Advice Please - Pursuing CFA or Not

Hi Folks, I need some feed back and advice whether or not to pursue CFA. I have a M.S in Accounting and have passed all 4 parts of my CPA in my first attempt with an Average of 93. I am starting at a Big 4 firm in Septin the financial service audit section. I am considering doing the CFA exam next as I am interested in learning more about financial instruments and also making a career change down the line from Audit to more investing related jobs. Really appreciate your input in helping me make this decision. Is it worth to suffer a couple more years and do the CFA as well. Are there significant added benefits in getting a CFA? Thanks in advance for your time and consideration! Regards Bhakee

There is value if you want to learn about financial instruments, but interestingly I didn’t really find the program spent a great deal on that from a corporate perspective. There may be better ways of getting that knowledge, like an MBA. The MBA may also be a better way to jump over, but you wouldn’t be the first to go down the path you’re asking about.

@OP - ask the people in your valuation and A&D group. They’ll give you better advice.

My .02 - probably better to make the move into valuation/MAD first, then take the test. Because it’s entirely possible that you’ll spend most of your life taking the test, then never actually make the transition (for whatever reason).


Depends what you will do with your time if you are not studying for the exams. If you are playing video games or watching porn, I say register. If you are networking or busting your a$$ at work, don’t.


what if I am doing all?

^ Burnout

then cut back on bustin a$$ at work. there’s too much good pr0n out there to miss.

and the goose can’t fap itself

MBA full time or part time or 1 year MFE/MS in Finance from a good school, over CFA any time if you are looking for a switch in career, jump in pay or switching industry or job role. Once you have MBA or MFE or MS, get a CFA. CFA is just not that much worth, it is only a certification albeit hard to obtain.

I regret pursuing CFA and wasting three years that I could have easily put into getting a part time MBA from a good school and making $150k + salary. I know of 3 friends who got their part time MBA and now work in fixed income, corporate development and equity analysis but know of no one who said some company hired them because they had CFA.

Know nothing registered investment advisors doing wealth management care about CFA because they cannot get MBA’s from good schools working for them. However RIAs are not good pay masters. These are mom and pop shops gathering assets from relationships and mostly outsourcing their investment management!

Fixed income, equity, hedge fund, PE, VC, corporate developments folks want to hire people graduating out good schools. Do not hear much about companies going ga ga over hiring people who got their CFA.

The dynamics of increasing amount of AUM coming under ETF, closing of -prop desks, hedge funds and PE shops, mutual funds - leads to a trend of decreasing demand for investment skills. If I were you, I would pursue MBA or MFE with full confidence. Dont worry about tuition, higher pay will pay off for MBA but $3-$7k spent in getting CFA is money down the drain, as there aern’t any jobs offered to CFAs despite marketing by the institute. CFA is just not good enough!

AstuteInvestor, where are you from?

Down in my neck of the woods, its pretty tough to land an investment role with a top 50 PT MBA. In general, I would say a charterholder is a bit smarter on average compared to a top PT 50 MBA.

But in Boston its harvard and mit or bust.

MBA - hahaha. He already has a Master’s Debgree & is a CPA. The CFA will set you apart more. I say go for it!

Call yourself whatever you want because you have a CFA charter. The outcome of higher pay, great projects to lead, have a break, ability to get hired at companies that matter to you - in the end decide the worth of an educational program. I would expand my geography beyond Boston to entire US or even some great 1 year programs at LSE or INSEAD.

Also if CFA is not going to get you a front row seat in front of a company hiring you in an investment management role, why even bother pursuing it? I would say odds of landing an investment role or even getting hired by top tier consulting firms are way way way higher with MBA from a top 25 full time/part time programs than just CFA. I know friends who have used their progress towards CFA to get into a good MBA programs. The time you put in to pass your level 1, maybe enough to get 720+ GMAT score, then add your work experience, add your progress towards CFA, perhaps add few leadership roles in volunteer programs, you may have your ticket to a good MBA program. It is doable.

Having a stellar, high paying career is a very long journey, though difficult but possible to achieve with preservearance, hard work and smart choices grounded on data. Getting a great MBA/MFE/MS, helps you get education out of the way and focus on working your ass off to complete projects that deliver results helps you making money. Bhakee (Since you have MS, work at big 5, getting into Ivy MBA program is a real possibility). Why restrict your universe to just an investment management role?

You are not going to die because you are not doing an investment management role. Due to the financial markets becoming more and more efficient, the computer base algorithmic analysis getting better each day (read on Joel Greenblat funds) the relevance and demand for investment skills is just declining. Warren Buffet is putting bunch of his money into index funds. The fees charged by investment funds of all kinds public and private, are declining each year, that should put downward pressure on wage growth and demand for investment professionals.

where have u been my whole life

You found your mentor.

^lol touche

For the main part I agree with Astute. Finance jobs are not what they were rewards are dropping and expectations are rising. For me I love finance and that’s why I want to work in Asset Management, not run projects. But I recognise that in the short term the rewards will probabyl not be in Asset/Investment Management. But like all things there’s a cycle, once enough people decide active maangement is not worht it and invest in trackers inefficiences will return and alpha generation will lead to better pay. Sadly I thnk this cycle could be long enough that I’m going to go through all the hard parts in my career and then watch the next pack of wolves turn the brown stuff into gold.

I’d like to speak to this since my wife is in public accounting (auditing too) and has her CPA and MS in accounting. I showed her the material and she doesn’t want to get it. For her situation, I’m inclined to agree. Would it help her? Probably. Is it her best use of time? Absolutely not.

The value of the CFA is

  1. It will help you if you go the valuation route

  2. It will give you some relevant knowledge to move to the industry side when you leave public accounting. Maybe not the portfolio management stuff, but the derivative and financial reporting stuff would be nice to go over again.

_ The reasons not to do it: _

  1. You don’t need it! You already have the pedigree of a Big 4 with a CPA license.

  2. Where are you going to find 900 hours while working 80 or 90 hour weeks at a Big 4?

  3. I said the CFA would give you KNOWLEDGE to operate on the industry side. I never said the recruiters actually respect it:) The job postings speak for themselves: All of the corporate finance jobs look for a CPA when you get to the 5 year mark and 10-20% look for an MBA (or graduate degree). One recruiter told me that if for the higher stuff she does placements for, she doesn’t even bother reading the resume unless it has an MBA on it after the 5-year mark.

Investment Analysis and Financial Analysis (Accounting) are not the same thing. It’s probably more true on the Investment side that an accounting qualifcation could be helpful. But if you’re in the accounting stream I don’t see the point in CFA.

As an aside to get the CFA you should have 4 years of work experience involved in the investment decision making process. this should give you an idea of whethter the CFA is for you or not. However I do recognise that the institute seems to be giving chaters out to people who in my opinion do not fulfil this requiriement.

Interesting to see that you say recruiters won’t look at a CV without an MBA once you hit the 5 year mark for higher level placements. There are many threads here where it is noted that expereicne trumps any qualification and personally I would expect less and less emphasis on qualifications as you advance.

The requirement to get 150 credit hours to sit for the CPA exam in New York means everyone with a CPA now has a masters too. So while having a Masters and the CPA might seem to be setting him in a special category it’s actually the most common track of any accounting major now. I went to an accounting alumni function last night and almost every person there except me who graduated from 2010 forward had this.