Plans changed: No intention to work in AM anymore... should I give up on the CFA, or do it anyway?

CFA level 2 candidate, worked in PWM, first as a financial advisor, and then as an analyst for their in-house funds. Six months ago I left that role for a management consulting position in an MBB.

I had no intentions of working in MC, but I had an opportunity offered on a silver platter and took it.

A few months in and I’m realizing that I enjoy consulting a lot more than finance. I’ve reflected on what exactly got me into finance and I came to the conclusion that it was stock picking. I could care less about doing economic research or helping “manage” a closet index fund (not saying that’s always the case, but in my experience, it was)

Because of this, if I would go back to finance I’d only want to work in a hedge fund or private equity. I don’t want to do M&A, corporate finance, or wealth management.

Now I’m thinking of just quitting the CFA program since it doesn’t exactly align with my career ambitions, but I am also not sure about this, here’s why:

  1. I might need to do an MBA in the future. Many MBA programs waive their GMAT/GRE requirements for those who cleared CFA level 3, and I would much prefer studying for the CFA than those admission tests.

  2. Unless my company is paying for my MBA (which they most likely will), I will not do it out of my pocket. so I still want a post-graduate credential to compete with the MBAs and CPAs of this industry.

  3. I still enjoy studying finance. I just had a bad experience working in it, but I do enjoy studying it.

  4. MBB consultants have good exit opps to PE and CF boutiques, which I might try to get into in the future, and the CFA could help me get in.

  5. I’m still young and have some free time (single, no kids), and so I’m afraid I’ll regret not doing it now if my career ambitions change in the future.


EDIT: I know that technically PE and HF are under the umbrella of AM, but for the sake of this discussion, let’s exclude them.

No don’t give up. There isn’t a soul alive that can’t benefit from learning all that fixed income crap. Unless you already “get it” (by that I mean the picture of how the world really works - which is on borrowed money), but I’ve come to find the CFA program equipped me with the skills to dissect almost anything like a proper investor really should.

Why would you not want to be able to understand the world a little more? Like for instance, I’ll never work any of those exotic finance jobs either, but, I can follow any poindexter around in conversation should he decide to talk about global macro economics or anything.

As to your living situation I wouldn’t look at that one way or the other. You can pass these exams single, or you can pass them whilst having a gf. I passed them while partying my ass off personally.

1 Like

Can you talk a little bit about how you pitch your PWM experience to MBB, especially off cycle recruiting?

I know an MBB, now parter have passed three levels and always has CFA to his title.