Why YOU Should Take the CFA - What it Takes

There is a lot of discussion out there as to why you should take the CFA, why it is shi.t, why it is a waste of time, why it is great, etc... Now I will try to explain why (IMO) you should take it:

Taking the CFA - What it Takes to Pass

  1. You need to have been relatively good at University, and you can sit your ass down and study for it.
  2. You need to have time; working in M&A and taking the CFA is not advisable. But some people are "crazy, yo"; and can manage it. Brother of my old flatmate, Goldman FIG M&A group passed it in a year and a half. Another friend of mine same thing, took two weeks off, worked his ass off and passed all 3 on the first attempt. Some people are just better than the normal and manage it...
  3. If you are at University, start TAKING IT - you will thank yourself later for it.
  4. You will NEED the time, I have spent about 150+ hours I reckon to pass level II; I am not a genius like my friends, and consider myself pretty average when it comes to studying

Why People Tell You Not to Take the CFA

  1. An MBA is better - false, an MBA is DIFFERENT not better. The two are mutually exclusive and should not be compared. You use an MBA to network and get another job, I will go later into why you need the CFA
  2. People are too lazy to take it themselves so trash it - by far the most valid reason I have found. You will find that people are envious if you take it and will try to bring you down, this usually comes from people in their mid-thirties who are anxious about their own careers and don't like to see a young shark trying to get ahead
  3. It does not guarantee you a job or a career advancement ?? No sh.t! Just like an undergraduate degree from HBS does not guarantee you a job. What type of bull shit argument is that?
  4. It takes a lot of time, and does not add any real value to your future career prospects. Probably the only argument that is actually valid, but is highly debatable. I will try and explain in the next section how again IMO it adds value.
  5. If you are a 35 year old MD, you are probably heading toward the end of your career at this point, and you are so expensive no one will lateral you in any other job, so no point in doing the CFA as that won't help you...

Getting a CFA: My Quest for Level II

  1. It took me a lot of time to decide to get cracking on it again. I took my level I in dec07 of my MSc, then started work and did not look at it again for a while. I had enough shit to sort out at work to avoid getting fired and getting paid.
  2. I decided to go and take it for jun11, I ended up getting poached at another company at the beginning of May, did not have enough time, and mainly ended up on a nice garden leave, and came back for the week end for the level II etc... Needless to say I FAILED it. Took it in jun12, and passed it. Now on to level III for jun13

Why I Took the CFA Exam

  1. I work as a sales person, sales people do not need the CFA to do their jobs. I have clients and they could not care less whether I have the CFA or not. Will I be a sales person my whole life? Look outside for a moment, I started at a top BB 4 years ago, today 40% of the people I started with were mainly fired, or changed jobs; and that bank is going down faster than a hooker on a $100 bill. Instability, yea that's right... Surprise, banking is not a stable job...
  2. In the US - all equity fund managers are more or less required to have the CFA, in
    London not all of them have it, so it puts you at a massive advantage. ER need the CFA etc... There are a LOT of jobs that require or are well known to look very favourably on the CFA in finance, so why not give yourself an edge.
  3. In 1 and 2 it points to the CFA giving you an edge - how does it do it? Uni is great it means you've made it out of high school, you have been pre screened to go to a target, but it does not tell your employer how good you actually are at sitting your ass down and working. The CFA proves that to the employer. If you are in the investment
    profession, all bankers will show experience on the prospectuses, who they are, where they come from. I can guarantee you that if they have their CFA it will be on there. It adds a credential to the company that has hired you.
  4. The CFA is impressive, people know how hard it is, and when you get that interview, if the guy gets along with you, it will help him know that not only you can be a fun guy to have a pint after work, but you can actually do that aforementioned work...
  5. It's the highest credential out there in the finance world, might as well get it...
  6. You do it for the knowledge. Ok, I don't believe a single person who says that, you might as well just pick up a book or the internet and google what interests you. It's true you will learn a lot, but never in enough depth to actually do any of the related jobs without learning something else.
  7. I want to further my career and it will help it. Plenty of things can help it, I network work hard at my job etc... But let's take for example my bosses... Some of them have the CFA, how do you think it's going to look when I pass all III? I'll be member of the CFA network, and it's growing.

