"The CEFA degree benefits both me and my employer: I am more efficient in client work and I create even more customer benefits.”

Jarkko Pesola
Investment Director, Uudenmaan Osuuspankki

Investment Director Jarkko Pesola has worked for cooperative bank Uudenmaan Osuuspankki for approximately ten years. Pesola is in charge of his clients’ investments and wealth management. 

”Most of my clients are family businesses. The job of a family banker is a position of trust. In my line of work, customer satisfaction is strongly linked to expertise – and satisfied customers are the basis of our business,” Pesola emphasizes.

In 2020, Pesola participated in the Certified European Financial Analyst (CEFA) program, organized by Aalto EE in cooperation with the Finnish Association of Financial Analysts. 

”In the finance business – especially wealth management – a CEFA degree is a highly esteemed merit. I had contemplated participating for some time,” he says. 

”I have a master’s degree in economics. Many of the themes included in the CEFA program were familiar to me – but I wanted a more thorough understanding of the underlying theories. I was highly motivated to learn more,” he adds. 

The instructors were marvelous. They knew just how to highlight the most relevant and interesting themes."

Pesola says that he knew the program would require substantial work. 

”I had a clear picture of what I was getting into: some of my colleagues have a CEFA degree and they encouraged me to enroll. I was looking forward to a high-level, fairly theoretical program, and I was ready to work hard,” he reminisces.

A strong command of theory is beneficial at work

Pesola describes the CEFA program as a surprisingly rewarding experience.

”The instructors were marvelous. They knew just how to highlight the most relevant and interesting themes, and all the in-class days were excellent learning experiences," he says. 

”I was also very happy with the study material. It was easier to grasp the big picture, when essential points were summarized so well in the study material. All in all, the teaching deserves high marks,” he continues. 

At large, everything I learned during the CEFA program has been beneficial both for me and my employer."

Pesola says that the content of the CEFA program was both wide-ranging and interesting. He names portfolio theory, interest rate markets, and derivatives markets as themes that he found particularly fascinating. 

"Markowitz's portfolio theory, for example, is a theme that I come across almost daily in customer work. I was pleased to gain a thorough understanding of it – and implementing it at work has definitely been useful,” Pesola remarks.

”At large, everything I learned during the CEFA program has been beneficial both for me and my employer. The program deepened and expanded my previous knowledge: I am more efficient in client work and I create even more customer benefits,” he affirms. 

Every time you passed an exam you knew that you had obtained a great deal of valuable information."

In-depth competence in performing demanding analytical work

The CEFA program includes exams, which Pesola calls anything but easy.

”The exams were demanding, but doable, if you put in the hours to prepare. In hindsight the high standards were a great thing. Every time you passed an exam you knew that you had obtained a great deal of valuable information,” he points out. 

”The exams not only tested your expertise, but also how well you handle stress. You must have solid command of the subjects to provide answers in the given time limit,” he adds. 

Pesola says that he is pleased to endorse the CEFA program. 

”I recommend participating. It will certainly increase your competence in performing demanding analytical work. You also meet new people, which is always beneficial. Participants represented a wide array of industries and we had rewarding discussions,” he says.”You need to be committed and motivated, but if you can invest the time, it’s definitely worthwhile. There is a reason why CEFA is such a highly esteemed degree. The program is an excellent opportunity to develop your skills,” he concludes. Aalto EE’s staff deserves special thanks. We all got to enjoy wonderful support all throughout the program."

CEFA - Certified European Financial Analyst