CFA or learn mandarin (or another language) for PWM

May sound like a troll question.

Which of these is more likely to get me in the interview room as a non target?

My thought is that picking up a popular language will help me bring a lot more business to the firm as it is a sale-sy role.

Lmk your thoughts

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Comments (19)

Jul 24, 2021 - 3:52pm

Not sure you understand how much time and practice it would take to go from 0 to almost native proficiency in any language (which is what you'd need if you expect it to help you win clients). CFA would require far fewer hours and is probably going to open more doors.

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  • Analyst 1 in IB - Gen
Jul 24, 2021 - 11:58pm

mandarin in a client service role will only matter if you can prove yourself as a junior in the first place (where CFA may help w/ finance knowledge and recognition)

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  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 24, 2021 - 4:17pm

Non-target here who is close to fluent in mandarin (passed HSK 6, advanced high OPI exam). Don't learn mandarin to try to work in PWM. That's a terrible idea. You have no idea how hard it is. I spent 2 years studying Chinese at a flagship Chinese university, studied abroad in China twice, spent a year living in Taiwan, and still need to whip out my Pleco dictionary app for words while reading a newspaper. Sure, it was a really cool thing to talk about in interviews but I don't see the value add in IB or PWM unless you're working in HK, and in that case your mandarin needs to be even better. I made the conscious decision to not go much further and focus on maintaining the advanced level I have because at a certain point, it's diminishing marginal utility and a bad ROI on time. If you spend your time learning about investments or studying for the CFA, that is a much better use of your time. I've certainly gotten a lot out of studying mandarin, I've made countless friends across the globe, had an amazing experience abroad, and it's easier to connect with Chinese people everywhere but imo if you're studying it because you think it will give you an edge in PWM then you should really really not start (because you'll quit in six months, and it won't help you). 

  • Prospect in IB-M&A
Jul 25, 2021 - 3:13pm

then maybe put the time in practicing sales? Find the highest ROI activity for your time as it relates to PWM and work hard at it. And I don't not recommend learning mandarin, it's really rewarding, but make sure you have priorities lined up 

Jul 25, 2021 - 6:39pm

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