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3 Life-Changing Ways the CFA Exams Can Help You Outside of A Financial Career

edited July 2017 in 300 Hours

image3 Life-Changing Ways the CFA Exams Can Help You Outside of A Financial Career

By Zee

Read the full story here


  • Corty_OCorty_O Berlin, GermanyPosts: 2 Associate
    Hi there,
    I'm reading the article(s) with high interest, very useful to me, thank you.
    So I want to contribute by giving you an unusual background, and ask for an advie at the same time.
    I'm a non-finance and work as a teacher (languages) in public schools in Germany.
    I'm thinking about preparing for the Level 1 CFA exam, since I seek to switch into finance / investmentt banking / consulting.
    Why leave that secure area for an uncertain future in a finance-related job? one might ask.
    Because as a teacher, I miss getting regularly new input and challenges. And it's not remunerated by performance. And because I caught interest for finance / stocks / trading only 1-2 years ago, when already on the job as a teacher for 3 y. When I say fire, I do because it still feels like this - f.e. I litterally enjoy studying the Schweser books or recapitulating economic formula, and I see this as the best indicator for me, that I'm on the right way.

    Thus, I've come across the CFA option, and I considered the following main benefits from it:

    a) It would be a good way to get a deep level of understanding finances (don't have the time for an MBA while working, and don't want to pay that much)

    b) when Level 1 passed - it would be an element on my CV, that shows my will & effort to switch the job as well as my burning interest for the topic (as a non-finance in the first place)

    c) it is widely reputated

    Some of your articles here confirmed my opion that the success to enter the finance area (be it from just another discipline or as a non-finance) depends also on other skills and steps (language, communications skills, work experience in general, hands-on mentality etc.)

    So I would be thankful for your opinions on how much a CFA (let's say, Level 1) would help me switch to finance area (and what disciplines mainly), or about what other steps / professional skills would be useful.

    Thank you for a comment,

    Corty O.
    Berlin, Germany
  • christinechristine On the movePosts: 632 Sr Portfolio Manager
    Hi @Corty_O - thanks for writing in! 

    My honest opinion on your situation is that the CFA Level I will help your job search, but only marginally. Your main challenge is that you're attempting to switch from a vastly different industry (education) to finance. 

    For anyone looking to make a switch, I would try and imagine a career path to finance from where you are now. In your case, perhaps something like this:
    1. Teacher with CFA Level I...
    2. ...CFA Level 1/2/3 qualified instructor...
    3. ...Finance lecturer at university...
    4. ...hired as thought leadership director at bank / advisory
    If that sounds long - unfortunately it is, if you're looking to move as an experienced hire. Alternatively, you can also start at an entry-level position in finance, so depending on how senior you are in the teaching field, it may put you off. Adding relevant financial skills and experience to your CV will help, but as always you'll need to make the decision on whether the effort is worth the result. 
  • Corty_OCorty_O Berlin, GermanyPosts: 2 Associate
    Thanks, Christine - I'll keep that in mind :)
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