1. Should I do the program in 1 or 2 years?
A: It depends on your work and family commitments. Most students complete in one year. We also recommend this option, as tax law changes quite frequently and it's easier to stay up to date if you complete within one year.
2. Do the frequency of lectures differ over 1 or 2 years?
A: No, the lectures remain the same, i.e. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. If you do the program over 2 years, you will do a module over three months, then a break. Then a module, then a break.
3. I have work and family commitments – how do I balance everything?
A: Watch our webinar during which our current student representative, who works fulltime and is mom to a busy toddler, shares some advice. Essentially, you need a good support structure and the 'buy-in' of your employer. We share the whole year's lecturing schedule and assessment dates on Orientation Day (15 January 2018), so you can negotiate study leave with your employer well in advance.
4. What if I miss a lecture?
A: The lectures are recorded and uploaded to our online platform within a couple of days. So students can catch up over the week-end. Also, the lecturing notes are uploaded at least a day prior to each lecture, so you can prepare in advance. We recommend that students form smaller study groups and help each other stay up to date. We also have two class representatives whom you can contact for additional help.
5. How do I prepare for a test or exam?
A: Do not fall behind – we cover a large volume of work in a relatively short space of time. Use week-ends to revise the previous week's lectures. Work through all the tutorials and read the corresponding textbook chapter thoroughly. A selection of the previous year's tests and exams are uploaded to our online platform. The lecturers conduct a special Review session prior to the first test of each module. Thereafter, the suggested solutions to the past papers are also uploaded. Practice, practice, practice.
6. I come from a law background, and am apprehensive about the number crunching aspect of this course. Will I be able to cope?
A: Our student body comes from diverse backgrounds, both academically and professionally. Some have been in the financial services for many decades, others are fresh graduates. Although the majority of students have a B.Comm background, many are Law or BA graduates with the relevant work experience. Law students typically find the trust and estate planning sections easier (where court cases are discussed), but struggle with the investment planning section. We do provide a list of additional reading material, some of which are housed in the USB Library. We also recommend students to do extra prep work and, in some cases, do the program over two years. Ultimately, though, we have excellent internal pass rates, so our students adapt very well.
7. I don't have a Bachelor's degree. May I apply?
A: Yes. Please consult the program brochure for our Recognised Prior Learning (RPL) criteria. You must have an Advanced Certificate in Financial Planning (NQF6) and relevant work experience. We don't prescribe a minimum number of years of work – each case is considered on individual merit.
8. Do I need work experience to apply?
A: For RPL (see Q7) candidates: Yes. For other candidates, no. But we do find that those with some work experience in financial planning perform better.
9. What happens after graduation OR how do I prepare for the FPI Professional Competency Exam (the entrance exam)?
A: USB is an accredited education provider of the FPI. Our graduates are therefore automatically eligible to write the FPI exam. After the December graduation, you have to attend the FPI's workshops in preparation for the FPI exam in February (or if you prefer, August). USB also offers an additional Saturday workshop exclusively for our own graduates at no extra charge. During the workshop, our experienced lecturers will take you through a past Case Study exam of the FPI.
Note: our PGDip Financial Planning also allows you to apply for our MBA, should you wish to further your studies.
10. I need career advice or am job hunting. Can you help?
A: Once you are registered as a student at USB, you automatically have access to our Alumni and Careers Services. Our graduates are also in high demand with leading financial services companies, who recruit from us. We regularly post job abs on our electronic platform.
For any other question, please visit our website or e-mail us:
• E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org