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# How much weight does the CFA charter carry

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Manager
Joined: 25 Jan 2008
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Location: San Francisco, CA
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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30 Jul 2008, 14:24
I agree with your comparisons--and those inequalities seem to be at the same time a little sad, humorous and altogether too true. The exams are a battle of attrition more than anything. I think passing the CFA exams shows the commitment, or passion, for the industry, much more than it shows raw "intelligence", knowledge or analytical ability. Unfortunately, I think admissions see it as more of the latter, which they already gather data about from GMAT and to some extent GPA and consequently they lump together as supporting evidence in that category, rather than the former.

As far as difficulty, everyone has a different perspective and I respect yours and that of your friends'. Most of the talented people I know who have failed a level did so because they couldn't dedicate the time that they would have liked to it, not because they felt they adequately studied the material but the test, or the material, was just too hard. You could say the same for most tests though so maybe I'm making a stupid point here.
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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20 Aug 2008, 12:04
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A couple of thoughts...

Re: Difficulty

To me, the hard part of the exams is the volume of the material, not the complexity of the material. I think most people don't have any trouble understanding the material. But the time commitment is enormous. So I don't think there's any correlation between smarts and passing the exams, or between getting a top 20 MBA and passing the exams. If anything, it might be harder for a top 20 MBAer to pass, simply because he will most likely be in a pretty demanding and time-consuming job, which would make it harder to put in the 20-25 hours of study needed per week.

I think all of the adcoms are quite familiar with the CFA, as well as with all of the other types of certifications in fields like engineering and computer science. In regards to the challenge and time commitment required for the CFA, do the adcoms treat it "fairly"? But you have to remember, the adcoms highly value things like leadership, teamwork, and community service, none of which is part of the CFA program. So the moral is you can't just get a CFA and think you'll be a lock--you need to do other things that demonstrate leadership and teamwork.

