should i take it?

So I just graduated from college last spring, and I’m now working as an analyst at a long/short equity hedge fund. I’m planning on going to bschool in 3ish years. Would it make sense for me to take the CFA? Does it make that much of a difference when interviewing for jobs (especially on the buyside)? Does it help to get into top (HBS, Wharton) bschools?

Rephrase your question - does it hurt? by the sounds of it, you frame yourself as ambitious and hard working. If you truely want to ‘go’ where you seem to be headed, why wouldn’t you at least start the CFA?

true, but your already working at a HF. I mean, that’s pretty sweet out of school with just undergrad and no CFA. Would it interfere with work commitments? That said, I would have to think working at a HF and passing a few CFA exams would definetly make you a strong applicant for some top b-school programs

Yes, better to get a couple of the levels out of the way now than after the MBA when you’ll most likely have a busier schedule and more responsibility IMHO. In terms of the CFA helping you in the job search on the buyside, def. yes given your experience. MBA, from I heard, CFA has minimal impact in the admittance process. Just one more extra curricular item that is part of your essay portion of your app. which helps but is not a deciding factor for admittance.

Well I know it doesnt hurt my resume. Niether does learning how to juggle. What I’m trying to figure out is wheter it is worth it… that is, will a CFA on top of solid work experience and a BS from a top school open up options that would otherwise be unavailable?

Along with your BS from a top school and if you can get a couple more years out your current position and demonstrate solid analytical skills, I think you’re already a pretty competitive candidate for many buyside analyst jobs w/o the CFA. With that said, if you get hired as a buyside analyst, the firm will most likely push you to take the CFA anyways, it enhances the marketability of the firm and research team. Besides most of your peers will probably have the designation. If you want to truly compare $ benefits of having the designation, I think there is a Salary Survey of CFA chartholders broken down by region, industry, experience, etc. on the CFA institute website. Hope that helps.

How prevalent is the CFA among non-long/short HFers?

Do it man- you’ll love yourself for it in the years to come. Get it over with, shouldn’t be TOO difficult for you since you already work as an analyst.

Wrong forum to ask IMO. Ofcoz the people on this board will be biased towards telling you to take the CFA.

Take it while you have time. The least it will give you more time networking in B school rather than cranking those problem sets.

If your sole motivation in asking this question is whether taking the CFA will help your b-school chances, then, assuming you had good grades in college, I don’t think it will help much. In my opinion, bschools look at the CFA as evidence of a candidate’s strong work ethic. If you’ve graduated from a top college with good grades then I don’t think the marginal value attained through the CFA program is worth the time committment. I think in your situation, 300 hours of volunteer work will look better on your bschool app than passing level I. That said, like the above posters have noted, many of your peers are probably charterholders and if you want to advance in your field having the CFA designation under your belt is definately advantageous. Anyway, because you are so young, there really is no reason not to at least complete level I/II in the 3 years you have till bschool, IMO.

well i didnt have great grades in college (3.3 physics/econ major), but I have already taken the gmat (770)…so i figure the cfa will help some for bschool admissions

You have to ask yourself one question… Will it blend? The cfa won’t hurt you and it might help you. Only you can decide if you want (or can) put in the time commitment and make the sacrifices needed to study for the cfa. If you decide you can and you want to, then do it. If not, then don’t. Simple as that.

kingkong11 Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > well i didnt have great grades in college (3.3 > physics/econ major), but I have already taken the > gmat (770)…so i figure the cfa will help some > for bschool admissions may I ask you got on at a HF as an analyst then? If I were at a HF (or PE for that matter) I’d lean towards no, as my time would likely be better spent learning at work, networking and just well…working. If your the kind of the guy/gal who likes to spend weekends and holidays in a library, well knock yourself out. But just keep in my mind, quite a few people (not all) here are doing CFA to get a good job like at a HF (or PE, BB etc.)

Two questions: 1) What % of peoplle who are a couple of years older than you who have been promoted to jobs you want have earned the charter? If the answer is high, take it. If the answer is low, don’t take it. 2) Do you plan on switching jobs to move up the food chain? Do you plan on staying in IM for a long time? If yes, especially to both, take it. * In terms of getting into B-school, the CFA will only help mitigate your low GPA, which you probably won’t need to do given your 770. Furthermore, academic history is only about 1/3 of what goes into an app, so it really won’t be substantial in your admissions.

I’d say take it. It can’t hurt and can only help - for getting into Bschool, advancing at your job, networking (yes, CFA holders like other CFA candidates/holders). If you are disciplined and manage your time well you should have no problem passing and still having some sort of life (the truth to this last statement diminishes marginally as you begin working over 60 hours/wk). However, I’d add that if you can get into a top 5 bschool without it, it might not be worth the time. As another poster said, the time could be better spent building a charity, networking, or crafting great essays. A real type A would just get the CFA while working at the HF, knock out a top 5 MBA, and keep progressing…that’s the bottom line.

thanks for the advice. I’m going to go ahead and take it.