11 Steps to Becoming a Finance Jedi

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I am Turtle.

11 items to maximize your human and career potential. I get networking requests from fresh graduates so often, that I wish I could just refer them to this list. I graduated from top-tier undergrad and mba programs, top 3 in both, arguably #1 in both. I started my career on sell side and am now a PM on buyside. Mistakes? I've either made them myself or seen them made by people close to me. I have violated each one of these 11 rules at some point.

These notes are intended for those who want to progress in a balanced, sane way and who place equal importance on both the knowledge and people dynamics of the business. These notes are intended for winners who want to win with both substance and form. I am going to give this advice in a frank way that I wouldn't tell any young person face to face, due to the harshness of it. These notes are not intended for pretenders, trust fund babies, or the merely "charismatic". These notes are intended for 1st round draft picks.

0. You are a knowledge worker, not a widget maker.

No correlation exists between hours spent in office and work produced or knowledge gained. No correlation exists between the foot-pages of reading and knowledge gained. Know this in your bones and you will avoid countless mistakes. No matter how brilliant you are, don't make the mistake of thinking you can know or do everything. There are no renaissance men in finance.

1. Read ONLY what's important and use it actively.

Use the 20 second rule. Ask yourself 20 seconds into a reading, "Is this something that will possibly benefit me over the next 3 years of my career?" You will gain years of life this way. Those mid-career losers you see who have been in the business for 10+ years but still don't seem to know anything? They tend to share a love of reading, especially the WSJ. Reading time is a precious resource. It counts only if you can use it actively in practice. Everybody can read. It's easy. Read things that stretch you and engage actively with the material.

2. Keep notes on your reading.

You will be shocked, shocked at how little you retain in your little brain as you progress in your career. Massive data overload, processing complexity, and time constraint means that you will not be able to separate the wheat from chaff without re-processing the important stuff into notes.

3. If you can't get into a top 5 or top 10 MBA program, get the CFA instead.

I prefer CFAs over graduates from mediocre b-schools. CFA takes at least a little bit of effort, and imparts a deeper finance background than available at low-tier schools.

4. If you take the CFA, try to pass on 1st try of each exam.

Use up every single vacation day if necessary. Do not fail. And yes, I will not be impressed if you fail one of the exams. It shows a lack of baseline intellect, intellectual laziness, or improper priority setting. None of these is acceptable. Put your gf on a shelf and go into the man cave. Wall Street doesn't give an 'A' for effort. I know this is harsh. If you want to deal with A players, this is what you're dealing with. So deal with it or be content with being a B player. Nothing wrong with that.

5. Be aware of the company culture before going in.

Have a strategy for how to deal with it. For instance, if you're a working class kid put on a floor with a bunch of WASP country club guys, it's better to subtly acknowledge your background rather than trying to fake it.WASPs like the position of social charity they put themselves in by welcoming you.

6. Network from the other person's perspective.

When asking for an "informational meeting", be aware that even 5 minutes of time is precious to the person you are asking. I do not respond to such requests anymore because of the prevalence of entitled networkers who believe that 15 minutes is too little time. Is 30 minutes for an MD a big sacrifice? It is when you are working full time and have a family. That's 30 minutes you are taking away from me and my family. If someone offers you 15, take it gratefully. That 15 minutes might change your life.

7. Know thyself. Work around your weaknesses.

Procrastinate much? Better find a strategy around that pronto. Do you get flustered when asked a pointed questions on the floor? Learn how to answer in a cool and reasoned manner. You're dealing with money. It's serious business and people assign a trust rating to you based on your demeanor. Understand when you're stressed and destress pronto or compensate for it. Emotionally uneven people are not worthy of money trust.

8. Learn to manage emotions in yourself and others.

Meditate. Learn how to breathe and pay attention to the breathing of yourself and others. Knowing when you're under pressure is the first step to dealing with it intelligently.

9. Stay healthy and sleep enough.

The ancients had it right with their motto "healthy mind in healthy body." The benefits of this will flow through to everything else in this list.

10. Be a good human being.

We all die. Money is an illusion. Nobody wants to deal with assholes, not even assholes. Be tough but fair. Treat others as you would want to be treated

If somebody had told me all these things when I was 22, I might not have been receptive to it all. Maybe you won't either. But it's the list of things I wish someone had told me. I just doubt I would have been humble or intelligent enough to put it into action.

I am Turtle.

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Comments (111)

Feb 23, 2014

Good read, SB for Turtle

Feb 23, 2014

[That's 30 minutes you are taking away from me and my family...]

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Feb 24, 2014

SB+1. learned a lot. point 6 is on spot. I always complain about how contacts don't have time to reply my mails and can't stay for another 15 minutes. Now that I really put myself in their shoes, I understand why and will be grateful of any time they give me. I understand what point 1 means but can't really tell which is worth reading and which isn't. Everyday they're 100+ articles on WSJ. Don't know which ones to read. anyone wanna provide some insight?

