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There's been quite a few threads about the CFA recently, and I'm curious here. I'll reach a year of unemployment come May, and all I can really say for the past 9 months is that I tutored the GMAT and passed Level I. It seems to be the stock advice for everyone who is having trouble breaking into finance to pass Level I, and then something will happen. Well... I passed Level I, just in time for a fresh batch of applications at the end of January, and nothing. My question is does Level I even really help? Do you have to pass the real tough one (Level II) before it's legit? I'm taking level II in 4 months, so should I count on having to pass that for any real shot?

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Comments (13)

  • tandaradei's picture

    Short answer - no. Long answer - nooooooooooooo.

  • Ukon's picture

    So many ppl are taking CFA these days. The absolute value of CFA remains there, but the relative value of CFA has declined sharply.

  • lifesucks's picture

    No passing the CFA Level I doesn't really change anything if your resume is weak.

    Enrolling in the program does show that you have an interest in finance, and that you're a self motivator. However, it's not going to make or break your resume. If you have crappy experience then employers will still go with people with better experience but without a CFA.

  • BretEastonEllis's picture

    I really think that unless these are senior people, they are really full of shit. In my personal experience I believe passing level I got me at least one interview i wouldn't have otherwise.

  • In reply to BretEastonEllis
    TNA's picture

    BretEastonEllis:
    I really think that unless these are senior people, they are really full of shit. In my personal experience I believe passing level I got me at least one interview i wouldn't have otherwise.

    CFA is a great program and very thorough, but the amount of time spent preparing for it could be used in ways which would garner more results. If this person is trying to break into AM or something similar then I could see being on the CFA track a worthwhile endeavor. If the person is trying to get into IB he should probably start looking at smaller boutiques, try doing free internships or something.

    One interview for 100-200 or more hours studying isn't really great results. Plus you have to factor in the $1000 plus cost of taking the test and passing it.

  • In reply to TNA
    FutureBanker09's picture

    AnthonyD1982:
    BretEastonEllis:
    I really think that unless these are senior people, they are really full of shit. In my personal experience I believe passing level I got me at least one interview i wouldn't have otherwise.

    CFA is a great program and very thorough, but the amount of time spent preparing for it could be used in ways which would garner more results. If this person is trying to break into AM or something similar then I could see being on the CFA track a worthwhile endeavor. If the person is trying to get into IB he should probably start looking at smaller boutiques, try doing free internships or something.

    One interview for 100-200 or more hours studying isn't really great results. Plus you have to factor in the $1000 plus cost of taking the test and passing it.

    Free internships really are a myth at this point. People aren't even offering those, and trust me I've tried. What other options remain to increase odds of getting a job? Should I retake the GMAT to try to get an 800 so it really pops? It is pretty depressing to realize that work experience trumps all, even though I'm still going for Level II in June. I'd like to think on some planet, someone who passed all three levels is more qualified than someone couldn't even pass one.

  • TNA's picture

    I don't think an 800 will do much for you either. Let me say this, anything you do is better than nothing, but you might be at the point where you either look at going back to school or relocating. All 3 levels of the CFA are great, but you still need the work experience part to qualify for the designation. Maybe someone in your local CFA society can help you out.

  • bertcamel's picture

    There is very little in the CFA cirriculum that applies directly to banking. I have my CFA books in front of me right now and there is not a single paragraph on pitch-books, offering memo or due diligence. If you are taking the test to prove that you can do a DCF then you should've just Googled it. The GMAT doesn't help neither.

    IMO the point is to convince the screeners that you want to do Banking, I am sure they aren't going to question your the analytical capability.

  • Angus Macgyver's picture

    All indications appear to go towards the CFA being marginally (very marginally) useful for banking; it's more applicable to ER and AM/PM.

  • TallyFL's picture

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  • huanleshalemei's picture

    The Auto Show