Hello, I am currently 27 years old and have been working as a dietitian at a hospital for the last 5 years in Connecticut. 2 years ago I realized I was unhappy with my career and decided to switch to finance. I found the field interesting and would love to work in investment banking one day. To gain a competitive advantage, I will be finishing up my MS degree in Finance this semester (nontarget) with a 4.0 and taking CFA level 2 this June, passed Level 1 above the 90th percentile. I am also completing the WallStreet Prep course for PowerPoint and Excel (modeling). I am attempting to network
13 Mar 2020
How did everyone do? Background: Undergrad - Finance and Economics - State School Grad School - MSF - Semi Target Investment Analyst @ Asset Management Firm Scores: >70 - Alternative Investments and Derivatives, Ethics, Quantitative Methods 70>x>50 - Corporate Finance, Equity Investments, Fixed Income, Portfolio Management 50> - Economics, Financial Reporting & Analysis Barely passed (FR&A was my almost downfall). Focused almost entirely on the practice questions provided by the CFA Institute. Definitely would recommend reading. Signed up on the last day so only had about 50 days to prep. Will
24 Jan 2019
Hi Guys, Prepping to take CFA level 2 in June, heard good things about the Schweser books and good things about the Wiley online course. Could potentially buy Schweser books (anyone with comments on how it is for level 2? It worked well for me in level 1) and or the Wiley Course (anyone have opinions or recs for different courses?
06 Feb 2020
mod note: this very informative q&a was originally posted on 2/12/12 UPDATE 2/22/12: Over 20 questions and 50 responses added so far, keep 'em coming! I also took the bold away from the questions by popular request
31 Dec 2012
CFA L1 this Saturday... I've taken the LSAT before, but building confidence for this beast is pretty damn hard even if you've majored in finance, accounting, or econ and put in 300 hours already. So, to help break up some study time, are there any great success/dumb luck stories from past candidates?
03 Dec 2017
Congratulations! We are very pleased to inform you that you passed the December 2015 Level I CFA exam. 43% of candidates passed the December 2015 Level I CFA exam. :) > 70% all sections :) Hope it's good news for everyone else...?
30 Jan 2016
I work doing acquisitions, and I have recently considered applying for some Development Associate positions. Some postings at larger shops list CFA on their requirement lists, and I believe this could be the HR/recruiter/talent acquisition person just throwing a bunch of stuff at the wall, but it got me thinking: is there a strong value add case for a CFA in most REPE/Development roles? For PM, it makes sense (and I work with someone in our PM department that has a CFA), but outside that it doesn't appear to be common. Also, I have been considering going for designation, and I was told my
25 Jul 2019
I know the CFAI hasn't stated more definitively yet whether they're going to postpone the June 2020 exams or if they're still going to happen as scheduled, only that they're still monitoring events. I don't want to speculate too much, but what do you guys think is most likely going to happen? If anyone has any insight, that would be appreciated. Official CFAI communication: https://www.cfainstitute.org/en/about/press-room/…
16 Mar 2020
Most quality posts on CFA prep are a few years old and just repeatedly point to Kaplan/Schweser. Are there any other resources that are equivalent or better in 2020? Barely passed L1 with the BBG program and looking for an upgrade!
09 Sep 2020
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 You need to have been relatively good at University, and you can sit your ass down and study for it. 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
05 Sep 2012
My 2021 Trade-off: Working full time starting from Jan 2021 or rather studying for the CFA to complete Level 1 (in Feb 2021) and Level 2 (in Aug 2021)? What would you do? I have just graduated (MSc) and I believe If I will start working full-time I might not be able to pass the CFA exams (because this job will keep me busy from 8am till 8pm). So I am thinking to go for the CFA and then start new job applications after Aug 2021 (hopefully with a CFA level 2 pass I will have more credentials to get a better job/internship with top banks in investment research and/or portfolio management). What
26 Dec 2020
Basically I'm studying for the CFA Level 1 right now and everyone puts up a number of hours that they took to study. However, everyone comes from different background and has a different IQ so it would be nice to see some numbers from people who include their alma mater (or general type/"quality" of university), major/s, GPA, and even SAT/ACT scores (essentially as vectors of IQ, and amount of time previous spend on relevant material). Some people will try and say this is being discriminatory against smaller non-ivy schools, but when it comes down to it I think we can all agree that on average
02 Apr 2018
Hey all, I passed the CFA exam on the first attempt and thought I'd share my methodology. Enjoy! #### The Time Commitment It's generally recommended that you start five/six months studying before exam day. I recommend starting seven months before. This may seem excessive however, you want to give yourself the best chance of passing every level the first time so you won't have to spend even more time and more money retaking a level. Would you rather spend an extra month studying to increase your odds of not having to RE-STUDY for another five to six months and RE-PAY exam registration fees
07 Feb 2018
I'm coming from a non finance background (medical device sales) and I'm taking the CFA level 1 in June of this year. I'm registered for a Schweser class starting this coming Tuesday. If I start studying now, do you think I have enough time to prepare and pass the CFA level one in June? I'm taking this exam with the intention of transitioning into equity research
19 Jan 2020
Fellow Monkeys, I recently accepted an offer as a quantitative equity analyst for a large Asset Management firm. My story of getting there is probably a bit unique as the odds were stacked against me on paper and had some major ups and downs. Hopefully my advice will help those who feel the same uphill battle when discovering where they want to be and what shape they want their careers to follow. Six years ago I was unemployed post-graduating from a Tier 2 private Midwest university following the worst of the financial crises. In April 2010, I took a job working in the back office of a
21 Oct 2015
So, the age old question...what is more useful for a long term career in finance, the CFA, the MBA, or the CAIA? Wait, a minute, what even is the CAIA? This article will go through the pros and cons of pursuing each of these three certifications. The upfront economic costs and opportunity costs of the MBA may be significantly higher than CFA requirements, but an MBA does certainly have many intangible benefits such as networking and develops a broader base of professional problem solving and professional skills. The CFA is very targeted towards finance and investment management careers, and is now being sought out more and more by professional firms for the recruitment process.
