My Story - CFA helps!

All- I have been on this forum for over a year now but have not been a regular with my postings. I was the bigeest day in my life last week when I was accepted into the Sales and Trading Asssociate Class of 2008! The journey started in August 2005 when I got my first job in the back office doing Fixed Income Derivative confirmations. Even though that is exactly not the job you want to start off with after graduating with a M.S in Finance, I considered myself lucky considering I had my undergrad in Engineering and no experience in Finance. My first year in Operations was not too exciting and even though I was learning I always felt a disconnect from the markets - Even if I wanted to check the markets I had to go online making sure that no one else was around. I mean c’mom I had spent most of my life dreaming of working in Finance and now when I finally got a chance I could not even look at what’s’ going on out there! It was not a lot of fun. I knew that the only way to get into a better role would be a network and gain more educated along the way. After strrugling for over a year to get out of Operations, I finally decided to pursue the CFA designation with the following two things in mind: 1. At least it will keep my mind occupied and I’ll learn more 2. It might offere me better opportunites down the line. I took my Level I exam in December, 2006 and cleared the test. I got the much needed confidence and thought that at least I am getting satisfaction on one front in my life (academically). In March, 2007 I got an opportunity to interview for a Trading Assistant position (Middle Office) on the Structured Credit Derivatives Desk and got the offer. In reality Middle Office is not much different from Back Office except for the fact that you work a lot closely with the traders. But the basic job functions like reconciliations, trade bookings, due diligence basically remain the same. But the one thing that stands out working on the floor is the quality of the people you interact with on a daily basis. The one thing that totally struck me apart from the intellect of the people was their drive to succeed in life. Their drive makes them work harder than most people that you will see around you. I don’t know whether it is the money or the passion but across the board most people are highly motivated. As my work continued, I took my CFA Level II in June, 2007 and was lucky to clear that considering I had studied exclusively from Schweser and there was one full question on PM which was covered in the notes. However, I did well enough on the other sections of the test to make the cut. My confidence was rising! Finally in December of 2007, there was an e-mail from the HR informing employees that even internal candidates could apply into the S&T Associate Class of 2008. I inquired with my coworkers about the process they told me that the process is extremely competitive but it worth a shot. I mean I had nothing to lose right? So a process that started with writing a Personal statement and getting two recommendation letters kept going on and eventually ended after eight rounds of interviews. I don’t remember the exact questions that I was asked in the interviews but what I can defintely tell you is that it was the most exhilirating experience of my life. I had a chance to spend 30 minutes with global and desk heads of my firm who probably make more in a month than what I would make in a year in my current role. The technical knowledge that I gained through the CFA helped me answer the technical stuff on duration, convexity, option pricing and things of that nature. But what I really believe helped me seal the job is that they saw a sense of direction in me which probably they did not see in other candidates. Coming out a school not in the top 50 makes it really hard to break into the field but trust me that passion, hardwork and focus can help you achieve a lot. I still have my Level III this June, but what I definitely realize today when I look back is that enrolling for the CFA was probably one of the best decisons in my life! Good luck to all. P.S: Joey I have never spoken to you but you have been an inspiration and a source of guidance for a lot of us here. I admire your passion for finance and hope that you continue with the good work.

Great story Warren, Thanks for sharing. Good luck


I am happy for you mate!

post your personal statement!

Inspirational. Congrats!

congratulations man

warren1281 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > I had spent most of my life dreaming of working in > Finance > > I had my undergrad in Engineering > Did you dream about finance in your engineering classes?

I was just messing around by the way!! Good story

i dreamt about international relations and poli sci co-eds in my engineering classes

What firm did u work in the OPS for? I’m pretty much on the same track cept i’m starting where you started before you entered your masters program… haha

numi Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > i dreamt about international relations and poli > sci co-eds in my engineering classes LOL I did that in Accounting and Intermediate Microeconomics (worst class ever)

Thanks for typing a long story. Good example over all…

happy for you! congrats :smiley: goes to show that perseverance and hard work pay off…

Wow. Great post.

f’ing awsome. inspirational…

Nice work man congrats.

congrats, best of luck in the future !!!

Amazing. Well done

What company do you work for?