Concluding Remarks

I have a good job, I am quite cosy were I am, things are going well (crossing fingers). Yet I am busting my ass after 4+ years in finance doing an accreditation that takes me plenty of hours and money. I could have given up when I failed but kept on going, if anything that should tell you to bust your ass and get cracking! (No matter which sector of finance you are in - be flexible and maleable, improve your employability!!!)

PS:

  1. Not everyone should take the CFA, but no one should spit on it either. Most of my friends in Corporate banking don't have it, and they are doing just fine. However, you should seriously consider taking it. I am rambling a lot above.
  2. If you are an introvert back office clerk with no social skills etc... The CFA sadly won't help you so much, there were a few of those guys at my old work, and usually they would actually just stop at level I; as one of my point above - the CFA will NOT get you a job in and of itself!

On this note off to bed - wakinga up at before 6AM (4+ years and loving it!)

Read more about the CFA on WSO

Comments (100)

 
Sep 4, 2012 - 6:32pm

Good to see some love for the CFA. Passed Level 1 this June on the first try and was very happy with that. I see a lot of people criticize the CFA yet in person when I tell people that I passed Level 1 I only get impressed remarks (Except some ass hat interning at a family member's Wealth Management office who responded to my fact that I studied ~200 hours, "Oh, so it's not too bad"). Hoping that the CFA will show my passion and interest for investments to someday work for a HF or Good ER shop.

Blue horseshoe loves Anacott Steel
 
Sep 4, 2012 - 7:16pm

tl;dr

The CFA is worthless to career switchers without another, more compelling, complementary hook. Worthwhile for AM, PM, ER, folks.

Otherwise, shit waste of time, better to focus on other things.

/thread.

  • 2
 
Best Response
Sep 5, 2012 - 5:51am

Got a MBA and a CFA. I believe the MBA is really good for your network and connections. I believe the CFA is very good for your analytical skills and serves as a piece of evidence that you really understand finance. It is much tougher to obtain though because you need to study after work and if you don't pass an exam, you have to wait a full year, which really tests your patience and persistence. However, if you already know you want a carreer in Asset Management, hedge funds, equity analysis, portfolio management, the CFA is definitely very useful and opens doors. When it comes to investment banking/consultancy, an MBA degree more than suffices. What I have noticed in discussions with headhunters who approached me is that you are on the top of their list if you have both but if you already know that you want a life in IB/corporate finance, stick to the MBA.

 
Sep 5, 2012 - 9:51am

Have to agree with YT81.
Most people tend to assume that CFA is some sort of a magic wand that will open the doors to high-finance.
Going for the CFA shows that you are focused on getting somewhere. You will sweat your ass off for that title and people know it.
An MBA will just swing you upstairs after doing your time.

Death is certain; Life aint.
 
Sep 5, 2012 - 11:48am

Soon in December I will graduate from a mechanical engineering program 3.6 GPA no experience. I dont like engineering and i want put me foot in an finance job. I will go to atlanta because my wife have an good offer. My plan is study for cfa level 1 and two actuary exam and practice my english in the semester that i will be free and next do a master in finance. Its a good plan, any suggestion

 
Sep 5, 2012 - 11:57am

a masters in finance from a target will probably help you more than the cfa level 1 if you are at the entry level, which it sounds like you are

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 2:53pm

For getting a job networking beats everything, you should be the biggest a**kisser ever, yadda, yadda, and the CFA takes time away from that.

For keeping a job the CFA is awesome, because the content is really hardcore. You may kid yourself that you'll learn the same from reading books, but you won't. The time pressure and the need to understand every little detail cold makes you learn much more than whatever MBA you may think it's hard.

True, a lot of people just scrape by, and then you have all those people saying they study 150 to 300 hours for L2 or 3, which may be true. If you want to take the test comfortably, to be reasonably sure you've passed, you'll need many many very focused hours - this is real study, not watching classes or doing some paper with FB on the background.

