S2000 provide job advice? and L3 related comment


no doubt you have been a great at helping with CFA related questions… does your service include explaining how a CFA fits into certain companies/industries. Such as google?

Also to keep this post legit for forum III.

Do people plan to put in significantly more hours for level III? I sure do! i’ve heard a lot of people say Level III is easier but the fact that 50% of people still fail L3 of those who passed L2 (knowing how many hours we all had to put in) are not odds i like. I assume everyone’s mentallity is just go all out get it over and done with so we can have our lives back.

Also I have to say i’ll probably just get my CAIA after this because my work doesn’t pay for MBA or MS Finance :frowning:

I’m probably the worst person in the world of whom to ask career advice: I’ve been fired (or laid off) from more jobs than most people even get. (Mainly because I don’t play political games very well; if my boss asks me if he’s doing a lousy job (and he is), I tell him he’s doing a lousy job.)

I’ll give you the usual: find something you love doing. I love teaching; if I could go back to school to earn my PhD in mathematics and become a full-time professor, I’d do it in a heartbeat. And I’ve never had more fun at a job than I did when I was a warhead designer. (There’s something deeply satisfying about conceiving a design, analyzing it until it does exactly the job you need it to do and is manufacturable, building it, loading it , and watching as they detonate the high explosive and stuff flies everywhere.)

By the way, some people will tell you that you should get a job where you’re indispensible, as job security. There is no such thing. I got laid off from the warhead design job (they thought that with the software I’d created they could hire a junior engineer at half the cost to do the work), got hired by their customer, was given the task (amongst others) of reviewing my old company’s new designs, and watched as the quickly went out of business. Ten years later, I came across the proceedings from a warhead conference: my designs were still being presented as state-of-the-art, yet my old employer thought that someone else could do my job.

(Even funnier, at the time I was working in risk management for an aerospace firm that was submitting a proposal for a weapon system. I told the manager in charge of the warhead that the customer was going to tell them that the warhead they were proposing was the riskiest part of the system. He said, “You don’t understand: we have this warhead designer whose done this sort of thing before, and we’ll build and test prototypes and prove that it works.” I said, “No . . . you don’t understand: I’m the guy who taught your designer how to design this type of warhead. I know more about this kind of design than the guy you have designing it.” (Sure enough, they lost the contract because their warhead design was deemed too risky. So much for knowing one’s job.))

As for Level III, I’d say that people probably put in about as much time as they do on Level II, but it’s a different type of work. You need to practice writing: fast, and in bullet points. Don’t let up now, whatever you do.

S2000, this is by far one of the coolest stories I’ve come across on this forum. I’m assuming you have a back ground in some sort of math or engineering field? Can I ask you why you decided to pursue this designation?

The customer I mentioned above was US Army ARDEC (Armament Research, Development, and Engineering Center (formerly, Command)) at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ. I was there on a one-year, renewable contract, but their funding got cut, so I got cut. (Again, so much for job security.) Not so bad, all-in-all, as I really didn’t want to live in New Jersey. We still had a few months left on the house we were leasing (similarly for the house back home in California we’d leased out), so I got a short-term consulting job developing a model for estimating the cost of building oil refineries.

Back home, I got a couple of other programming jobs (writing software to run numerically-controlled punch presses, writing software to control the freeway traffic cameras in Orange County), then got hired by PIMCO to finish writing their graphics software for presenting analyses of mortgage-backed securities (the guy who had started the project had left abruptly). From there I started developing prepayment models, and revamped all of the analysis software to make it more accurate and more efficient.

A couple of years into PIMCO, they decided that all of the analysts and all of the account managers would sit for the CFA exams. The rest, as they say, is history.

So, the short answer is: sheer serendipity.

I couldn’t agree more! I have recently met someone who failed L3 in band 5. The most worrisome part is that before receiving the results he was firnly convinced that he’d pass. If only 50% of peeps who passed L2 take L3, this exam is probably the most difficult of them all.