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# GMATClub's Unofficial Chartered Financial Analyst thread

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Current Student
Joined: 27 Jul 2007
Posts: 872

Kudos [?]: 206 [0], given: 4

Location: Sunny So Cal
Schools: CBS, Cornell, Duke, Ross, Darden

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05 Jun 2009, 08:34
Good luck to everyone taking the exam tomorrow. IHTG, that includes you!

:
_________________

The True Value of YOUR MBA: http://gmatclub.com/forum/103-t64239
GMATClub's Unofficial Chartered Financial Analyst thread: http://gmatclub.com/forum/103-t63245
How Much Weight Does the CFA Carry with Admissions: http://gmatclub.com/forum/103-t68059

Kudos [?]: 206 [0], given: 4

Current Student
Joined: 09 Apr 2008
Posts: 197

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 2

Schools: Chicago Booth '11

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05 Jun 2009, 13:36
Good luck everyone.

If you're reading this and you're taking the exam tomorrow....get back to the books.

Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 2

CEO
Joined: 15 Aug 2003
Posts: 3454

Kudos [?]: 904 [0], given: 781

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05 Jun 2009, 15:25
Do you guys want to move this topic to the MS Finance forum?

Kudos [?]: 904 [0], given: 781

Current Student
Joined: 13 May 2008
Posts: 141

Kudos [?]: 25 [0], given: 6

Schools: LBS

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06 Jun 2009, 09:03
done with the exam here in middle east! wooohhhh ... 6 hours is a long time!! discussing the paper is the not permitted under the standards, right? I guess we can at least say if it was good or bad... can we?

Kudos [?]: 25 [0], given: 6

Intern
Joined: 26 May 2009
Posts: 9

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0

Location: Chicago
Schools: Booth, Wharton, Columbia, Kelley

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09 Jun 2009, 04:33
lumone wrote:
Hello,

I am more and more considering IM .
Next step: where to apply for MBAs?

I have therefore done some research on the M7 B-schools' placement stats (2005, 2006 or 2007):
IM -Columbia 12%
IM- Wharton 11.9%
IM - Harvard 7%
IM / Hedge funds : Stanford 17%
IM / Research Chicago: 10.7%
IM - Kellogg : 4%
IM – MIT : 8.4%

Might do the same for Elite schools later.

EDIT: found the IM only Stanford stat: 10%

I have noticed that it seems like only the ultra-elite are detailed in their description of where they send students. Many other schools just have a bucket called "finance" that they dump everyone in to. Not very helpful, I'm afraid...

I'm curious if anyone has any good links to lists of investment management firms, descriptions of the industry, etc. I'm waiting for the Vault guide to arrive from Amazon, and I've noticed it's very difficult to find much on the internet with respect to this field. Any helpful links? I know this is a bit off topic, but seems relevant for those considering a CFA and going the IM route.

Kudos [?]: 1 [0], given: 0

Intern
Joined: 10 Jun 2009
Posts: 1

Kudos [?]: [0], given: 0

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10 Jun 2009, 09:02
photoguy wrote:
lumone wrote:
Hello,

I am more and more considering IM .
Next step: where to apply for MBAs?

I have therefore done some research on the M7 B-schools' placement stats (2005, 2006 or 2007):
IM -Columbia 12%
IM- Wharton 11.9%
IM - Harvard 7%
IM / Hedge funds : Stanford 17%
IM / Research Chicago: 10.7%
IM - Kellogg : 4%
IM – MIT : 8.4%

Might do the same for Elite schools later.

EDIT: found the IM only Stanford stat: 10%

I have noticed that it seems like only the ultra-elite are detailed in their description of where they send students. Many other schools just have a bucket called "finance" that they dump everyone in to. Not very helpful, I'm afraid...

I'm curious if anyone has any good links to lists of investment management firms, descriptions of the industry, etc. I'm waiting for the Vault guide to arrive from Amazon, and I've noticed it's very difficult to find much on the internet with respect to this field. Any helpful links? I know this is a bit off topic, but seems relevant for those considering a CFA and going the IM route.

I would be very interested to learn about this as well. I just took my level 3 exam last Saturday. Now, I'm just starting out my research for b-schools and would like to know which schools offer the best career track in IM. Any help or insight on this would be much appreciated. Thanks!

