. What does that mean?

From the CFAI website:

"CFA Program Partners are typically high profile universities of global stature that embed a significant percentage of the CFA Program Candidate Body of Knowledge™ (CBOK™), including the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct, into their degree programs. In addition, these universities contribute to CFA Institute strategic objectives, such as facilitating the lifelong learning needs of our members, and enjoy positions of thought leadership in the academic and professional investment management communities."

Rutgers is one of only 37 universities in the United States that are CFAI program partners. Rutgers is one of only 10 US program partner to offer a Master's degree specifically designed to prepare students to become financial analysts. The CFAI is no longer accepting universities into the Program Partners program. Rutgers is proud to be a member of this elite set of universities.

What is the SIBE program?

The CFA exams are only given in English. In addition, English is the language of business. Our program is designed to not only prepare students academically, but the program also provides a way for students to improve their English proficiency. By taking our Summer Intensive Business English (SIBE) program, successful students should perform  better in their finance classes as well as on the CFA exams. Our SIBE program focuses on strengthening English speaking, writing, listening, and reading skills, while expanding practical skills such as professional networking, public speaking and giving presentations, analyzing business publications, conducting meetings, interviews, and negotiations, writing persuasively, and other critical proficiencies. All international students  required to take the TOEFL will be required to attend our 6 week (25 hours per week) SIBE program.  Students will be placed in SIBE classes based on their level of English proficiency from lower intermediate to advanced. International students, exempted from taking the TOEFL (see Admissions) will still benefit from taking the summer intensive English coursework and are strongly urged to do so.

For more information about our SIBE program, please click here.

Is the MFinA Program just a training program to become a financial analyst?

No. The MFinA program, like all accredited degree programs at Rutgers Business School, provides you with an education not training. The courses are rigorous and teach students to assess and solve problems. The CFA designation certifies to employers that you have the ability to add value to your firm. Many different types of firms value applicants who are proceeding toward the CFA designation. As a result the following list of what jobs CFAs do (source CFA Institute) reflects the value of our degree and the designation to a diverse set of company types:

  • 22% Portfolio Manager
  • 16% Research Analyst
  • 7% Chief Executive
  • 6% Consultant
  • 5% Corporate Financial Analyst
  • 5% Financial Advisor
  • 5% Relationship Managers, Sales, & Marketing
  • 5% Risk Manager
  • 4% Investment Banking Analyst
  • 3% Manager of Managers
  • 3% Accountant/Auditor
  • 3% Strategist
  • 3% Trader
  • 1% Broker
  • 1% Performance Measurement Specialist
  • 1% Private Banker

What are the program's admission standards?

  1. We consider:
    1. The applicant's previous coursework
    2. How many quantitative classes the applicant has taken
    3. How well the applicant did in those classes
  2. Applicants must have completed at least one semester of calculus, as well as upper level probability and statistics.
  3. Applicants must have a high level of performance on the GRE or GMAT and TOEFL. 
    1. GRE: 5529
    2. GMAT: QK5-XT-02
    3. TOEFL iBT: B355
  4. Applicants must submit a complete application packet, which consists of two letters of recommendation as well as the application. For further information, please contact the Admissions Office directly at: (973) 353-1234.
  5. Further considerations include:
    1. Level of Education: we expect to receive applications from students who hold Bachelors, Masters and Doctoral degrees in areas such as: mathematics, sciences, engineering, economics, management, etc.
    2. GPA: we do not have a set minimum GPA requirement for admission to our program. However GPA is an important factor in assessing the overall strength of each application.
    3. Work Experience:  Not required for full-time students, but could provide a significant 'edge' in the application process. The part-time program is geared toward working professionals. As such, it is strongly suggested that applicants have at least two years of work experience. 
    4. Context: applications are evaluated on the strength of each application on its face and within the context of the overall applicant pool.

When does the program start?

For international applicants who have not studied at an American university for 2 or more years or have not taken an American financial accounting class in the last 3 years, classes start at the beginning of July.

For international applicants who have studied at an American university for 2 or more years and have taken an American financial accounting class in the last 3 years, you will attend the International Student Orientation at the end of August.

For US citizens or permanent residents, classes begin on the first day of the fall term.

Our 20 month Part Time program only starts in the fall. Our flex part time program starts in either the fall or spring.

Note that US government visa rules require international students studying in the US to attend full time. Therefore our part time programs are only available to US citizens and permanent residents. 

Can I attend part-time?

Yes. A part-time option is available and geared toward working professionals with at least two years of work experience. Our 20 month Part Time program only starts in the fall. Our flex part time program starts in either the fall or spring.

Note that US government visa rules require international students studying in the US to attend full time. Therefore our part time programs are only available to US citizens and permanent residents.

On what campus is the program offered?

The Rutgers MFinA full-time program is taught at Rutgers Business School's $85 million building on the Livingston campus, one of five campuses that make up Rutgers University-New Brunswick, a secure, suburban campus in rural New Jersey. Students interested in the part-time program have the option of taking courses on the Livingston campus, on the Newark campus and any satellite campus locations.

What financial aid or assistance is available?

Students in this program are eligible for financial aid and assistance that are currently available to all graduate students (i.e. state and federal loans and grants). We offer a small number of $5,000 merit based scholarships to deserving enrollees. We do not offer teaching assistantships or graduate assistantships at this time.

How is this degree perceived by business, companies, etc.?