Feb 24, 2014

watch mike price's columbia lecture.

Feb 24, 2014

When I was in school, I read anything and everything so I could build a base of knowledge and no matter what situation I found myself in I would be at least tangentially knowledgeable in something. I've learned that many times it is better to simply say "oh, I didn't see that. Tell me about it" rather than trying to quote the first two lines of the article you read and feign knowledge. I think it really depends on the industry and situation you are in.

Here's what I would do, and I'm assuming you are still in school? Read as many as you can. Then think about how many you talk about or refer back to. So if you trade your own money or are in a trading club, how many actually come up or matter? I tend to read about things that are harder for me to reach out and touch directly, so if I see something about China and their economy I'm more likely to read it than the twentieth article this month about snow impeding economic numbers. We get it, snow slows down everything. You get my point haha.

The other thing to do is get twitter, follow every financial source, blogger, site etc you can find and scan through that everyday. That's how I get most of my news (and frankly, much of it is better and more timely than anything in the journal).

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Feb 24, 2014

Great stuff, SB!

It's hip to be square!

Feb 24, 2014

Great stuff. And one point I'd like to add is that the "15 minutes" people allot to helping you out can sometimes be stretched into 30 minutes if they end up liking you or if no work is really pressing. Any face to face interaction can be life changing in this industry so definitely go for it. Now, on the other hand, some people will cut their time short so make sure to always be up front with people, but tactfully.

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Feb 24, 2014

Great stuff; thanks!

Feb 24, 2014

just wandering what is SB? It means stupid in China.

Feb 24, 2014

Silver Banana

I love my bananas!

Feb 24, 2014

I enjoyed this very much. I prefer the blunt, harsh as it may sound, to the "beat around the bush" or "pat you on the back" methodology. At least blunt remarks give you a starting point to correct and/or work on weaknesses.

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Feb 24, 2014

Re #4: How can you even verify this? I've seen people disclose "passed all exams on first try", but it doesn't seem like you'd be able to see that I took L2 twice to pass; e.g. if one failed L2 on first try, they could just try it again and leave "L2 Candidate" on their resume.

Feb 24, 2014
Anihilist:

Re #4: How can you even verify this? I've seen people disclose "passed all exams on first try", but it doesn't seem like you'd be able to see that I took L2 twice to pass; e.g. if one failed L2 on first try, they could just try it again and leave "L2 Candidate" on their resume.

I don't think anyone can ever find out if they do not work for the CFAI.

Feb 24, 2014

The CFA "pass all on first attempt" remark is ridiculous, and not just because I'm butthurt from failing Level I on my first attempt. There are so many things that play into how many times you take any given exam, things outside of just "prioritizing" and "putting your GF on the shelf." Using myself as an example, I wanted to take Level I in June (rather than Dec.) as I only had 10 weeks to study (while working full-time and volunteering) and knew I would be borderline pass/fail come test time. My boss was paying my way and said he did not care if I failed and had to retake it, and insisted that I try and push myself and pass with limited study. Just one scenario (of infinite possible) that makes the remark ridiculous. Also, an employer that is concerned about you not passing consecutively is an idiot in his own right, especially considering the rigor and time commitment necessary to receive the charter, nevertheless the fact that if you received the charter you absolutely know and understand the material which is the entire purpose of getting/having/desiring the designation in the first place.

Love the post in general, though.

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Feb 24, 2014

I wouldn't take his remarks on the CFA at the surface level. I think his point is more directed at students / un-employed people trying to break into the industry. Someone with a ton of free time has a lot less of an excuse to fail any of the tests.

I love the advice though. I've always been a big reader, probably more of the type of reader you mentioned above. Something I'm currently trying to do is read for an hour or so before bed and take notes. If I can "responsibly" read an hour a night, five or six nights a week, that's 250 hours of quality reading a year. Not even counting the amount of b.s. reading / studying we do on the side and during actual work.

Thanks for this post. I plan on using most of these tips!

Feb 24, 2014

can employers even find out if you've failed any CFA level in the past if you dont reveal it on your own accord?

Feb 24, 2014

No. There is no way to tell how many times you took the CFA before passing.

Great post though, some good stuff in there. Number 2 is really a good tip, I started doing this, keeping a sort of Investing/Econ journal, and really find I retain so much more information and am much better informed in current financial news and information because of it.

Feb 24, 2014

I was actually browsing analystforum where there was a question regarding this. Someone mentioned that an employer is allowed to request receipts from the payments you've made, therefore maybe being able to deduce how many times you've tested in total (not sure if this is true, or if anyone would actually go to such lengths to validate your status)

Feb 24, 2014
ichorturtle:

I am Turtle.

arguably #1 in both

lol what does this even mean and how can you argue class ranking?

Regardless, sb'd.

Feb 24, 2014

This is great!

The hills are alive with the sound of horsepower! - Jeremy Clarkson

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Feb 24, 2014

This is brilliant.

Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. On passing CFA levels at first pass, relax. My view is just my view. Just one asshole's view. Not everybody thinks my way. And even I don't discount somebody completely because of a failure on the CFA. And let's face it, we all know idiots pass it. It's not the alpha and omega of finance acumen.

But for the fellow who belly ached about working full time and having the boss who expected him to fail anyway, let me ask you a question. Do you think the 300 question general surgery board exam might be tough to pass? Pass rates are actually much higher than for the CFA. This might be because the pool of test takers is undoubtedly of higher quality. Now, if your mother were going into surgery and you had the choice of using a doctor who passed on the first try and another who required two tests (because he was working too hard and blah blah blah), who you goin' with brah, all else equal? When I hire a first time passer or someone who took 5 years, who you think I'm going with? That's right, the same guy you're going with! "I got hit on the way to the exam," is an excuse. "I was working full time" is not an excuse. Have you heard about the Rhodes scholar who explained his low GPA by pointing to his extensive practice field time? Yeah, me neither. I am turtle.

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Dec 24, 2014

P.S. By all means, if you have completed only one or two of the levels years ago, and have no intention or capability of getting the cert, don't even mention having taken the exam. I have ruled out job candidates on this fact alone. It's better to leave your capacity gap unstated than to cement the market's knowledge of it.

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Feb 25, 2014

I am Dr. Seuss. Sorry, but turtle is right. If you throw enough shit against the wall, something is bound to stick eventually. Saying how many attempts it took doesn't matter is like saying two sports teams are equal because team A FINALLY beat team B on their 10th attempt. Give anyone enough trys to do pretty much anything, and it'll eventually work. Clearing the entire process in your first pass simply shows a different grasp of the curriculum than it does if you took 10 trys. This is also why I'm a huge believer that if the CFAI increased the frequency of the exams, it'd be the death knell of the program. It's current infrequency is what makes completion an accomplishment- with people bailing on it because they don't feel like taking YEARS to finish. Increase the frequency it's offered -> more people finish -> supply goes through the roof. One must look no further than the college degree, to see what happens in the job market when the supply of something goes through the roof (spoiler alert: it becomes useless). I am Dr. Seuss.

Feb 24, 2014

Your sports team analogy is awful. I'm not saying that it should take anyone more than two attempts to pass any given exam, but the tests are a static collection of foundational financial concepts and practices. Your knowledge capacity as a tester is not (hopefully).

General surgery board exams are also a completely different beast. As per Wikipedia:
"Surgeons certified by the ABS, known as diplomates, have completed a minimum of five years of surgical residency training following medical school and successfully completed a written and oral examination process administered by the ABS."

So given the minimum qualifications to even take the test, odds are things will be more "equal".

Just seems like you're isolating variables (which as you said, all else equal is important). But if you had a candidate that passed all three on first try, however had been working in BO for the past four years; versus an IB analyst that had failed level 2 on his/her first try do to "work", I kind of believe that you'd still choose the latter.

Again, I hear what you're saying, but your definitive manner on the subject seemed a little callous of others' circumstances and other qualities.

Feb 24, 2014

Thank you, Anihilist.

As for me working full-time while studying, that was not an excuse. Rather, it was to add some additional context in my example, which apparently wasn't extreme enough. I should have said that I had only a week to study instead of ten, Christ.

My point was just that it is extremely circumstantial to each unique individual test-taker's additional obligations outside of their studies. Of course if you fail every exam or fail one of them multiple times there may be issues (and I emphasize the word may, because it's still circumstantial).

BTW, if I'm hiring and you're hiring I'll give you the guy who passed consecutively in one try. I like that guy who took Level II three times, because I know he'll work his ass off for me and he'll never quit.

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. Thanks. I'll take that guy who passed first time. You can fix a lot of things but you can't fix stupid.

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Feb 24, 2014

There's about a 0.000001% chance (rounded) that someone who received the CFA charter is stupid. Also, you forgot the "I am Turtle" signature at the end of your last post. A lack of attention to detail is not a good attribute, I would not hire you.

PS - I do see both sides of this debate but cannot ignore the significance of differing circumstances in this particular case.

Dec 24, 2014

Then you have not met enough CFA's!

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Feb 25, 2014

Wait, not sure if this is turtle....

Feb 25, 2014
MacGruber:

BTW, if I'm hiring and you're hiring I'll give you the guy who passed consecutively in one try. I like that guy who took Level II three times, because I know he'll work his ass off for me and he'll never quit.

Are you advising kids to keep failing on purpose so employers will know how hard they work? What if the kid doesn't even open a book on the first 3 or 4 tries?

I'm all for hard workers and what not, but suggesting that fail > pass is a stretch.

Feb 24, 2014

Use your head, of course I'm not advising that anyone try to fail an exam. If that's what you took out of my comment then you have some extreme problems with understanding written context.

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Feb 25, 2014
MacGruber:

Use your head, of course I'm not advising that anyone try to fail an exam. If that's what you took out of my comment then you have some extreme problems with understanding written context.