Kudos [?]: [0], given: 0

Intern
Joined: 06 Aug 2008
Posts: 7

Kudos [?]: [0], given: 0

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17 Jun 2009, 10:57
you know, it just saddens me that I can't really use this CFA path as part of my application. I mean, for me, I spent 6 months studying from Jan 2008-Jun 2008 for Level 1, then after the test, immediately switched gears to GMATs which for some reason I can't do well on. Then after GMATs, realized I need to postpone my b-school apps and switched gears to CFA level 2 from Jan 2009 - Jun 2009.

In retrospect, I've wasted a year studying for this test, with almost no hope of passing level 2 this year because it was so GAWD DAMN hard (f u CFAI, the test was unfair). But the flipside of it is, I have nothing to show for on my apps. I'm an engineer by day and I come straight home to study as my background isn't finance. Now that I look back, if I could choose to help the community, do some extra-curricular to strengthen my app, or even do ANYTHING that I can talk about in my apps, I think I would have done it.

Sometimes I wonder if it's the wrong path to take by pursuing the charter. It just sucks that pouring your blood, sweat, tears, means nothing to ad com because they'll probably just say, "What's this CFA? Certified Financial Analyst?" *sigh*

I mean how impossible is it to juggle studying for the CFA exam + doing other things to enhance your app. For me, it's near impossible as I'm not that talented I guess. Kudos to you "supermen" that can do it =P

If I'm planning to apply to b-school for 2010 matriculation, does it seem "forced" if i go look for community service, extra-currics and put that on the app?

End Rant.

Kudos [?]: [0], given: 0

Senior Manager
Joined: 25 Mar 2009
Posts: 301

Kudos [?]: 264 [0], given: 6

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25 Jun 2009, 10:51
I am currently waiting on the June 2009 L2 results. I feel pretty good about it, but we'll see come D-Day on Aug 18.

I generally agree with supershick that CFA isn't really helpful for switching careers and I would argue it isn't even that helpful in terms of knowledge gained. I will definitely complete the program, but the ineffectiveness of CFA in helping me obtain a new profession has spurred me to go the B-school route.

5+ years from now, the CFA may end up helping you beat out another candidate for a job who only has MBA. So who knows. I am 25 years old right now and most of my friends who got good finance jobs got them straight out of the undergrad recruiting process. Hopefully b-school will help me do the same, but there are no guarantees with the economy struggling for the foreseeable future.

Kudos [?]: 264 [0], given: 6

Manager
Joined: 25 Apr 2005
Posts: 196

Kudos [?]: 46 [0], given: 2

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26 Jun 2009, 06:31
topher wrote:
I am currently waiting on the June 2009 L2 results. I feel pretty good about it, but we'll see come D-Day on Aug 18.

I generally agree with supershick that CFA isn't really helpful for switching careers and I would argue it isn't even that helpful in terms of knowledge gained. I will definitely complete the program, but the ineffectiveness of CFA in helping me obtain a new profession has spurred me to go the B-school route.

5+ years from now, the CFA may end up helping you beat out another candidate for a job who only has MBA. So who knows. I am 25 years old right now and most of my friends who got good finance jobs got them straight out of the undergrad recruiting process. Hopefully b-school will help me do the same, but there are no guarantees with the economy struggling for the foreseeable future.

^ All true.

Here's the only bit of (maybe) useful info I have -- all I know is from friends and colleagues at accounting firms -- about the CFA designation: it's definitely not useless but it shouldn't be the primary thing on your resume. From what I heard it's especially useful for internal promotions/transfers within an organization (e.g. to be transferred from the auditing to the more glamorous M&A dept in an accounting firm), where CFA will be a plus, but if it's the only thing on your business card then it probably won't help you get the job.

A while ago, I think the CFA was a good signaling device to show your boss and other employers that you were able to do quant-oriented stuff beyond what regular Finance majors (or MBA with Finance electives) do. Now, the more quant-heavy MS Finance, such as the MSCF at Carnegie Mellon a probably a bunch of others that still have the MS Finance name, have taken that signaling role, maybe because they're tougher or more advanced (or both).

Kudos [?]: 46 [0], given: 2

Senior Manager
Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 496

Kudos [?]: 70 [0], given: 0

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28 Jul 2009, 07:37
Anybody take the Level I in June? Just got my results...PASS!!! Swept all sections. I'm pumped!

For those who ask why go for the CFA charter if I am getting my MBA? There's a lot of reasons, but a general one is...why not? You will learn the entire candidate body of knowledge in your first year, so it is just one of many opportunities to apply what you have learned.

