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Engineer's for CFA-- Please stand up!!

Hi, All

I am a guy in a huge Dilemma. I graduated last year with a very good undergraduate record in engineering and with that landed myself a nice engineering job.

BUT– I hate it. I much rather look at the stock markets all day and study them. I get more happiness from that.

Hence I want to make a career shift. I am 22 years old and am determined to obtain the CFA designation. I want to know if there are any engineers who have done the same and who have advice of what route to follow. I want to register for the Level 1 2008 December exams.

PLEASE HELP!!!

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Sigh.

I think you should try to find happiness in your engineering profession first.

I’m Da Church of the faithful, I’m Liao Fengyi, clergywoman mother should have to introduce you to me, I have seen you twice, in which time you are more impressed with everyone I guess in the back of the church at noon to eat noodle face!

I don’t see how you can go through 4 years of engineering classes (which I assume you enjoyed) and then a couple months out of school decide it’s not the career path for you?

get yuor PE. you’ll love it

I”m one of them. I didn’t enjoy the 4 years of engineering : (

I just passed Level 1 and so far I’m getting no calls for any entry level jobs. Seems like 3.1 GPA in engineering isn’t good enough : (

Its ok, i have high hopes and passion like that of kevin garnett.

Been there, done that.

Network network network. That’s how I got my finance job after designing positive displacement blowers and compressors.

Once you Excel, you’ll never AutoCAD.

engineering degree here, doing consulting work now, probably (hopefully) going to business school in a year or two, on level 3. its tough to crack finance with this “non-traditional” background without the MBA.

ps I hated my classes, still not sure why I didn’t change majors to Commerce.

I also did 4 years of engineering and decided it really wasn’t for me. I’m a software engineer for an online computer game company now and passed level 1. In this job market and with our background it’s going to be very hard to land a finance job. The best you can hope for is to know someone who knows someone who knows someone who is a big deal. I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’ll probably be in software for another few years until I go back to business school. All that being said, the CFA really isn’t going to help you make a huge career switch. Getting your MBA is going to be infinitely more useful because then you can do fall recruiting with everybody else. Hopefully by then the job market will have turned around.

Sam24 Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Hi, All
>
> I am a guy in a huge Dilemma. I graduated last
> year with a very good undergraduate record in
> engineering and with that landed myself a nice
> engineering job.
>
> BUT– I hate it. I much rather look at the stock
> markets all day and study them. I get more
> happiness from that.
>
> Hence I want to make a career shift. I am 22 years
> old and am determined to obtain the CFA
> designation. I want to know if there are any
> engineers who have done the same and who have
> advice of what route to follow. I want to register
> for the Level 1 2008 December exams.
>
> PLEASE HELP!!!

This is so depressing. Just quit and take any job in the financial sector you can get. But to get anything good you need to have a better story than “I love to analyze stocks”. As it is, you are a walking cliche.

Another option is to go to a 2nd tier business school like Rochester or Purdue that has a record of taking young engineering kids straight out of school. Then maybe you can transition before you hit 25.

there’s more to this than meets the eye. what specifically do you dislike about engineering and your job, and what ‘studies’ do you run on the stock markets?

with a bit more detail, maybe this group can guide you in a more customized manner.

Engineer here. Did civil engineering for about 5 years in Phoenix. Got my PE. No big whoop. It is nothing compared to the CFA exams. At least the PE exam is open book.

Anyway, during that time, I got really bored with engineering. The work was really repetitive. I also realized that there is a ceiling for engineers unless maybe you get on with a very large international firm and work your way up or you open a very successful startup firm. Depending where you live, those may or may not be options. I thought that maybe an MBA would help with my career (engineering or otherwise) so I did that. While in the program, I found that I was way more interested in finance than engineering and that I could use the skills from engineering in finance, especially the quant stuff. I finished the MBA up 6 years ago and had only heard one person ever discuss the CFA. I went on to get my MS in finance a year later and the CFA was a much bigger deal for students. I passed L1 pretty easily. Took about 6 months to find a job which sucks when you are unemployed and paying a steep rent in Boston but the market at the time was horrid. I ended up in an analyst position back in my hometown in the midwest which was nice since the pay was good (about what I was making when I quit engineering) and the cost of living is relatively low. That was a little over 4 years ago. I switched firms about a year ago to work with a small closed fund and I’m hopefully going to pass L3 this year.