31 Oct 2010
I'm a junior with a 3.52 at a nontarget, interned in marketing and developed interest into ER in the fall of my junior year. Graduating a year early and now can't be eligible for internships because of my may 2021 graduation date. I was considering taking a gap year, trying to get all 3 levels of CFA in what would have been my senior year and applying in the process. I would be dedicating 100% of my time to the CFA examination. I've been doing the networking and pros have told me I probably have to work somewhere else in financial services for 2 years and apply to an ER position afterwards
31 Jan 2021
Today is the big day we've been waiting for/dreading since early June, when we peeled out of the testing center parking lots, burned our books, and went off to get drunk with our long lost friends. Level I & II results will be released via email today after 9:00 A.M ET. Level III candidates have to wait until August 11th at 9:00 A.M. ET. There is nothing worse than the immense tension buildup before the results are released in the morning when you and your co-workers are refreshing your Gmail every five seconds to find out your fate. How did you guys do?
28 Jul 2015
Mod Note (Andy): WSO readers qualify for a $100 discount to Jared's Daily Dirtnap daily market newsletter...just email [email protected] and mention "WSO Monkey Discount" You can follow Jared on twitter at @dailydirtnap Who doesn't love letters after their names? Jared Dillian, PhD. Jared Dillian, MD. Jared Dillian, Esq. Jared Dillian, CFA. My favorite is when someone puts "MBA" after his name. John Smith, MBA. Whoever does that, is the biggest tool known to mankind. I first explored getting the CFA designation when I was in business school, back in 1998. Some dude from AIMR (that's what
22 Jun 2014
Hey all, I wanted to get your thoughts/feedback on studying for the CFA. Previously, I've spent quite some time on the asset management and capital markets side where a CFA mattered. I have studied the level 2, but I've yet to pass it. More recently, I'd made a lateral into commercial real estate where the CFA is less likely to impact my career. Should I continue the CFA designation or spend the time doing something else? My main goals for the CFA is to allow room for flexibility and if I want to jump back into asset management one day. Another is to hopefully improve salary growth. What're
21 Dec 2018
I'm applying for a job that lists some specific finance skills and knowledge in the job posting. It also prefers CFA charterholders or candidates. I'm thinking of putting something like:
In order to have better keyword matching on my application. I expect any human (even an HR person) reading the resume knows perfectly well what the CFA is, making the bolded section redundant, but I'd like to make it past whatever automated filters they have. Does this look stupid? Am I being paranoid? Good idea Passed CFA Level I Exam covers DCF, NPV, financial statement analysis, etc etc
02 May 2017
I'm a 1st year analyst in a MM in lev fin and am looking into taking the CFA this year. I've read a lot though that for banking and PE it's not really beneficial. I would be doing it against my banking hours too. The views of any experienced bankers and PE guys would be really helpful here in deciding if it's worth the 200-300 hours just to have it in terms of future career prospects and its value.
