CFA® worth it in IB?

Am considering getting my CFA® to be more marketable in the industry. I went to a semi-target, graduated with PBK honors and am at a LMM regional bank. What are everyone's thoughts on attaining a CFA® and if it's worth it to help lateral to a BB/EB? 

TIA :)

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Comments (18)

Oct 4, 2021 - 4:43pm

I think generally this forum is going to tell you no a CFA is not worth it.  In the grand scheme of things I think that they are probably something good if you are trying to move in the LMM or trying to lateral to an ECM/ER side of the business.  For lateralling to a BB/EB, M&A or coverage group the limits are probably going to be marginal

Most Helpful
Oct 4, 2021 - 5:21pm

I would only recommend the CFA if you know for a fact you can commit hours of your time a day to studying. I'm currently a first year analyst and over the summer I convinced myself that now would be a great time to start studying for the CFA level 1 exam since I only work from 9am to 7pm and could study in the mornings and late at night. On August 1st I paid over $1,000 dollars to enroll to take the level 1 exam in February 2022 and I paid another $1,000 dollars for the Kaplan study prep materials. For the first month it was okay. I would wake up at 7am, study for 90 minutes, then get home from work at 7:30pm and study from 8pm to midnight. I did this everyday for all of August and most of September. I completely sacrificed going to the gym, spending time with friends, going out at all, etc.. 
Toward the end of September the workload at my firm really picked up as more deals started to come on. my 9 to 7 job quickly became an 8 to 11 job and on some nights an 8 to 2am job. After a few weeks of this I fell so far behind with my CFA studies and realized I hadn't really retained all of the material I studied in August. Once October hit and I was still working 14 hour days I decided that continuing to study for the CFA exam was just not realistic anymore if I wanted to perform well in my job. 
I think the CFA is an amazing designation but there is just so much material you need to learn and retain. Once you fall behind on your study schedule it is pretty tough to catch up. So now I'm down 2 grand and kinda feel like a failure, but I also know for a fact that there was no chance I could've passed trying to squeeze in studying into the little amount of free time I had. So go for it if you know you have the free time but make sure you understand what you're sacrificing. 

  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Oct 4, 2021 - 9:39pm

Can't say I agree with this. For level 3, sure, but Level 1 and especially level 2 is so much about volume of questions that not studying will definitely be detrimental. But to each his own

Oct 4, 2021 - 6:31pm

Even if you have the time to study for it, the benefits of having one are negligible in IB. You'll need to spend 700 hours studying over the course of 2.5+ years. You can be doing so much more from both a career focus or a social life focus. Source: Have CFA, is in IB.

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  • Summer Associate in IB-M&A
Oct 4, 2021 - 9:38pm

Nope not worth it. Network, do modelling courses, level up on industry research in your coverage group of choice. 

  • VP in IB - Gen
Oct 5, 2021 - 11:31am

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