If you really want out of engineering, do it now. Don’t wait because next thing you know, you will get more promotions and raises and maybe a family and then it is a bigger deal to quit and you will always wonder what might have been. Worst case scenario, you go back to engineering. That is always nice to be able to fall back on. I could probably pick up the phone right now and have 2 or 3 job offers but they wouldn’t pay me what I make now. Granted, having your PE makes that a lot easier, but there will always be a demand for engineering.

wow,
i wish i was an academic. sigh. not smart enough.

hezagenius Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Engineer here. Did civil engineering for about 5
> years in Phoenix. Got my PE. No big whoop. It
> is nothing compared to the CFA exams. At least
> the PE exam is open book.
>
> Anyway, during that time, I got really bored with
> engineering. The work was really repetitive. I
> also realized that there is a ceiling for
> engineers unless maybe you get on with a very
> large international firm and work your way up or
> you open a very successful startup firm.
> Depending where you live, those may or may not be
> options. I thought that maybe an MBA would help
> with my career (engineering or otherwise) so I did
> that. While in the program, I found that I was
> way more interested in finance than engineering
> and that I could use the skills from engineering
> in finance, especially the quant stuff. I
> finished the MBA up 6 years ago and had only heard
> one person ever discuss the CFA. I went on to get
> my MS in finance a year later and the CFA was a
> much bigger deal for students. I passed L1 pretty
> easily. Took about 6 months to find a job which
> sucks when you are unemployed and paying a steep
> rent in Boston but the market at the time was
> horrid. I ended up in an analyst position back in
> my hometown in the midwest which was nice since
> the pay was good (about what I was making when I
> quit engineering) and the cost of living is
> relatively low. That was a little over 4 years
> ago. I switched firms about a year ago to work
> with a small closed fund and I’m hopefully going
> to pass L3 this year.
>
> If you really want out of engineering, do it now.
> Don’t wait because next thing you know, you will
> get more promotions and raises and maybe a family
> and then it is a bigger deal to quit and you will
> always wonder what might have been. Worst case
> scenario, you go back to engineering. That is
> always nice to be able to fall back on. I could
> probably pick up the phone right now and have 2 or
> 3 job offers but they wouldn’t pay me what I make
> now. Granted, having your PE makes that a lot
> easier, but there will always be a demand for
> engineering.

damn that is insanely brutal. Your MBA must have been of no name

pacmandefense Wrote:
——————————————————-

> damn that is insanely brutal. Your MBA must have
> been of no name

Not sure what is supposed to be brutal.

Last I checked, it was a top 25 program.

i also found that an interesting remark. i went to what they call a ‘top x’ MBA and no one there cared a damn for the CFA. they were too busy congratulating themselves for being the smartest of the smartest, and preparing for being worthy contributors to the next credit crisis, while chugging beers on weekday evenings.

why do u need a MS in Finance AFTER a top 25 MBA? CFA and MS in Fin is very redundant

pacmandefense Wrote:
——————————————————-
> why do u need a MS in Finance AFTER a top 25 MBA?
> CFA and MS in Fin is very redundant

When you have no background in finance and an MBA from a non-East Coast school, it is kind of difficult to find a job on the EC. Also, there was very little heavy quant stuff in my MBA and I wanted to work in quant finance so if I wanted to learn that stuff, it was either an MSF or an MFE, and even then I knew it would still be an uphill battle. Sure, I could have just read books to learn it but my potential employers wouldn’t know that. The other option was a PhD but I didn’t want to spend 5 more years in school.

I agree that the CFA and an MSF are somewhat redundant but my current employer doesn’t seem to think so.

I graduated with an engineering degree 12 years ago and decided at the time not to practice.

Got my MBA right away…then my CFP….now working on the CFA program

hezagenius Wrote:
——————————————————-
> Engineer here. Did civil engineering for about 5
> years in Phoenix. Got my PE. No big whoop. It
> is nothing compared to the CFA exams. At least
> the PE exam is open book.
>
> Anyway, during that time, I got really bored with
> engineering. The work was really repetitive. I
> also realized that there is a ceiling for
> engineers unless maybe you get on with a very
> large international firm and work your way up or
> you open a very successful startup firm.
> Depending where you live, those may or may not be
> options. I thought that maybe an MBA would help
> with my career (engineering or otherwise) so I did
> that. While in the program, I found that I was
> way more interested in finance than engineering
> and that I could use the skills from engineering
> in finance, especially the quant stuff. I
> finished the MBA up 6 years ago and had only heard
> one person ever discuss the CFA. I went on to get
> my MS in finance a year later and the CFA was a
> much bigger deal for students. I passed L1 pretty
> easily. Took about 6 months to find a job which
> sucks when you are unemployed and paying a steep
> rent in Boston but the market at the time was
> horrid. I ended up in an analyst position back in
> my hometown in the midwest which was nice since
> the pay was good (about what I was making when I
> quit engineering) and the cost of living is
> relatively low. That was a little over 4 years
> ago. I switched firms about a year ago to work
> with a small closed fund and I’m hopefully going
> to pass L3 this year.
>
> If you really want out of engineering, do it now.
> Don’t wait because next thing you know, you will
> get more promotions and raises and maybe a family
> and then it is a bigger deal to quit and you will
> always wonder what might have been. Worst case
> scenario, you go back to engineering. That is
> always nice to be able to fall back on. I could
> probably pick up the phone right now and have 2 or
> 3 job offers but they wouldn’t pay me what I make
> now. Granted, having your PE makes that a lot
> easier, but there will always be a demand for
> engineering.

