|Topic||CFA: Worth it for I-Banking?|
|I'm a second year analyst at a small, regional, leveraged finance boutique. I've learned a great deal and I've gained a tremendous amount of responsibility...but I've reached a point in my tenure where I feel it's time to jump ship to a larger shop with the hope of gaining better experience. I'd like to target some respectable boutiques in NYC or even buldge firm analyst programs. The problem...my undergraduate grades were horrific (altough I did attend a top 30 school). I'm considering taking level 1 of the CFA in Deccember with the hope that passing may mitigate my gpa. Any thoughts on this? In addition, what is the relative value of the CFA in banking in general? What is the perception? I realize an MBA is the credible i-banking stamp but I want to accumulate 1-2 more years of work experience before returning to acadamia.
Thanks in advance for the insight.
|It seems to me that the question should be[i] is the CFA worth it for me?
Do you want to do it in order to better your chances of getting into a good university down the road? Or in order to join a better firm? Or to get some financial credibility?
I personally think that becoming a Charterholder is a good way to learn a body of knowledge and gain some credibility. It is a long process though at 2.5 years minimum. Only do it if you're committed.
What are your alternatives?
|I have heard many rumours that CFA won't help you to kickstart a career in investment banking. It helps people who has already started their career in investment banking but not people trying to change their career path.
I share the same problem with you. I came from a legal background and decided to try investment banking after completing the CFA. My grades in my first year degree are not great as well. My strategy is trying to pass all three levels at first attempt, so hopefully employers in future would consider me as equivalent to a first-honour graduate. My first degree prevents me from doing a master in finance so I could only choose CFA.
The bottom line is to finish the CFA first and wait for opportunities to knock the door. You may not be able to find an investment banking job at first but it may greatly enhance the chance of being admitted into a master program from any university. Then, with the foundation of CFA knowledge and the specialist knowledge developed in the postgraduate studies, it is highly probable that you can find a job in investment banking.