The Master of Financial Analysis degree is designed to cover over 70% of the material covered on the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Level I exam. As stated on the CFA Institute website:

"The CFA Program is a globally recognized, graduate level curriculum that provides a strong foundation of real-world investment analysis and portfolio management skills along with the practical knowledge you need in today’s investment industry. It also emphasizes the highest ethical and professional standards."

For more information on the CFA designation, visit the CFA Institute website.

Is on-campus housing available?

Yes. There are graduate student dorms on both the Livingston and Busch campuses. To find out more information about campus housing including rates click here. Information on dining services can be found by clicking here. A good overview on life at Rutgers as a graduate student can be found by clicking here.

Although the CFA exam includes questions on ethics, the curriculum does not include an ethics course. How can I prepare for that portion of the exam?

The CFA Institute has developed on-line self-study ethics training on the CFA Institute Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Conduct. The six hour on-line self-study components were developed by the CFA Institute for use by universities. We will run a non-credit short course on ethics during the spring semester of the program. The course will be held on a Friday so that your other classes are not impacted. The CFA Institute also runs ethics webinars on ethics  throughout the year. To prepare for the ethics portion of the exam you should:

  1. Read the CFAI Code of Ethics and the Standards of Professional Conduct
  2. Complete the CFAI online self-study modules described here prior to taking the on-credit ethics course.
  3. Attend the 7 hour non-credit ethics class offered in the spring semester.
  4. Participate in at least 1 CFAI ethics webinar during the year

What is the timing of the Master of Financial Analysis program relative to the CFA exams?

Level I of the CFA exams is given in December and June. It is anticipated that graduates of the MFinA program will take the Level I exam in June following graduation.

I have heard that I should take a review course before I take the CFA Level I exam. How can I do that?

Once your coursework is finished in May, we have arranged for the Chartered Financial Analyst Society of New York (CFASNY) to hold a four day boot camp on our New Brunswick campus. This "boot camp" will bring together all of the topics you have learned in your coursework. The CFASNY is a member institution of the CFAI. They have been offering review classes for over 25 years. All review classes are taught by CFA charter holders. For more information click here.

Does the program accept transfer credit?

If, in the 3 years prior to the beginning of the fall term, you have completed a financial accounting class at an Association for the Advancement of Collegiate Schools of Business accredited university, that class will replace the Accounting for Managers class taught in the program. All other courses must be taken at Rutgers Business School.

What about careers?

The Career Management office provides career-related counseling, resources, and programs to help current MFINA students and alumni to clarify career goals, establish career plans, and develop job-search skills. We build relationships with alumni, employers, and other career offices to optimize career opportunities while also creating strategic partnerships with our stakeholders.

In addition, the career management office established a partnership with an immigration law firm to provide our employers with set fees and resources for obtaining work visas and employment-based permanent residence options. This year, RBS established a partnership with The Chinese Finance Association, which provides mentoring and professional networking opportunities for current MFINA students.

The strongest job growth for CFAs is in the Asia- Pacific region. While only 15% of CFA charter holders are from the Asia-Pacific Region, nearly 45% of those registered to take the CFA exams were from the same region indicating strong interest in obtaining the CFA designation in Asia and the Pacific Rim.1  Matthew Richards, CFA, in a 2006 article in the Financial Times2, points out that while in the US 25% of the employees in jobs for which the CFA is a credential are CFAs - that number is only 2% in China and India. This indicates very strong prospects for CFAs in those countries.

We expect many of our students to obtain jobs in the Asia/Pacific Rim area. Resources that can help you achieve jobs in that region are available at CFA Career Services,  including Job Line - a CFA exclusive job board service to apply for  top investment jobs throughout the world. Students are urged to join the CFA Institute as candidates and obtain the "CFA Career Guide For Asian Pacific Region."

1 Source CFA Institute
2 "Crouching tiger hidden dragon - CHARTERED FINANCIAL ANALYST: India and China are likely to leap to prominence in the world of staff trained in finance", by Matthew Richards CFA, Financial Times, June 19, 2006, page 6.

What about Employment Outcomes?

MFINA graduates from the Class of 2016 reported a 90% employment rate* within 6 months of graduation.  Note: based on 90% response rate.

MFINA graduates from the Class of 2015 reported an 88% employment rate* within 6 months of graduation.  Note: based on 61% response rate.

*Placement rate defined as the percentage of graduates who either return to home country to work or obtain employment in US within 6 months of graduation.

What about practical training following completion of my degree?

The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows graduate students with F-1 visa status, and who have been pursuing a degree for more than nine months, to work to obtain practical training in their field.

Optional Practical Training (OPT) is temporary employment directly related to an F1 student’s major area of study and is commensurate with the level of education being sought. An F1 student may be authorized 12 months of OPT for study at one education level and may become eligible for another 12 months of OPT after changing to a higher educational level. An F1 student with a degree majoring in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) may apply for extension of an additional 24-month OPT while in a valid period of post-completion OPT. Students in English language training programs are ineligible for practical training.

Is the MFINA program a STEM program?

Yes. The United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) allows graduate students with F-1 visa status, and who have been pursuing a degree for more than nine months, to work to obtain practical training (OPT) in their field. The USCIS allows graduates of certain programs to have an additional 24 months of OPT beyond the normal 12 months. These programs are called “STEM” programs and our program qualifies as a STEM degree. As a result of the MFINA STEM designation, students that graduate from the Rutgers Master of Financial Analysis program are eligible to work with a student visa for up to 36 months following graduation.