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CFA exams, is it really all worth it? Honest ramblings from the CFA trenches.

itsalwayslupusitsalwayslupus San MateoPosts: 52 Associate
edited May 18 in General CFA Topics
Before I start, let's just establish that I'm just as CFA-invested as everyone else here, and I'm sticking with it to the end. I'm typing this while taking a break from studying. I'm not about to call it quits or have a rant about the program. I just want to reflect on the merits of this program, knowing what I know now and see if this was actually a good decision for me, and see if there are any other personal opinions.

Would just looking for a job be easier?

I took this set of exams for career purposes obviously, to move up the ladder or to gain more bargaining power to move to more exciting areas (that ideally pays more).

But CFA takes roughly 1000 hours in total. That's 10% of the 10,000 hours rule, which say gets us to 'beginner' stage of something (rather than 10,000 hours which gets us to 'master' stage). At this stage, I think I would have more success if I devoted that 1,000 hours to finding a job that I would like.

I could have also invested those 1,000 hours in being conversational in a foreign language. Or some other appealing skill.

Counter-argument: there may be benefits down the line that will continue to compound throughout my career. Also, the hours that CFA are taking from my life may not be otherwise be allocated to job hunting, but rather socialization and leisure. So it's more of giving up leisure to pursue a qualification, which makes sense to me at least at this stage of my life and career.

Other qualifications?

I considered MBA and CAIA as well before deciding on CFA. I get that everyone's situation is different, but for me the choice is still clearly CFA. MBA I rejected for being too expensive and 'bad value for money', and CAIA is a bit too specialist for me. At the time I did want to go into hedge funds, but two years after that I radically changed my mind, so CAIA would have been even less useful to me. I'm glad I chose CFA.

Additional knowledge?

It IS useful to have peripheral knowledge besides the core stuff you pick up from work. CFA does give that to you if you put more thought into your study beyond trying to pass the exams.

Conclusion?

I don't really have one. I think it's hard to see the worth of it all when you're reading Derivatives for the 3rd time because you keep scoring shit points there, but I think I won't regret it after I earn the charter. After all, I haven't met anyone that said 'it wasn't worth it' after becoming a charterholder.

OK, back to the books, happy studying everyone. Sorry for the long post, I'll pay the obligatory meme price.


jasdevfp92

Comments


  • Also, the hours that CFA are taking from my life may not be otherwise be allocated to job hunting, but rather socialization and leisure. So it's more of giving up leisure to pursue a qualification, which makes sense to me at least at this stage of my life and career.
    This 100%. A lot of the naysaying feedback o get is some version or other of 'you could be doing something more exciting / useful'. To which the answer is 'would I have the self discipline to replicate the dedication I'm giving the CFA program?' I'm unlikely to be giving up my social life to learn piano or French.
  • good to hear some honest thoughts there, as i'm starting to question myself as well. level 2 is a bitch.

    i think it depends whether you want to stay in finance, but who knows what the future would bring and by the time i actually obtain a charterholdership i may have switched industries for example, which would make the whole exercise pointless
  • jasdevjasdev LondonPosts: 79 Sr Associate
    I read a piece on efinancialcareers earlier today on how banking jobs will now require Python at a minimum; I guess I know what I will be doing after I get my charter :P
  • excelmonkeyexcelmonkey ZurichPosts: 23 Associate
    jasdev said:
    I read a piece on efinancialcareers earlier today on how banking jobs will now require Python at a minimum; I guess I know what I will be doing after I get my charter :P
    Careful with overdisplaying technical knowledge though. I invested a shitton of time learning SAS with the idea of furthering my career during the early days. A lot of more senior people too lazy to do technical shit kept making me do stuff for them by stroking my ego and promising good reviews etc.

    The opposite happened, they always turned around and screwed me in performance reviews saying I was not well rounded enough. Later I found out that SAS worker bees are rare and mid-management try and keep them from being promoted to management so that they can keep on using them.
    jasdev
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