In your last post you forfeited the first try guy for the constant failure guy. If fail > pass for you, whoever wants to work for you should make sure to fail.

I don't really care about how many times my analysts took the exams mainly because about 90% of the 3-on-3 crew just lucked out. The majority of the CFA-passers gets about 70% in mock exams, especially for Levels 2 and 3 - some get lucky, some don't.

That said, if all other things were truly equal, it is obvious that success is better than failure.

This is basic game theory. The guy that passed can be a guy with a lot of stuff on his plate that was able to pass, or can be a guy with a lot of free time that managed to pass. The guy that took L2 many times can be a guy with a lot of stuff on his plate that failed, or can be a guy with a lot of free time that failed. If the way to get the charter was a deal breaker (it's not) the choice would be obvious.

On your example, failing L2 3 times really isn't very cool. No matter how hard you work, if you couldn't manage time to study properly in more than a thousand days (more than 150 sundays) you were either bad at allocating time or at working hard towards that goal.

I think failing L2 or 3 on the first attempt is very natural (people get tricked by thinking the next level won't be much harder than the previous one). Failing 3, 4 or 5 times may be a remarkable tail of personal perseverance, but it doesn't get you extra points in the interview.

Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle.

Do or do not. There is no try. There is a reason this set of tips is for jedis.

In the case of the BO vs analyst debate, that's really a strawman argument, no? The right comp is analyst to analyst. But yes, i agree with your thesis. To underscore your (nonsensical?) point, yes, i'd rather hire an analyst who failed the first try than an unemployed guy who passes each test on first try. My only point here is that 'A' players don't care about excuses. And if someone takes this exam with only 2 weeks of prep time and fails, i certainly wouldn't want client money consorting with such arrogance and/or lack of self knowledge. Know yourself and accommodate accordingly.

I am turtle.

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Feb 24, 2014
ichorturtle:

i certainly wouldn't want client money consorting with such arrogance

Do you see the irony in this?

I appreciate your insight, but I also think humility is a valuable trait, especially when it comes to investing.

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Feb 24, 2014

Blinded by his shell.

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. Yes there is irony here if you mistake standards for arrogance. To use a very dubious analogy here, i suppose you would call arrogant a patient who will only consider a surgeon with the highest medical credentials? Perhaps that is true. Again, these are just my thoughts. 'A' players will understand. For the rest who criticize the approach, well, you are welcome to your opinion., and i have no itge to change it. I am turdle.

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Feb 25, 2014

Great topic. Bookmarked for later read :)

Feb 25, 2014

I am kanga.

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Feb 25, 2014

Much in the original post to agree with (not sure about the value of the CFA, though)...

I think I am going to do one better than "I am Turtle". I am going to start (and end) all my pearls of wisdom with "I am Secretariat".

I am Secretariat.

Feb 24, 2014

I believe Mr. Gross has already laid claim to that lofty title.

I am the Commentariat.

Feb 25, 2014

Dammit, foiled again... I suppose "I am Seabiscuit" doesn't convey quite the same message (that of total and overwhelming superiority)?

Feb 24, 2014

Yeah, doesn't demand the same level of authority as "Secretariat". There are some other pretty interesting names of Triple Crown winners though (Assault, Whirlaway, War Admiral, etc.)

I think I'm going to start a new elite investing club where each member is referred to by one of the 11 TC winners, but Bill Gross won't be allowed.

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Feb 25, 2014

I'd like to be your padawan. lol. :P

Feb 25, 2014

I wish @"DickFuld" would sign off on his posts like that

Best Response
Feb 25, 2014
Menascyn:

I wish @DickFuld would sign off on his posts like that

I would, but I'm not a pretentious douche. So I won't.

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Feb 25, 2014

Completely understandable. Your reputation is everything.

Feb 25, 2014

I am [1] [SSits]

Feb 25, 2014

This CFA passing comment is possibly the most useless serious comment I have seen on this forum, especially coming from someone who claims to be a buyside portfolio manager. I failed Level 2 the first time I took it, because a) I didn't get time to study enough, b) a lot of the test is subjective, and c) physical state and energy level on exam day make a difference. Also, for a lot of people just a few questions could be the difference between passing and not passing, so making such blanket statements on something ultimately arbitrary can only be described as asinine.

Also I'm still struggling to figure out what is up with this "i am turtle" nonsense.

OP, way to take what could have been an okay post and pee all over it.