If you do it right, you'll learn a lot in relatively little time. Networking is better to get jobs, working is better to learn whatever you need for your current specific job, but the CFA is pretty good. Most other credentials have the same effect to some extent, but the CFA gets some instant recognition while most people don't really know what FRM, PRM, CQF and others are about.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 2:54pm

CFA Level 1 (Originally Posted: 12/14/2006)

How many junior bankers at your firm have CFA level 1? Does it give them an edge in terms of bonus and promotion?

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 2:55pm

In the Equity Research department of Banco Portugues de Investimento in Portugal about the third part of the analysts and salesmen/women had the CFA.
The firm paid for the books and fees to all those who wanted to have the CFA, but it didn't imply any edge in terms of bonus and promotion.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:02pm

I would also suggest checking out the sites mentioned above - CFAs are almost never required or even asked about for the PE jobs . . . much more important is name of firm, group and undergrad grades and school . . .

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:04pm

At the analyst and associate levels, I'd rank the resume items in the following order of importance:

  1. GPA (very strong SATs a plus)
  2. Professional work experience (bulge bracket IBD, McKinsey/Bain most desired)
  3. School
  4. Major
  5. Any certifications like CFA

Of course, in parallel to all this, there is fit, eloquence/communication, demonstrated energy and dedication, etc.

The CFA does not make up for any deficiency in 1-4 but it does show a level of competence that is noteworthy at the more junior levels (analyst, associate).

At the mid-levels, i.e. VP position and sometimes principal (depending on the firm and how they title their roles), I'd say it goes something like this:

  1. Work experience - very strong track record trumps prestigious names but of course firm name matters too, quite a bit
  2. Business school (very strong GMAT helps)
  3. Undergrad (including GPA, etc.)
  4. Every other quantifiable resume item, which is where I'd put the CFA

The more senior the role, the more fit matters.

At the more senior levels, i.e junior partner/MD/partner, I'd say the CFA is irrelevant and it is almost all track record.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:05pm

CFA...how helpful? (Originally Posted: 08/16/2007)

I'm thinking of going for an MBA in 2-3 yrs. I am planning on getting a CFA, but I don't know how far I want to go nor how quickly. I'd be curious to hear how much of an aid completing certain CFA levels is in getting into a top MBA program.

Thoughts?

How does it factor compared to quality of W/E, GMAT scores, Undergrad education?

Thanks.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:14pm

I doubt that 20% of matriculating b-schools are CFA holders. Don't do a CFA simply to strengthen your b-school app as it requires signifanct resources (time, money, and work experience). Only do a CFA if it benefits your current positon (assuming you do AM, S&T, etc.) For example if you are an i-banker a CFA is essentially worthless (the designation, not the obtained knowledge).

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:16pm

CFA - Worth it and for who and how soon? (Originally Posted: 10/14/2007)

I was thinking of starting to head down the CFA track, more so as something to do in my down time. Anybody gone through this and found it useful for interview purposes? And who do you think values it the most, and is it really worth it in the long run? (Besides the knowledge you'd gain studying for the exams) Also, how long did everyone wait before starting down the CFA track?

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:17pm
  • Equity Research (sell and buy-side)
  • portfolio management
    those are the businesses that value it, reward you for it, automatically pay you the fees implied, for which it is worth in the long term (and short/medium term as well). For other careers in finance i don't think it's worth the efforts you put in it, whether for corporate finance, structured finance, trading, etc. there are (imo) better ways to use your time.
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:19pm

Well, having it on your resume can't hurt you.....

"We are lawyers! We sue people! Occasionally, we get aggressive and garnish wages, but WE DO NOT ABDUCT!" -Boston Legal-
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:20pm

I think blue_berry is wrong. The CFA not only represents a thorough understanding of everything finance, it represents a dedication to personal growth and a drive that is extremely hard to measure through reading a resume or conducting an interview. That is valuable no matter the area of finance. Add the depth of knowledge of financial statements and economics and I think the charter has universal applications and value in investment banking, private equity, corporate finance and hedge funds.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:22pm

Value of CFA (Originally Posted: 12/05/2007)

I'm in the military and want to transfer into finance. I do nothing financially related in the military. My question is, how much help would it be to take the CFA exams? (Assuming I pass through level 3, which I have the time to do) I won't have the charter because I'll lack work experience, but I'll be able to show interest that way.

