Will CPA help me?

Hi, I am hoping this board of great knowledge can help me. I am an ex-Big 4 auditor with a CPA. I spent 2.5 years there and now work as a financial analyst at a small, private tech company, that hopes to be public in early 2009. I have just taken level 1 in December. Hopefully I passed, but never so sure… My question is, if my ultimate goal were to get into equity research/analyst role, at almost any shop, will having a CPA REALLY help me at all? Or will it be looked at as a person that cant make up there mind on what they want (i.e. why didnt he go for CFA 1st)? I have more finance experience at my new role (obviously) than in audit, which is what I really like (I do have a masters in finance and B.A. in accounting) and my company is for some reason making an effort to really get me into projects I like. I have rambled a bit here, but my concern is that at 27 years old, IF my ultimatel goal is equity research, and lets assume I dont complete level II until 2009, and also assuming I know no one in the industry, have I relegated myself to corporate finance being he closest thing to true finance (by my definition) that I will get? Does my age hurt me or is this on average, only a little above, etc? Also, if I were to be part of the going public process, would this add any value? Does having a CPA do anything in this role? I know when leaving Big 4, my Finance degree and CPA REALLY didnt help me one bit in true finance roles. I really appreciate any comments, no matter good or bad, anyone can give.