naturallight, CFA
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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08 Apr 2009, 12:13
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Now that my app season is over, I'll revive this thread with my $0.02. As Ryguy stated, none of his comparisons work in a vacuum so you’ll have to take my thoughts for what they’re worth. Intro: with a well rounded app, the CFA will only help you. But, as IHTG said, its true value won’t be realized until recruiting time. In my experience, it helps a lot with recruiting in its respected fields. I mentioned the CFA a few times in my apps but only as an example of my intellectual curiosity and/or dedication to my field of interest. I did not mention hours, complexity, etc. I think the weight of the charter depends heavily on your interviewer. There is no way to truly gauge what the adcom think of it but it’s easy to tell if your interviewer is aware/impressed. Based on my experience, which interviewer do you think was more aware of/impressed with the charter? • One interviewer asked (while looking at my resume—which she reviewed and wrote on prior to the interview) which level I was on. As politely as I could, I directed her to the three large letters next to my name at the very top of the resume and the section of my resume titled “designations” and explained that I could only use the letters if I had completed the program. • Another interviewer explained that she recently started studying for Level II and she was dreading the long nights ahead. I wouldn’t dedicate too much “word count” to the CFA program in your essays. But, I found it to be a big asset in every one of my interviews…even the first interviewer above acknowledged the charter as complicated and valuable for the IM track, but we didn’t go any further than that. One thing to consider is that charterholders will most likely be competing with other charterholders for coveted spots at top-tier schools. All the charterholders/candidates I know are ambitious and/or dedicated so you’re not going to find too many that have the CFA and nothing else to boost their application. Translation: most individuals that have or are pursuing their charter have (at some level) impressive and relevant accomplishments in other areas. Conclusion: Don’t get the CFA b/c you think it will help you get into bschool. As Ryguy put it, getting an “A” in stats or calc prior to the MBA is probably more valuable. Get the CFA because it’s relevant to your long-term goals and present it accordingly in your apps. That being said, I’m interested to see how a non-top 30 undergrad + top bschool + CFA will fair in recruiting against top 30 undergrad + top bschool, all else being equal. Since I drink the kool aid, I think the former will do better since the "tier" of the bschool will be most relevant and it will be a wash. Ryguy—I’m interested to hear if your CFA related application experience was different from last year. Your results are very impressive and I wonder if you “used” the CFA in a different way this year. -pguard, f.k.a AZCFA Last edited by pguard on 08 Apr 2009, 12:47, edited 1 time in total. Manager Joined: 08 Mar 2009 Posts: 193 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 0 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Apr 2009, 12:28 pguard... Was wondering which schools you were applying to? I also have a CFA charter and would like to go back for an MBA....PT at Stern best for me currently. if that does not pan out b/c of missed deadline..might try FT Wharton, Columbia, or Booth 2010. From my limited knowledge, I am assuming that given that I intend to specialize in finance, that this is a progression of my personal improvement/dedication to profession, and that Stern specializes in finance...that CFA would have more weight. More weight then it would for someone looking for an MBA for career change or applying to a school that does not specialize in finance... Basically not mentioning CFA b/c I want to emphasize that I have the ability and discipline to self-study over 600 hours, passed an extremely difficult set of tests, etc.... Looking forward to your (and others..) input.... Current Student Joined: 09 Apr 2008 Posts: 197 Schools: Chicago Booth '11 Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 17 [1] , given: 2 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Apr 2009, 13:01 1 This post received KUDOS spgny wrote: I also have a CFA charter and would like to go back for an MBA....PT at Stern best for me currently. if that does not pan out b/c of missed deadline..might try FT Wharton, Columbia, or Booth 2010. This is a complicated question...if you like your job and you plan to stay there, Sloan PT would be a no-brainer. If you want to relocate/change jobs, then the FT programs might be a better option. spgny wrote: From my limited knowledge, I am assuming that given that I intend to specialize in finance, that this is a progression of my personal improvement/dedication to profession, and that Stern specializes in finance...that CFA would have more weight. More weight then it would for someone looking for an MBA for career change or applying to a school that does not specialize in finance... I agree. However, I would wonder why anyone who has no finance background or interest in finance is taking the CFA. I like MIT and I think it's a great school but I like the FT schools you listed above better for finance. Without a doubt, "finance" schools are going to put more emphasis on the CFA than "marketing" focused schools. spgny wrote: Basically not mentioning CFA b/c I want to emphasize that I have the ability and discipline to self-study over 600 hours, passed an extremely difficult set of tests, etc.... That's how I approached it. Manager Joined: 08 Mar 2009 Posts: 193 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 0 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Apr 2009, 14:03 My reference pertained to say someone with a CFA charter, who is attending BS in order to change careers. Say applies to Kellogg for marketing. Then I would assume that taking the view that Kellogg would see a CFA charter as a plus over another candidate would be flawed.... However, my assumption is that if you are using CFA charter to sell your commitment to furthering your finance education through MBA from a BS specializing in finance...then it is a plus for the candidate.... However, you got dinged at Wharton? Do you think CFA charter did not help? Current Student Joined: 09 Apr 2008 Posts: 197 Schools: Chicago Booth '11 Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 17 [0], given: 2 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 08 Apr 2009, 14:30 I agree with your career switching comments...if someone is going from IM to marketing, I don't think the CFA will help with gaining admission. You could still use it to your advantage but I don't think it would be a ton of help. As for Wharton: I think Wharton does put weight on the CFA and I think it probably helped my chances there....my candidacy, from a holistic perspective, got me dinged at Wharton. The CFA is definitely not a bschool