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is it worth to be a CFA charterholder?

Fredo wrote:

I have recently also sat for the CFA Level 3 exam, I’m not sure about my performance, but there is a question constantly bothering me. Will becoming a CFA charterholder add value to my career?

I know you all studied very hard, spent a lot of time, and had lots of stress in the process (including me) while studying and sitting for the exam, but just think about it. You pay a lot of money for registration, exams (some pass at first attempt, others not), you spend several years of your life to study, give up the valuable time of your life which you could spend with your family and friends, give up fun, gym, and partly your health, in the end just to put those three letters at the end of your name? In addition to all of these hardworking, commitment, and stress, you have to pay $250 every year just to keep those letters there. I have recently been to many interviews, and I can say that passing the CFA exams doesn’t make any difference. They are still going to ask the same questions, and if you have a good knowledge, and relevant experience, you can answer the questions and qualify for the job, you don’t need to have any charter.

Isn’t it just better to have a Master’s degree, MBA, or PhD, which gives you a specific knowledge and academic degree, while you don’t have to pay any subscription fees every year? You will have less stress studying (we mostly study CFA while working, which adds stress), get to increase your network, and still gain the same knowledge. I don’t see any benefits of becoming a member in any society, and I think that the charterholder reference should be given without any fees, or there should be any additional advantages for those who pay the fee. Please, update me, if I don’t have any additional information.

I run a boutique corporate finance firm focused on valuation of biotech products/technologies as well as offer Interim CFO support services and fund raising.I decided to take CFA for several reasons:

1. I did not have any finance background prior to my MBA and had never worked in any big four

2. I learnt Valuation/ pricing myself, applied on real world projects. Today I get business through word of mouth

3. However to scale up my company, I wanted to learn what more I could do for my clients in finance area. CFA  exposed me to several things especially on derivatives, PM which I could have never known. I believe that the breadth of my knowledge has increased

4. As I sell Valuation services to my clients with no big four brand, getting CFA will mean I know the subject matter and have worked hard to get it ( Let me share one story to bring this home : I was in a networking event in Basel. I met one of I bankers and while conversing reg my business, he casually asked me - So you are an ex-EY. I said : No. KPMG? I said : I am a CFA cand…. I couldnt even finish and he said Oh ok got you and he moved to a diff conversation)

5. I am a social guy and believe in networking and relationship building. I already started leveraging the networking events offered by CFA Societies.

6. MBA was good and helped to understand everything in a diff way as I was an engineer prior to my MBA. Post my MBA, I started my firm ( with a different business idea but soon realized that there is a big need in the area of Valuation/CFO support). At one point, I decided, should I do PhD in finance or CFA to enhance my credibility? After discussing with tons of people– Wharton PhDs, CFAs, folks working in big four, I decided to take CFA

7. I am 38 ( married and one kid), so taking CFA now is indeed challenging but I think its paying me well. You need to know how to get the maximum value out of it. Taking CFA , IMHO, is not like reading a book and passing an exam to get the three letter word in your Business card. Its more than that

I am sure it would work for you as well. You have to decide - How.

Regards,
Saurabh

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I do not have experience in finance, I am an engineer, just finished master in economics.

I am not sure if CFA is useful in​ helping me to get a finance job. Without a finance job, I could not qualify for the charter.

agree with your post saurabhm…

&

cfa + hustle > cfa + no hustle

Victoryeo1984 wrote:
I do not have experience in finance, I am an engineer, just finished master in economics. I am not sure if CFA is useful in​ helping me to get a finance job. Without a finance job, I could not qualify for the charter.

Have you spent time networking with Chartered holders in the events organized by CFA society in your area? That might help to understand the profiles and experience they are looking at it

Regards,
Saurabh

Most everyone in the industry respects it. had an interview with an MD at a RE fund who in his younger years planned to sit for it, then said he was glad he did an MBA since it was basically a 2 year vacation (insinuating the trope that you dont do much work in an MBA program) and the Partners at the fund & everyone I spoke to thought highly of it and knows its quite a bit of work. It may not speak to your intelligence (not too many things do) but it definitely speaks to your work ethic

'A flute with no holes, is not a flute. And a donut with no hole, is a danish'

saurabhm wrote:

Victoryeo1984 wrote:
I do not have experience in finance, I am an engineer, just finished master in economics. I am not sure if CFA is useful in​ helping me to get a finance job. Without a finance job, I could not qualify for the charter.

Have you spent time networking with Chartered holders in the events organized by CFA society in your area? That might help to understand the profiles and experience they are looking at it

Never. Do i have to join as associate member (as CFA candidates) first, and then join the events of the CFA society?

saurabhm wrote:

Victoryeo1984 wrote:
I do not have experience in finance, I am an engineer, just finished master in economics. I am not sure if CFA is useful in​ helping me to get a finance job. Without a finance job, I could not qualify for the charter.

Have you spent time networking with Chartered holders in the events organized by CFA society in your area? That might help to understand the profiles and experience they are looking at it

Never. Do i have to join as associate member (as CFA candidates) first, and then join the events of the CFA society?

Victoryeo1984 wrote:

saurabhm wrote:

Victoryeo1984 wrote:
I do not have experience in finance, I am an engineer, just finished master in economics. I am not sure if CFA is useful in​ helping me to get a finance job. Without a finance job, I could not qualify for the charter.

Have you spent time networking with Chartered holders in the events organized by CFA society in your area? That might help to understand the profiles and experience they are looking at it

Never. Do i have to join as associate member (as CFA candidates) first, and then join the events of the CFA society?

you will have to pay an yearly fee to the local society and then you will have access to all events. Non members also can attend, I think depending o the event you will have to pay higher fee or some fee when the event would be free for members

Regards,
Saurabh

I look at the local CFA society page. They do not announce their activities. Without joining as members, I won’t know when their activities are.

