Economist - CFA

Good evening,

I am a graduate economist and currently, I am thinking about what to do next. I graduated about two years ago and currently, I am working but not in a related field. Also, I do have a poor background in maths, statistics and especially econometrics. As a result, I believe that it would be impossible for me to pursue a masters degree in finance or economics. If I try persuing cfa what are the odds for me to be a charter holder?

Thanks for your time.

that would heavily depend on how much time and effort you are willing to put to learn the material. you don’t need a strong background in mathematics: many problems in level 1 and 2 don’t even require Calculus, at least judging from the threads i have seen (level 3 may be another story though). you might need to know Calculus to understand how to derive some of the formulas, but not to use it. in fact, for the time value of money problems, you can typically solve them fairly quickly with a ba ii plus calculator (though i would strongly recommend learning the material and not rely too much on your calculator). also, math problems is only a small portion of the entire exam (i’m not implying you can do badly in the math portion just to be clear)

I still remember the horrid year I spent as an economics major: we still had to take econometrics and I do remember looking at linear regression, confidence intervals, t-curve and normal distribution; there was not a stitch of time value of money math. Did you not have something similar?

I agree that you do not require calculus. It only came in handy to understand some things like bond duration and convexity, option greeks, etc.

Thank you for the quick replies.

It is good to know that I can cope with level 1 and 2 but what about level 3? Also,I am thinking of applying for the optional core elements both in Financial Reporting and Financial Mathematics from Kaplan. Do you think that these would help me?

Well, they do have econometrics as they come handy to those following academic careers. However, I and many of my colleagues had a hard time with econometrics but not with basic calculus. I used basic calculus when I studied Micro and Macroeconomics and as far as I remember it wasn’t too difficult for me.

You’d definitely have a fighting chance. Like the other folks said, levels one and two don’t necessarily require advanced math skills. You do need basic algebra, which I’m sure you could handle. It’s a very broad curriculum… economics/stats is a fairly low weight overall and the concepts are mostly high level. The key to CFA is pacing yourself and demonstrating an ability to retain large amounts of information in a relatively short period of time. If you’re not working full time this shouldn’t be an issue. An even if you are, it’s very doable.

Level 3 is mostly theory and contains the least amount of math. A lot of younger people struggle with this level as it’s mostly related to the real world. Recent grads and those without much experience may find it challenging, but it my opinion it was by far the easiest of the three.

Give it a go but don’t take it lightly. Give yourself a good 5 to 6 months to study for level one and don’t cram. It’s definitely not a university course. But it’s not rocket science either. Come back to the level 1 forum if you decide to register. I found asking/answering questions on this forum was a great way to learn and to keep motivated.

Best of luck.

Well I do think I can do this since maths is not such a big deal but I am thinking of working full time. Do you think it’s possible to find a full time job and have enough time to study? What kind of job postings should i look for?

Unfortunately I don’t know anything about you so I’m unable to recommend a job search.

However if you do find a job, completing the CFA while working full time is very achievable. Like I said, if you’re weak in several areas and you’re already questioning your ability to pass, you have to start early. Start studying for L1 sometime in June and that should be more than enough time. I gave myself 3 - 4 months to study for each exam and I work full time. Probably made it harder than it needed to be, but it’s not impossible.

I see your point and I agree with you. It would be safer to start early. May I ask which study method did you choose? You opt for the classroom lessons or online?

Level 1: 80% Schweser Notes + 20% CFA text / online resources
Level 2: 50% Schweser Notes + Mark Meldrum Videos + 50% CFA text / online resources
Level 3: 20% Mark Meldrum Videos + 80% - 100% CFA text / online resources

It worked for me but everybody’s different. If I had to do it all over again I’d probably just focus on the CFAI material for all 3 levels. All the questions come from here… don’t rely too heavily on 3rd party material. I’d suggest you start with the text book / online resources and if you’re feeling lost then look for outside help.

Mock till u drop. I like to do a question then read the answer and reasoning then go to the next question. The Previous am exams help a lot. And the q banks.

Thank you both. One last question. How many hours did you spend studying daily on average?