The CFA charter is just another factor that separates you from the competition. Will it definitiely land you an internship or full-time job? No. But, it is a convincing argument that you are interested in finance and you want to be in a financial career. Employers at financial institutions look hard to make sure you really want to be in finance for the right reasons.

Kudos [?]: 70 [0], given: 0

CEO
Joined: 17 May 2007
Posts: 2950

Kudos [?]: 656 [0], given: 210

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29 Jul 2009, 06:13
Many congrats mate ... Certainly a convincing argument to get the CFA.

djhouse81 wrote:
Anybody take the Level I in June? Just got my results...PASS!!! Swept all sections. I'm pumped!

For those who ask why go for the CFA charter if I am getting my MBA? There's a lot of reasons, but a general one is...why not? You will learn the entire candidate body of knowledge in your first year, so it is just one of many opportunities to apply what you have learned.

The CFA charter is just another factor that separates you from the competition. Will it definitiely land you an internship or full-time job? No. But, it is a convincing argument that you are interested in finance and you want to be in a financial career. Employers at financial institutions look hard to make sure you really want to be in finance for the right reasons.

Kudos [?]: 656 [0], given: 210

Intern
Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 27

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 1

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31 Jul 2009, 15:52
Anyone else on pins and needles? I can't wait for August 18th to come.
Was able to put it out of my mind so far, but with level 1 results out it's back.

BSD - is the CFA charter looked favorably at all in Aus?

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 1

Intern
Joined: 06 Jul 2009
Posts: 27

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 1

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17 Aug 2009, 14:34
Good luck to everyone expecting results tomorrow.
I hope you all blow it out of the water.

Kudos [?]: 3 [0], given: 1

Senior Manager
Affiliations: CFA
Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 384

Kudos [?]: 121 [0], given: 64

Location: United States (NY)
Schools: Columbia - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 710 Q45 V43
GMAT 2: 760 Q49 V45

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02 Sep 2009, 11:21
Passed LII! Just think, a year from now and I will be tasting sweet freedom (aka filling out apps).
_________________

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Manager
Joined: 23 Sep 2009
Posts: 199

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 2

Re: Has anybody taken/passed the CFA level I? [#permalink]

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14 Oct 2009, 13:12
ryguy904 wrote:
kidderek wrote:
I was wondering if you could provide any tips in terms of study schedule, prep materials, tips etc.

I'm a CFA Charterholder and co-director of a mentor program for CFA Level I Candidates in SoCal. I'd be happy to talk offline. If you pm me, we can set up a time to chat.

Nevertheless, here are some general comments:

1) Ethics - read the book (not Schweser, although the problems are good). Read it once at the beginning of your study and once a week before the exam.

2) Practice Questions - do as many as time will allow. At the very least, after finishing a reading, do the questions in Schweser. While I find these aren't always as tough as the CFA Reading questions, you have to assure yourself some level of material comprehension before you move to the next section. If you aren't getting any questions right without referencing the book, don't move on.

3) Practice Tests - there are 3 full length tests in the Schweser book. Take at least one of these during a timed simulation. That means six full hours, with a 1-2 hour break in between morning and afternoon sessions. Ideally you would take the test on a Saturday (two to three weeks prior to the real exam) and go over the answers on Sunday. Also, at the very least, answer all of the questions in the other 2 sample exams. Doesn't necessarily have to be timed, but do the questions. You'll also have to take the Boston Society Mock Exam. This is VERY VERY VERY important. Take it under simulated test circumstances. It will show you your weak areas and is the BEST gauge of your progress to date.

4) Schweser Pro - very useful. Provides high level outlines of the study sessions. You can also do as many questions at a time as you like. You can also choose which sections you would like to get questions from, as well as the difficulty level. I spent a good amount of time on this a couple of weeks prior to the exam. Also good If you are having trouble in an area, this is a good way to get a bunch of questions thrown at you to make sure you fully understand the material.

5) Review - when you take the exam, you'll be thinking, "I wish I had just a little more time to study." That's always the case, whether you are studying for 3 months or 6 months. You have to give up the last 2 weeks minimum for review. 3 is ideal. This doesn't mean all you do is test questions for 2-3 weeks. But it means that you are not "learning" the material or seeing it for the first time.

