I’m one of those “Other Financial Analysts”. A corporate excel-jockey who can get by each day at work with the thinnest knowledge of finance and accounting and still hold the title of Financial Analyst. We are Finance and Accounting majors who were just good enough to avoid working in Auto Financing or Life Insurance, but not good enough to make it in Investment Banking. Many of us get MBAs, but anyone who can afford the tuiton (or has a generous company) can get an MBA from a second tier school.
So here I am taking the CFA exam. Why? No one at work even knows what it is (although they are willing to pay for it). I work in an industry that does not require the CFA, does not reward CFA charterholders, and does not fully grasp how difficult it is to acheive this designation. So, what the hell was I thinking when I signed up? A resume boost, or an ego boost maybe?
Four months later - I’ve already experienced more benefits from CFA than I could ever have imagined and I haven’t even taken Level 1 yet. I had been getting by at work with the small amount of business knowledge I remember from undergrad finance (a haze of beer bongs and video games), and the recent knowldege boost I gained from an MBA. Don’t get me wrong - undergrad was a great step 1, the MBA was a great step 2, but studying for the CFA was steps 3 through 10. I suddenly understand everything that is going on around me and everyone has noticed that I “stepped my game up”.
So, my point is - even though the CFA isn’t designed for corporate analysts, Level 1 is 80% applicable to a corporate analyst’s day to day duties. If I were to fail the exam next saturday, I would sign up again in December and as I studied again for the exam I would get even better at my job.