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. Dear Going Concern: I am sorry you didn't pass on your first try. I didn't want to make you feel bad. You have valid excuses to have failed. You didn't have time to study. Every other person who passed had way more time, I'm sure. You have only 24 hours in a day. Others have 24.5 or even 30. Totally unfair, I say! The test was subjective for you, I'm sure, It was probably quite objective to everybody else who took it, right? That's not fair, either, and I'm sorry about that too. Why, there are thousands of test takers taking the CFA in English as a foreign language. Their unfamiliarity with English gives them an objective take on the questions that is just not possible for native speakers like you. Totally unfair, I say! One question can make the difference between success and failure, so it's not fair that they fail anybody. At the limit, the passing score should be 1 correct answer for a pass. Because there shouldn't be cut-offs, right? It is completely arbitrary that some people succeed and others fail. Totally unfair. Very sorry about this state of affairs. It's a horrid, cruel world. We should all get our first choice job and become billionaires because that's what's fair. No more of this success/failure nonsense, right?

Good grief, this is why I don't take "informational interviews" anymore. To consider oneself above average but be average or below is quite the cognitive dissonance, often manifesting itself as internet bravado and hysterical disavowal of sound reasoning. I am turtle.

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Dec 24, 2014

Bullshit. There is only one CFA exam that can be considered "subjective" and that's the morning session of Level III, and even then that's a stretch.

I remember reading all the comments on analyst forum after the exam about people saying there were trick questions and I would bet money that anyone who said that failed. I've written all three CFA exams and have never thought there was a trick question because I made the effort to study everything and made no excuses.

In my books, there are only two excuses for failing a CFA exam: a family death, or the birth of a child. Any other excuse reflects poor planning (i.e. not enough time to study) or a lack of preparation (thinking the test is subjective or physical state on exam day).

Feb 25, 2014

Dear Mr. Turtle,

You say in your post that you've broken each of your rules at least once, implying that you were unable to pass all three of the CFA exams on your first attempt. Does this mean you are a 'B' player? Do you lack a sufficient base of intellect? Are you intellectually lazy? Did you refuse to "put your girl on a shelf"? Are you content with being a 'B' player?

Also, I have neither a top-tier MBA nor the CFA charter. Can I still be an 'A' player? Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller do not have an MBA or CFA, are they 'B' players? What about Julian Robertson? Please advise!!!

Sincerely,

Simple As

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Feb 24, 2014
Simple As...:

Dear Mr. Turtle,

You say in your post that you've broken each of your rules at least once, implying that you were unable to pass all three of the CFA exams on your first attempt. Does this mean you are a 'B' player? Do you lack a sufficient base of intellect? Are you intellectually lazy? Did you refuse to "put your girl on a shelf"? Are you content with being a 'B' player?

Also, I have neither a top-tier MBA nor the CFA charter. Can I still be an 'A' player? Paul Tudor Jones and Stanley Druckenmiller do not have an MBA or CFA, are they 'B' players? What about Julian Robertson? Please advise!!!

Sincerely,

Simple As

Yes, I do not believe Mr Turtle has not obtained charterholder status.

ichorturtle:

Then you have not met enough CFA's!

Blatantly using the term "CFA" as a noun; ethics violation!

Feb 25, 2014

Is "CFA charter" the correct way to say it?

Obviously I am a 'B' player because I do not know this.

Dec 24, 2014

In case you haven't figured this out, the most likely reason for this silly rule is trademark law. They are simply afraid that the acronym will become a generic signifier, similar to "kleenex". Nobody takes this point seriously as an ethics violation. If the CFAI did ever clamp down on this, many many firms would have to change bio pages.

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Feb 24, 2014
ichorturtle:

In case you haven't figured this out, the most likely reason for this silly rule is trademark law. They are simply afraid that the acronym will become a generic signifier, similar to "kleenex". Nobody takes this point seriously as an ethics violation. If the CFAI did ever clamp down on this, many many firms would have to change bio pages.

Yes, you make a perfect point. However, the majority of the ethics in accordance with CFAI standards are a little superfluous; yet if you fail to recognize them, your score will suffer and I doubt the CFAI will reconsider on the grounds of it being a "silly rule".

Dec 24, 2014

Dear Anihilist: I agree. I am turtle.

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Feb 25, 2014

I bet no one has ever accused you of being overtly literal... To paraphrase Pirates of the Caribbean, they're not rules exactly, more like guidelines.

Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. Dear Simple As(s): would it have been better if I had said, "I have made all these mistakes except the CFA part, because I passed on my first try." You can see how that sounds? If you're PTJ or some other hedgie, you're not reading this forum, I presume.

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Feb 25, 2014

Well, simply saying, "I have made most of these mistakes.." would be much more concise, but you're an 'A' player so you already knew that.

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Dec 24, 2014

Dear Simple As: you win. Congratulations!

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Feb 24, 2014

And for a second there I thought I may just be crazy. Thank you @"Simple As..." & @"Going Concern" for seconding (and thirding) what I thought was an obvious response to a ridiculous statement made by that clown.

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Feb 24, 2014

@"DickFuld" +1 Silver Potassium

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Feb 24, 2014

@"Simple As..."
CFA Charterholder or "obtained Chartered Financial Analyst designation"
http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/cfa-level-1...

I'm probably a C player, tops; but an A player when it comes to Ethics.

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Jun 26, 2014
Anihilist:

@Simple As...

