I have always wanted to do Asset Management but got into the mortgage industry, since it was easy. That is gone now, so I can get back into what I originally liked about finance.
I am confident I can pass the CFA exams. However, I am currently unemployed. I am sure I will find another job within a month, but it will probably be as a business banker or in some kind of insurance job or something.
So, if I pass all 3 exams, but don't have the four years of relevant work experience will it have been for nothing? Or will passing all three exams still help get me into asset management?
Why Should I Write The CFA Exams?
The CFA charter is not technically a requirement for any position though, in many finance jobs, it has become extremely common. It is valuable in that, it is a statement from the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute that you have a high level of knowledge in ethics, asset management, and investment. It is particularly beneficial in asset & investment management, private wealth, equity research, and sometimes investment banking. Writing the exams are a great platform to put your knowledge to practice and expands your base of education and interests.
I got my undergrad from a midwest tier-two school in 2008, and took a pretty easy going job so I could study for CFA Level I. What I've learned from networking is that getting CFA Level I out of the way does help you stand out from the rest of the guys who barely do anything after undergrad. Which has landed me a few second round interviews at hedge funds and fund-of-funds.
I live in Denver, and after speaking with Janus, Oppenheimer, and a few other funds, CFA Level I will land you a solid interview as an analyst. Unless you are from a target school, you will need CFA Level I to get that interview. They just want to see that you are committed to advancing your education, because you may not have pushed yourself as much while in high school (to get into a target school) or college (lack of internships...).
Without work experience expect entry-level jobs. But another way to get experience is to focus on the core of CFA which is FSA. There are plenty of financial analyst jobs you should think about applying to since it will give you the foundational understanding of asset management analysis. Plus you can work there until CFA Level I or Level II is out of the way then really stand out to some banks/funds.
How To Get CFA Certification
The CFA designation consists of three exams: Level I, Level II, and Level III. You will also need four years of professional work experience in the investment decision-making process. This can be done before, during, or after passing the CFA exams. You will also need to be a CFA Institute member.
See below the CFA designation requirements.
Will A CFA Charter Help Me Get A Job?
Pursuing the CFA designation will look good on your resume and may help land interviews but it's far from enough to land you your dream job. If you've written the exams but don't have the four years of required, related work experience, you will be able to get entry-level jobs.
It's a good stepping stone to higher level positions but one of the requirements for the CFA designation is the work experience. The full CFA accreditation will set you apart more than simply writing the exams will. You have to be ready to do a few jobs you don't want on the road to the full designation. Once done, however, it will open up many doors.
That considered, it's not impossible to get into asset management without the full designation but you will need to rely heavily on networking and nailing interviews. Finance jobs are extremely competitive and increasingly so all the time so having the CFA will give your career a boost, especially if you're not from a top school, but without the associated soft skills, you won't land the jobs you want. Be prepared for entry-level positions and possibly unpaid internships.
MSF = CFA Level I and some of II. Benefits of a Masters of Finance are going to be classroom instruction, networking, OCR, additional name brand on a resume, etc. CFA requires a very disciplined self-study regime. Some people do better in a classroom environment. If you get a Masters in Finance you should be able to get something entry in Asset Management.
On a side note, passing all three exams is pretty damn impressive. I think if you have at least Level II done with you should be able to transition. Level I is pretty basic, but Level II is a different level. Start attending CFA events and networking with those people. You will be able to land something.
Watch the video below about what having a CFA Charter can do for you.
Read More About The CFA Designation On WSO
- Studying For The CFA Level 1 In One Month
- The CFP Charter: Not A Golden Ticket To Jobs
- What Distinction is Better - CFA, MBA, or CAIA?
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