I am Glad that you replied. You seem to be a very determined and passionate individual. Thank you for your advice and for sharing your experience with me. It is really appreciated.

I just want to clear up something. When you say quit now do you mean that I should go back to school and study a master’s that involves finance? Or do you think that I should get a job in finance and study for The CFA exams and build my way up like that.

In my country there are a number of jobs in investment banks that require recently graduated engineers and then they train you on the job. The only problem is that the jobs start in the beginning of the year. So I thought that if I got my Level 1 by the end of this year then I would stand a better chance of landing one of those jobs and then working myself up from there.

I am just worried that it will be very difficult to work a pure engineering job during the day and then study for the CFA and night.

What do you think?

.

.

.

.

Sam24 Wrote:
——————————————————-
> hezagenius Wrote:
> ————————————————–
> —–
> > Engineer here. Did civil engineering for about 5
>
> > years in Phoenix. Got my PE. No big whoop. It
> > is nothing compared to the CFA exams. At least
> > the PE exam is open book.
> >
> > Anyway, during that time, I got really bored
> with
> > engineering. The work was really repetitive. I
> > also realized that there is a ceiling for
> > engineers unless maybe you get on with a very
> > large international firm and work your way up or
>
> > you open a very successful startup firm.
> > Depending where you live, those may or may not
> be
> > options. I thought that maybe an MBA would help
>
> > with my career (engineering or otherwise) so I
> did
> > that. While in the program, I found that I was
> > way more interested in finance than engineering
>
> > and that I could use the skills from engineering
>
> > in finance, especially the quant stuff. I
> > finished the MBA up 6 years ago and had only
> heard
> > one person ever discuss the CFA. I went on to
> get
> > my MS in finance a year later and the CFA was a
>
> > much bigger deal for students. I passed L1
> pretty
> > easily. Took about 6 months to find a job which
>
> > sucks when you are unemployed and paying a steep
>
> > rent in Boston but the market at the time was
> > horrid. I ended up in an analyst position back
> in
> > my hometown in the midwest which was nice since
>
> > the pay was good (about what I was making when I
>
> > quit engineering) and the cost of living is
> > relatively low. That was a little over 4 years
> > ago. I switched firms about a year ago to work
> > with a small closed fund and I’m hopefully going
>
> > to pass L3 this year.
> >
> > If you really want out of engineering, do it
> now.
> > Don’t wait because next thing you know, you will
>
> > get more promotions and raises and maybe a
> family
> > and then it is a bigger deal to quit and you
> will
> > always wonder what might have been. Worst case
> > scenario, you go back to engineering. That is
> > always nice to be able to fall back on. I could
>
> > probably pick up the phone right now and have 2
> or
> > 3 job offers but they wouldn’t pay me what I
> make
> > now. Granted, having your PE makes that a lot
> > easier, but there will always be a demand for
> > engineering.
>
>
>
> I am Glad that you replied. You seem to be a very
> determined and passionate individual. Thank you
> for your advice and for sharing your experience
> with me. It is really appreciated.
>
> I just want to clear up something. When you say
> quit now do you mean that I should go back to
> school and study a master’s that involves finance?
> Or do you think that I should get a job in finance
> and study for The CFA exams and build my way up
> like that.
>
> In my country there are a number of jobs in
> investment banks that require recently graduated
> engineers and then they train you on the job. The
> only problem is that the jobs start in the
> beginning of the year. So I thought that if I got
> my Level 1 by the end of this year then I would
> stand a better chance of landing one of those jobs
> and then working myself up from there.
>
> I am just worried that it will be very difficult
> to work a pure engineering job during the day and
> then study for the CFA and night.
>
> What do you think?

