‘Successful Financial Analysts Must Have a Broad Outlook, a Certain Share of Cynicism, and Common Sense’
In autumn 2021, the HSE Banking Institute will launch a new online master’s programme, Master of Finance, on Coursera. The educational content is based on HSE’s Financial Analyst master’s programme. Sergey Trofimov, a graduate of the programme, spoke about its benefits and the competencies required of financial analysts.
On Choosing the Master’s Programme
I graduated from the HSE Banking Institute four years before applying to the master’s programme. After graduation, I wanted to apply my knowledge in practice. While I was working, I detected the gaps I needed to fill, so I had been looking for a master’s programme that would combine fundamental training and help with polishing my practical skills, while not being overloaded with theory. I found all of this (together with an opportunity to build a convenient schedule) only on the Financial Analyst programme offered by the HSE Banking Institute. I also knew some of the teachers from my undergraduate studies and wanted to continue learning from them, which played a role in my decision.
On the Features of the Programme
I believe that the educational content of the Banking Institute’s master’s programmes is completely in line with is expected for financial analysis today. The programme is a symbiosis of fundamental, theoretical classes taught by HSE’s best professors and practice-oriented courses taught by teachers who have vast experience in the relevant fields. The learning process also includes a lot of real cases. In many courses, such as Portfolio Management, Financial Analysis and Project Management, the assignments are similar to the tasks I had had to solve at work.
On Partnership with the CFA Institute
The Financial Analyst programme is based on a CFA Institute syllabus, which is updated annually in line with employers’ requirements for investment professionals. The programme’s relevance to the updated CFA Institute syllabus helps ensure the maximum return on the acquired knowledge. Membership in CFA Russia/CFA Switzerland, which I have, is an opportunity for networking, participation in various events, career resources, etc. This is a type of ‘pass’ in a community that is quite exclusive. But most importantly, in this partnership, I must always continue my education, which is a driver for continuous professional growth.
The programme’s Chartered Financial Analyst partner status provides students with an opportunity to pass CFA qualification exams at all the three levels with a 75% discount during studies. These are professional exams in financial asset management – a ‘seal of quality’ for professionals, which not only confirm extensive knowledge in financial analysis, but their compliance with the high professional ethics standards. Holders of CFA certificates have a job market advantage in any country. Teachers in the Master of Finance programme are industry leaders and leading experts in their field, as well as CFA, FRM and ACCA-certified professionals.
On the Competencies of a Successful Financial Analyst
First, successful financial analysts must have a broad outlook, a certain share of cynicism, and common sense. Second, they need substantial fundamental training in financial analysis: they need to understand how company reporting is formed, what causes market movements, etc. Third, they need at least some technical background on how to work with lots of data.
On Career Goals and the Future of Financial Analysis in Russia
In the near future, I’m planning to continue my education, but this time, in Computer Science. After that, I plan to establish a foundation that will combine my technology knowledge with macroeconomics and fundamental approach to company analysis.
Regarding financial analysis trends in Russia, I’d like to mention one of them in particular. Since most of the economy in Russia is somehow related to the state, and in the foreseeable future this trend will most likely continue, I can see developing a project approach and asset assessment from one big stakeholder’s perspective. For successful operations, experts will need considerable technical knowledge (since the amount of data has grown incomparably) and the ability to analyse data in a limited amount of time.
The new remote master’s programme, Master of Finance, offered by the HSE Banking Institute is aimed at graduates and early-career finance professionals who are planning to pursue a career as consultants and financial experts, strategic managers who evaluate investment solutions, start-up owners, etc.