CFA Charterholder or "obtained Chartered Financial Analyst designation"

http://www.investopedia.com/exam-guide/cfa-level-1...

I'm probably a C player, tops; but an A player when it comes to Ethics.

I like your style. Viva la ethics.

Feb 25, 2014

I've decided to go through each point in the OP one by one, since I think it is needed.

0. You are a knowledge worker, not a widget maker.

With the departure of most prop trading, if you've ever worked in finance, you'd know that the only thing you really are is a 'relationship worker'. Your only real goal is to cultivate relationships - that's it. Sometimes that requires knowledge, sometimes that requires producing something, sometimes that requires just being available, and sometimes it requires something else. Whether that's colleagues, potential clients, existing clients, board members, or stakeholders, all you're there to do is build and maintain relationships. You think if you're a portfolio manager investing capital that you won't have some bad months and some good months? You absolutely will, and throughout both, it's the relationship that you have built over time with your respective clients that will matter the most.

1. Read ONLY what's important and use it actively.

Since you have literally no idea what will end up being important in the future, let alone what you will even be doing in three years, this is meaningless advice. I was just working on an analysis that tied in some concepts I randomly came across several years ago and thought were completely unimportant and not worth learning.

2. Keep notes on your reading.

Your focus should be on learning, not on taking notes or not taking notes. Take notes if you want to, or don't. If all you do is focus on taking notes, you will accumulate so many notes that you won't have the willingness to go through all of them, and will ultimately detract from what you could have been learning with the time and energy you spent on taking useless notes. Read. Understand. Apply.

3. If you can't get into a top 5 or top 10 MBA program, get the CFA instead.

MBA and CFA are not substitute designations. Your goal shouldn't just be to rack up what designations might sound good. Figure out what you want to do and what's important to your goals and what makes sense in terms of time and money investment, and proceed accordingly. I'm not even going to comment on the proposed importance of arbitrary spots on some arbitrary ranking.

4. If you take the CFA, try to pass on 1st try of each exam.

See rest of thread comments. Tldr version: nobody cares, except maybe OP.

5. Be aware of the company culture before going in.

Companies don't have cultures, assuming that company isn't a 10-person startup where everyone is at least a VP.

6. Network from the other person's perspective.

Putting others needs before your own is classic beta male. Unless of course being an A player involves taking only five minutes to get on your knees and show how utterly grateful you are.

7. Know thyself.

This isn't actionable advice. "Understand when you're stressed and destress pronto"...many thanks here. I wish I had thought of that, then I would just keep a bottle of whiskey in my top desk drawer. I've always been assuming that when you're stressed you should do whatever it takes to increase your stress level.

8. Learn to manage emotions in yourself and others.

Other than the fact that you can't control other people's emotions, learn how to breathe? Meditate? Yeah I'm not sure that's so much 'Finance Jedi' as much as 'Finance Yogi'...let's make sure to always wear some Lululemons underneath those trousers.

9. Stay healthy and sleep enough.

Don't be too healthy. Don't always sleep enough. Very often, health and sleep are the costs that must be paid from time to time to accomplish either fun or productivity. All things in moderation, including moderation.

10. Be a good human being.

Good and fair are not the same thing. It's possible to be good but not fair, and fair but not good.

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. Yes, whatever Going Concern wrote, do the opposite and you'll be ok. Most of his rebuttals lead to mediocre performance. If your sole reason for being is as a "relationship manager", say goodbye to job security. You know what happens to relationship managers as soon as the new boss comes in? He brings in his crew and decimates the incumbent team. As I prefaced earlier, my points are not for pretenders or those who lay no claim to hard knowledge. His type will also read lots of junk in hopes of being able to salvage that time in the future. Of course he doesn't take notes. He has no process or thoughtfulness on the usefulness of his reading. He's also an alpha male, so he can have solo networking sessions because he just doesn't care about the other perspective. Going Concern, your counterpoints have provided me many laughs. Thank you.

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Feb 25, 2014
ichorturtle:

I am turtle. Yes, whatever Going Concern wrote, do the opposite and you'll be ok. Most of his rebuttals lead to mediocre performance. If your sole reason for being is as a "relationship manager", say goodbye to job security. You know what happens to relationship managers as soon as the new boss comes in? He brings in his crew and decimates the incumbent team. As I prefaced earlier, my points are not for pretenders or those who lay no claim to hard knowledge. His type will also read lots of junk in hopes of being able to salvage that time in the future. Of course he doesn't take notes. He has no process or thoughtfulness on the usefulness of his reading. He's also an alpha male, so he can have solo networking sessions because he just doesn't care about the other perspective. Going Concern, your counterpoints have provided me many laughs. Thank you.

You forgot to end off with "I am turtle"...weak sauce, bro. Player Status downgraded to B+, watch negative. Also, congratulations on showcasing an inability to comprehend anything I wrote.

I'm done with this clown.

