All 21 students from University of Edinburgh receive stellar results and achieve 100% pass rate in CISI professional finance exam

By Lora Benson | Jul 28, 2021

Two recent cohorts of students from University of Edinburgh have achieved outstanding results with a 100% pass rate in a professional finance exam.

The 21 students have been studying the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) International Introduction to Securities and Investment exam as part of Introduction to Financial Markets, a first-year core course, taught to Finance specialist programmes, by University of Edinburgh Business School.    These two groups of students studied the CISI exam in 2019/2020 and 2020/2021, all passing successfully, 10 of them passing with merit. 

Senior Lecturer in Finance, at University of Edinburgh Business School, Dr Maria MichouCourse organiser and Senior Lecturer in Finance, at University of Edinburgh Business School, Dr Maria Michou (left), explained some of the secrets behind the students’ success: “The CISI examination has been carefully mapped against the Introduction to Financial Markets course and there is a close match of its curriculum. An enormous amount of effort has been invested in the teaching, with the support of our teaching assistants, to ensure that students cover the material for the CISI exam, in addition to the requirements of the University of Edinburgh course. We worked hard to ensure that the materials for both requirements were linked appropriately.”

“The University of Edinburgh Business School is highly selective in the type of students which it puts forward for this opportunity, contributing significantly to this success.  We look at the opportunity to sit the CISI examination: International Introduction to Securities & Investment, as a privilege for students who perform exceptionally well on the course: Introduction to Financial Markets.  We almost see it as a “Prize” for these students and for this reason we fund all 3 elements 100% for our students– registration, workbooks, and examination. 

Karolina GaleraRachel Blythe“But very importantly we should emphasise the strong teamwork in supporting  the students, administratively as they prepare for their examination – Karolina Galera (far right) and Rachel Blythe (right), from University of Edinburgh Business School’s Quality and Accreditation Team.”  

Students have received both excellent teaching and excellent academic support. 

Their feedback was very positive.  They commented that they found the course to be incredibly insightful and intriguing, as it goes through a very thorough and in depth analysis about financial markets and so much more, with the study materials easy to follow.

Additionally, the students take on 80 hours of self study towards the examination and some coaching by the CISI Client Relationship Manager for Scotland & Northern Ireland, Colin Anderson, in February and October. The session in February promotes the opportunity and the benefits of taking the CISI examination, and the two sessions taking place in October discuss study and exam techniques, as well as going through the whole CISI workbook. Students also form study groups and rehearse with practice examinations.

Comments from students Laiba Mahfooz Abuzar, Mazen Hammad and Jad Nasser detailing their experience of the course are outlined below*

Dr Michou added: “The course design is closely aligned with the CISI curriculum and aims to bridge the gap between academic theories and practical applications. Its content and breadth add huge value to our students and help them to understand better the foundations of the financial services profession and how everything relates to its bigger picture. We are so proud of our students and for our partnership with CISI.” 

Untitled-2eColin Anderson (left), CISI Client Relationship Manager, Scotland and Northern Ireland said: “We are delighted to be partnering with the University of Edinburgh Business School on this important programme.

Their finance students’ exemplary 100% exam success is testament to both their hard work, and their lecturer Dr Michou and her team. Leaving university with a professional qualification will give these students a competitive edge in our fast moving and exciting financial services profession.”




*Comments from students:

Laiba Mahfooz Abuzar

Untitled-2f“I wanted to become involved in the programme because as a first-year student with no experience besides some 

volunteering, this seemed like a great opportunity to develop myself, not only that, but being able to take part in something related to my degree is something that will greatly benefit me throughout my future career. Moreover, CISI’s values and initiatives, further encouraged me to apply as they truly aim for excellence and promoting professionalism.

“Being able to take part in the activity has allowed me to learn about the key concepts of the financial world and gain a better understanding of the financial industry. Furthermore, the knowledge you gain while preparing for the exam gives you advantage in the competitive job market. I believe whether you are starting your career, or you are a professional, CISI qualifications will always benefit your career and development.

“Before even the application process started we were given all the necessary information to ensure we were well informed. Even in these uncertain times we were given very informative presentations and the opportunity to have all our questions answered (virtually). The University helped us in every way possible, special thanks to Karolina Galera for all her help and support.”

Mazen Hammad

Untitled-2g“As a University of Edinburgh undergraduate student, I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and expertise and develop further professional qualifications. Being a respected global institution, the CISI offered exactly that. Especially in the competitive field of finance, I saw the opportunity to get involved in the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment to differentiate myself from the crowd and simultaneously join an esteemed community of over 45,000 finance professionals across 100+ countries.

“For me, undertaking the CISI program has proven to have many benefits. Since I am studying Finance and Business at university, the wide range of knowledge I comprehended for the exam had many similarities with my undergraduate curriculum. Furthermore, I believe the differentiation from having scored top marks on a respected institutional exam was key to securing my summer investment banking internship.

“I found the entire experience, from the initial contact with the Business School to virtual meetings with CISI representatives offering preparation and strategic studying advice to the focus group to gather feedback after the exam had been taken, was very streamlined and efficient. Kudos to both the Business School staff who were there offering support every step of the way and the CISI officers who cleared up the process and any questions I might have had. Highly recommend to other passionate students looking for a way to go above and beyond in terms of professional development.”

Jad Nasser

Untitled-2h“I decided to get involved in the CISI programme as I felt that gaining a qualification from such a reputable institution 

would be great for furthering my financial knowledge and help boost my career prospects in the future.

“I feel that my understanding of some of the key financial concepts has greatly improved, which has helped me in both my university studies and everyday life.

“The overall experience was great, The content was kept up to date and relevant to things that were occurring throughout the world and the exam being online allowed me the opportunity to take it from the comfort of my own home. Meeting new people who were also in the same programme was also enjoyable.”

Every year, University of Edinburgh Business School offers 10 Undergraduate students the opportunity of taking the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment (CISI) examination: International Introduction to Securities and Investment. The opportunity is open to those who are registered on the course Introduction to Financial Markets a first year Finance core course taught to University of Edinburgh’s Finance specialists programmes.