What to expect

Thanks for the information.

I did feel some burnout towards the end for Level 2. Felt it was mainly due to the hopelessness when u think of the odds of passing. I hope I can pass that Level. Going through the same thing twice is going to even more demotivating,

I feel like at all levels there’s a point of diminishing marginal return/burnout, assuming you’ve put in the requisite time. At some point you’re just like OK let’s get this over with. My study sessions in the final week or two didn’t seem to feel all that productive in hindsight.

I will agree this current feeling is the strangest though. Because we’re either done forever or we still have a full year left (or more!) and have absolutely no idea. At L2 that’s not as pronounced because no matter what happens you still ain’t done.


I’ve noticed a change of tone as people pass levels.

L1: “I hope everybody passes, as long as I do as well.”

L2: “I hope everybody on Analyst Forum, including myself, passes but nobody else.”

L3: “I hope I’m the only one who passes.”

Charterholders: “The CFA should add four more levels.”

The same thing goes on in the finance industry. Everybody is happy at the associate level, then a few get promoted and it slowly devolves into a knife fight to move up the ladder. Some firms do a good job discouraging the backstabbing and infighting between employees (supposedly, Goldman) and others actually encouraged it (supposedly, Lehman).

This, in a nutshell, is the worst part of working in finance – the inter-office politics. Of course, in America there’s no way to avoid this if you plan on working in a field that pays above-average salaries. Wall Street likes to sell the idea they’re hiring the best and brightest, and that’s partially true, but connections like target schools, athletics, and stuff as fickle as how well you look in a suit are nearly as important.

I absolutely agree with the part in Bold. I recently read an answer on quora where a woman who was supposedly a hair dresser and a CFA level 2 candidate who passed her exam gave a haircut when the salon was going to close. She described her life and discussed economics and told her customer that she has done some bit of financial modelling. In her answer, she posted a picture of the results. I was flabbergasted by the fact that her customer asked her to send her CV and told her that she was hired. I couldn’t believe what the people in the profession have become. I am really hoping that the answer on quora was completly made up.

She passed two levels of the CFA and knew financial modeling. What’s so unbelievable about that? People get jobs through connections all the time. Are you offended that she was a hairdresser who got a job on Wall Street? Lol.

Nope, I just feel that the interviewer was really biased based on the haircut/interaction with her.

Seems a bit unfair for the others applying.

I am not judging her for her job as a hairdresser.

Since this is a “What to expect” thread this advice can go here too I suppose:

-Get used to it.

This is why the best strategy given around here is to network your ass off because of exactly this reason. First of all, the odds of you being the most qualified candidate applying to an open position are 0.0001% (not you in particular, this holds for… well basically everyone except one person). Secondly, you’ll want to know about jobs before they are even posted and the only way to do this is to know someone inside the org already. I’m guessing that’s what happened in this case. If the job got to the point that it was available to apply online she likely would have been smoked out by far more qualified candidates.

Right place at the right time. Seems unfair on the face of it, but all you can do is keep making your CV look better and try to be that person who is in the right place at the right time by expanding your network. Some people get “lucky” but it sounds like she had enough of a background to justify getting the job in the hiring manager’s opinion.

Or, she could have been smokin hot.

In your 2-3 posts, you make it sound like the reason she got the job was because of her background. CFA level 2 with financial modelling? All the people on this forum say that level 2 is not enough to get a job, let alone starting as a hairdresser first. Nothing was said about her connections. You just assumed. She did get “lucky”. She got lucky in the gene pool.

Her connection was the client whose hair she was cutting. Saying L2 isn’t enough to get a job is a blanket statement here. It’s not going to wow anyone on a resume, but she was already past the resume stage.

My last comment was a joke. I don’t know why people get so bitter about this stuff. The world is unfair. Make of it what you will.

I’m not sure about the specifics of this situation so I can’t say anything with certainty, but I’d be nervous if I was on a team with a former hairdresser doing our numbers. My thought is she is very attractive and said the right words to the right person. Can’t be angry at her but pretty sure I wouldn’t want my job to be dependent upon her work product. I could be wrong, but I don’t want “Supercuts-style financial models.”

Was she a receptionist, perhaps? Not being sexist, it just seems weird to go from cutting hair to an associate (for a man or a woman).

The firm I was at hired a girl from the Starbucks next door, but only as a receptionist (oddly enough, not attractive but a good personality, she knew everybody’s order and name, and we really needed a receptionist, stat). Stranger things have happened, I guess. Suze Orman went from a waitress at a bakery to Wall Street but it was an entry-level position and this was decades ago when the barrier to entry was much lower.

No one would bat an eye if someone working in the back office of a BB transitioned into the front office after completing a few levels of the CFA and knowing the right people/making the right connections. Do those back office people have any better work experience than a hairdresser? Doubtful.

You’re currently a hairdresser aren’t you. :slight_smile: j/k, btw.

I totally disagree with you on this statement however. In-house hires are almost always considered “lower-risk” because you have insight into their work ethic and soft skills, arguably the most-important traits in a worker. I doubt you can deduce a person’s work ethic in the time it takes to get a haircut. Plus they know the culture, company-specific interfaces, and business focus (you would assume this from the fact they are getting a promotion). Yes, they have better work experience than a hair dresser that can take off at any time or work as little as they want.

I just want to put up some more bits of the answer. I cant seem to find the orginal answer though.

I recollect the following from my memory;

  1. She said she was from an Asian country where she had taken a student loan for studying. Her loan shark hit her on the head and she got few stitches to show for it.

  2. I think her commitment to work as a hair dresser even while doing her studies related to finance might have impressed the customer a lot

  3. Not really sure if it was because she was hot but more like the costumer had sympathy for her due to 1)

Her annual salary became $55,000. I am not sure what the money means in USA. I live in UAE. So, I was hoping some one would give some insight on it.

That’s a relatively low salary for a Wall Street job. She was some sort of receptionist I bet. This makes sense now. First year analysts can expect to make nearly twice what she makes with another $25k in bonuses.

We are finally talking money.

Is that it as bonus (20-25pct)?

what are the entry level salaries on wall street in IB? Broking? Private Equity? Hedge Funds?

I work in the insurance industry and we don’t make nearly as much but live a relatively easy life I would say.

What is the opportunity like for freshers in finance field in Switzerland?

L-3 . More close to real life caselets. Less formulae . Deeper understanding of interlinked concepts. But an interesting read as well unlike L-2 which was full of formulae and numbers. Entire focus is on Portfolio Management