New global partnership gives Clark management students an edge

Monday, February 21, 2011

The GSOM-CAIA partnership was announced at Clark on Feb. 18. Pictured, from left, are: Clark Provost Davis Baird, GSOM Interim Dean Joseph Sarkis, CAIA Association Program Director Hossein Kazemi, GSOM visiting Professor of Finance Sondra Vitols, and GSOM Associate Professor Richard Spurgin.

Clark University Graduate School of Management students focusing on alternative investments will now have an edge over graduates from any other business school in the country, thanks to a new partnership with the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) Association, a global not-for-profit organization dedicated to education, professionalism, and ethics. 

GSOM is the first business school in the country and one of only three in the world to form an academic partnership with the Association, which is the sponsor of the only globally recognized designation for alternative investment expertise.  The other two schools are HEC Montréal and HEC Lausanne in Switzerland.

According to GSOM visiting Professor of Finance Sondra Vitols, who spearheaded the partnership, GSOM graduates focusing on alternative investments have an opportunity to take courses at Clark that will cover up to 60 percent of the material required to obtain the CAIA designation.  Because of the partnership, professors will be able to nominate meritorious students for scholarships to take the CAIA Level I exam.

“For the MBA and MSF students that come to Clark, it gives them a leg up in seeking out job opportunities in the alternative investments space. It puts them in the global network of alternative investment employment opportunities, where having credibility is important.”  ~ Sondra Vitols

To earn the CAIA designation, qualified candidates must pass the rigorous CAIA Level I and Level II exams.  The exams are given twice a year, in March and September, at proctored centers across the globe. 

In addition to serving as a visiting professor, Vitols is an alternative investment adviser for Clark’s endowment fund and is a CAIA member, having worked with the CAIA Association to develop its curriculum. She approached the association about the partnership after a student expressed interest in earning the CAIA designation.  

“Alternatives are at the forefront of the asset management industry,” said Florence Lombard, CEO of the CAIA Association.  “Through this partnership, faculty at the Graduate School of Management will be able to expand the alternative investment curriculum offering, and graduate students will have a real competitive advantage upon graduating.” 

Alternative investments, which include private equity, hedge funds, real estate and other non-traditional assets such as commodities, are growing in popularity and are typically included in the portfolios of institutional and high-net-worth investors.

The Graduate School of Management at Clark is a diverse community of learners, researchers, and business professionals that prepares future leaders to think critically, manage collaboratively and contribute to their organizations and society.

Founded in 2002, the CAIA Association is a not-for-profit organization dedicated exclusively to excellence in alternative investments, and is the sponsoring body for the only globally-recognized designation for AI expertise. The CAIA designation demonstrates mastery of alternative investment concepts, tools, and practices, and promotes adherence to the highest standards of professional conduct.

Since its founding in 1887, Clark University in Worcester, Mass., has a history of challenging convention. As an innovative liberal arts college and research university, Clark’s world-class faculty lead a community of creative thinkers and passionate doers and offer a range of expertise, particularly in the areas of psychology, geography, urban education, Holocaust and genocide studies, environmental studies, and international development and social change. Clark’s students, faculty and alumni embody the Clark motto: Challenge convention. Change our world. www.clarku.edu

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