Taking the CFA level 1 as a biology major to land a job in equity research, Smart or not?

Hi a little about me. I graduated from a top 10 public school with 3.5 gpa and a biology major. I took the mcat recently and scored well enough to get interviews to a couple places but I'm reconsidering it all because I've always been interested in wall street, stocks, and numbers. I am currently working at a government lab doing neurological research. I want to try my hand at landing a equity research job to transition to finance and wall street as I would much rather do that than go to medical school. What is the best route for me to take to end up on wall street? I was considering studying for and taking the CFA level 1. Would this help? I know its a hard test but after the mcat for which I studied over 400 hours for, I feel like I can study for pretty much anything. Any companies that like people like me that aren't ridiculously hard to get into (like Bain and Mckinsey). Am I right in thinking that no respected MBA program would accept me right now even if I killed the GMAT/GRE?

Find Your Mentor

  • Increase your chance of landing a job by matching with one of our 200+ mentors.
  • Our mentors are top employees at the most selective firms.
  • Proven process with over 1,100 clients over 10 years.

Comments (10)

Sep 5, 2018

MBA is not doable right now, you need a couple of years' working experience before you apply. I don't work in equity research but I do have a slight understanding of what it takes for a job in investment research, and I think a combination of biology and finance knowledge would be a killer. I've always found people with in-depth knowledge of the industry they cover tend to have better insights about the investment opportunities in that industry. I think your knowledge set might be quite suitable to cover healthcare sector.

    • 1
Sep 4, 2018

Should I take the CFA then?

Sep 5, 2018

You shouldn't need it right now. Definitely be better for the future, but it isn't a make or break starting out.

I know when I started in ER, I thought the same thing. I networked into my position, and found it's better to spend the time getting the job first.

Sep 4, 2018

how did you network?

Sep 5, 2018

If you have the time now, do it, if not, just leave it to the future. CFA is not something that can get you in the game, it is more of a certificate to show your persistent willingness to learn about asset management. Get in the game first.

Learn More

Side-by-side comparison of top modeling training courses + exclusive discount through WSO here.

Most Helpful
Sep 5, 2018
Anon1996:

Hi a little about me. I graduated from a top 10 public school with 3.5 gpa and a biology major. I took the mcat recently and scored well enough to get interviews to a couple places but I'm reconsidering it all because I've always been interested in wall street, stocks, and numbers. I am currently working at a government lab doing neurological research. I want to try my hand at landing a equity research job to transition to finance and wall street as I would much rather do that than go to medical school. What is the best route for me to take to end up on wall street? I was considering studying for and taking the CFA level 1. Would this help? I know its a hard test but after the mcat for which I studied over 400 hours for, I feel like I can study for pretty much anything. Any companies that like people like me that aren't ridiculously hard to get into (like Bain and Mckinsey). Am I right in thinking that no respected MBA program would accept me right now even if I killed the GMAT/GRE?

What did you get on the MCAT? A 3.5 isn't that good for med school apps. You didn't get into med school?

Probably MSF programs at this point - maybe MBA if you have good experience + good GMAT. How many years have you been working?

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 2
Sep 4, 2018

Yes I got into 2 medical schools I just dont want to go anymore the delayed gratification isn't for me. I've only been working for 3-4 months in the lab. I just graduated college this spring. Don't I need a job in the finance sector before I apply to top MSF programs?

Sep 5, 2018
Anon1996:

Yes I got into 2 medical schools I just dont want to go anymore the delayed gratification isn't for me. I've only been working for 3-4 months in the lab. I just graduated college this spring. Don't I need a job in the finance sector before I apply to top MSF programs?

Most MSF programs don't require work experience. But, make sure you target a top program, similar to the need to getting into top MBA programs and dissimilar to med school; as if you get into any med school, you're likely going to find some work as a doctor.

"If you always put limits on everything you do, physical or anything else, it will spread into your work and into your life. There are no limits. There are only plateaus, and you must not stay there, you must go beyond them." - Bruce Lee

    • 1
Sep 5, 2018

Interesting, I majored in biology as well actually in the UK

I targetted BB sector teams instead of research but I can share that the whole process took 5+ years, priamrily because I had no finance knowledge whatsoever upon graduation

I can tell you if your a biology major who has proper BB m&a experience here in Asia, you will almost definitely find something related to healthcare investing. A fellow biologist of mine placed into one of the top healthcare funds globally without BB experience and the key reason was because she was the only A&A with a bio background

Would advise you to give it a proper thought, best of luck though it's a long path

    • 1
Sep 6, 2018

Dayman?