Do an of you think it is wise to do CQF at the age of 20?

I was told that I could mostly get a 60% discount on fees due to the resident in India scholarship.

Also, if you had to choose between a masters degree immediately after bachelors or CQF + 1 year of job followed by masters degree, what would you choose?

To give you a little background, I have no work experience. AND my undergraduate degree was unrelated to finance (Information Technology). I did complete PRM and I am a candidate for CFA and FRM.

Thank you. Any suggestions are welcome.

If having the PRM, and working towards the CFA and FRM (FRM is completely useless /redundant here) is not working for you to get where you want. Maybe a more intelligent person would step back and examine their strategy before mindlessly jumping on another certification and continuing to show you can’t think for yourself or deviate from the doctrine you’ve been drilled in.

Hello Black Swan, I’m sorry that you felt the need to say all that. I was a student in the computer field and wanted to cross over to Finance. I did not enter the job market so I cannot comment if what I have already will get me where I want. I just needed some advice. I still thank you for your opinion and advice. I will take it in good spirit and reconsider my options.

If you can land a good job position that correlates well with your undergrad study (ex: HFT shop), I say go with work THEN master’s degree after that. No credentials compare to real world experience.

Hi Ashwin, I live in Mumbai and work in PE. My best friends here run the biggest players in finance for India, so I have a good window on this. There are about 100 million people your age with computer skills in India that have all suddenly decided they want to work in finance because they are chasing rupees. IT used to be the hot ticket here and now everyone wants to work in finance. However, 99.9 percent of these people do not have the “pedigree” or the social skills to make it in the finance world. Maybe you do. If you do, go get a job working at a shop right now. F*ck school. Do you have an Auntie or an Uncle who can get you in the door? If so, do that. If not, stick to tech. Why? Well, because nobody in tech cares about your pedigree or who your father is. If you care good you can get a job anywhere in the world. These skills are in demand and will be in demand. While you have been busy “studying” finance you might have noticed that the situation in finance is terrible. Getting a job will be incredibly difficult. Those of us that have jobs are fighting to keep them. I predict that India will have 100k people who have passed all 3 levels of the CFA pretty soon. They won’t be charterholders because they won’t have the work experience or they just wont want to pay the membership fees. You are following the herd. The herd is going to get slaughtered. Indians are fantastic at passing tests and racking up qualifications. Nobody will be impressed with them here. A CQF or a CFA will differentiate you about as much as an Indian MBA. I have a buddy who works at KPMG who rejects CFA level 3 passers here everyday - not even a finance firm. Who’s your Daddy? Do you have social skills? Can you fit in a western style corporate culture? If you want to work for an Indian firm? Maybe? But you better fit in there as well. Expect the money to be crap. However, throughout the world there is demand for Comp skills. And guess what? Americans don’t want those jobs or can’t do them. Stick with that.

Isn’t CA more valuable in India? Granted it’s a lot more difficult… I agree though with the above advice. At least in the US, finance is not like other industries, it is not really merit based (despite what some people on this board will have you believe), and more dependent on your pedigree. Unless you have that pedigree it’s very difficult to break in. By all means continue applying for finance if that’s what you want to do. But more importantly, what’s your plan B?

I’ve always seen pedigree in the US as somewhat merit based. For instance, I know someone who grew up in a crappy crime-ridden Ohio neighborhood, but then graduated best in his high school, went to a top tier college and got a 4.0 GPA with two majors. He then got a job as an analyst at Goldman Sachs IB and now works for a VC firm. This guy’s heritage is not special - his parents are middle class immigrants. However, in college, he worked all the time. When other people were partying, he was working and thinking about how he would achieve his goals. So while this guy does have significant pedigree, he earned all of it by himself. I agree that pedigree matters a lot in finance. However, most people are not children of billionaires and top level politicians. Most people with high academic or professional pedigree must have done something to get that pedigree to begin with.

