CFA in undergrad?


I am a sophomore interested in IB, ER, PE, and HF. I was thinking about ways I can educate myself about overall finance and perhaps even distinguish myself out of candidates by studying CFA. I'll be eligible for taking CFA level 1 by the time I finish my military service. What do you think about this? Is studying for CFA level 1 (or 2 before graudation) worth the time and money?


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Comments (25)

Mar 21, 2020 - 11:47pm

Yeah definitely. I'm due to graduate this academic year and I'm on it (except that it got postponed haha). Though I still probably suck at applying concepts in real markets and real projects I think it works great at exposing you the broad but intertwined workings of the industry. Esp when I didn't do a biz related degree

  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 22, 2020 - 1:54am

My two cents is that taking the exam shows your ability to commit to something, similar to being an athlete in college, which can definitely be worth the time/money. You will learn a lot about finance but as the previous poster said, this won't replace all the case studies/real-world applications that a finance major will give you.

To share my experience, I majored in finance and studying for level 1 has been a lot of "oh, I remember this broad concept from class but I didn't retain the details". I signed up because I wanted to have the option of exploring opportunities outside of PE. To be very candid, I semi-regret my decision because through studying for this, I realized I don't see myself pursuing a line of work where this designation is valued beyond being a reflection of my hard work/feather in a cap. I think that if you are interested in ER, this is super useful but for IB, I don't think so. But in this current climate, any extra feather in a cap could be helpful.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Mar 22, 2020 - 4:19am

Yeah, you need to be a final year student to take Level I. I wouldn't lie about it since ethics is a very big part of the CFA and if they do check, you are unlikely to receive the charter.

Mar 22, 2020 - 6:29am

Echoing earlier comments. Definitely worth doing, especially if you end up in ER or at HF.

The quicker you get it done the better. What I found difficult was putting in 100% effort in a new job when you have to balance a pretty tough exam. When you eventually get a job, the fewer exams you have to do, the better. It'll give you the scope to learn more on the job and become more dependable, earlier on. Also, as you mention, will help distinguish you if you get it done early.

Would also recommend Schewser. On my final exam and they served me well for L1 and L2.

Good luck if you decide to do it!

Mar 23, 2020 - 9:35am

I got BPP and Schewser for L1, preferred Schewser and felt drowned in material with 2 sets so I wouldn't recommend getting more than 1.

Also remember you will also get books from CFA institute with very thorough chapters on each topic. Schewser does 2 good things: 1) condenses the CFA textbooks into a form thats easy to understand and 2) focuses on what is important to pass the exam. Relying on the CFA textbooks alone in my opinion is v dangerous because they are simply too much to digest and cover a bunch of things that rarely come up. There may be times where you're stuck on something in the Schewser books and you can look it up in the CFA books to get a deeper explanation which is useful.

CFA institute also give you an online bank of questions which are fantastic. I would split my time between CFA and Schewser as follows:

Materials = 90% Schewser, 10% CFA
Questions = 50% Schewser and 50% CFA. Frankly, do as many questions as you can on both.

Those 2 combined and you'll be fine!

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