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Take CFA for career switch?

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 01-04-2007, 10:40 PM
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Default Take CFA for career switch?

There's an interesting letter in the career adviser column of today's Sunday Times.

Basically, the letter writer in his 20s is asking if it is worthwhile taking the chartered financial analyst (CFA) exams. He is considering switching from his engineering career to a finance/investment one.

The adviser's answer is that all things equal, passing the CFA exams should help. But at the same time, many successful professionals in the banking and finance industry do not hold a CFA title. (Why so?)

The adviser goes on to say:
Quote:
There are 2 routes you can take... seek a job in the sector now... (or) stay put in your current job.
My recommendation is that since he's young, he should try to get a position in the finance industry immediately. In fact, there's currently a shortage of staff in areas such as risk management (due to Basel II implementation, etc). Then, after gaining some experience, he should look for a better position with another firm, after 1 or 2 years.

It helps a lot if he has friends working in the banking and finance industry. Recommendations and referrals are common - in fact, they are the first channel to get people in.

Finally, I personally think that getting a good job in the finance industry is much harder than passing the CFA exams or even getting an additional degree (MBA, Master in Financial Engineering, etc). I hope you get what I mean.

http://www.salary.sg/2007/take-cfa-for-career-switch/

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Old 15-06-2009, 08:51 PM
Arbitrageur
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Default CFA queries

A CFA charterholder definitely is a big plus for those who are thinking of switching to a finance career, especially for research, investment advisory, investment management roles.

Would anyone who has passed CFA level 1 or 2, or know of anyone who has passed them, care to share how useful is a level 1 or 2 pass?



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Old 15-06-2009, 10:05 PM
CFA1
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I passed level 1. It's almost useless unless you are in the banking or asset management industry. You can't list the "CFA" charter mark along with your name, eg. in name cards, unless you pass all 3 levels AND work in a relevant field. But once you obtain the charter, it goes to show you have a certain aptitude.

Of course you can list down in your resume that you have passed level 1 and level 2. Maybe it will help to a certain extent. For me, it didn't.

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Old 15-06-2009, 10:49 PM
Arbitrageur
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Default Level 1/2

Hi CFA1,

Which industry r u working in now? Personally I thought a level 1 pass would benefit someone from IT/Engineering to get into banking sector..in middle or back office positions.

Also depends on how prestigious the organisation that one is applying to as well..
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Old 15-06-2009, 11:41 PM
CFA1
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I got into banking anyway. But it's not due to my level 1 pass. It didn't help at all, but that was back in the SARS days, so maybe it's just my bad luck.

I went through a rather unique journey to end up in a software developer position in financial markets in a foreign bank. It's definitely much better than any IT position outside of banking.
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Old 30-08-2009, 10:23 AM
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I just passed lvl 3, but i think admin is true, getting into the industry is much harder than passing lvl 3

For those who want to attempt this path, it is advisable to do it at an earlier stage of the career as if you passed at certain age and even if you got it, bank or investment industry still will not take you. The reason is simple: why hiring a mid age person where he or she can hire a fresh grad that can be manipulated easily?
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Old 20-11-2009, 01:21 AM
sosowhat
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Default CFA to switch careers

I am on the same boat, currently doing Maintenance Management but want to switch to Finance. What do you mean by mid-age? Is 30 considered mid-age?
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Old 27-11-2009, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sosowhat View Post
I am on the same boat, currently doing Maintenance Management but want to switch to Finance. What do you mean by mid-age? Is 30 considered mid-age?
Have you start studying for CFA or MFE or Master of Applied Financ? if you haven't prepared, most likely very hard to get into line already. Many fresh grad graduated are willing to take on the job with minimal pay and tons of enthusiasm
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Old 27-11-2009, 06:19 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
Have you start studying for CFA or MFE or Master of Applied Financ? if you haven't prepared, most likely very hard to get into line already. Many fresh grad graduated are willing to take on the job with minimal pay and tons of enthusiasm
Agree. At the bank where I work, they hire pretty freshly graduated girls for a pittance and send them for free training! If you're young and pretty, you have an edge. No need to worry about taking CFA.

However, if you're old, ugly, male and in the wrong industry, it's ten times harder to get in. Don't waste your time. It's easier to get rich doing business. Banking is too overrated.
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Old 29-12-2009, 11:28 PM
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Banking is way overrated because of the fat bonuses everyone is talking about. It is true that making a mid-career switch around 30-ish is extremely difficult due to the number of job seekers drawn to B&F industry. You wouldn't even qualify for an interview for a typical BO position that accounts for more than 50% of the vacancies in the industry.

The only way to do it in my opinion is through getting a Masters in Finance from a good university and/or taking the CFA. The former is a easier route but carries less weight while the latter is obviously harder to attain if you nuts about finance and it also requires perseverance and a lot more study time. The CFA curriculum is known to be a foot wide and a mile deep. Thus, it is highly valued in certain positions in banking and asset management industries. Should you have the determination to take on this arduous journey, I am confident you will reap the rewards in the long run.
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