Engineer's for CFA-- Please stand up!!




Sam24 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > hezagenius Wrote: > -------------------------------------------------- > ----- > > Engineer here. Did civil engineering for about 5 > > > years in Phoenix. Got my PE. No big whoop. It > > is nothing compared to the CFA exams. At least > > the PE exam is open book. > > > > Anyway, during that time, I got really bored > with > > engineering. The work was really repetitive. I > > also realized that there is a ceiling for > > engineers unless maybe you get on with a very > > large international firm and work your way up or > > > you open a very successful startup firm. > > Depending where you live, those may or may not > be > > options. I thought that maybe an MBA would help > > > with my career (engineering or otherwise) so I > did > > that. While in the program, I found that I was > > way more interested in finance than engineering > > > and that I could use the skills from engineering > > > in finance, especially the quant stuff. I > > finished the MBA up 6 years ago and had only > heard > > one person ever discuss the CFA. I went on to > get > > my MS in finance a year later and the CFA was a > > > much bigger deal for students. I passed L1 > pretty > > easily. Took about 6 months to find a job which > > > sucks when you are unemployed and paying a steep > > > rent in Boston but the market at the time was > > horrid. I ended up in an analyst position back > in > > my hometown in the midwest which was nice since > > > the pay was good (about what I was making when I > > > quit engineering) and the cost of living is > > relatively low. That was a little over 4 years > > ago. I switched firms about a year ago to work > > with a small closed fund and I’m hopefully going > > > to pass L3 this year. > > > > If you really want out of engineering, do it > now. > > Don’t wait because next thing you know, you will > > > get more promotions and raises and maybe a > family > > and then it is a bigger deal to quit and you > will > > always wonder what might have been. Worst case > > scenario, you go back to engineering. That is > > always nice to be able to fall back on. I could > > > probably pick up the phone right now and have 2 > or > > 3 job offers but they wouldn’t pay me what I > make > > now. Granted, having your PE makes that a lot > > easier, but there will always be a demand for > > engineering. > > > > I am Glad that you replied. You seem to be a very > determined and passionate individual. Thank you > for your advice and for sharing your experience > with me. It is really appreciated. > > I just want to clear up something. When you say > quit now do you mean that I should go back to > school and study a master’s that involves finance? > Or do you think that I should get a job in finance > and study for The CFA exams and build my way up > like that. > > In my country there are a number of jobs in > investment banks that require recently graduated > engineers and then they train you on the job. The > only problem is that the jobs start in the > beginning of the year. So I thought that if I got > my Level 1 by the end of this year then I would > stand a better chance of landing one of those jobs > and then working myself up from there. > > I am just worried that it will be very difficult > to work a pure engineering job during the day and > then study for the CFA and night. > > What do you think? I think clearly Sam24 is fishing for validation, hears what he wants to hear, likely has a pipe-dream of hitting it big on the street and is looking for anything to justify a career switch. Answer this… If you have never worked in finance, how do you know you’ll even like it. You thought you would like being an engineer too before you became one, right— so what makes you so sure about finance this time? What are your real motivations for wanting to “look at the stock market all day”-- money maybe, prestige? Why not just study the stock market on your free time if you love it so much?

>I think clearly Sam24 is fishing for validation, hears what he wants to hear, likely has a >pipe-dream of hitting it big on the street and is looking for anything to justify a career >switch. Answer this… >If you have never worked in finance, how do you know you’ll even like it. You thought >you would like being an engineer too before you became one, right— so what makes >you so sure about finance this time? What are your real motivations for wanting >to “look at the stock market all day”-- money maybe, prestige? Why not just study the >stock market on your free time if you love it so much? Let me try and answer you. You see when I chose to study engineering I did it because of financial reason’s- I was offered a bursary to study engineering-. At the time I was 17 and did not know what was out there, but I knew that I liked to study and learn more and would only get a chance to do this through engineering. So I said why not. My varsity experience was not bad as I liked the mathematical problems I was faced with in engineering. But I did not like the design work. So I thought I could live with it and learn to love it. When I arrived at work I was faced with only design work and was told to forget about the Math and the calculations and just do what is there. How do I know that I will like the finance world? I have been reading up and feel that I am better equipped to make a decision now than when I was 17. I have seen what my friends in finance do and I even took some extra finance courses in university just to see what was out there. So what do you think now?

When I say quit, I mean that if you are serious, you should try to make the move to finance as soon as you can. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to make the transition. That doesn’t necessarily mean quit your job and go back to school. I guess starting the CFA program while working as an engineer isn’t a bad way to start since if you find out you don’t really like finance, you haven’t lost anything other than time studying. A job with an I-bank would be good if you can land one and you are willing to wait until the beginning of the year. Passing L1 wouldn’t look bad on the resume either. I don’t know where you are, but in the US, the finance job market is not looking good. When people with lots of experience are losing their jobs, the people with no experience have their work cut out for them. If I were in your position and I could get a job at an I-bank, I would probably do that. I will say that without a background in finance, L1 will be difficult unless you really put a ton of time into it. Finally, don’t take what I say as the absolute truth. I can only tell you what I did and how it worked for me. The same thing may not work for you.