My background: I've taken classes in accounting, finance, statistics, econometrics, and the like (all A's). I graduated in the top 5% of my school (a military academy). I double-majored in Economics and Chinese. 760 GMAT. I led a socially responsible venture capital firm while in college that brought two successful products to market (and led to three patents for the volunteer engineers). I've been consistently rated top of my peers in the military and selected to run high level projects affecting thousands of people.

I want to go to HBS, work in a BB IB firm, and transfer to PE (to get back to those days of raw capitalism at its finest in my venture firm, since I'm well aware entrepreneurial VC's and bureaucratic ex-military don't get along). I've done a lot of things I can argue are financially related, but most will be from undergrad. After several years in the military, I'm thinking I'll need to show some recent financial work, even if I can only show it after work hours.

Thoughts? Mainly I'm looking for thoughts on why I shouldn't pursue the CFA. My wife says I'm qualified enough and wants to spend the CFA money on landscaping...

Thanks in advance

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:23pm

I am in the opposite position: about to start in finance and trying to figure out how to get military service in during my early life. Get into HBS and you will be fine. IB loves military men. Your service is great experience. Thanks for doing it.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:26pm

Sounds like you already have some good experience prior to joining the military... and with econ/VC experience, the Chinese angle and good military leadership I'm not sure how much a CFA would add. It definitely wouldn't hurt, but from a time/money perspective I'm not sure it's worth it. And with HBS on top of your already impressive background, I don't think you'd have much of a problem getting into BB IBD and PE later on.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:30pm

i think it could help slightly, but honestly considering that kids from targets with 3.8+ are having trouble getting offers, dont expect a CFA to all of a sudden open doors easily for FT

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Sep 6, 2012 - 3:31pm

I passed level 1 of the CFA examinations last December. I think it has helped some, another talking point in interviews. However, if you are trying to get a job, I would recommend taking that 100+ hours needed to pass Level 1 CFA and instead focus on networking and getting face time with people to land the job.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:33pm

Will a CFA help me? (Originally Posted: 02/06/2011)

I need some advice as to if a CFA is worth it for me. Ive been in big 4 for about 5yrs, manager level, working in audit over AM and alternatives, mostly large RE and Hedge funds and some PE funds as well as some transaction services experience too

If I want to move into asset mgmt or PE would a CFA help me at all? I ve heard its pointless for IB and is really more geared toward ER and buy side but have heared different things for AM and PE too

thanks for the help

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:34pm

CFA helps big time in AM, PE I can't really comment on.

Most people on this website are a bit more banking/trading based where the designation doesn't have as much regard. I saw someone accurately compare having a CFA in IB to having a JD in IB -- it's nice to look at and no one will think it's weird you have it, but it doesn't help much.

I would check out http://www.analystforum.com where the real CFA geeks hang out and they can answer your questions.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:35pm

Is CFA really useuf in job search (Originally Posted: 05/26/2011)

Hi Monkeys,

I am a rising junior (undergraduate) and majoring in finance. I am thinking about taking CFA level one in June 2012 or Dec 2012. Can anyone of you tell me what is really the significance of CFA? Is it common for a finance major undergraduate to pass the level 1 exam by the time he/she graduates? To what extent will I be advantaged in a job search if I get my level 1 certificate before my senior year? A lot or just a little?

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:36pm

It depends what you want to break into. I am sure there are several threads on this already so try the search function. If you are looking to do asset management or research, then yes CFA is helpful and usually required at some point in your career. Otherwise it is seen as irrelevant, however having studied for level 1 (I never took the exam) I will say I felt better having learned the material. Will it help you? Probably not unless looking at mentioned professions, but certainly won't hurt you.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:38pm

CFA for Industry/Career switch (Originally Posted: 09/19/2011)

Hi all,

I wanted to see if I could get some replies/recommendations about using the CFA as a vehicle for a career change.