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Dec 24, 2014

Ah, it is all clear now. Go in peace to the ratings agency whence you came. And thank you for the comedy. I am turtle.

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Feb 24, 2014

@"ichorturtle" Were you often picked on as a kid? I think I solved the "why."

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. No. I am turtle

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Mar 5, 2014
ichorturtle:

I am turtle. No. I am turtle

I haven't gotten the douche-chills this bad since the first time I saw an Affliction t shirt

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Feb 25, 2014
ichorturtle:

1. Read ONLY what's important and use it actively. Use the 20 second rule. Ask yourself 20 seconds into a reading, "Is this something that will possibly benefit me over the next 3 years of my career?" You will gain years of life this way. Those mid-career losers you see who have been in the business for 10+ years but still don't seem to know anything? They tend to share a love of reading, especially the WSJ. Reading time is a precious resource. It counts only if you can use it actively in practice. Everybody can read. It's easy. Read things that stretch you and engage actively with the material.

I failed this rule by reading this post and the replies.

ichorturtle:

10. Be a good human being. We all die. Money is an illusion. Nobody wants to deal with assholes, not even assholes. Be tough but fair. Treat others as you would want to be treated

If somebody had told me all these things when I was 22, I might not have been receptive to it all. Maybe you won't either. But it's the list of things I wish someone had told me. I just doubt I would have been humble or intelligent enough to put it into action.

I am Turtle.

It's not clear that you actually believe this, given your replies.

When I first read this post, I thought it was a reasonably good post (although, clearly not Earth-shattering). The focus on the CFA is a little weird, which makes me think you work at some place like Fidelity, where it's just a marketing machine and credentials are needed for display on a mutual fund fact sheet. I would have let the CFA obsession slide, but the bigger issue is that you are doling out advice that you clearly don't follow (don't be an asshole). It's like going to a 400 pound chain smoking doctor who tells you to be more health conscious. The messenger gets in the way of the message.

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Feb 24, 2014

@dickfuld, meant to SB not MS.. will make up for it when I can. I too thought this was a well made post when I first read it, good overall advice but I just came back to read the comments and like you said the OP is giving whimsical advice and replies which seem to depend on whatever mood he is in at any given moment.

@turtle, your OP was seemingly well intentioned and, while blunt, was overall good advice but it is clear that in reality you want to be of no help given your monkey shit replies and pay no attention to point number 10.

Feb 25, 2014

Each post you make has "ichorturtle" on the top, so we know your pseudonym. I'm not sure why you keep posting "I am turtle" in your posts.

Tip #1 was read only what's important, so are you putting this text into each post as some sort of constant reminder and implicit reiteration of that tip?

Alternatively, tip #1 is about not wasting time. Surely if we should only read what is important, we certainly should not type unimportant stuff, like a redundant "I am turtle".

If you don't live by your tips - I'm cool with that principle, as I don't have an undergraduate fixation on hypocrisy being a mortal sin. Whatever floats your boat, I guess. A great man once said "I don't practice what I preach, because I'm not the kind of man that I'm preaching to".

I'm fine wasting my time writing posts like this, because that floats my boat.

Perhaps I'm too caught up in the messenger rather than the message, but the "I am turtle" tag does make me think you are a knob.

I think you should add a tip #12 - think about how your present yourself, because humans are not rational engines, but instead meat bags of chemicals that are the product of millions of years of evolution. One result is that our brains focus on presentation heavily, often more heavily than on the message being presented. Our thinking is dominated by heuristics, not rationality. So that means you should take care in how your present yourself and not rely on rational content alone to convince the audience of your message. Otherwise, you risk people thinking that you're a knob.

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Feb 25, 2014
SSits:

Each post you make has "ichorturtle" on the top, so we know your pseudonym.

Unfortunately I don't think he took enough notes on how an online discussion forum works. Poor guy.

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. Dear SSits: your pt 12 is wise advice and is applicable no matter where you sit. I am turtle.

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Feb 26, 2014

#1 is particularly interesting. I always have been told in prep school to skim all possible sources of information to develop writing skills, but I dont know, maybe the old lady teachers didnt know shit about internet and the infinity of information available. Cudos

Feb 27, 2014

Thanks for the advise especially #4

Feb 28, 2014

Top 10 is a little too extreme for people who don't want to do IB or MBB.

I think below 18-20 is a "mediocre" B School. I wouldn't call UCLA or Duke mediocre.

Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. It is fair to say that b-schools 18-20 are not "mediocre". It is also fair to say that, all else equal, I would hire a non-mba with a CFA over an mba from ucla or duke. One could conceivably get a sound education there. But if we are talking about finance knowledge, I think the CFA program confers superior knowledge, compared to a lower tier b-school.

This opinion cones from my experience in having worked with a few mba's from such lower tier schools. This is not to demean those schools or degree recipients, only that in my opinion, the CFA program is a superior provider of finance knowledge.

For me, the key advantage of an mba degree from a top 5 school is as a signaling mechanism. It is no accident that MS and GS recruit from these target schools. However, it is unwise to rely purely on this or any other indicator.

