CFA College Credit?

HI, this is probably an unusual question, but thought I’d throw it out there. I’m a CFA Level 3 candidate (got through L1 and L2 first time). I’ve been in technology in the asset management industry for a long time, and have worked for a major macro hedge fund for 10+ years as well as a couple of other large asset management firms. Currently I’m a Managing Director in Portfolio Management and Trading Technology, helping to run the Technology group that develops internal apps, integrates 3rd party systems etc for a very large asset manager.I spend a lot of time talking to PMs and traders, and generally setting strategy for what we need to do for the next 1-3 years. My strength is basically being able to understand both sides. So, in career terms, I’m doing OK.

However, I don’t have a college degree. I’m not from the US, and when I was 18 while it was somewhat unusual not to go to college, it wasn’t unheard of like it would be here. I kind of fell into what I do by getting a job doing basic desktop support at a bank, and just took it from there. So, it’s not like I did credits and then quit, I just left education at 18 years old.

I’m getting to a point where to make that next level jump, I will need a degree. I feel like my last two firms kind of turned a blind eye and we just never mentioned it, but no company is going to have a CTO or someone high profile with no degree (I had a friend with no degree at a major investment bank who was one of their highest revenue generating FI traders, and was told he would never get promoted beyond a certain level no matter how much money he made). So, I’m starting to think about at least starting the process of doing one remotely. It’ll take years, but I might as well start. I know online degrees have a bad rep, but in my situation, I just need something to check the box.

  1. Does anyone know if being a charterholder would go towards college credit anywhere? I feel like the level of difficulty might count for something, but I don’t know enough about the college system in the US to know where to start.

  2. Would a finance degree have much overlap with CFA content? I’m not even sure what I’d try to major in, but i’m hoping it’ll be something I already have a background in to make it as easy as possible. I’m not about to jump into rocket science at this point.

Also, yes, I checked, you don’t need a degree to become a charterholder, and I’m already a society member with approved work experience.

How did you even do level 2? Isn’t a college degree required. I’ve seen cfa charter count for mbas classes. Lastly level 1 is essentially a finance bachelor degree in terms of difficulty.

no, I can’t remember the exact requirements but I think it’s bachelors or x number of years of any professional work experience, and then obviously you need the 4 years of relevant work experience to actually get the charter. I’ve had my work experience approved already so just need to get through level 3 now.

ok, good to know, so if I did a finance bachelors I should have a small head start. I should do something a little more future proof like computer science, but honestly I just want to get pretty much anything so I can have it on my resume

I’m in a similar boat… was a childhood programmer and started working at 18 as a full-time developer, while going to a shitty community college part-time (long story, terrible cult parochial school upbringing where college was more or less against the rules [“sinful”, “of the world”]), never got a degree because I got recruited to be a quant analyst at a broker/dealer when I was 20 and had to move.

Eventually I got to MD level, while doing tons of PhD level work on heavy credit pricing stuff, got a CFA somewhere in the middle, and now that my area of finance is let’s say, more or less completely evaporated, I am having a nearly impossible time getting interviews. I feel like it’s almost entirely the lack of degree, but I’ll never know for sure because recruiters basically ghost me once the hiring manager passes. The closest I’ve gotten to a straight answer is “your background is too left field.” (said the recruiter who pursued me in the first place… LOL).

If you have managed to make any progress on this issue and have any advice I’m all ears. My industry contacts are pretty useless since my specialty is now mostly a risk management role where they only hire actual PhDs, in the rare cases when there are actually even openings.

I’m really considering just going to work at Google or something, where I know a few people and can get an interview easily. Some quant trading firms have also called me back. I guess they’re not as snobby as long as you can write the code & pass their math tests. I would really just miss the Wall Street culture that I’ve lived for most my adult life. The energy is palpably different from everywhere else.