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What are the prospects of an engineer getting a CFA?

I am a engineering Undergrad. I am in fourth year and I am taking the exam in December. I love finance and want to see myself as an equity analyst/IB rather than an engineer. I have planned to get an MBA later on. In the meanwhile I am prepping for CFA along with an IT job (which I am about to join in sept/oct).
My friends say that I am a fool to go for CFA early and then for an MBA. They say that I should be doing MBA first and then should go for a CFA (and that makes sense too).
But the problem is I want to do MBA from US and I don't have money. So the grand plan is to do a job, try and get a CFA meanwhile and then go for MBA.
What say guys?
@sidMenon Typical Indian scenario. Any suggestions?


  • ZeeZee Charterholder London - UKPosts: 1,547 Sr Partner
    @singhanand98 - I'm an engineering graduate, took the CFA exams, never bothered with the MBA and never regretted it.

    An MBA requires some proper time off whatever you're concentrating on at the moment, but you can take the CFA exam whenever.
  • @Zee Good to see an engineer doing CFA... :-)
    I have heard people (informed people, i would say) who are like CFA is something that anyone can get, getting into an ivy league is what really matters.
  • edited May 2013
    You could also look at it this way: you're probably more likely to get into an ivy league school if you already have the CFA charter.

    The CFA charter is most definitely NOT something "anyone can get." Someone once posted on analystforum the number of CFA charterholders total compared with the number of MBAs given out each year, and it was astonishing. An MBA from an ivy league school is very prestigious, don't get me wrong...but CFA charterholders are a relatively elite group, numbers-wise.
  • SophieSophie Posts: 1,985 Sr Partner
    LOL - I would say the opposite @singhanand98. Echoing what @padniaki said. CFA is definitely not something anyone can get. :))

    @vincentt, are you an engineering grad to that can shed some light on this?
  • ZeeZee Charterholder London - UKPosts: 1,547 Sr Partner
    I did the math on this before (can't remember where I put it but I can dig it up if it really matters that we have proof on this). The chances of getting a CFA Level III is about the same as getting into a top-tier B-school.
  • True, it might be a typical Indian scenario. But I've seen a couple of friends who did engineering but passed the L1 exam in the first go, even when i didn't (And I'm from a finance background). So don't worry about the field you come from, CFA is not an easy exam but as long as you prepare well for it, you can clear it. Even if you're from a non-finance background. And it definitely holds a strong place on your CV.
  • i got a degree in computer science, level 1 was the steepest learning curve for me. Just imagine having investopedia or google in front of me while reading and having to use it so often.

    However, as long as you allocate yourself more time (ignoring what others say about you still have so many months), willing to commit that 300hours and never belittle CFA, then you will be fine!
  • @singhanand98. Nice topic.
    @vincentt. I got a BSc in Computer Science, have been working on IT for my last 5 years, but really think finance word is better respected (pls don't get me wrong), and better rewarded as IT.
    Looking forward to PASS my level 1 on December.
    After that will start thinking/looking for a better job/prospectus.(did passing Level 1 give you any opportunity at all).
    June soon, good luck to majority of you having exam around the corner.
  • @altins I've been told many times that you don't really need any financial knowledge to get into a software development role in financial services as the technical skills are what they focus on more.

    As for non-IT related financial roles, I'm not too sure as I only plan to apply after level 2, reason being level 1 seems pretty common or maybe i'm only talking to a small group of people who so happen to have them so I could be wrong.
  • SpockvroomSpockvroom IndiaPosts: 5 Associate
    My dear guys , I am bit confused about my future. Am passing out of the engineering this may and I have an offer for a role of software engineer. But my ultimate aim is to get into finance. what I fear is that if I sit and study for CFA now will they consider me for a finance job??. i want to purse my MBA in an Ivy league B school after I get Some work exposure.
    As of now which is the better option ?. I am from the computer science department . I would prefer Full time course if I do CFA . so which would be bet JOB or CFA ? Guide me guys.
  • SophieSophie Posts: 1,985 Sr Partner
    Job I'd say @Spockvroom‌ . You can always study CFA with a full time job. A little taxing perhaps, but keeps options open?
  • SpockvroomSpockvroom IndiaPosts: 5 Associate
    Thanks a lot @Sophie . BTW which kind of job I should take, Finance related or IT ? would it be added advantage if i have a mediocre job in finance? . is there any possibility to get a finance related job with CS?? .
  • SophieSophie Posts: 1,985 Sr Partner
    I'm afraid only you can answer that question @Spockvroom‌. What do you enjoy more? CS or finance? What is the reason you want to enter finance? It's definitely possible to get a finance job regardless of degree background, but again it depends what area of finance (that's a broad term), and again, what your career goals are.

    Also something to observe is your local job market, this differs from country/region and it's hard to advice. But it's better to have good solid work experience where you learn, than no job experience with tons of acronyms/qualifications behind your name. But this is my opinion anyway - I'm sure there are others who think differently in the community with good reasons too.
  • mitch895mitch895 AustraliaPosts: 125 Jr Portfolio Manager
    Don't be dissuaded by people saying that an MBA is "worth" more than CFA. For most people an MBA is valued higher because most people have never heard of the CFA and don't have a clue what it represents.

    For those who know what the Charter (and the journey to attain it) represents, they will almost certainly value CFA over MBA.

    Remember too that a MBA is "a mile wide, inch deep", while the CFA Charter is "an inch wide, a mile deep".

    …then again, if you're career focus is not in finance/analysis, or is client-facing (clients are more likely to recognise 'MBA'), then an MBA will probably do more for you.
  • calmerstudycalmerstudy Los Angeles, CAPosts: 7 Associate
    I've been writing about fintech for CFA Magazine and find some interesting trends. 1) before long there will be no "fintech" just "fin" and it will be all tech. 2) many computer scientists looking to start or work at fintech companies are getting the CFA with no prior finance background, to add the domain expertise. Engineering and CFA go together naturally especially for a future in investing versus company management. (CFA v. MBA). 
    (Got CFA in 1993 in 3 years.)

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