I have always been interested in analyzing investments and now I am thinking of making it a career. However, I have no industry experience whatsoever. I am hoping that passing CFA level 1 will show my commitment to switching industries. Basically, I am hoping someone will take a shot on a newbie.

Do you think that passing CFA level 1 can open doors to entry-level analyst positions? My primary goal right now is to work entry-level buy-side where I could contribute to the process of deciding whether to invest in a given sttock, etc.

If what I am describing does not sound like it is in line with typical CFA positions, please make a recommendation as to what you think I should look at instead.

Please forgive me in advance if I sound at all naive. I appreciate all of your comments!

Regards,

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:40pm

Get in line, pal. It's a long fucking line too.

You don't sound convincing in your goal or your understanding of the industry.

Like whatwhatwhat said, search the site and know what you are getting into, before committing any serious time and resources towards the CFA.

Under my tutelage, you will grow from boys to men. From men into gladiators. And from gladiators into SWANSONS.
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:43pm

Haha, I expected you guys to be a**holes and you didn't let me down. I appreciate your directness and I definitely hear what your saying. I'm not one to shy away from the tough truth or a gruff delivery of said truths.

I have done some initial searching, I just wanted to get a couple of "educated" repsonses from those who might know the industry a bit more.

@Flake: You're right, my understanding of the industry is weak as far as knowing what it is I can actually accomplish or what potential positions will be like. Honestly, I don't have any points of references to whom I can ask questions. That's why I came and posted on WSO.

@spaceagecowboy: Wow, verrry constructive, prick. Or should I use a term you can understand, like "f*cktard"? Go off yourself, you waste.

@ everyone else: Thanks, guys. I will continue to dig deeper.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:44pm

Simply put: No. I think getting an MBA from one of the iveys/top 10 would be better.. but I'm not sure how much easier that would be.. although if you have an interesting back ground (ie pot smoking hippie who has an arts background and/or medicine) they like it...

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:45pm

Looking into taking CFA in June (Originally Posted: 09/27/2011)

Just starting working full-time a few months ago for a bank on a trading desk. Looking into taking the CFA in June.

Have been conducting my preliminary research but would greatly appreciate any insight anyone who has taken the test or passed Level I.

Specifically, I want to know the benefits of taking the CFA. How much does it help in regards to getting into a top-tier business school?

Passing Level I vs passing all 3 levels?

Opportunities after completing Level I?

Thank you in advance for your help.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:46pm

Level 1 isn't going to open a ton of doors for you from what I can tell. It sounds like you already have a job so the resume boost doesn't seem like it would be a huge factor in deciding to pursue the designation (for some people from non finance backgrounds, L1 can show a strong commitment to finance). CFA is really geared towards equity research/asset management professionals, although you do see it occasionally in trading and banking.

I do not think it will be much of a benefit for getting into a good MBA program, but am not an expert here.

L1 alone is going to be of very little benefit to you, especially as you get further down your career path. Either pursue the designation or don't- stop now if your mindset is that passing L1 is going to open a bunch of doors for you.

I'm a L3 candidate. Let me know if you have any more questions. Might help to know exactly what you are looking to do.

Also, analystforum is a better resource than WSO for CFA related questions.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:47pm

CFA - How is it Not Useful for Banking? (Originally Posted: 02/12/2012)

I should know better than this and I have a feeling I'm going to regret this. I've read M&I, I've seen it discussed on here ad infinitum, I live in the real post university world BUT....how is the CFA not useful for banking?

I'm sat here revising for L2 and a question comes up:

"Felix Hernandez is evaluating a prospective merger between two firms of relatively equal size. The acquirer is planning to borrow the entire purchase price and pay for the merger in cash. Which method of estimating the target's intrinsic value and potential merger synergies is likely to be most useful?"

The ability to answer this is surely relevant to banking, and yes as an analyst you're a numbers bitch, but your input is required (to varying degrees), knowledge of accounting equity valuations is useful!

And yes, ethics, quant and portfolio management are irrelevant but putting those aside I'm struggling to see why the CFA doesn't garner more respect from the banking community. Or am I totally off base? And if it does, do people just love to rag on it.

