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Impact of the (full) CFA certification on your career.

Hello,

I was wondering, is there a real, material impact on your career development of the full CFA certification as compared to just Level II, for example ?

I successfully passed the first 2 levels, and I’ll take the level 3 exam this year. I’ve been applying for jobs in the asset management industry for 2 years now, sometimes for very junior positions, but I just can’t seem to land a job and enter the industry, despite the fact that I have a master’s degree in Asset Management, I am a CFA Level III Candidate, and I already have 5 years of experience as a market risk analyst (Solvency II-wise, not equity research or macro research or anything like that) in one of the biggest insurance companies in my country.

I’m getting a little bit desperate to be honest. Is the full CFA certification much more valued than just level II, or is it that my (potential) success for level III just won’t change a thing ?

I guess I probably lacked a little bit of luck as I was very close to a few very exciting positions, but there’s always something wrong in the end. I just hope level III could change that. Note that the fact that I don’t live close to any very busy financial place (US, Singapore, London, India, …) probably doesn’t help, as there are not that many big players here.

Any thoughts ?

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Look, not trying to slash your expectations but if you didn’t succeed over the last 2 years there is a very low probability that things will change dramatically once you have your charter.

I will never stress this enough but nothing will replace relevant work experience, a degree from a top school or being an okayish (at least a 6) woman. CFA is easy, let’s be honest… Any monkey can study for 300 hours and succeed. You are competing with guys that probably have 2/3 years of experience in the same type of positions. The choice is obvious for the recruiters.

Also you might want to move to another country. I am French and I think you’d get much more opportunities in Germany or Switzerland, assuming London is not an option with regards to Brexit. Even Paris or Amsterdam probably offer more options than Belgium, depending if you speak French or Flemmish…

I was expecting this kind of answers to be honest. The thing is that there’s always “someone with a more relevant work experience”, even if it’s just 1 year making coffee in an asset management firm. How they got the experience, though, is pure mystery to me as I can’t seem to build any relevant experience…due to my lack of relevant experience.

Unfortunately moving to another country is not an option, my wife won’t move that far away from her family, which I can understand.

I guess I’ll just get my charter and try to land a job in the industry for another couple of years, then probably move to another career path if I can’t succeed, even though I have no idea which one… At 28 it’s just too early to give up, and it’s quite hard to accept that it’s already too late in my career to build relevant experience.

RDE wrote:

Hello,

I was wondering, is there a real, material impact on your career development of the full CFA certification as compared to just Level II, for example ?

I successfully passed the first 2 levels, and I’ll take the level 3 exam this year. I’ve been applying for jobs in the asset management industry for 2 years now, sometimes for very junior positions, but I just can’t seem to land a job and enter the industry, despite the fact that I have a master’s degree in Asset Management, I am a CFA Level III Candidate, and I already have 5 years of experience as a market risk analyst (Solvency II-wise, not equity research or macro research or anything like that) in one of the biggest insurance companies in my country.

I’m getting a little bit desperate to be honest. Is the full CFA certification much more valued than just level II, or is it that my (potential) success for level III just won’t change a thing ?

I guess I probably lacked a little bit of luck as I was very close to a few very exciting positions, but there’s always something wrong in the end. I just hope level III could change that. Note that the fact that I don’t live close to any very busy financial place (US, Singapore, London, India, …) probably doesn’t help, as there are not that many big players here.

Any thoughts ?

From my own experience, I’d say that very few recruiters care if you’re a L1/L2/L3 candidate. It’s either or. Sure, being in the program shows dedication etc but until you get the charter, you won’t really benefit from the program. That’s how it was for me at least.  

If you're the first out the door, that's not called panicking

Yes, certain jobs require it. I probably wouldn’t have gotten my first job had I not been enrolled in the CFA program. And, there are stats that claim fewer CFAs get laid off during company RIFs. 

So…yeah. It’s been good to me.

after the cfa nerdy got nice job, benz, six pack, mexican wife, kid, and vegas punani. judge for yourselves 

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RIP