Quit Now While You Still Can

Hey Guys,

I just passed level 3. How do I know? I know.

In any case, I thought I would impart some wisdom on you poor bastards as one of my last acts on this forum.

  1. This qualification is a long and difficult process. It isn’t worth it.

  2. Unless your job makes you do this, I would not do it. I do not see the benefit unless your employer is requiring it.

  3. I’m assuming you already have a job in the industry that requires it. If you do not, you should quit. It’s not worth it.

  4. This will not get you into the industry. If you have BO, no social skills, and generally suck at life having a CFA charter will not get you a job in finance. Whereas smelling good, having good social skills, and being a winner in life will get you a job in the finance industry without a charter.

  5. If you are Asian, getting this qualification will not make you special. We already know that Asians can take tests and get good scores. If you can maybe differentiate yourself by demonstrating soft skills that would be a much more impressive thing.

  6. By the time you get the charter you will be far enough along in your career that you won’t really need it. Unless you are one of these idiots that thinks that getting the charter will lead them to a job in the industry.

  7. The high average salary of charterholders is not caused by the charter. It is just correllated with the few Asset Managers and Analysts that used to get the charter 10 years ago. These guys make money. You will not.

So, basically, I think you should all quit this program. Unless your boss is making you do it and paying for it go learn another computing code language, cause you’re never making the switch.

You sound bitter, bro.

No, not bitter at all. I am one of those people who gets paid to take this exam - never paid for a dime of this program. But I see all these poor bastards who are software engineers hoping to switch into finance and I think they need to be told that this isn’t gonna happen.

Cause it isn’t. Unless your gonna get rewarded for being a charterholder dont bother. At level 1 you can pass/fail and walk away from it without feeling any regret. Once you go after level 2 you start to be committed to it.

If you don’t take my advice now, you will look back on this post years from now and say, “Man, I wish I had listened. I wish I had all that time back.”

Can you give us reasons why it’s not worth it? We all know that having communication skills is key but wouldn’t the charter give you that extra edge? If you don’t recommend the charter, what should I do to get a finance job? Please be specific (ie. don’t give one worded answers such as “networking”).

I’m 22 years old. I graduated from university last year with a BBA concentration in finance but I don’t have a finance job yet so I do value people’s opinion on what I should do.

As for level 1, I think I passed. If I did not, I don’t know how I could have done better. It was probably my best exam ever. Morning was easy, finishing with 10 minutes left. Afternoon was a bit trickier but I finished 45 minutes earlier

Fair opinion, but you do come across as one of those people who weren’t able to “make it” because of the lack of skills in those other areas you mention. Also, reviewing your other posts, I’m starting to think you get your kicks from trying to discourage everyone in the program.

Maybe you can tell us your background and why you decided to continue if you feel this way?

Yeah, i mean so lets say you pass level 1 and can’t get the job you want. Going for level 2 is not the answer. The answer is get the job. If you can’t get the job, then find another field. Level 2 and 3 won’t get you the job.

You’re Asian so exactly the kinda guy I’m speaking to. The way you get a job in finance is by being the right kind of fit in a company. Everyone has qualifications, they are just a baseline. They want you to fit and that is why you haven’t found a job yet, that and perhaps the fact the industry is dying.

I was a bit luckier, I graduated in 2006 so I got on the last ship out before the crash. You guys are screwed. I’m sorry, but go do something else. Very few of you new grads are gonna get in to anything worth doiing in finance with or without the charter. So put those skills to work somewhere else.

Righteous why bother positing this rubbish? Speaking of soft skills, you come across like you are trying to compensate in other areas, which must be lacking…

I’ve been going through the job ads on the internet and most finance jobs have the requirement of “CFA Charterholder or in the process of obtaining the charter”

Is this directed at me? I’m not disagreeing with your statement: “all asians are good test takers”, but you can’t always generalize like this. I immigrated to Canada when I was 7 and my parents are probably one of the most lenient parents ever. I know that the industry isn’t as good as it was pre-2008 and I haven’t done enough research but if you really are saying it is this bad, then I don’t know what to do. Being a “good fit” is a requirement for any company in any field.

Like I said, I did graduate with a finance degree so it’s not like I’m going to decide to become a doctor now. I wouldn’t know what else to do, tbh.

EDIT: I’m interested in your opinion (and don’t want to bash you like others here but I can see why). I’ve been looking around on the internet and this isn’t the first time I’ve heard someone say that the charter isn’t worth it. Others have said if they could do it again, they wouldn’t; they don’t think it’s worth the time.

A lot of butthurt above.

I already have a job in finance I’m pretty happy with. This is my backup plan incase I get let go. Also, I actually learned a few things studying the CFA. If I fail it, it’s cool. I’m pretty sure I passed though. It didn’t really affect my social life all that much by studying, if anything I made a few friends along the way.

P.S. Your racism is showing.

LOL. This coming from ChickenTikka who I remember a long time ago asking if he can use his charter to get out of customer service position at a bank.

Plus he’s Indian talking about sterotypes!

Funny thread though. Need popcorn.

Ct, this is mad gibberish summed up with two word; rusty hacksaw.