As a tool for breaking in, time may be spent better elsewhere (but you can't network all the time), the skills may not not totally on par with an MBA, and you don't get OCR but I still see significant benefit to studying for the CFA as an exercise in increasing ones knowledge.

The opportunity cost argument doesn't really stack up for me, unless you actually work in IB you do have the time, 2 hours at the end of every day and one month of little life isn't that hard, especially when taken into context of those aiming to break into IB.

Tell me why I'm wrong.....

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:48pm

because the goal is to hire smart people and train them. remember, this is eventually a sales job and not a hardcore finance job. it's a people business. one reason why an MBA is preferred. It's not about the finance education for sure.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:52pm

Something I have seen is that if you have to go through or talk to HR, for an IBD position, and that same firm makes their PWM do the CFA it carries more weight.

mikebrady - good point.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:53pm

CFA - How important is the CFA in IBD? (Originally Posted: 02/13/2012)

How important is a CFA designation in IBD, S&T, ER, AM, ect?

Does it have more of a purpose in WM, Mutual Funds, and Hedge Funds?

What about PE?

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:54pm

ER and AM, it is looked upon favorably.

IBD and S&T, not so much.

Useful more for moving up in a current role than breaking in. If you search you can find a ton of threads about the CFA.

"For I am a sinner in the hands of an angry God. Bloody Mary full of vodka, blessed are you among cocktails. Pray for me now and at the hour of my death, which I hope is soon. Amen."
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:55pm

It won't help you much for breaking into anything. That said, once you get into ER or AM it's absolutely necessary to get. Hedge funds its useful but its more important to some than others. Completely useless in IBD. Could be useful in S&T if you're a sales guy and you want your clients to trust you more.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 3:57pm

CFA Level 1 as Primer for Banking (Originally Posted: 02/07/2013)

I'm an incoming analyst for a BB, and wanted to have a well-rounded foundation before I start work in the summer. Do you think reading through the CFA level 1 materials would be a good foundation for an incoming analyst? I'm not necessarily going to take the exam, but just read through the materials.

The economics, accounting and corporate finance portions seem like a good review of my business degree. I'll probably skip the ethics portions. I have no intentions of taking / studying the level 2 or 3 materials. Thanks in advance

P.S. I've already read the Rosenbaum book as well as completed the BIWS courses. I also already have the CFA level 1 Schweser materials for free from a friend.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:02pm

I just did CFA Level 1 - your time would be much better spent doing more modeling and learning how to build 3 statement models real quick (try WSP's LBO model - it's a really good template with all the bells and whistles). Learning how to do a 3 statement model really well and fast will also help with HF/PE recruiting down the road (you should be able to make a basic 3 statement model with projections in 2 hours).

Reading Level 1 FR&A might be helpful but don't get too bogged down in it. Maybe skim it and then print out a 10-k and read it cover to cover, and then go back on anything you didn't understand.

Good luck!

if you like it then you shoulda put a banana on it
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:03pm

To what extent will doing CFA 1 before graduation help me land place at top job/MSc? (Originally Posted: 08/27/2013)

I have two semesters left before graduation so I'll be applying to jobs in trading and MScs in Financial Engineering in the next weeks (in case I do not land a top job try to get an MSc at a target US uni and try again).

How much do you guys think doing the CFA 1 will add value to my job and master's application?
Keeping in mind that by the time I apply (next two months) my cv and applications will read "CFA 1 candidate" as I will not have actually sat the exam until after sending most - if not all - of my applications.

I just want to measure the trade-off between the added value to my CV and the hours of pain to pass the test to decide if I should go ahead and take the exam this December - rather than later on my career.

I'm majoring in economics and minoring in maths and finance - in case that makes the CFA task any easier.

I'm studying in a UK target university, have the equivalent of 4.0 GPA (First class with 85+ average) and I'm top of the class as of this moment. But even with good grades I've been told that US universities prefer 4 year undergrads over 3 year UK undergrads, hence I feel the need to boost my application somehow.

It'll really help me to know what you guys think! Thanks!

 
May 19, 2016 - 6:28pm

No problem!