guarantee. As this thread indicates, some on this site think it holds very little weight with adcom. Manager Joined: 01 Apr 2008 Posts: 145 Schools: Chicago Booth 2011 Followers: 3 Kudos [?]: 29 [2] , given: 6 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Apr 2009, 02:48 2 This post received KUDOS The OP asked how much weight the CFA charter carries in the admission process, so ultimately you have to look at it from an AdCom perspective. Whether the CFA charter is harder/easier than the CPA, the bar exam, the GMAT, etc. is hardly relevant. Why? Because the AdCom is not going to use the CFA/CPA/bar exam/GMAT score as the tiebreaker when picking candidates (I don't think so at least.) Are you smart enough? Do you have a good work ethic? Do you have good leadership skills? Do you have good interpersonal skills (i.e. can you work well in a team)? Do you have a unique background that adds diversity to the cohort? etc. These are the types of questions the AdCom is going to ask when reviewing your application. A CFA charter certainly shows intellectual capacity and good work ethic. However, these two factors can be shown in various other ways, so it's not going to be a gamebreaker in any way. It surely does not show any of the softer skills many schools crave in their applicants. For those who argue that the CFA should be valued more in the admission process, I'm interested to know why. Because it is a very difficult certification to obtain and requires a lot of work are not good enough reasons, despite what you think. Why? AdComs just want to make sure you are smart *ENOUGH*, but they are not just looking for pure smarts. Admission is not about accepting the smartest 350~900 applicants. Otherwise (pardon this somewhat-flattering racial stereotype) most of the top schools will admit only Indian IT engineers with an 800 GMAT score. It is about meeting some arbitrary cut-off mark for intelligence that the AdCom sets, and anything beyond that is gravy. AdCom is going to look at your decent GMAT score, your CFA charter and go "Ok, this guy is smart enough and has a good work ethic. What else does he bring to the table?" I feel the real strength of the CFA certification lies in its impact post-MBA. It is a professional certification that will open doors that would be otherwise closed to many of your fellow graduates. That's where you get the benefit of the CFA. So I agree with most of the posters, don't get the CFA just to improve your admission chances (the effort/reward ratio is horrible.) But I disagree that it's undervalued, I think it is valued quite accurately from the AdCom's perspective. Manager Joined: 26 Jan 2009 Posts: 141 Schools: Yale SOM 2011 Followers: 2 Kudos [?]: 11 [0], given: 7 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Apr 2009, 08:25 Attaining the charter or being a CFA candidate does help with the admissions decision. By pursuing the charter you demonstrate that you are an intelligent and hard working individual. In my case I devoted a sentence in my essays stating that I was a level III candidate and noting the hours of study I devoted to the exams. The reason I did so was because my extracurriculars such as volunteer work, basically ground to a halt when I was studying for the exams. Additionally The CFA or CPA can help one make up for a lower than average (for your school) quant score. So yes they help but you’d have to be f#cking crazy to devote so much time 3 yrs if you’re just doing it to enhance your MBA apps. SP xenok wrote: The OP asked how much weight the CFA charter carries in the admission process, so ultimately you have to look at it from an AdCom perspective. Whether the CFA charter is harder/easier than the CPA, the bar exam, the GMAT, etc. is hardly relevant. Why? Because the AdCom is not going to use the CFA/CPA/bar exam/GMAT score as the tiebreaker when picking candidates (I don't think so at least.) Are you smart enough? Do you have a good work ethic? Do you have good leadership skills? Do you have good interpersonal skills (i.e. can you work well in a team)? Do you have a unique background that adds diversity to the cohort? etc. These are the types of questions the AdCom is going to ask when reviewing your application. A CFA charter certainly shows intellectual capacity and good work ethic. However, these two factors can be shown in various other ways, so it's not going to be a gamebreaker in any way. It surely does not show any of the softer skills many schools crave in their applicants. For those who argue that the CFA should be valued more in the admission process, I'm interested to know why. Because it is a very difficult certification to obtain and requires a lot of work are not good enough reasons, despite what you think. Why? AdComs just want to make sure you are smart *ENOUGH*, but they are not just looking for pure smarts. Admission is not about accepting the smartest 350~900 applicants. Otherwise (pardon this somewhat-flattering racial stereotype) most of the top schools will admit only Indian IT engineers with an 800 GMAT score. It is about meeting some arbitrary cut-off mark for intelligence that the AdCom sets, and anything beyond that is gravy. AdCom is going to look at your decent GMAT score, your CFA charter and go "Ok, this guy is smart enough and has a good work ethic. What else does he bring to the table?" I feel the real strength of the CFA certification lies in its impact post-MBA. It is a professional certification that will open doors that would be otherwise closed to many of your fellow graduates. That's where you get the benefit of the CFA. So I agree with most of the posters, don't get the CFA just to improve your admission chances (the effort/reward ratio is horrible.) But I disagree that it's undervalued, I think it is valued quite accurately from the AdCom's perspective. Manager Joined: 08 Mar 2009 Posts: 193 Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 19 [0], given: 0 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 09 Apr 2009, 14:22 smokedpotatoes2 wrote: Attaining the charter or being a CFA candidate does help with the admissions decision. By pursuing the charter you demonstrate that you are an intelligent and hard working individual. In my case I devoted a sentence in my essays stating that I was a level III candidate and noting the hours of study I devoted to the exams. The reason I did so was because my extracurriculars such as volunteer work, basically ground to a halt when I was studying for the exams. Additionally The CFA or CPA can help one make up for a lower than average (for your school) quant score. So yes they help but you’d have to be f#cking crazy to devote so much time 3 yrs if you’re just doing it to enhance your MBA apps. SP xenok wrote: The OP asked how much weight the CFA charter carries in the admission process, so ultimately you have to look at it from an AdCom perspective. Whether the CFA charter is harder/easier than the CPA, the bar exam, the GMAT, etc. is hardly relevant. Why? Because the AdCom is not going to use the CFA/CPA/bar exam/GMAT score as the tiebreaker when picking candidates (I don't think so at least.) Are you