When I hire somebody, I want confidence that they know finance. For me, the CFA credential trumps an mba from ucla/duke/vanderblit/etc.

And yes, I would rather hire a community college grad with a CFA than a ucla mba. I respect hard work as much as anyone.

My advice is for those who aspire to be elite. As such, the pungent aroma of eliteness may turn off some people. This advice is not intended for them, so I beg pardon for the unintentional offense. I am turtle.

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Feb 25, 2014

Oh dear... Might I be allowed to ask the esteemed turtle how old he/she might be and how much experience in the industry he/she has?

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Dec 24, 2014

I am turtle. You are a passive aggressive little one, aren't you. You should disagree like a gentleman. This shall be my last response to you. I am turtle.

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Feb 25, 2014

Huh? Firstly, I am not a "little one" to you. Secondly, I have yet to actively disagree with anything you have said, so you're clearly confusing me w/ someone else. Finally, all I did was ask a reasonably straightforward question. I fail to see how this act can be offensive, passive/aggressive or anything else for that matter (other than curious).

If you don't want to respond, that's perfectly fine with me. I have a feeling I will be able to survive such rejection. I would suggest, however, that it's an exceedingly strange reaction from someone who seeks to "be a better human being" and to "know thyself". Best of luck to ya!

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Mar 1, 2014

Turtle I hope the fact that you keep stating your name means you like it enough that you'll use it in all your future posts. Just wanna follow #1 and NEVER read one of your posts again.

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Mar 2, 2014

OKay now that we have had a thorough and spirited discussion on how to become a finance jedi, can someone write up a response on the other (dark) side of the story----i.e. how to become a finance Sith?

Feb 25, 2014
brandon st randy:

OKay now that we have had a thorough and spirited discussion on how to become a finance jedi, can someone write up a response on the other (dark) side of the story----i.e. how to become a finance Sith?

Let me think about it.

Jun 26, 2014
brandon st randy:

OKay now that we have had a thorough and spirited discussion on how to become a finance jedi, can someone write up a response on the other (dark) side of the story----i.e. how to become a finance Sith?

Would someone please do as the man suggested?

Mar 2, 2014

SB. Excellent post.

"You are neither right nor wrong because the crowd disagrees with you. You are right because your data and reasoning are right."

-Warren Buffett

Mar 2, 2014

Either a good troll or an extremely strange person. Regardless, reading this thread made me sad.

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Mar 2, 2014

Got some monkey shit, pretty sure that means I'm a 'B' player (if that). Turtle, what kind of tail you pulling? Can we get a set steps to land 'A' women?

A lot of guys on this board could use the help, myself included. You seem like a guy that knows what he's doing with the ladies.

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Mar 2, 2014
Mike Bolton:

Got some monkey shit, pretty sure that means I'm a 'B' player (if that). Turtle, what kind of tail you pulling? Can we get a set steps to land 'A' women?

A lot of guys on this board could use the help, myself included. You seem like a guy that knows what he's doing with the ladies.

^ haha truth. Anyone who writes a "Finance Jedi" post on an online message board, claiming not to have time for informational interviews but proactively arguing with everybody just HAS to be balls-deep in quality muff on the regular.

Either that or thumb-deep in his cats ass

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Mar 2, 2014

I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.

Sorry, can't get that out of my head now

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Mar 2, 2014
Arsene Wenger's Father:

I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.I am Turtle.

Sorry, can't get that out of my head now

Hodor.

Mar 2, 2014

Awesome post. Agree with your points here.

Feb 25, 2014

great post!! the eleven is missing?

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Mar 2, 2014
Tabasco boy:

great post!! the eleven is missing?

I am not Turtle.

He started from #0.

I am not Turtle

Feb 25, 2014

I knew there was some trick... thx

Mar 3, 2014

Thanks for posting. I've already been smacked in the face by a couple. I've learned the hard way to deal with these situations.

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Jun 26, 2014

YOU ARE TURTLE

Nice advice, sir. Aspiring to be a finance jedi I am.

Dec 24, 2014

Can you be a first round draft pick if you're a high school student potentially going to a mid/non target school willing to do whatever it takes? Or must you have gone to a top 5?

Dec 24, 2014

I wish you would expand on points 0, and 1. As an up and coming, how am I supposed to know if what I am reading will impact me in 3 years? Should I decide on a division now, let's say, technology M&A, and only read M&A technology posts? This doesn't resonate with me well, I thought it as best to have a good idea of what's happening in todays market.

Please help me understand.

Dec 24, 2014

deleted

Dec 24, 2014

I read this post in wallstreetplayboy's voice. Ha!

LA Bull

Dec 24, 2014

Great post, thanks.

Dec 25, 2014
Dec 27, 2014
Dec 30, 2014
Jan 20, 2015

Se voce me entende, parabens.

Jan 20, 2015

Se voce me entende, parabens.