MBAs - Do top 15 bschool adcoms care about CFA?

Hi folks: I shall be applying to b’school in '08 for the '09 intake. Targeting non M7 top 15 bschools. I have an engineering undergraduate degree from a canadian university with a 2.8 CGPA. I currently work in an engineering project mgmt. role in a large french multinational. I am hoping that I can demonstrate that i have the intellectual horsepower to handle bschool with GMAT 770 (Q50, V47). I decided to enroll in the CFA program for a few reasons: 1. I have a genuine interest in finance. 2. I wanted to demonstrate that I can handle the rigours of a demanding program. 3. Coming from an engineering background, I wanted to differentiate myself from fellow engineers during the competitive internship process in bschool. I have just completed L1 and am fairly confident of passing. My main questions are: A: Will CFA Level 1 & 2 help offset my poor undergraduate record? B: Are there any specific bschools that value the CFA more than others? Thanks for you input. Please feel free to correct any of my misconceptions.

I asked some of these questions during my campus visit to Columbia. I don’t know how well this applies to other programs, but I would expect it to be similar for most top 15s. A current student (CFA charterholder) @ Columbia said the following: - the adcom is aware of the CFA and they know that it is not an easy set of tests; it will demostrate some quant abilities and may ease some of the concerns about a low GPA (it also matters what classes you got low grades in… how well did you do in Calculus and other math classes? Do you have a good reason for lower grades?) - it is just another data point that will be considered in your total profile: undergrad GPA, GMAT, extras, work experience, essays, etc… - it will have a larger impact if it logically fits into your short/long-term goals

I am also from Canada, and I got into Columbia and Wharton, so maybe i can add a few comments on your questions. My GPA was below top schools’s average, only 3.22, but I have Math/Econ double majors (which are considered “hard”) from a top US school, so the schools don’t mind as much. Engineering is also considered a “difficult” major, and quite popular amongst B-school applicants, if you went to a good school (Waterloo or U of T), then paired with 770 will strongly demonstrate your intellectural capabilities. Unless CFA is a “must” in your career goal, it’s just another figure in one part of your application. It may “help”, but not enough to get you in. Business schools look for well-rounded candidates with much success in different areas of life. You can demonstrate your intelletual capacities to death, but it’s only 1/3 of the application. I 'd say, an enginner with GMAT 770, your extra curricular, and leadership ability demonstrated at work weigh more than a CFA in your business school application.

mbacfa: thanks for your detailed response. A quick followup question: Does CFA L2/3 provide a competitive edge for internship in finance / consulting? Thanks in advance.

Hi all, what a long time without dropping a line! Here´s my case: - Bachelor in Business + MSc in Actuarial Science - CFA LIII candidate right now (hopefully I´d be done by applying to b-school) - Kind of an international background (EU) - Top grades but no target school (though reputed in research) - Extra´s: former soccer coach for kids, active alumni member and planing to get into politics what I fear can make my application being dismissed is one of the core points of any application: - Experience: Corporate finance dep. of a big 4 (middle market M&A). I plan to work for 3 years before going for a top MBA. This issue makes me think I´ll be worse off than any silver spoon-fed analyst from an IB / Strategy Consulting firm I really appreciate any inputs,

hey sarthak, gl w/ your apps… i corresponded with you on some of the gmat forums i remember posting your beast like gmat score and experience. i attend a bschool in toronto and can will answer any qs you have )

I have a CFA and am currently at a top 15 b-school. For admissions, I think it helps some, especially if you didn’t have a quant undergrad major. However, it’s really time consuming, and you could be spending that time volunteering, playing on sports teams, leading something, etc. Schools really like those characteristics. Also, remember that many other fields have some sort of certificate, so the CFA isn’t super unique in that regard. (Also, I think it makes a big difference to have all three levels passed, rather than just being a L1 or L2 candidate–there’s lots of those people around). Once you’re here, a CFA is great. I waived out of my accounting, finance, and stats cores, so now I’m taking some upper level finance electives. I find myself using CFA stuff in nearly every class, even if it’s discounting or something basic like that. Also, for the job search, it really helps if the firm you’re applying to has partners and associates with their CFA’s (you can usually check on their websites.) I applied for 4 part-time internships at local L/S hedge funds (just small projects like researching, valuing, and presenting a stock), and I got offers from 3. And I’m nothing special–I don’t even have an equity research background.