smart enough? Do you have a good work ethic? Do you have good leadership skills? Do you have good interpersonal skills (i.e. can you work well in a team)? Do you have a unique background that adds diversity to the cohort? etc. These are the types of questions the AdCom is going to ask when reviewing your application. A CFA charter certainly shows intellectual capacity and good work ethic. However, these two factors can be shown in various other ways, so it's not going to be a gamebreaker in any way. It surely does not show any of the softer skills many schools crave in their applicants. For those who argue that the CFA should be valued more in the admission process, I'm interested to know why. Because it is a very difficult certification to obtain and requires a lot of work are not good enough reasons, despite what you think. Why? AdComs just want to make sure you are smart *ENOUGH*, but they are not just looking for pure smarts. Admission is not about accepting the smartest 350~900 applicants. Otherwise (pardon this somewhat-flattering racial stereotype) most of the top schools will admit only Indian IT engineers with an 800 GMAT score. It is about meeting some arbitrary cut-off mark for intelligence that the AdCom sets, and anything beyond that is gravy. AdCom is going to look at your decent GMAT score, your CFA charter and go "Ok, this guy is smart enough and has a good work ethic. What else does he bring to the table?" I feel the real strength of the CFA certification lies in its impact post-MBA. It is a professional certification that will open doors that would be otherwise closed to many of your fellow graduates. That's where you get the benefit of the CFA. So I agree with most of the posters, don't get the CFA just to improve your admission chances (the effort/reward ratio is horrible.) But I disagree that it's undervalued, I think it is valued quite accurately from the AdCom's perspective. I have to agree that anyone not interested in LT career in finance should not go near the CFA program. There is no way you should put yourself through that much pain to show you have academic discipline, etc. There are other ways probably more specific to your career goals. Also, I agree that CFA charter shows its benefits pre/post MBA if you work in finance/AM. However, I do still feel that if you are applying to a school that specializes in finance, having a CFA charter shows that you are dedicated to taking your skills to the highest possible levels,etc. In that respect I have a feeling it sets you apart from an equally appealing candidate w/o CFA charter. BTW....when I posed the CFA question to an Adcom person at one school, he responded that they do take it into consideration if your quant score is low..so maybe someone out there who rushed to do the GMAT to get an app in and got a low quant, can work the limited time/CFA argument..... Manager Joined: 25 Jan 2008 Posts: 166 Location: San Francisco, CA Schools: Wharton, Chicago Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 12 [0], given: 0 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Apr 2009, 11:15 xenok wrote: The OP asked how much weight the CFA charter carries in the admission process, so ultimately you have to look at it from an AdCom perspective. Whether the CFA charter is harder/easier than the CPA, the bar exam, the GMAT, etc. is hardly relevant. Why? Because the AdCom is not going to use the CFA/CPA/bar exam/GMAT score as the tiebreaker when picking candidates (I don't think so at least.) Are you smart enough? Do you have a good work ethic? Do you have good leadership skills? Do you have good interpersonal skills (i.e. can you work well in a team)? Do you have a unique background that adds diversity to the cohort? etc. These are the types of questions the AdCom is going to ask when reviewing your application. A CFA charter certainly shows intellectual capacity and good work ethic. However, these two factors can be shown in various other ways, so it's not going to be a gamebreaker in any way. It surely does not show any of the softer skills many schools crave in their applicants. For those who argue that the CFA should be valued more in the admission process, I'm interested to know why. Because it is a very difficult certification to obtain and requires a lot of work are not good enough reasons, despite what you think. Why? AdComs just want to make sure you are smart *ENOUGH*, but they are not just looking for pure smarts. Admission is not about accepting the smartest 350~900 applicants. Otherwise (pardon this somewhat-flattering racial stereotype) most of the top schools will admit only Indian IT engineers with an 800 GMAT score. It is about meeting some arbitrary cut-off mark for intelligence that the AdCom sets, and anything beyond that is gravy. AdCom is going to look at your decent GMAT score, your CFA charter and go "Ok, this guy is smart enough and has a good work ethic. What else does he bring to the table?" I feel the real strength of the CFA certification lies in its impact post-MBA. It is a professional certification that will open doors that would be otherwise closed to many of your fellow graduates. That's where you get the benefit of the CFA. So I agree with most of the posters, don't get the CFA just to improve your admission chances (the effort/reward ratio is horrible.) But I disagree that it's undervalued, I think it is valued quite accurately from the AdCom's perspective. I completely agree with these sentiments. I don't think the CFA is really a differentiating factor, but I think it can add a data point where there might have been a previous intellectual capacity concern, or it can corroborate the applicant’s theme/story. Manager Joined: 25 Jan 2008 Posts: 166 Location: San Francisco, CA Schools: Wharton, Chicago Followers: 1 Kudos [?]: 12 [0], given: 0 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Apr 2009, 11:18 pguard wrote: That being said, I’m interested to see how a non-top 30 undergrad + top bschool + CFA will fair in recruiting against top 30 undergrad + top bschool, all else being equal. Since I drink the kool aid, I think the former will do better since the "tier" of the bschool will be most relevant and it will be a wash. pguard, I have largely the same background/interests as you and I’m also interested to see how IM recruiting shakes out. From the several IM at Booth I’ve spoken to, it sounds like previous work experience is far and away the most important factor, while nobody even mentioned the CFA program, although I didn’t ask specifically about it. After the experience factor, however, some responded that the results among those who were truly interested in IM were a little random as there were some unexpected outcomes. See you this fall in the IM Group Current Student Joined: 27 Jul 2007 Posts: 872 Location: Sunny So Cal Schools: CBS, Cornell, Duke, Ross, Darden Followers: 12 Kudos [?]: 205 [1] , given: 4 Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink] ### Show Tags 10 Apr 2009, 14:20 1 This post received KUDOS 1 This post was BOOKMARKED pguard wrote: Now that my app season is over, I'll revive this thread with my$0.02...

