CFA® Coverage

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA®) designation is a professional designation awarded by the CFA Institute. The CFA Institute awards the Chartered Financial Analyst® charter to professionals who have passed three levels of rigorous exams and have sufficient experience in the investment industry. The CFA charter is widely regarded as the highest and most sought after distinction in the investment management profession, with over 167,000 professionals globally.

Why Pursue a CFA® Certification?

The global professional investment community recognizes the value of the CFA charter to support hiring and promotion decisions. This designation is a signal of the quality and expertise of the professional and thus may uniquely qualify the candidate for particular positions and promotions. The organization also conducts professional development programs and publishes finance-related research. The CFA exam is regarded as the toughest credentialing program for the investment profession. Fewer than one in five candidates who begin the three-part exam successfully complete it and earn the CFA charter.

CFA® Coverage at UB

One of the unique opportunities offered by the UB Master's in Economics program is for students to take a sequence of Financial Economics electives. The curriculum of ECO 588 and ECO 589 is built around the CFA® candidate body of knowledge. The timing of the classes allows students to take the Level I Exam in June, immediately after the conclusion of spring semester classes.

Please Note: While the sequential courses (ECO 588 and ECO 589) will assist students in preparing for the CFA® exams, this content is only a subset of the full content of the courses; the overall scope of the master's programs is broader and deeper.

Learning Outcomes

  • The primary goal of both classes is to train students in the practical applications of financial economic principals and provide an understanding of industry practice as embodied in the Chartered Financial Analysts (CFA®) Candidate Body of Knowledge.  The CFA® exam is viewed as an excellent method for applying theory to frequently arising investment decisions.
  • These courses are designed to bring together the student’s entire financial education and prepare them for their future roles as securities analysts, portfolio managers and financial analysts in planning departments of various institutions.
  • Additional goals include: Obtaining a superior knowledge of financial markets and complementing other skills obtained in the master's program.

About the Sequence
ECO 588-589 curriculum covers investment analysis, portfolio management, financial statement analysis, corporate finance, economics, performance measurement and professional ethics. As a requirement, students will learn how to navigate a Bloomberg terminal by completing Bloomberg Market Concepts (BMC) which provides an introduction to economic indicators, currencies, fixed income, and equity analysis. Students will learn real world capabilities through the Bloomberg terminal and be able to apply the concepts taught in ECO 588 and 589. Students who complete Bloomberg Market Concepts will receive a certificate of completion that may help set them apart during future employment interviews.


  • ECO 588 Practicum in Financial Economics I
    ECO-588 is an equity valuation class. Students will work in teams to complete an equity research report on a public company, a comprehensive discounted cash flow model, and present a Buy/Sell/Hold recommendation to the class.  Completion of this project will provide students with the experience of pitching an investment recommendation to an investment committee, and prepare them for real world on the job experiences.

  • ECO 589 Practicum in Financial Economics II

    ECO-589 is a fixed-income valuation class.  The class coverage includes: an overview of the global fixed-income markets, price/yield calculations, pricing of bonds with embedded options, bond price and yield volatility, credit analysis, default spreads, and yield curve analysis.  This class covers most of the CFA Level 1 fixed-income portion of the exam.

About the Instructor:

Matthew Krajna is Director of Equity Research, Senior Portfolio Manager, and a member of the Investment Policy Committee at Nottingham Advisors, a boutique Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) located in Buffalo, NY.  He joined the firm in 2012 and is responsible for conducting investment research and contributing to the Firm’s overall investment strategy.  Additionally, Matt is responsible for establishing the Firm’s strategic and tactical asset allocations, as well as managing the Firm’s factor based investment sleeves.

Read Student Testimonials

“I almost knew nothing about financial industry when I plan to join the MA Economics program of UB one and half years ago although I had many years work experience. Like many students, I had no idea what I am going to do after graduation at that time. Right now, I passed the first two levels of CFA exam and I am quite sure my job title will be financial analyst. The most important decision I made was taking the courses of ECO588/589 two semesters in a row. Like no other courses, they build a bridge between academic and professional and shape my career path simultaneously. In these well-designed courses, I have chance to build my own portfolio, do a deep research for a company which chosen by myself as well as go through all the subjects covered by CFA exam. The professor even reviews the important indicators of global financial market at the beginning of every class. It is essential for me who plan to work in finance industry. ECO588/589 are tremendous courses, if you know how to enjoy them”.

–Chunyang Zhu, MA 2009

“I took ECO 588 in Fall 2008. It is a very practical course just as the course title describes “Practicum Economics.” I not only learned financial theories, but also started understanding what was really going on in the market. This past year was very bad for the financial industry. So much bad news and furious criticism confused many about the market. Fortunately, our experienced instructor, Thomas Labert, always had answers. I really liked that the class utilized stock simulation software.  I learned to pick and buy stocks, bonds, and even options according to various price multipliers and different strategies.  These processes kept me updated with financial markets and utilized my academic knowledge of economics in real world situations. Now I have my own brokerage account, and my portfolio performance has been pretty good so far.  Having taken ECO 588, I become more passionate about financial products and set my career path in financial industry. I sat in several classes of ECO 599 and was a TA for the course. This course is built for CFA exam preparation. I would like to recommend the course for students who want to sit for CFA exam.  Because of the Instructor Tom’s support, I passed CFA level II exam this year.

–Beili Han, MS 2009

“ECO 588 is if you want to learn something very practical in financial industry, you should choose Professor Tom Labert’s class. He had almost thirty year experience in financial field and has a very successful career in Merrill Lynch. I learned how to build up a portfolio, how to buy bonds and how to get useful information. Presentations might be the most exciting part of the class. Everyone did a great job in the presentations. It is very interesting and useful. A stock simulation competition is a really fun game. You will feel the anxiety when your portfolio’s performance ranked on the bottom. It is really like trading a real stock since you never want to lose. I like his class and it was very useful. ECO 589 is a class built to help you prepare CFA Exams. Tom is a CFA. He knows almost everything about the exam, so you should definitely take it if you plan to have the CFA designation. Most of my classmates who took Tom’s class passed the CFA exam. I know three people from Tom’s class even passed CFA Level II exam. Also, a lot of people who didn’t take the class failed. So, you can see the worth of the class. It will also help your English if you are an international student.”

–Weibo Si, MA 2009

The CFA Institute does not endorse the products or services offered by the University of Buffalo. CFA® and Chartered Financial Analyst® are trademarks owned by the CFA Institute.