Bryant’s Financial Services program stands out among competitors as one of the few in New England offering a Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) track for undergraduate students.
Financial Planning Program Director Mara Derderian, CFP, says that is an important advantage for students aspiring to careers in financial services as it allows them to be prepared to take the CFP exam right after graduation. The program’s students also benefit from engaging with accomplished faculty who enrich classroom learning with decades of real-world experience and success in the field.
The track opens the window for students to take the CFP Certification Exam right after graduation.
Bryant’s CFP track, which incorporates professional standards within the rigor of the program, satisfies the education component of CFP certification, Derderian notes, “opening the window for students to take the CFP Certification Exam right after graduation. They hit the ground running, ahead of their peers” eager to secure the valued designation. Bryant’s program is comprehensive, providing the CFP-required courses within its Financial Services major. This means Bryant students meet the CFP education component without additional courses or costs.
The Bryant program, Derderian says, also requires an internship, which not only provides students with tremendous real-world experience, but also expands their professional network.
Connecting with financial planning professionals
Another distinguishing element of Bryant’s program is the emphasis on student engagement with The Financial Planning Association of Rhode Island (FPA-RI), a nonprofit that works to further the success of the financial planning profession. The FPA-RI received the 2018 national award for Outstanding Achievement in Career Development in recognition of the inaugural Financial Services Industry night hosted in partnership with Bryant, notes Professor and Chair of the Finance Department Peter J. Nigro, Ph.D., who also holds the Sarkisian Chair in Financial Services.
“We wanted to give financial planning students insight into the profession and a better understanding of the range of career opportunities available to them,” says Derderian, who is a member of the association’s board and organized the event. “Having industry professionals share their experiences and advice with aspiring young financial planners is paramount to the education process.”
In addition to hosting another Financial Services Industry Night, FPA-RI has made Bryant a part of several other events. The association held its annual Ethics Program Luncheon at Bryant and invited students, allowing them to see the extent and importance of ethics in the field and learn about the requirements of CFP designation. When FPA-RI hosted its first Pro Bono Day, offering free financial planning and advice, Bryant students were included in the event’s activities. "Bryant students helped organize logistics for the day and were able to observe practitioners providing financial guidance to attendees. These types of experiential learning opportunities provide students with a deeper understanding of the financial planning industry not realized in a classroom environment,” notes Derderian.
The program also offers rich opportunities to learn from guest speakers, site visits, and collegiate competitions. In addition, students connect with a network of high-powered alumni and corporate partners who are leaders in finance, investments, banking, brokerage, and other financial services fields.