Yet Another "Should I Write my CFA" Thread

Goal: Job in market or equity research (or Business Development / A&D) focusing on oil and gas with a bank or international E&P.


BComm in Petroleum Land Management (2006) - University of Calgary. GPA of 3.2 but weak grades in calculus and statistics. I’ll admit I was pretty lazy as I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life then; regretting it now.

MSc in Oil & Gas Law (2012) - Robert Gordon University of Aberdeen. Waiting for my final marks but I believe I will receive honours. Dissertation topic was Foreign M&A in Canada’s Oil and Gas Sector, focusing on public policy.

2 years working in Canada as a Land Analyst / Contracts Landman for a large E&P.

5 years working in Yemen and the UAE as a Contracts Analyst / Contracts Manager for a large E&P with exeptional operations experience, including 2 years of working in the field directly with drilling / construction / production managers and 3 years working with Senior Management.

I’ve also traveled to 50+ countries so I have a good handle on international business / politics.

My thought is that a MBA at a top-tier school would probably be best, but I’m not sure my undergrad marks would support an application now. I’d certainly have to nail the GMAT. I’d also like to do a bit more travel before I settle down and work ridiculous hours.

Therefore, I was considering writing Level 1 in Dec. 2012 and then consulting / studying from the road for the next two years while I travel South America and Eastern Europe. Assuming I’d pass all 3 levels the first try, I would then be 30, have traveled the world, and be prepared to work the long-hours in ER or AM to get my four years experience and designation. If I failed to get a job I wanted, my hope would be that passing Level 3 and my MSc would support an application to a top-tier MBA program and trump my poor undergrad. It looks like I can get a job consulting for a Yemen NOC for $80-$100/hr (tax free) which is why I’m thinking the travel / work / study route may be the way to go.

Sorry for the long post - I’m just looking for advice as I feel like I took the wrong career path and need to correct course and get into a more financial / analytical role.

$80-$100 per hour tax free is pretty dang good. way better than any equity research associate.

If you look around the GMAT forums though, you’ll see that the CFA doesn’t help much when it comes to MBA applications. Quite a few people report that many admissions people know very little about the program at all.

Thanks, that is actually a very helpful comment about admissions folks not recognizing a CFA.

The money would be great while traveling. It won’t be a permanent gig though, likely a year or two at best. That’s why I figure studying for the CFA while traveling and working would be perfect. Perhaps it would be better to just focus on the GMAT and go that route. I really enjoy the CFA material though and think I’d find a lot of value in studying in no matter the case.

Decisions decisions…

i know a lot of people in calgary who have made the jump from industry to ER and all it took them was the CFA.

your background would be perfect for international E&P, how old are you?

That’s what I was sort of hoping. I don’t necessarily want to end up in Calgary (I am from there, but love the international life), but I could certainly do a few years of ER there to gain the requisite experience.

I’m 28 now. I’m expecting to collect severance from my current position at the end of the year and was planning to travel for a couple of more years (South America & Eastern Europe) to knock off most of my bucket list while learning Spanish and studying for the CFA exams.

I guess at the end of the day, having passed all 3 Levels of the CFA won’t hurt my prospects…

Studying/preparing for the GMAT does not take that long if your nartive language is English and you’re relatively intelligent. You don’t even have to be that good of a test taker if you read up on GMAT strategy.

IMHO, most of the 9-12+ month preparation stories you will hear are from people who are either not that bright or are not native English speakers.

Thanks Roberto - also great advice.

One of my buddies got into Columbia for his MBA after studying his arse off for his GMAT so that’s who I was basing my study views on for that. Decisions, decisions…

What’d he score and how long did he study?

I probably spent ~40 hours and got a 720. Admittedly I have done pretty well on standardized tests in the past, but once you understand the strategy of taking the GMAT it isn’t too tough.

Tough to argue with someone whose approach got them to Columbia, though!

My friend spent 4 hours and scored 750

In the end I don’t think he actually did as well as he expected. I believe 640-680 but can’t recall for sure. I also don’t know how many hours, but I know he put in a lot and also flew to New York for prep classes and such.

In the end, he did a Masters of Finance in Toronto and was at the top of the class so that helped him get into Columbia.

oops, double post.

hope you sampled the local ladies at each of those countries!

‘My friend spent 2 days trying to froget things (unstudy) and got an 800’

(no need to study at all i guess)

Obviously you can take or leave what I say, but I’m legitimately just trying to shed light on the fact that the comparison between studying for the GMAT and starting the CFA program is not apples to apples.

Oh yea? well I heard of this one guy who went to the exam drunk and stoned, fell asleep half way and got an 800 too

Last I heard that guy was a trader in Britain for JP Morgan…