+5 kudos to pguard. Great post.

I agree with pguard that the value of the CFA designation will be realized in the recruiting season. Everyone and their mom going for IM will have “CFA Level I Candidate” listed on their resume. It’s easy to do; spend the 900 to register with the CFA Institute and sit for the June or December exam. For those interested in IM, you probably need to bite the bullet and do this, because everyone else trying to break into the field will have this on their resume and it will act as a brief talking point in the interview as well. The great thing about having earned the designation is having it in big@ss letters next to your name on your resume. For example: ryguy904, CFA So when your resume is getting screened (let’s be honest-this is a 30 second process), recruiters will pay attention to this and respect you, no doubt. At the end of the day, it’s another network and another community that one becomes a member of. Whether one loves or loathes the CFA Charter, is irrelevant, there is a sense of immediate respect when a Charterholder crosses the path of another Charterholder. Most likely someone interviewing you for your internship or full-time job has the CFA or is at some stage of completing the program. What happens after that (i.e., how you do in an interview, present yourself, do your stock pitch, etc) will make or break you, but having the designation is a huge head start. My suspicion is this will be a big boost to getting on closed lists (or in the door for self-directed recruiting) for investment management opportunities. I'd also suspect that the reason that not as many people know whether or not it's an advantage for MBA recruiting, is because not many people have the Charter. (11,000 charterholders in NY, 4,500 in Boston, 3,400 in Chicago, and 2,800 in San Francisco, and in total about 100,000 across the globe---folks that IS NOT a lot of people. For instance, there are ~350,000 CPA's in the United State alone). In terms of the value it has during an admissions interview, it totally depends on who you interview with. When I interview with a Columbia alum who works in PE, he acknowledged it (without me saying anything), said it aligns well with my goals, and we moved on. That’s really the best you can hope for. For those in the know (like my CBS interviewer), there really wasn’t a reason to dwell on the CFA any further. And frankly, I’d rather dedicate my 30-45 minutes of interview time dedicated to my personal life, what I like to do for fun, or my interesting work experience, rather than how I studied by myself, did practice exams, and made flashcards for three six-hour exams over a three year period. My Duke interviewer was a second year student and didn’t know what the designation was. This is inexcusable, in my opinion, but it’s not the end of the world. Moreover, there really isn’t anything that I could have done about this. Sure he said, “Is it like the CPA” and I wanted to sock him the face, but in the end, it’s an uphill, losing battle trying to explain it. It’s also not really worth the time trying to extract value out of explaining the charter (or various levels one has completed). The person will just end up with some fuzzy image of some test that you took and wonder why you would even bother bringing this up in an interview. In the end, if the interviewer (alum, adcom, etc.) knows what the CFA is, GREAT. If not, I think in hindsight, I would choose NOT to bring it up in an interview. I’d rather spend the three minutes discussing something else… I also concur with pguard in that, generally speaking, it’s not really worth dedicating much wordcount in an essay. With the exception of my Darden app, the ONLY mention that I made went something like this: “I will utilize my Corporate Finance experience and Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation, along with the skills that I will gain from <insert school here>, to develop valuable investment strategies.” ( I'll accept nominal royality fees of75 per person who uses this line or any derivation of it in an essay. )