"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:04pm

Wait until you have a job to take it.
There's a chance it helps your but your effort's much better spent elsewhere.

Array
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:05pm

My opinion: Take the CFA, but don't put "CFA Level 1 candidate" on your resume. Anyone can be a *candidate* for Level 1. Wait until you've passed to put it on your resume. I get that it speaks to your interest in finance, but you can still mention the test in an interview.

"There's nothing you can do if you're too scared to try." - Nickel Creek
  • 1
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:06pm

CFA level 1. What's it good for? (Originally Posted: 09/14/2013)

Hello,

This question is more personal rather than technical about the matter.
What is the program for? I know it's audience would mainly be people working as analyst, asset managers, and portfolio managers.

Would CFA level 1 will help me making first steps in the industry?(will it help me to get an internship?)

I know it's not my desire(nor that i strongly dislike it) to be a trader or assets/portfolio manager, but i just can't find anything i'm good at or wanna do in my life and thinking of taking CFA 1 as a gamble to put my foot in the door in the industry?
But with money and time requirements involved knowing that god knows if i would hardly ever get 4 years experience for the charter... Is it worth the gamble?
Would it help me to put a foot in the door?
Would it help me in any broader sense(giving the knowledge of material in level 1 curriculum)?

I have some of equivalent of bachelors degree in business administration and finance.But did it 4 years ago, and was looking for my ''bliss'' or the place i want to work and the person/employee i wanna be, but was unable to find myself...

p.s. Sorry for grammar and style mistakes, English is not my first language.

 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:08pm

I'm not usually the guy to say this, but please use the search function. This has been answered - and continues to be answered - 1,000 times a day.

Or - fucking genius idea - visit the CFA site.

in it 2 win it
 
Sep 6, 2012 - 4:09pm

A good foundation in finance and showing desire and drive. But what it cannot teach you is initiative, common sense and a work ethic which does not require you to be spoon fed everything; these are qualities I fear you lack.

"After you work on Wall Street it’s a choice, would you rather work at McDonalds or on the sell-side? I would choose McDonalds over the sell-side.” - David Tepper
 
Apr 19, 2016 - 12:09pm

Thanks for this insight, after I finished my MBA, I was contemplating either a Ph.D or CFA, as I did more research I noticed that in the USA at least it was one of those things to have because the pass rate and the people who have one, seem to help in their careers and I was dead set on going for one, until I decided to actually first work in the financial industry and see if it is the right step to take, as I went for interviews in the industry (departure from the Pharma industry where I am from), I noticed that what I wanted to do I have to go for the series 6, 7, 66. I am still new to the financial industry so I will wait abit and see what the career avenues open for me and if I have to eventually take the CFA exams then so be it but thanks for your comments they are certainly helpful and shape the way I view tis subject.

Want to Lose the body fat, keep the muscles, I can help.
 
May 19, 2016 - 6:29pm

Should I take the CFA? (Originally Posted: 07/14/2016)

I've been reading a lot on this site about taking the CFA and I need some advice on my current situation. I just graduated from a non target state school in economics with several decent finance internships, the most recent being at a BB in product control. Pretty soon I will be starting a full time MSF program at a (Vanderbilt/Simon/John Hopkins) type school and I'm thinking about signing up for the December level 1 CFA exam.

My main concern is that I'm worried with my coursework and looking for jobs I won't be able to find enough time to study. I also have my money carefully budgeted out for the year and spending roughly 1000 dollars on the test and prep materials would make it much harder for me to make it through the program. It is doable just not preferable.

Just wondering if taking the exam during my MSF would make that much of a difference in getting hired, I currently want to try for ER, or if it would just make more sense to wait until I am working and go through recruiting without it. Any advice is much appreciated.

 
May 19, 2016 - 6:30pm

Coming from someone in ER currently and waiting to hear results of L2, the CFA isn't a must and, as others have expressed in different posts over time, isn't a guarantee.

Best bet is to focus on your degree program. You don't want to give each program less than what it deserves and wind up with subpar grades AND failing L1. Once you've settled in it might make sense to pursue the CFA next June. You also might find there's no need whatsoever for you to take it.

Best of luck.

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