16 Jan 2016
I'm a recent finance graduate from a "non-target" with a 4.0 GPA. I've had a WM internship at a BB in NYC and also worked part time at my school's endowment fund doing ER for the portfolio. I was the only person at the WM internship to get a return offer, which I turned down because I knew I wanted to pursue research roles. For the last year, I applied to any relevant job posting that didn't require experience and got 3 interviews (a boutique HF, a MM FoF and a top consulting firm (MBB). In each scenario, I was able to make it to the final round and was passed up. Feedback said I was a perfect
30 Sep 2019
Would you want to know from prospective hires that they plan on taking CFA Level 1 in June? I don't want to be the incoming CFA Level I candidate types on LinkedIn... I know it's a tough exam and passing it the first time around is a pretty big deal. That being said, should I put taking CFA Level I in June on my resumé? I know this question might be very elementary but I'm doing whatever I can in order to avoid stepping on toes. Is this something that I should mention to interviewers that I plan on taking CFA Level I in June?? Please share your thoughts, hoping to hear input from certified
10 Jan 2019
Hi All, Taking Level 1 in a couple of weeks. Just curious, for those of you who have passed, what was the approximate number of practice questions you completed prior to the exam? I know there is no magic number and no such thing as too many but I would like to benchmark myself against those who have passed. I have done about 1500 and hope to have near 3000 done by time I take the exam. Thanks in advance.
03 Jun 2019
Hi all, I secured a job after graduating and am currently working as an Investment Analyst at a large Insurance firm's investment management team on fixed income. I hope to eventually work at a large fund manager one day and move up the ranks. Quick questions: 1. Is working as an Investment Analyst at an Insurance firm looked down upon when applying for large Fund Managers? 2. Should I pursue a CFA or Masters in Applied Finance in the near future? Thanks for any input
13 May 2018
Backdrop: -Originally gave myself 7 months to study (came from Econ undergrad, so I figured I would need more time than most) -Department I work in is understaffed like you wouldn't believe, had to work crazy (80+) hours for the last 5 months, despite being in BO. -Barely had time to study at all, even on weekends -It is now 2 months before the Dec. Level 1 Exam -Working through SchweserNotes and ODing on Qbank - On FRA now, but feel like I'm not retaining any info from previous sections -Trying to make flash cards for better retention but I find it extremely time consuming -Nowhere near ready
29 Sep 2016
25, Asian M. Humanities background from a Russell Group uni in London (strong 2:1) and strong a-levels (AAA). I work in a global FTSE 15 listed financial institution. In the space of two years I've been promoted from executive, associate to senior associate in various market analytics/ trading analysis roles. Completed a coveted government internship prior. I would like to pivot to a more business development role within my existing firm or similar, and feel applying for an MBA in 2 to 3 years will help. Noting my limited quantitative background, I expect to probably end up scoring in the
29 Nov 2020
I am currently going through the Schweser books right now and they are the only study materials that I have. I am also considering buying the QBankPro from Kaplan because it was very helpful when I passed the SIE and the Series 65. The first question is: do you think I have enough time to study for the Level I CFA exam? I know it is very hard, but I badly want to pass it and then take the II in June of next year. The problem is that I have no real background in finance and my grasp on math is not great. I have heard that it is possible and others have told me I should wait to take the Level I
14 Aug 2019
I am a 34 y.o. mid to senior level in-house derivatives lawyer at a French investment bank. My main career goal is to become a general counsel - the main issue I see is the fact that I am specialist and general counsels are usually generalist corporate lawyers coming out of private practice. I have taken into consideration an executive MBA to improve my management skills and increase visibility (and also because I love the business side of things and wouldn't mind a commercial role). However, this isn't a viable option: my employer wouldn't sponsor me financially and wouldn't give me the time
15 Oct 2020
I have been considering the debate between getting your CFA, MBA, or both, and after much thought I am not sure either make you a better investor per se. Both can increase your knowledge set, and a MBA can help you switch careers seamlessly, but I am truly after becoming a better investor, and was wondering if any graduate program (MBA included) can make you a better investor?