The Darden “Why MBA” essay question was a little different in that it asked for pivotal decisions that I have made that led me to decide to pursue an MBA. Earning the designation was certainly one of them. However, I ended up only using three sentences (73 words out of 499 in the essay) to discuss the relevance of the CFA in my desire to earn an MBA.

On my essays last year, I put much more emphasis on the CFA designation. I called it out more in my essays, including the Chicago PowerPoint presentation. In the end, I think this was one (of several) mistake that I made as an unsuccessful applicant. Although I’m not going to go through an entire “how to write successful essays” spiel right now, I think that it is critical to be targeted in your essays. Think about it for a second…what was I demonstrating by discussing the CFA at length? That I could pass rigorous exams? That I can study on my own? That I have a solid understanding of finance fundamentals and the investment management process? Yeah, sure, I suppose. But in the scheme of things, I’m not really differentiating myself from hundreds of other applicants (that could all answer yes to one or more of these questions). I’m not telling adcom who I am as a person or selling them on why they need to accept me. When I strategized this year, I was very tactical in the stories that I told. Each sentence of every essay that I wrote needed to add value to my candidacy and the meaning of my story. I spent more time talking about my work experience (which in all honesty, is by far my biggest selling point).

Although I’m certainly proud of my accomplishment of earning the CFA Charter, it comes down to understanding the application process and the audience.

