New Yash Puri Awards Help Fund Chartered Financial Analysts Certification

Award recipients pose with Yash Puri and Sandra Richtermeyer Image by Ed Brennen
Manning School Dean Sandra Richtermeyer, right, and Prof. Emeritus of Finance Yash Puri, left, pose with alumni award recipients, from left, Sam Slebodnick, Naomi Kimanthi and William Fulbrook Hanna at University Crossing.

By Ed Brennen

Once Manning School of Business alum Albert Marsocci ’16, ’17 earned his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) certification last June, his career prospects flourished.

“After I passed all three levels, I noticed even more people were looking at my LinkedIn profile and my résumé was getting more attention on Indeed,” says Marsocci, who soon left his market analyst job at a mid-sized bank in the suburbs to become a junior quantitative analyst at DebtX, a leading loan sale advisory firm headquartered in Boston’s Financial District.

Marsocci credits the CFA preparation course he took from Asst. Teaching Prof. Chan-Wung Kim while earning his Master of Science in Finance (M.S.F.) degree for giving him a leg up in the rigorous multiyear exam process.

“Having someone like Prof. Kim explain the concepts made it a lot easier and set me on my course,” says Marsocci, a Southborough native who returned to campus recently to speak with current finance students about the impact of CFA certification.

He was joined at University Crossing’s Moloney Hall by three other recent finance alumni who also took Kim’s prep course: William Fulbrook Hanna ’18, Sam Slebodnick ’18 and Naomi Kimanthi ’19. They each received inaugural Yash Puri Awards for successfully completing the CFA level 1 exam in 2018.

“The combination of the M.S.F. and the CFA is a great asset to have. It helps distinguish you from others,” says Puri, a professor emeritus of finance and former department chair who helped fund the $1,700 scholarships.

Alum Albert Marsocci speaks to students Image by Ed Brennen
Alum Albert Marsocci speaks with finance students about the impact of CFA certification.

The CFA program is run by the CFA Institute, a global association of more than 170,000 investment professionals.

Manning School Dean Sandra Richtermeyer told students that earning a professional certification like the CFA or CMA (Certified Management Accountant) not only makes them more competitive in the job market by building their professional credibility, but it also increases their earnings potential and helps close the gender pay gap.

“The earlier you earn a certification after graduation, the more impact it has on your earnings,” says Richtermeyer, who notes that surveys show that people in their 20s can earn up to 70 percent more within eight years of getting a certification. “It’s an outstanding investment in yourself, which is the most important investment you can make.”

Since the CFA prep class was launched in 2015, 15 finance students have passed the level 1 exam.

Kimanthi, a New Jersey native, completed her MSF last fall after earning her undergraduate business degree from the U.S. International University in Kenya. She’s worked in financial services for the past decade and is currently at Ascensus, the largest independent retirement and college savings services provider in the United States. She’s also studying for the CFA level 2 exam.

Alum Sam Slebodnick shakes hands with Steven Freund Image by Ed Brennen
Alum Sam Slebodnick shakes hands with Assoc. Prof. Steven Freund after receiving his Yash Puri Award.

“The level 1 exam was challenging, but the CFA class was a great experience,” says Kimanthi, who remembers falling asleep while studying and dreaming about the material. “It was intense, but worth it.”

Fulbrook Hanna, who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration (with concentrations in accounting, finance and management information systems), says the CFA class was instrumental in passing the level 1 exam.

“It was an excellent introduction to the material and helped me realize that it required effort,” says Fulbrook Hanna, who works in transaction advisory services at RSM in Boston. “I knew I had to dig my heels in to position myself to succeed.”

Slebodnick, an Arlington native who earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration (with concentrations in finance and accounting), works as a client service associate for Putnam Investments in Andover.

Slebodnick has already passed the CFA level 2 exam and plans to complete his certification this June. He says the $1,700 award will help cover the exam fees and books.

“I’m feeling pretty thankful right now,” he says.

Richtermeyer thanked the finance faculty, led by Assoc. Prof. and Department Chair Steven Freund, for their commitment to student success.

“Not only do our finance faculty believe in this certification, they’ve integrated it into their curriculum and they’re supporting it with scholarship dollars,” Richtermeyer says. “It means a lot to our students.”