Value of CFA

Hi guys, I am from Singapore and I have passed both Level I & II first time. I am looking forward to taking the level III exam and hopefully get it done first attempt as well. However with Level II in the bag, it does not seem to improve my job applications. In greater detail, I am from the audit industry, trying to pursue my interest in equities research, corporate finance and IB. I was wondering if the value of CFA is only optimal when all 3 levels are attained? In addition, it appears to me that most banks are always looking for advance degrees and MBAs. I have a degree in Accountancy which often prove too little. I am not from an ivy league or have a first class honours degree. I am considering a go at a Msc Finance or an MBA coupled with a CFA. Is anyone able to advice me on how to break into the IB industry? A degree with a CFA seems inadequate to break into the industry…

well…Its not necessarily about qualifications…there are music/arts graduates who are in IB without CFA or experience in finance…perhaps you could do an msc then apply for internships and get in that way??

I think the CFA mainly helps when you already are in the IB / investing industry. To break into the industry, a CFA may help but is probably not enough. I think an MSc in Finance or an MBA would certainly improve your prospects.

And u may not be able to have relevant experiences to get charter as cfa. I am also thinking about this issue!

In the current job market, networking is the key for an IB job - which is why IVY league students have the advantage. Other qualifications are mere icing on the cake.

CFA L1/L2 could help you break in at the very entry level. At this point I would have to say, networking/MBA may be your only road in, perhaps even taking a pay cut to get an entry level position. Of course you should concurrently work on L3.

Tough market out there but we just looked at hundreds of resumes for a reasonable entry level gig and having L2 completed would have been a pretty good separator from the average “I have an undergrad with a mediocre GPA and a bit of internship experience” resume.

Thanks guys for the input. I guess I have to work on level 3 and GMAT, and target to enroll into a good masters program to improve my chances. In such a tight labour market and several banks freezing hiring, it’s gonna get even tougher. I am not exactly young in my mid 20s and I only have a couple more years to prove my worth… so I guess its now or never. Even entry level (Analyst Program) is very competitive. In such a case, why do most people get the CFA? When clearly a masters out muscle it in many aspects? Being more relevant but only for those who are already in the industry.

Ceredwyn Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > Tough market out there but we just looked at > hundreds of resumes for a reasonable entry level > gig and having L2 completed would have been a > pretty good separator from the average “I have an > undergrad with a mediocre GPA and a bit of > internship experience” resume. I agree with this. Passing L2 triggers an auto plus in my mind. Though it seems that most people who share this opinion had to have experienced the intensity of the program at some time.

Thats right iteracom, the CFA charter is truly appreciated by individuals who have attempted the program during the course of their careers (an even more by those who attempted it and couldnt go thru with it) or personally know someone who has. People who have just heard the random “It’s really difficult!” don’t give it too much attention.

^ Which means the HR person who screens all the resumes doesn’t give it too much attention.

Could it just be that the CFA brand isn’t as recognized in singapore than in the US ?

Is it a lifestyle?

The CFA designation/brand is growing in Asia and is very much respected. But it appears not to be a major consideration for employers over a candidate who possess a masters degree over a CFA. After all, CFA is a professional qualification like CPA and ACCA in accountancy. Over the years, the requirements have evolved and banks here are looking for highly qualified candidate. Putting yourself in the front running would probably require skills from a specialised masters or strong leadership potential with an MBA. A basic degree unless top notch is unlikely to land one in a top notch job like IB or trading… Just my 2 cents though…

Well… 2 cents and a CFA will get you something worth 2 cents.

At the risk of repeating myself: for the Asian bulge brackets, your qualification does not matter all that much since the IBs are basically not hiring anybody. Most of the time they already have a list of candidates (past interns, IVY grads from well-connected families etc) to fill the positions before outsiders even hear about it. In all likelihood they won’t even look at the resumes submitted by random candidates. It would be a mistake to think being smart/knowledgeable about the industry is the key to get your foot into the door. It definitely wouldn’t hurt but it just isn’t enough in this job market. Why hire a smart guy with no connections when the 2:2 kid with a rich dad who can bring $5m in fees can do spreadsheets just fine? An MBA with say, Chicago Booth School of Business in Singapore, together with your CFA though, will put you in a very advantageous position. That and networking. Good luck.

no harm in having the CFA. no harm at all, but if you score low in other variables such as ( family connections, location, age, nationality, gender, race, social intelligence, networking, graduation timing, university you went to, LUCK etc) you will almost certainly have a Rather extreme difficulty finding the job you want. i score pretty low in all these variables so I will definitely be needing nothing less than a small ‘miracle’ to be able to break into the industry.