-ryguy
_________________

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

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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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30 Apr 2010, 11:12
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...
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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01 May 2010, 13:17
The posts you responded to are over a year old but I am a level II CFA candidate so perhaps I can shed some light on the process.

IF you KNOW (like, 100%) that you want to do finance, the CFA is by no means a wasted effort. In fact, for asset management, many would say that CFA/MBA (ah, the eternal struggle) are interchangeable. Once you get outside of portfolio management, that argument diminishes as the MBA adds the management value. I think for you, assuming you want to stay in finance, the CFA program could show that you are now serious about your path and not, as you said, a degree hunter.

Realize this about the program though, it's not just a 1 afternoon deal. Level I is offered twice a year (June and December). It is the "easiest" but should not be overlooked. They recommend 250 hours of study but that would be a bare minimum in my opinion. Level II is only offered once per year (June) and is the beast. Level I is essentially a first year mba-type material, but level II takes it up a serious notch. Only after passing Level III (which has a written portion), and a review by CFA Institute, are you officially granted the CFA charter aka you have earned the right to use the CFA designation (it is not correct to say that someone is "a CFA"). Since it is already May, this year is out but even if you passed Level I in December, II next June, and III the next year (all while going to school) you are still talking about 2012 before CFA can appear on your business card.
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 04:25
i knew that this post was pretty old, but what was true 2 years ago is still true today.
To be clear, you think that a Ms in Finance and a CFA are not redundant?
According to a lot of people, you can't really be serious about MBA and CFA when you work on both of them at the same time (finals and MBA tests are quite often scheduled at the same time. It can result in having bad grades or failing at both of them). Moreover, if you spend your free time working for your CFA, you lose the big interest of a B school: the network.

I just doubt about one thing; Following your MBA, you find a pretty good job in a good company; of course having a CFA could be an advantage but regarding the investment in time you should put in it, shouldn't you spend that time working your ass off in the company and obtain more responsibility rather that spending your time working for your CFA? 3 years (if you didn't fail) is a long period of time, i am wondering what would be the best investment?

PS: i know that a CFA doesn't last 3 entire years, as you work 3 to 5 months for each level, but when you want to get more responsibility in a company, you can't really work your ass off for 7 months, then stop your effort to get prepared for the CFA 3 to 5 months prior the test, then restart....etc... It is the regularity of the effort that pay off in a business environment...

To synthesize, the question is not whether or not a CFA is a good degree to have on your resume but if in my situation, i shouldn't focus 100% of the time on my career rather than passing the CFA since working long hours (12 to 15 hours: the time i used to spend at work when i was a trader) in a company doesn't allow you to get prepared for such a challenging certificate...

Sorry for my English....
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 04:53
I think that MBA and CFA are actually complimentary for some career paths (ie investmen management or research). Many companies will encorage you to sit the CFA and will actually sponsor you. I know people currently doing an MBA and the company they have done/will do the summer intership has offered to sponsor the CFA.
I will be doing level III next month and will be starting an MBA this Fall and think that the CFA has actually helped me on the application process. Also, if I pass (hopefully) I think that it will help me on the recruiting next year as well.
The big question is if you want to invest your time in studying towards CFA rather than socializing. My honest opinion is that you are better off waiting until you finish the MBA. If you really want to do it, I recommend sitting Level I in December of your second year, however this means that you will also need to study during the Summer. As said before, you may have already covered a big part of LI material during the first year of the MBA.
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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02 May 2010, 06:19
Thanks for the advice, I will probably do the level 1 during my second year, it is apparently good to be in the program when you look for a job at the end of your MBA.
And don't get me wrong, if my company offers to sponsor my CFA, i would be more than happy to do it!
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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03 Oct 2010, 11:38
I will attempt level 1 this next year
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Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry [#permalink]

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03 Oct 2010, 15:44
I take nothing away from the hard work and intelligence required for a charter, but this thread smacks of misplaced entitlement.
Re: How much weight does the CFA charter carry   [#permalink] 03 Oct 2010, 15:44

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