How this software guy went 3 for 3 - Part 1

Part 1 - my background I have been lurking here for almost a year, enjoying the comments and advice, and decided that it’s high time that I contribute something to the site. A number of people who go through the CFA program do so without a formal finance background, including me. Since I have had the fortunate experience of going 3 for 3, I thought it may help others to learn exactly how I’ve done it. This will be the focus on this post and part 2. First, a bit about me – I am in my late 30’s and have a Computer Science undergraduate degree from the University of Washington. I have never taken a business class. I joked with some of the people I met while studying that at the beginning I really didn’t know that Assets - Liabilities = Equity (well I guess I knew it in the back of my mind). I have been in the software industry my whole life, working for companies such as Hewlett-Packard and Microsoft. I started out in development and technical program management and have transitioned into product management, marketing, and business development. I have a passion for finance and numbers, read the Wall Street Journal, and have day traded stocks for many years using technical analysis services. I typically do well on standardized tests. For example, in the mid-90’s I was considering getting an MBA, I self-studied for the GMAT, took the test and got in the top 1%. For certain reasons I decided to hold off on pursuing the MBA back then. About a year ago I began considering getting an MBA but was encouraged to pursue the CFA designation instead. I researched it and decided to go for it, as I want to transition into a corporate development, investment banking or tech equity analyst role. (A future post will be dedicated to my current frustrations at transitioning from the tech industry to the finance industry and to getting advice and input from others.) I have no kids as of yet, but we are planning a family. My current job is very flexible timewise (consulting), which has allowed me to have extra time and flexibility to study. In order to keep these posts relatively short, I’m dividing this up into 2 parts. Part 2 will outline the study processes I used to pass the tests. You’ll see I changed things slightly as I went along. I should be able to write it up and post it in the next day or so. Let me know if people out there are interested in this. Thanks, -James_mk

A + L = E ?


See, I told you I was from out of the industry. :slight_smile:

pacmandefense Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > A + L = E ? was he serious? if he was I will seriously consider dropping out

I’m interested in your stories about transitioning into the finance field. I’m in your same situation, although I didn’t pass level 3 yet. If you had to do it again (take the CFA exam), would you have done it?

I am a consultant at ibm – might be a good fit for you with the IT background doing IT consulting for financial services firms – we have a handful of charterholders at ibm – not too many though… I’m jealous you already knocked out all 3 exams… Props for that

I am a consultant at a Wall Street company which is on every news headline for all the wrong reasons. I have passed L1 (Dec-07) and failed L2 just a week ago. I am subscribed to your story too… narrate!

I think that marketing stint did u well james_mk. I am curious to see what u write in part 2…the actual stuff which wud help me. lol

Where is CSK??

ws Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Where is CSK?? right here. I didn’t go 3 for 3, so i guess i am not as elite :wink: j/k. Anyhow, i hope next year for L3 i will contribute at least 30% of what i’ve contributed when i was actually studying for the exam. I hope new L3 candidates will benefit from my posts :slight_smile:

I just hope his next post isnt “By the way, looking at my background, is it likely I can break into Ibanking?”

so when are we getting part2? i am curious to know about your studying tactics…