Hope everything works out for you man…career changes are tough especially in this economy. In my experience luck and good timing are big factors in a successful shift. I completed the engineering to finance shift about 14 months ago.Luckily I had a family friend that runs a small financial consultancy and he gave me a shot as an entry-level analyst. I learned a lot from everyone around me and spent almost all my free time expanding my knowledge. There’s only so much you can learn from books in the end and theres no substitute for 12 hour days poring through financial statements, modeling and presenting your work. That was the main reason I landed a gig at a larger firm 8 months later, where I’m working as a Business Analyst. My advice would be to try to get into the industry as soon as possible even if its an entry-level job at a startup. Working in finance at the same time as working towards your CFA adds a lot more value in my opinion. You have the added advantage of a PE to fall back on, so theres no reason to be risk-averse at this point.

Many people ask me, “Dalit, what is the best way for me to get to finance?” Of course, with CFA I am well equipped to answer. My friends, you should study to be doctor, engineering, or best of all IT (the spice of life). Oh and yes lest I forget…general pedantry

ancientmtk Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I"m one of them. I didn’t enjoy the 4 years of > engineering : ( > > I just passed Level 1 and so far I’m getting no > calls for any entry level jobs. Seems like 3.1 > GPA in engineering isn’t good enough : ( > > Its ok, i have high hopes and passion like that of > kevin garnett. I am loving this thread. I am in a similar situation, but I’m thinking of giving this engineering thing a try so that I haven’t wasted 4 years of my life. I am curious Ancientmtk, when you say getting no entry level jobs, I am assuming you mean finance jobs? Are you currently working as an eng. ancientmtk?

“BUT-- I hate it. I much rather look at the stock markets all day and study them. I get more happiness from that.” Sam24, why don’t you tough it out for a year in Engineering and build up some seed capital and then start trading equities yourself? Willy

i’m referring to finance entry level jobs. I’m currently working in IT, so its even a more dired situation for me. I AM NOT USING MY KNOWLEDGE. I regret “settling down” for a crappy job, instead of looking harder for a much more useful job.

thanks for the insite ancientmtk, I find IT really interesting, but I have heard from other people that it’s a thankless job where your skills are seen as redundant when version 2.0 of a software system comes out.

I just talked to a money manager about his experience and he overall painted a really grimsome picture. Basically, he said that in his experience the CFA didn’t help him land a job probably until level3, and even with that it was still an uphill battle. Especially in the SoCal area, opportunities are slimmer because there aren’t just that many IM firms or ibanks. Basically all the IM funds in Newport Beach won’t be looking for new hires because they can handle the jobs themselves. I am quite lost and overwhelmed by this; I know this before i talked to him, but he just clarified the reality even harsher. And engi background means nil in this industry.

ancientmtk Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > And engi background > means nil in this industry. Really depends on who you talk to. If in research, you cover securities that are relevant to your engineering background, then having the technical knowledge can certainly come in handy. Plus, its a credibility factor, putting a P.Eng/CFA infront of a client, or on the research report gives them (the audience) more reassurance, since they understand both the technical challenges in their industry (understand, not just listen to consultants and others, but can make their own educated hypothesis about it), in addition to having the financial know how to get things done. But the point about GPA’s is true; recruiters dont care if you took nuclear engineering, or a major in drama, the GPA number is all they look at.

I am Software Engineering PhD Candidate hopping to wrap up my studies this year. While I dont necessarily have age on my side (early 30’s), I plan on switching over to Finance as a Quant Analyst down the road. My background includes an MBA and MS in Computer Science from an excellent school (note: emphasis is on excellent not the schools ranking) and have about 10 yrs of professional experience, 6 of which has been with a Top Tier Strategy Consulting firm. My questions are as follows: 1) Would the CFA designation help improve one’s chances of landing a Job as a Quant analyst ? 2) What is the preffered study guide (Swesher or Stalla) Thanks for responses in advance. Note: One of the driving factors of my decision to move into Finance is because of my intent to relocate overseas to a country which is not "technologically advanced, hence my desire to apply my skillset towards the finance field.

Hi Al, 1) Instead of a CFA for Quant, look into getting an MSF or MFE, and one that focuses more heavily on the Quant side. 2) Both, however it seems that Schweser may be the more popular choice on these forums. People have had successes using both, they are just tools you can use and will not negate the fact that you will have to put in many hours of studying to fully understand the material.