I am in a need of good advice (to pursue CFA charter or not)

Hi everybody,

I want to figure out if I should pursue CFA charter. I used to think that passing all three exams would help me to get a foot in a door, nothing major just some sort of position (no matter how little) that I can build on but after spending some time on this site, It kind of confirmed what I already believed in and that is that it won’t help my chances.

Since, I am 28 years old and it’s too late to get into finance because most of the time people get recruited right after college and train them into specifics of the job and it’s been four and half years since I graduated from college, so I kind of missed that train (not for lack of trying). My feeling is that, they will always prefer candidates from top universities, even if I have all three exams under my belt because they’ll have age advantage and would just prefer to train them and there simply won’t be any room for candidates like me.

Another thing, obviously is that recession caused so many layoffs in finance (and everywhere else) that I will be competing with people who have tons of more experience and on top of that have either MBA or be CFA chartholder, for those same entry level positions, since it’s desperate times and having a job is better than no job at all. It’s either them or I will be competing who is fresh out of top university, in both cases employers will prefer them over me.

So, there are simply not enough jobs around for me to be able to squeeze into the industry lol… And me being in New York city won’t change that fact, even though it’s considered one of the financial capitals of the world but there is also tons more competition and I will be competing with the best of the world because too many of them want to be in New York causing too much supply of excellent candidates and not nearly enough of the demand .

Having said all that, it’s still hard to believe that passing all three exams won’t do anything for me because I can’t think of many things that are harder than those exams, considering how they are structured and everything else.

I would greatly appreciate your thoughts in my analyses and show me where I am wrong or (most likely) confirm that it would be big waste of time for me to study for those exams.

Thank you in advance.

What have you been doing? That’s the kicker. If you’ve been loafing around with no accomplishment to show for it, then yes, simply passing these tests will do nothing for you. If you are in some industry where you got insider experience, and made something of it. There is definitely a good chance passing these exams will get you somewhere.

Are you absolutely committed to working in finance? If yes, then someone with the CFA Charter will be more marketable then someone without. If not, then your time is probably better spent doing something else - 3 years is a big commitment just for a punt.

I’m in a similar boat, except that I’ve passed all 3 exams. Been applying for jobs left and right, not much luck there. Granted, it’s only been 4 months since I got my results. I feel like I’m trapped in the area of risk consulting. Passing the exams won’t help much. If you’re serious about getting your foot in the door, consider an MBA from a top program.

Get a dog.

get a hot classy babe…

Hi, I’m 28 years old in New York and it’s tough right now. I can identify with what you are going through. I suggest you figure out what you really want to do first before giving up 3 to 5 years of your life. I don’t belive these exams are a waste of time. If you pass it will show you are commited to finance. My last piece of advice is, if you know your worth go get it, but be willing to take the bumps along the road. It;s the road that’s less traveled that makes you a successful.

To continue the metaphor, expect the road to be bumpy but, despite popular belief, also very congested. Unless you know it’s where you want to go, stick to the free way.

If you long-term career goal is to be in finance, Yes, 1000% that you should get an CFA charter under your belt…that is a big committment. However, if you simply want to get your foot in the door, CFA won’t do it for you. Do it for the love of the industry.

with no experience, your school is going to be the first screen employers look for IMO. if you did not go to a top name brand school (top 100 US or foreign equivalent) it will be very difficult. Not impossible, but very difficult. Your best bet is to network while working through the levels and if you are getting positive feedback from people you are networking with (like soft offer, not just hey keep at it maybe something will happen), then continue. if not, might not be worth it. truth of the matter is that there are a lot of people who’ve passed the levels and simply cant get a job in finance.

Hey everyone, thank you for all the helpful comments :slight_smile: Greengrape, well, I have been working and work right now as well, been working since 17 nonstop. It’s just nothing finance related. Right now I am in promotions and marketing as Brand Embassador, it really is bs job with fancy title but it pays bills. I think my communications skills are good and I guess I can claim my current job improves it. Cpham, yeah you are right, I don’t plan on studying my @$$ off for just kicks and giggles… I cant get charter without experience so my question is will it get me related job in order to get a charter after passing those three exams. bpdulog, wow that really says a lot! I mean you passed all three and you already work in the industry and still can’t get out of your specific field and get into what you want. And are you from New York? bc I remember you saying something abt astoria… haha dokerulu33, I hear you, man. Are you in finance now or have you passed all three exams? As of me, I don’t know, I have a gut feeling some day I could’ve made a good pm only if somebody gave me opportunity to do all the hard work and grow into that position. I identify more with George Soros style of investment. ws, I like finance but it’s different from loving an industry. I mean it’s hard to love an industry that brought country to its knees and probably I’d be doing a lot better than I am doing now(and so are millions of others), if not for that financial mess. And like I said before the point of passing those exams is to get into industry, since, for me there is no other way to get into it and then get all the related experience in order to get a charter… I want to get a foot in a door and have a career, I don’t mind it taking longer than usual as long as i am on a right path and have a career. Builders, I remember few yrs back talking to this guy at my work he was retired and worked his whole life in finance and he made a real big deal out of CFA. Saying that if I passed all three, I wouldnt have to worry abt getting a job, he also talked abt how hard it is and that even lawyers can’t pass those exams. At the same time, he did say how luck is more important than any MBA or CFA combined which I know and knew back then that he was 100% right on that. But you are right, there are lot of people who passed all three and cant find a job. It’a just different time and very sh!!ty as well. Right now I have no direction like cpham said I am on free way and dont know where i am going… I wanted to do CFA because it would give me direction and feel like i am taking concrete steps to achieve something. With such a high probability of it being such a waste of time I don’t think anybody can motivate themselves through those exams knowing that. Nobody does it for just love of it, you need other reasons as well and most important reasons are feeling of accomplishment and recognition. Maybe I should just stick to my job read lot of marketing books and try to accomplish something in that industry. But I am still thinking abt it all, so I d appreciate more feedback. Thanks again for your comments and keep them coming :slight_smile:

Pursue your dreams. You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take. You will win, you will lose. But you don’t want to end up old and unhappy thinking you never pursued a dream that could have made your life amazing


You’re way too negative OP. You just wrote several paragraphs on why your life sucks. The majority of your post should have highlighted why you’re awesome.

Hey OP, if you like finance, you should certainly do the CFA program. I know this is kind of a 360 on my part but I just wanted you to have realistic expectations. You probably won’t get multiple offers from hedge funds just because you have “passed all 3 CFA exams” on your resume but you never know right? I had high expectations so I feel pretty jaded… :frowning:

You will learn a lot about analyzing equities and bonds, also portfolio management. Its an unmatched elite program. Having said that there is too much hype about charter membership, so far job market response is muted for even charter holders. Going through forum and charter holders opinion, in olden days if you had passed level 2 pretty much you get a job in financial industry . After housing market meltdown even CFA charter membership does not have any more advantage in getting a call. Simply put you learn more about markets through rigorous curriculum and but don’t get any edge over other experienced job seekers.