The simple answer is no. Having the CFA designation on your resume is nice, but it will not make up for poor grades or a lack of extracurricular activities and work experience. If a firm wants you to earn a certain certification, they will usually let you know once you are hired and will usually pick up the cost for you; however, that doesn't mean you can't strengthen your value as a candidate by attaining the CFA yourself.

Getting a head start is a nice way to take a little extra load off of yourself once you begin your full-time career, and frankly may be worth the few hundred dollars in the costs you incur. If you're planning a career in asset management, hedge funds, or research, there's a chance that at some point your firm will want you to get your CFA. It never hurts to be ahead of the curve!

The CFA can also be beneficial if you are attending a non-target or aren't working towards a business-related degree. It will show your interest in finance and help round out your story.

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