I posted this on the LIII board, but also want the opinion of the folks on the LII board: I work in corporate finance at a Fortune 100 company, and I want to move into investment managment. I have a BBA in Finance, and I going to pursue the CFA. Do you think that earning the charter, or passing a couple levels, can open the door to the prospects I seek?
No, I do not, I have the same background as you, best to go for a masters, maybe work on CFA along the way, see where that gets you
And you speak from experience? Have you passed any of the exams and applied for a job?
Just found this piece: http://career-advice.monster.com/job-promotion/finance/Is-the-CFA-Right-for-You/home.aspx?WT.mc_n=MNL000299 "Passing the CFA exam can be a bridge if you’re in finance or accounting and want to jump into investment-related work. "
Although, I am no expert. Just a guy who is seeking to get into an Asset Management/Investment banking field. Anything is possible but if you are career changer then apparently strong bridge to an asset management or any field is a top notch MBA. CFA is more of a career booster than bridge. Maybe you are in a corporate finance and majored in finance so… might have better chance. That’s just my 2 cents.
what skycfa said, and spartan, believe me when i say I am speaking from experience, worked in finance for Johnson and Johnson, business admin undergrad, passed LI, took LII three weeks ago, it’s a sh!t market, and monster’s full of it as well, go for the top tier MBA
I just realized you are a recent grad so I want to caution you against going into an MBA too early, knew a couple of kids that tried that and it backfired on them.
Basically what it comes down to is there are no gauruntees, and no defined path other than going to ivy league. I’m not saying it’s impossible, just that there’s no real bridge, just a bunch of rocks you gotta pick a path accross, except its like an old atari game where rocks randomly dissappear and the river is full of alligators, and the CFA can make you want to stick your head in an alligators mouth even if you do get to the other side.
^^ That’s a good analogy. Just having a CFA after your name does not guarantee you anything. If you combine the CFA with exceptional hard work, networking, and natural ability you might have a shot.
I’d say there are 3 main ingredients to the successful transition 1)Resume building to help get interviews…CFA/MBA are an important part of this 2)Interview skills…doesn’t matter if you went to Harvard if you come across badly 3)Hard work…you need to make people see $$$ signs to get ahead in this biz
I can only give one tip. Reading this forum for a while now makes me feel like many young chaps want to get in finance to make money for themselves. That approach never works. What you want to focus on is how you can make money for others. If you find out how to do that you’ll be fine. Thing is that most people think that getting an MBA/CFA or whatever means they can make money in investment management. That’s just ignorant and the reason why many will never land the job they’re looking for.
There is excellent advice from everyone here. I started out in a fortune 50 corporate finance job and wanted to come to wall street. I’d completed Level I of the CFA but the fact is that there are tons of laid off people who already have the experience in the field you are trying to break into. Yes, it is possible, if you want it badly enough and will do whatever you can to prepare and as Bleeck says, it’s all about what you can offer the firm that these other candidates can’t. Black Swan, love your comment about picking a path across rocks to build your own path! (And truly hilarious about alligators!) In retrospect, that’s a great description of what I did: It took me a year and a half post-MBA to get my first wall street job. I knocked on every door that I could. In the meantime while I was waiting, I decided to do whatever I could to prepare myself for the job I wanted, which included trying to make an internal move to the department that I thought would be most helpful in providing me with the experience I lacked. That’s what finally got me in the door. The CFA is useful in the knowledge you gain but my MBA was from a top 5 university and in my experience, that counted for a lot more. Though my situation is different from yours, I didn’t have the BBA in finance… By the way, once you really make up your mind that you are going to do this, you might be surprised what happens. I was determined to come to Wall Street and thought about how I could make it happen constantly. Then, one day while I was still toiling in the bowels of a factory as a profit analyst, I found a voicemail on my phone from someone in the corporate treasury department inquiring about a commodity hedge … he’d called the wrong number. I called back to let him know, and while I was on the phone, I mentioned that I was an MBA student and needed an idea for a project and wondered if there was any opportunity to do a special project related to Treasury? That wrong phone call eventually got me in to Treasury, and that eventually got me into my first job in asset management at a wellknown ibank on wall street … sometimes I wonder what would have happened had that guy not dialed the wrong number. That’s my example of building your own bridge from a pile of rocks you find along the way.
Black Swan Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Basically what it comes down to is there are no > gauruntees, and no defined path other than going > to ivy league. I’m not saying it’s impossible, > just that there’s no real bridge, just a bunch of > rocks you gotta pick a path accross, except its > like an old atari game where rocks randomly > dissappear and the river is full of alligators, > and the CFA can make you want to stick your head > in an alligators mouth even if you do get to the > other side. I remember that atari game! It was Pitfall, right? Good times. I loves me my 80’s.
So if the CFA charter is not that strong in terms of getting an employer’s attention, then why do people go through it?
As skycfa said it boosts your career, not bridges it, alot of non-industry insiders say things to me like wow, once you pass L2 that’ll look awesome on a resume, etc. And I always strongly disagree, because from what I’ve witnessed, the CFA basically has zero value at the early stages of a career and then becomes exponentially more valuable as you build experience and credibility within the industry. For instance, an analyst with 3 sections passed, or even one who just accrued their experience will realize very little value from having the CFA designation, however, if you have 5-8 years of strong industry experience that speaks for itself, the CFA designation tends to magnify that much much more and carries considerable weight, at times even impacting high rank career advancement as investment firms attempt to place experienced professionals with the charter in high visibility positions.
However, from an intrinsic standpoint, the CFA has totally changed my life from a professional standpoint in terms of work ethic, mental apptitude, and financial understanding. I mean I really wish I could sit here and say hey, pass some levels then go get a job and make some money, but the truth is the odds aren’t favorable on the job market right now, even when they are a peice of paper will never provide an absolute solution or overcome uncertainty. If the uncertainty serves to deter you, it’s best to back off now while you haven’t sunk your foot in the personal investment of time, and if the money is what’s motivating you, likewise, you should probably move on as there are easier dollars to be made elsewhere, you honestly just have to love the idea of working in the field, that alone will get you where you seem to want to go.
My guess is that many many many people who are looking to ‘get into the industry’ and study 750+ hours for three exams over a period of three years are going to be very disappointed. Negative NPV for 95% of them.
See http://www.nyssa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/CFA/about/default.htm “Earning the credential can serve as a “passport” to entry or advancement within the profession or to work in other countries.”
spartanag07 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > See > http://www.nyssa.org/Content/NavigationMenu/CFA/ab > out/default.htm > > “Earning the credential can serve as a “passport” > to entry or advancement within the profession or > to work in other countries.” After that, where do we have to apply for the “visa”?
I’m afraid I have to agree with Black Swan. It’s a boost for many careers. But the ones without a finance background who get into the business thanks to their CFA exams… well those are exceptions. Experience + CFA is what matters.