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Bright Idea: Starting young

With older professionals retiring from the institutional investment industry, tapping into blossoming chartered financial analysts has been key to CFA Society Minnesota’s growth.

The CFA charter is a well-respected, hard-to-earn investment credential that takes multiple years to achieve. Recognizing their grit and commitment, CFA Society Minnesota first connects with young professionals at the university level.

Member volunteers visit campuses to educate faculty and students about the charter, specifically the commitments involved. As these young professionals progress, the association maintains and builds upon networks to recruit members as soon as they earn their certification.

“Our job is to connect with candidates during the exam process and, in turn, connect them with the local investment community that can be a support network for them during the exam process and as they’re landing their first jobs,” said Diane Senjem, member services manager.

But it’s not only about networking. Mentoring is also a tool for membership recruitment.

According to CFA Society of Minnesota, the goal of the program is “intended to become an integral part of CFAMN culture, built on good will amongst colleagues and the desire to advance our community’s standards of excellence and ethics.”

The organization requires mentors to have at least five years of experience. Mentors can meet with their mentees formally, one-on-one over eight months, or less formally, with a few people at once.

“People are looking for deeper connections than just knowing a person’s name and where they work,” Senjem said. “We take seriously our responsibility to help young professionals understand what it means to build  those genuine relationships that will form the foundation of their career success.”

Read more about CFAMN’s networking and mentoring program in a new whitepaper by Elizabeth Engel, chief strategist for Spark Consulting, and Sohini Baliga, director of communications for Taxpayers for Common Sense.

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