6) Ethics - don't underestimate this. The material is easy to understand, but not a slam dunk on the test. It was killer at all three levels, and I have probably read the book 6-7 times in total by now

7) Study Schedule - It varies from person to person, primarily because of education background and work experience. I can talk more to your spefically to your case offline if you like. In general, I'd say CFA Institutes provides a rule of thumb of ~250 hours. For people without finance/accounting backgrounds or without MBA's, I'd say add another 50+ hours to that. Overall, I'd recommend ~4.5 months of studying and three weeks of review. That means if you are taking the test in December, you should begin studying in July and review for ~3 weeks in Novemeber. You need to be disciplined and keep up with the study schedule. You should be studying about 10-15 hours a week. In my opinion, it's kind of like working out. If you miss a couple days it makes it harder to get back in the routine. Once you get going, though, it's pretty easy to keep up with a constant schedule.

Bottom Line: Stick to a regimented study schedule. Practice, practice, and then practice some more. Although ethics is 15% of the exam it's not a gimmee. That being said, make the most of it. There are 240 questions. You'll need as many as you can get.

Cheers-
RG

Very good post, RG. Thank you.
I have a technology background, and been an engineer for 5 years now.
Considering the state of the financial services industry, I'm thinking a career switch into IM from my background is gonna be a longshot. So will the CFA help, along with an MBA, or is it not necessary? What are your thoughts? And have you seen anyone in your firm or in your circle do this career switch?
thank you.

WG

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Manager
Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 160

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 6

Location: Milan, Italy
Schools: Booth (admitted R1), NYU (interview Mar 4), UT (withdrawn), Rice (admitted R2) plus dings at HBS, Stanford, Wharton and CBS
WE 1: Oil and gas

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15 Mar 2010, 07:27
Just bumping this in case anyone else out there is currently studying for the CFA?

I'm hoping to get L1 out of the way this June before B-school starts.
_________________

If I said something intelligent, it was probably by accident. But click "kudos" anyway - it will make me happy.

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 6

Senior Manager
Affiliations: CFA
Joined: 21 Dec 2008
Posts: 384

Kudos [?]: 121 [0], given: 64

Location: United States (NY)
Schools: Columbia - Class of 2013
GMAT 1: 710 Q45 V43
GMAT 2: 760 Q49 V45

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15 Mar 2010, 07:34
Yes -- plowing my way through LIII. http://www.analystforum.com/ is a great resource for CFA discussion/help/lockerroom antics.

If you have any kind of finance background (undergrad/professional exp), I think LI will be a breeze -- as long as you simply put a decent amount of time in. GL!
_________________

Kudos [?]: 121 [0], given: 64

Manager
Joined: 07 Nov 2009
Posts: 160

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 6

Location: Milan, Italy
Schools: Booth (admitted R1), NYU (interview Mar 4), UT (withdrawn), Rice (admitted R2) plus dings at HBS, Stanford, Wharton and CBS
WE 1: Oil and gas

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15 Mar 2010, 08:11
Thanks for the intended kind words but actually I have no finance exp in any shape or form! Still ploughing through it anyway. Good news is I'm on track to finish with a whole month for Qbank and practice tests. Good luck with L3!
_________________

If I said something intelligent, it was probably by accident. But click "kudos" anyway - it will make me happy.

Kudos [?]: 29 [0], given: 6

Intern
Joined: 02 Apr 2010
Posts: 25

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 2

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30 Apr 2010, 11:15
first of all, thank you guys for all these posts, it's really helpful! I was wondering if i should pass the CFA, and I understood that the CFA is more a way to differentiate your profile from the crowd than a proof of your intellectual capabilities. So after reading it, i doubt that it could be a big + for me.

My profile:
French, 28 years old

Education:
BS of management (paris), Ms in finance (Paris), MBA starting the coming fall (USA)

Career:
7 years of WE: 3 years in marketing (France), 2 years entrepreneurship (France and Portugal), then 2 years in finance - trader - (France and Australia)
little explanation: in France, you can study for your BS while working 50% of the time (you don't have as much vacation as the other french people though; 7 weeks ).

Do you think i would make sense for me to invest so much time in a CFA? I am kind of scared that the recruiters could see in me a degree hunter more than someone career oriented...

Kudos [?]: 6 [0], given: 2

Intern
Joined: 31 Jul 2010
Posts: 5

Kudos [?]: [0], given: 0

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03 Oct 2010, 11:40

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Re: GMATClub's Unofficial Chartered Financial Analyst thread   [#permalink] 03 Oct 2010, 11:40

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