28 May 2018
Given the fact that I come from extreme non-target up in Canada I decided to start networking and getting to know the finance community proactively. I met plenty of people in all types of roles and industries imaginable. By using LinkedIn and personal conversations to find out more about their early career paths I was able to create a spreadsheet to try to see if they have anything in common. I excluded people who made it to front office through family connections and those who are very old because it's too difficult to pinpoint their beginnings back in the 60's or 70's. Quick reference sheet
28 Oct 2018
Hey all, Was reading through Flake's ER Q&A posted around the holidays and thought that his thread was fantastic. My experience / background is a little different than his was, so I wanted to start this thread as an opportunity to help provide at least some insight into other ER routes that aren't predicated on being at a BB. Forgive me if it's redundant to some of you, but this was something I wish I would have had when exploring other options. For a bit of background information on me, I went to a very small non-target UG school and studied Finance. It was a writing intensive college, which
02 Jul 2012
Hello, I am a recent graduate from McMaster University here in Hamilton, ON, Canada. I have two previous 4 month stints at a early stage PE firm in Toronto, in addition to 6 months at PwC as a tax process specialist. I am currently 25 and a little bit lost in terms of what to do next. I am looking at either getting a mfin at a decent school here in Canada such as, mcgill, york or queens. Or I am looking at either getting one of three designations CBV, CPA or CFA. End goal is PE, and I am currently doing some free courses on data analytics as I feel it will come in handy in the future. I am
04 Dec 2020
I managed to pass Level II with a good breakdown (> 70% in 7 sections including all the big ones, 3 between 50-70) in exactly three months. I attribute my success mainly to discipline and desire to pass (Unlike 90% of people taking the test, I've been wanting to take the test since sophomore year, when I learned that 1/5 PMs had their Charter) but also this little simple sheet I created. The sheet is very simple. I don't think I have to explain much. So I will be brief. 1. Only you will be seeing this sheet, So you'll only be lying to yourself if you inflate hours. I used my iphone timer and
27 Dec 2012
For those of you who passed L1 of the CFA - congratulations. Now that results have been out for a week, I thought I would share what worked for me in getting through L2. This is not meant to be a humble brag (I got that out of the way in the results forum), but rather just my two cents on getting through the next section of the exam--particularly since I didn't pass it the first time around. **Edit. This shit turned into a novel... that's what I get for procrastinating at work. TL;DR:This was my outline for studying for L2. Essentially use Schweser (but download your videos), skip the online
31 Jul 2017
Hello everyone. Ill keep this short and sweet (the goal of Wall St am I right?) - 10 months into an ER job (learning a ton, great job, intense boss though and hours obviously) - Debating taking the CFA. I have all 4 certs already - If so I would do CFA 1 in June. Debating if its worth it. I love tech startups/VC/small cap hedge funds/ and a more entrepreneurial/growth setting. Is it worth going for the CFA if this is where I know I want to be (can it be leveraged later on for a better startup spot or a previously mentioned role?)? Thanks in advance!
07 Jul 2017
So i am about to start a master in QFinance & Risk Mng (coming from a Bc in statistics) and i was looking to start studying for the CFA. still be4 investing 1k hours (really it'll be less so because i've already covered part of the programs at university), i'd like some1 to check what i found about this exam. 1) CFA vs MBA: as for the finance world, cfa>Mba unless the mba is from a prestigious university [top 15 programs] 2) CFA is primarly structured for future equity analysts, corporate analysts but still it may be a requirement for high level Risk Mng positions [like VP and above] 3) CFA < Phd finance 4) if you wanna become a trader, it's pretty useless
11 May 2012
In my first year out of school and currently working as a research analyst. looking to as i gain more experience, work as an analyst in a hedge/mutual fund. Debating going after the CFA and was wondering if anyone had any feedback on how it may have impacted them following earning the charter? jobs, salary? what benefits you might have realized from it? Thank you
15 Jun 2018
Has anyone went through this and can share their experiences? I'm somewhat keen in starting and studying for CFA L3 because I don't start my analyst stint in IB till a couple months, but not sure if it would actually be too feasible to study effectively once work starts
05 Jun 2021
Wondering what is WSO's take on the coming automation of financial analysis. Will markets ever get so efficient from the algos that CFA's and research associates won't be needed?
21 Nov 2017
I'm a Junior/Senior undergrad at non-target and I'm hoping to take the CFA level 1 this June (I haven't enrolled yet.) I've factored that I can dedicate around 300 hours to study. 150 hours over winter break ( 3 1/2 weeks x 40 hours per week + some weekend study) and then 1 week during spring break (another 40 hours) and then between May and June before my summer internship (another 150 hours.) Does this sound at all possible, or just a pipe dream? I am not the smartest person out there, but I do work really hard. Any insight or advice is welcome. Thank you.
20 Oct 2017
I am an undergrad at a lower Ivy. The pool of competition over the years has gotten fiercer and the opportunities for HF have gotten smaller. With the pool getting that much bigger, how much would a CFA stand out for HF?
24 May 2021
Hi guys, Does anyone know how easy it is to get an IBD associate role in London through a masters in finance at LBS. I have a CFA charter and 4 years of corporate finance experience at 2 different big4s in the middle east. Thanks,
24 May 2021
Before I got dinged for starting a new thread on MBA vs CFA, I'd like to hear your opinion on my personalized situation. I'm currently 35 years old and working as a CFO for an energy company in the US, making around $200K/year. Prior to becoming a CFO, I mostly spent my time in financial services at big 4 (yes, I'm a CPA). I do have a side hustle whereby I founded a construction company with a friend (an engineer) a couple years ago (I manage the finances). It hasn't made much money yet, but it does have potential. And I dont spend much time on it too (maybe 2-3 hours/week). I come from an
13 Mar 2020
As it goes for industries I'm curious as to what others think about the CFA and how much it can help having at least one level done assuming you already have a decent network. So if you could add any insight for those outside of AM of the value of the CFA that would be much appreciated. Heres the list of industries I had in mind to consider of whether or not it would help: IB, PE, HF, VC, AM, S&T, ER, & PWM. If there's any industry I left out that the CFA would help please comment on here.
12 Sep 2015