Kids, if you currently work in finance and your ffirm makes you do it, then do it. Otherwise think long and hard. CFAs are a ddime a dozen these days.

dont feed the troll!!

Whatever your opinion is regarding the merits of the program, there is no reason to ruin the sense of relief candidates have after taking Level I. I know in hindsight Level I seems like a joke to you, but that is not the case for everyone.

I’m not echoing the OP’s exact sentiment, but understand where he’s coming from and talking about.

Basically, by the time you get to Level 3, you are just tired from the whole ordeal. Level 2 is 10x harder probably, and level 3 is a different beast altogether. Fail one year, it compounds that feeling of ‘bitterness’. As you get older, life and responsibilitie changes, etc., so you better be committing for the right reason. Because you spend money, and more importantly time that you will not get back… it can cause relationship issues too.

Essentially, you’d better have clarity as to why you need it. Not hoping that someday, it will make a difference. One barameter of that is how does your employer treat the CFA progam? Will they pay for your books, exams, etc. If they do, then you are probably taking it for the right reason because mostly, only ‘real’ finance employers do that. The people that really need it are those with buyside careers. The most elite in the field. Those companies will bend over backwards to make sure you get it, because it is in their best interests, and usually a stated requirement for the job. Others that should pursue it are those with a legitimate shot, interviews, etc in the buyside. Or sell-side (anything where your name gets published as a source of indepedent anlytical thinking)

So when you see eager beavers going into this whole thing all rosy-eyed, but then see them struggle in later years (again this whole ordeal will compound like you would not expect), while talking about how it sucks, that it hasn’t done much for your career, it’s just easier to tell it to L1 candidates now from a L3 working in ‘real’ finance perspective. Because once you start, and decide it isn’t for you, it hangs over your life. It reminds you that you FAILED in completing this.

Then you see the sheer size and enormity of Level 1 candidates out there, especially those who think it can help you change your career, or really excel (as if a employer is going to be impressed with just exam completion alone), it does make the ‘older’, real ‘experienced’ Candidate cynical. Basically, the CFA program will not be able to make up for your deficiencies to get in or advance in a finance job.

What are those deficiencies? It is very much a people business. Your obvious best shot is to make it out right out of the gate from school. If not, you have to have the right story and characteristics. The real game and reason for Finance is to attract or play a meaningful role in creating or moving the money. So you have to those traits that can facilitate that movement of money, and have that ‘something’ about you that a company can one day trust you with being responsible for millions, or potentially billions of dollars in value.

Basically be someone that people will want to work with (not be one of those that “just don’t get it”), have a certain saviness, develop a thick sikin, communication/soft skills/wit/vibe, astuteness, competence (this is alot more challenging to obtain then you think), have the right connections/friends (many people get in or get a job through referral… they have someone who’s already most of that vouching for them). Whatever it is, those are more important skills to develop then spending your time sucked into a black hole for 6 months out of the year thinking “This will be the ticket to success in Finance!”

Here, in Canada, there’s this ‘certificate’ called the Canadian Securities Course (CSC) that used to be the mandatory thing to get if you wanted to break into any sort of finance related job. Back-office, sales, call-center, etc. But L1 has basically replaced that. You have people who went to some basic college or working in a call center thinking “I think I’ll take a crack at that CFA… it seems to be the ticket to make alot of $$!”. Basically, it’s gotten out of hand. All most are going to do is commit 3-4 years on average for very little payoff.

I don’t mean to be discouraging or ‘mean’ but just reiterating what some of the thoughts from L3 candidates out there who have seen many naive, rosy-eyed candiates fall by the wayside or have had very little impact in their career, and are regretful about it. But I most definitely understand that if you don’t even attempt, it virtually nullifies your chances since L1 is now almost equivalent to the CSC I menioned. But maybe, if many who are just doing it out of naivness or hope, took a step back and reconsidered doing this, the CFA program can actually be of real added value to those that are serious and ‘rightfully’ taking it. Sorry for the ramble, but wrote more then I expected.

In any case, I hope the best for all those that took it, and to remind there is more to life and career then this exam. I do hope for sucess for those that genuinely want it and worked hard. Now time to enjoy the summer!

Where are the flamers? Or is it because I haven’t posted yet?

My advice: The CFA program was designed to supplement a career, it was never designed as a way to break in. it is only the icing on a cake.

For people already in equity research, or asset management… (or you already got a foot in the door with some kind of internship etc) go for it, without question.

For people with nothing and trying to get in, it’s a grave mistake to believe passing these tests will get you in.

You should be focusing on the entry level jobs if you graduated recently… They will never hire a recent graduate into a position that says “CFA Charterholder is a plus”

Agree. There is this thinking among L1 candidates thinking that 1 requirement carries the most weight. It doesn’t. It’s more of a how does it fit into your whole story.

Have a good day sir, and I hope you receive your charter.

I agree with the original posters entry. I work in the field but my employer does not pay for the books or my registration fees. I also read somewhere that only 9% that start will ultimately obtain the charter so it is a daunting task. I just finished taking Level 1 and I am taking it just for my own knowledge and sense of accomplishment.