India /= USA in terms of meritocracy. In India if you are aren’t the right shade of brown you will have a hard time. If you’re not from the right community you will have a hard time. If you aren’t from the right school you will have a hard time. On top of that, its insanely competitive. The Top Indian MBA program has a ratio of 30k declines / 1 acceptance. Are there outliers and people who make it from nothing in India? Yep, but it’s pretty tough and you probably can’t do it legally. Not a game I’d want to set myself up for. America loves the underdog/horatio alger story so we support a few of these people. This helps the rich people feel kinder and the working class feel like they have a shot. It’s a lie for most of us. But it does happen frequently. Unless you have just god given gifts (which in finance is probably rare) then you really need to have an in. This generally means: who’s your daddy?

My comment was only meant to apply to the US. I agree that in India, your family or social class probably matter much more.

Thank you for the constructive replies. No, I specifically do not have direct relatives who are big in the finance world. However, I was never really into getting a job. I understand what you mean by IT. My brother started his own company at my age. He makes a lot of money. But, trust me, the customers are fricken crazy! I’d rather have someone sue me for mismanagement than be treated the way he is treated at times. I was thinking that I just need 2-3 years of work experience to get a feel for Finance and gather some capital. Then I could start an investment consultancy of my own. Thus, I was asking, will doing a masters degree help? Or should I just take the first opportunity I can get? My HR at college offered me a job at a KPO but that sounds seriously lame. I know someone who could possibly get me in as a junior analyst at bloomberg on minimal pay. Should I take it?

And to be more detailed in my reply to you, ChickenTikka. I know the situation in IT. My own college has 300 students in the course. I can safely tell you that not one is any more competent than an average joe with a computer and a programming manual. When I mentioned masters, I meant going abroad where *hopefully* the skills/certifications are better appreciated. And when is Finance not going through a bad phase? It’s every 4-5 years that something happens. When the market goes bull, everyone goes to B-School and the market poops before they graduate. Finance interests me tremendously and thus I decided to switch.

Ash, I hear you on IT customers. I used to work at my campus help desk fixing professors computers. For liberal and highly educated people they were pretty damn mean. The rest of the world must be even worse. I’m in favor of education. I’m doing the CFA program because I am genuinely interested in it. I believe, and I think many others here will agree with me, that you are much better off just getting your feet wet. If you are not on track to getting a job with GS then you will have to accept something less glamorous. Goldman wouldn’t have wanted me… But I did find a job in Alts that pays well. I’m sure that you can too. I just wanted to help you avoid making the same mistake that many make here thinking that a charter or a piece of paper will get you your dream job. I don’t have specific advice on those two firms, but I am sure that you are better off getting yourself into the field and establishing a track record rather then sitting in a masters program that won’t get you hired anyway.

So, having an IT background will not hamper job opportunities? Because what from what I read on job sites, one of the key requirements is: Bachelors degree in business, commerce or finance. I don’t have the “ancestor who dazzled on wall-street.” However, I do have pretty good socializing skills. But, I don’t see how that will get me into the interview room initially. Since I need to make a decision in the coming 3 months (whilst my degree is not over), I am still in a dilemma. If I stay and don’t get a job anyway, I would not get a masters and sort of waste an year. Although I will learn on my own and possibly invest, it is still a wasted year of my ‘prime.’ Or should I apply to a few universities and hold the offer letter till I get a job? Thank you for your response.

What are the job options? You mentioned them, can you get more into detail? Especially the KPO one.

Well, a KPO is bsically India working for US/UK. I’ll sit here in India, on a PC, when work starts in US/UK. Things that would be done by someone sitting in that country will be done by me. The result will then be sent to them over the internet. When the day ends there, my job is done. Why would they do this? Cheap labor and tax benefits, amongst other things. KPO sounds too much like a BPO. Which is basically a call center. I don’t think it would look good on the resume.

Just by name KPO, you cant say it is lame. There are many good KPO companies around the world. e.g. Evalueserve in India. I would suggest you to go in more details of the job that you will be performing at this KPO.