New Master of Finance in Alternative Investments Kicks Off With 20 Students
September 19, 2019
Three years in the making, Isenberg’s new Master of Finance in Alternative Investments (MFAI) is the first program in its field. For Isenberg, the one-year program is a natural, playing to the school’s world-class strengths in derivatives and alternative investments. It is the home of the Center for International Securities and Derivatives Markets (CISDM), which partners with the profession’s organization—the Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst Association (CAIA).
After extensive recruiting on the UMass Amherst campus and overseas, the on-campus MFAI program welcomed its first class in September. The cohort of twenty comprises UMass Amherst alumni with undergraduate and graduate degrees in business, economics, the sciences, and technology. It also includes students from China, the upshot of personal canvassing at Chinese universities by the program’s director, Bing Liang, Charles P. McQuaid Endowed Professor of Finance.
To gain their MFAI degrees, the students must complete ten courses—four in both the fall and spring semesters and two in the summer. This fall, the students are building a conceptual foundation with courses in corporate finance, business data analysis, derivatives strategies and risk management, and alternative investments. In the spring, they will take courses devoted to hedge funds, private equity and venture capital, emerging markets, and financial sustainability and governance issues. The final two course titles, in the summer, speak for themselves—Real Assets: Real Estate, Infrastructure and Beyond and Managing the Managers: Asset Allocation, Funds of Hedge Funds & Due Diligence.
Alternative investments is the fastest-growing asset management subdiscipline, both in the U.S. and overseas, emphasizes Professor Liang. Isenberg’s rigorous program, he adds, confers differentiating skills that can markedly accelerate career advancement. “There are hundreds of finance programs worldwide, but we stand alone in our alternative investment focus,” he observes. “Our faculty and resources are unparalleled.”