I think clearly Sam24 is fishing for validation, hears what he wants to hear, likely has a pipe-dream of hitting it big on the street and is looking for anything to justify a career switch. Answer this…

If you have never worked in finance, how do you know you’ll even like it. You thought you would like being an engineer too before you became one, right— so what makes you so sure about finance this time? What are your real motivations for wanting to “look at the stock market all day”– money maybe, prestige? Why not just study the stock market on your free time if you love it so much?

>I think clearly Sam24 is fishing for validation, hears what he wants to hear, likely has a >pipe-dream of hitting it big on the street and is looking for anything to justify a career >switch. Answer this…

>If you have never worked in finance, how do you know you’ll even like it. You thought >you would like being an engineer too before you became one, right— so what makes >you so sure about finance this time? What are your real motivations for wanting >to “look at the stock market all day”– money maybe, prestige? Why not just study the >stock market on your free time if you love it so much?

Let me try and answer you. You see when I chose to study engineering I did it because of financial reason’s- I was offered a bursary to study engineering-. At the time I was 17 and did not know what was out there, but I knew that I liked to study and learn more and would only get a chance to do this through engineering. So I said why not.

My varsity experience was not bad as I liked the mathematical problems I was faced with in engineering. But I did not like the design work. So I thought I could live with it and learn to love it. When I arrived at work I was faced with only design work and was told to forget about the Math and the calculations and just do what is there.

How do I know that I will like the finance world? I have been reading up and feel that I am better equipped to make a decision now than when I was 17. I have seen what my friends in finance do and I even took some extra finance courses in university just to see what was out there.

So what do you think now?

When I say quit, I mean that if you are serious, you should try to make the move to finance as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to make the transition. That doesn’t necessarily mean quit your job and go back to school. I guess starting the CFA program while working as an engineer isn’t a bad way to start since if you find out you don’t really like finance, you haven’t lost anything other than time studying. A job with an I-bank would be good if you can land one and you are willing to wait until the beginning of the year. Passing L1 wouldn’t look bad on the resume either. I don’t know where you are, but in the US, the finance job market is not looking good. When people with lots of experience are losing their jobs, the people with no experience have their work cut out for them. If I were in your position and I could get a job at an I-bank, I would probably do that.

I will say that without a background in finance, L1 will be difficult unless you really put a ton of time into it.

Finally, don’t take what I say as the absolute truth. I can only tell you what I did and how it worked for me. The same thing may not work for you.

Hope everything works out for you man…career changes are tough especially in this economy. In my experience luck and good timing are big factors in a successful shift.

I completed the engineering to finance shift about 14 months ago.Luckily I had a family friend that runs a small financial consultancy and he gave me a shot as an entry-level analyst. I learned a lot from everyone around me and spent almost all my free time expanding my knowledge.

There’s only so much you can learn from books in the end and theres no substitute for 12 hour days poring through financial statements, modeling and presenting your work. That was the main reason I landed a gig at a larger firm 8 months later, where I’m working as a Business Analyst.

My advice would be to try to get into the industry as soon as possible even if its an entry-level job at a startup. Working in finance at the same time as working towards your CFA adds a lot more value in my opinion.

You have the added advantage of a PE to fall back on, so theres no reason to be risk-averse at this point.

Many people ask me, “Dalit, what is the best way for me to get to finance?” Of course, with CFA I am well equipped to answer. My friends, you should study to be doctor, engineering, or best of all IT (the spice of life). Oh and yes lest I forget….general pedantry

ancientmtk Wrote:
——————————————————-
> I”m one of them. I didn’t enjoy the 4 years of
> engineering : (
>
> I just passed Level 1 and so far I’m getting no
> calls for any entry level jobs. Seems like 3.1
> GPA in engineering isn’t good enough : (
>
> Its ok, i have high hopes and passion like that of
> kevin garnett.

I am loving this thread. I am in a similar situation, but I’m thinking of giving this engineering thing a try so that I haven’t wasted 4 years of my life.

I am curious Ancientmtk, when you say getting no entry level jobs, I am assuming you mean finance jobs? Are you currently working as an eng. ancientmtk?

“BUT– I hate it. I much rather look at the stock markets all day and study them. I get more happiness from that.”

Sam24, why don’t you tough it out for a year in Engineering and build up some seed capital and then start trading equities yourself?

Willy

i’m referring to finance entry level jobs.

I’m currently working in IT, so its even a more dired situation for me. I AM NOT USING MY KNOWLEDGE. I regret “settling down” for a crappy job, instead of looking harder for a much more useful job.