The academy-profession nexus in CFA partner programs

Alexandr Akimov*, Robert J. Bianchi, Michael E. Drew

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose - The purpose of this paper is to comprehensively review one example of academic-industry cooperation, namely, the partnership arrangements between the CFA Institute and universities around the globe. There is a scarcity of literature relatingto academic-industry cooperation between the finance discipline and business.

Design/methodology/approach - Relevant data were hand-collected and a comprehensive analysis of individual CFA partner programs was undertaken, including the geographical distribution of the programs and program characteristics and ranking of partners programs; the motivation for and approaches of universities toward the CFA Institute partnership and program design are identified. The general findings are validated with a detailed analysis of the CFA partner postgraduate programs offered in Australian universities. 

Findings - The research finds that the primary focus of cooperation between the CFA Institute and universities is the adoption of practitioner-relevant academic curriculum in universities, which should assist in setting industry educational standards. The authors observed a great diversity of partner institutions and programs around the globe, their rankings and their approach to cooperation with the CFA Institute thanks to the flexibility of their partnership arrangements. This explains the rapid growth of universities seeking formal cooperation with the CFA Institute. However, this growth has created challenges for the CFA Institute in managing and delivering value in their partnership arrangements. 

Research limitations/implications - Due to data limitations, the research does not provide an empirical analysis of factors driving enrollments in Australian postgraduate finance programs.

Practical implications - The paper serves as a guide to universities interested in engaging in cooperation with the CFA Institute. This study is also useful for the professional bodies that evaluate various models of cooperation with educational institutions.

Originality/value - The paper is the first, to the authors' knowledge, to examine the practical aspects of cooperation between universities and a professional body in the finance discipline. Moreover, it is the first to evaluate perceived benefits and problems universities may experience by entering into apopular CFA Institute Partner Program.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-136
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of International Education in Business
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • CFA
  • Chartered financial analyst
  • Finance education
  • Higher education
  • Partnership


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