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Looking at the CFA, but the job doesn't fit!


I'm a new graduate with a background in neuroscience and business. I work at a small engineering firm doing sales and database administration and I'm tenured to work here for the next 2 years. I was planning on getting an MBA at the end of that time period, but recently the prospect of a CFA popped up on my radar. I've done my due diligence and I believe it to be a much better fit for my career goals.

I've documented my time and I can pull 12 hours a week easily, with 16-18 also doable with a little shuffling around. I can make time for the studying. My problem is the job qualifications: my job doesn't meet the bill for the 4 years of work experience, and I can't transfer jobs for another 2 years.

So my question is, is this worth it? If I have the drive and the time to get my CFA, is it a waste of my time to get it when I'll have to transfer jobs and work for another 4 years before it becomes applicable?

And a follow-up: If I were to get my CFA, work at my current job for 3 years, and then go and get my MBA would that be a boost to my application or would it be useless without the work experience?

I appreciate any thoughts and feedback the community has; the CFA really seems to be a good fit but I don't want to proceed with such an investment if it is a wholly illogical one :)



  • ZeeZee London - UKPosts: 1,541 Jr Partner
    Hey @Xytal‌, welcome :) It depends on your career goals. If you see yourself eventually in investing and finance, it's always a good idea to pursue the CFA charter. Experience will come later, but you should utilise the drive you currently have to take it :)

    At the start of my own career, I wanted to take the CFA exams straightaway, but one of my colleagues in HR told me not to, simply saying 'take it slow'. I took her advice but regretted it - I could have gotten my charter 1 year earlier, and I was a lot more driven to study and take exams at the start of my career!

  • @Xytal, did you mean you may try to take Level 1 in December? While I think it's still possible to start now and have a fair chance at it in December, it would likely require a big effort (around 3 hours/day on average if you have pretty good retention capability) - see the other thread where we discussed this here: 

    If you meant that you'd sit for Level 1 in June 2015, then that can be more doable for you at the 12 hours/week pace, and you'll have time to better digest the material.

    Regarding whether to go the CFA charter track at all, I totally agree with @Zee that it depends on your career goals. When you say that "the CFA really seems to be a good fit", should we assume it's a fit with your career goals? Why can't you transfer jobs for another 2 years? Can this change? Sometimes a "Level II Candidate" or "Level III Candidate" line in your resume can make you pretty attractive for jobs in finance, depending on where you are.

    I am actually doing my (part-time) MBA at the same time as I sit for the CFA exams, although I do have experience to get the charter as soon as I pass Level 3, hopefully next June. And I now a few people who got their CFA charter before doing an MBA. The thing is if you take 1-2 years off to get your MBA, it will likely take longer to complete the required 4 years for the CFA charter.

  • Don't forget, even if you haven't got your four years' of experience, you can still state that you've passed the exam on your CV!

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