I did my MBA (full time) from one of the most prestigious universities in India. I am a CFA level 3 candidate and have also passed both the levels of FRM. Yet I am not getting a call from any of the IB/investment management firms simply because my work-ex is not quite relevant to the jobs I am seeking. So, I am not sure how much value CFA adds if someone is looking for a role change.

Fredo wrote:

I have recently also sat for the CFA Level 3 exam, I’m not sure about my performance, but there is a question constantly bothering me. Will becoming a CFA charterholder add value to my career?

I know you all studied very hard, spent a lot of time, and had lots of stress in the process (including me) while studying and sitting for the exam, but just think about it. You pay a lot of money for registration, exams (some pass at first attempt, others not), you spend several years of your life to study, give up the valuable time of your life which you could spend with your family and friends, give up fun, gym, and partly your health, in the end just to put those three letters at the end of your name? In addition to all of these hardworking, commitment, and stress, you have to pay $250 every year just to keep those letters there. I have recently been to many interviews, and I can say that passing the CFA exams doesn’t make any difference. They are still going to ask the same questions, and if you have a good knowledge, and relevant experience, you can answer the questions and qualify for the job, you don’t need to have any charter.

Isn’t it just better to have a Master’s degree, MBA, or PhD, which gives you a specific knowledge and academic degree, while you don’t have to pay any subscription fees every year? You will have less stress studying (we mostly study CFA while working, which adds stress), get to increase your network, and still gain the same knowledge. I don’t see any benefits of becoming a member in any society, and I think that the charterholder reference should be given without any fees, or there should be any additional advantages for those who pay the fee. Please, update me, if I don’t have any additional information.

I am surprised you only have this discussion with yourself now that you are a Level 3 candidate.

I look at it this way, unless you are already in a financial role and your company asks you to write the CFA exams, there is no guarantee that what you study will automatically land you a job in related field.

MBA doesn’t, PhD doesn’t, law or any master degree doesn’t.

In terms of money, i don’t know if you actually did a NPV analysis to compare a typical master degree tuition and cost for getting CFA (annual membership included), i would say the cost of a master degree far exceeds the cost of getting an CFA, especially if you include the loss of income during the master program.

In terms of time commitment, that is just a life decision eveyone makes, some put their education and career higher than others, some are okay to take a step back from their careers for their families. But whatever I do, i believe in no regrets. I make decisions that make sense to me at the time, and if it doesn’t go as planned, it’s just part of life. i could’ve done other things instead and they could’ve been equally unsuccessful, so there is no point of questioning yourself.

bottomline: education is never a bad thing.

Hope that helps!

NANA

Straddle wrote:

I did my MBA (full time) from one of the most prestigious universities in India. I am a CFA level 3 candidate and have also passed both the levels of FRM. Yet I am not getting a call from any of the IB/investment management firms simply because my work-ex is not quite relevant to the jobs I am seeking. So, I am not sure how much value CFA adds if someone is looking for a role change.

I just finished master degree in economics and i am a CFA level 3 candidate as well. My work-ex is in software programming. I apply for many finance jobs and get no response.  It looks like CFA and Master degree won’t help me change my career.

NANA Hachiko wrote:

Fredo wrote:

I have recently also sat for the CFA Level 3 exam, I’m not sure about my performance, but there is a question constantly bothering me. Will becoming a CFA charterholder add value to my career?

I know you all studied very hard, spent a lot of time, and had lots of stress in the process (including me) while studying and sitting for the exam, but just think about it. You pay a lot of money for registration, exams (some pass at first attempt, others not), you spend several years of your life to study, give up the valuable time of your life which you could spend with your family and friends, give up fun, gym, and partly your health, in the end just to put those three letters at the end of your name? In addition to all of these hardworking, commitment, and stress, you have to pay $250 every year just to keep those letters there. I have recently been to many interviews, and I can say that passing the CFA exams doesn’t make any difference. They are still going to ask the same questions, and if you have a good knowledge, and relevant experience, you can answer the questions and qualify for the job, you don’t need to have any charter.

Isn’t it just better to have a Master’s degree, MBA, or PhD, which gives you a specific knowledge and academic degree, while you don’t have to pay any subscription fees every year? You will have less stress studying (we mostly study CFA while working, which adds stress), get to increase your network, and still gain the same knowledge. I don’t see any benefits of becoming a member in any society, and I think that the charterholder reference should be given without any fees, or there should be any additional advantages for those who pay the fee. Please, update me, if I don’t have any additional information.

I am surprised you only have this discussion with yourself now that you are a Level 3 candidate.

I look at it this way, unless you are already in a financial role and your company asks you to write the CFA exams, there is no guarantee that what you study will automatically land you a job in related field.

MBA doesn’t, PhD doesn’t, law or any master degree doesn’t.

In terms of money, i don’t know if you actually did a NPV analysis to compare a typical master degree tuition and cost for getting CFA (annual membership included), i would say the cost of a master degree far exceeds the cost of getting an CFA, especially if you include the loss of income during the master program.

In terms of time commitment, that is just a life decision eveyone makes, some put their education and career higher than others, some are okay to take a step back from their careers for their families. But whatever I do, i believe in no regrets. I make decisions that make sense to me at the time, and if it doesn’t go as planned, it’s just part of life. i could’ve done other things instead and they could’ve been equally unsuccessful, so there is no point of questioning yourself.

bottomline: education is never a bad thing.

Hope that helps!

NANA

Well said NANA!

big dreams require big sacrifices

yes…that’s my quote

Big Dreams Require Big Sacrifices - VWJETTY

Correct!

this designation is like a big scalp that you proudly hang around….