|Author||Topic: The True Value of the CFA|
|I just want to touch on a topic that has been discussed 2 billion times.
I believe i have some valuable perspective as i have had experience as an analyst with a hedge fund, have grad business education, and also have been on the hiring side when at the hedgie.
The value of the CFA (today...not true 10+ yrs ago) is solely used as a screener. Trust me...no one gets hired in IM because they have a CFA....it is used to pare down the 900 resumes a company recieves when it posts a job.
I also have been on many interviews. If your interview/analytical/communication skills are not strong enough.....YOU WILL NOT GET THE JOB, CFA or no CFA.....i am working on improving all three of these.....the cfa only partially addresses the analytical skills area....
As frustrating as it mite be, many hedge funds, PE firms, etc will hire engineer grads any day over a finance major with CFA.....The reason being is that (1) engineers can presumably think analytically (2) Finance CAN most definitely be taught....in a very SHORT period of time so the only thing that is really important is the person is sharp as a tack (>>HIGH IQ)
I have a sibling who went to MIT....Many of friends were engineer majors, with NO BUSINESS/FINANCE/ECON CLASSES whatsoever.....about 70% did or are working on Wall Street in IB, IM or on the Buyside....How depressing is that for finance/business majors who may not have been so fortunate to go to top ten schools??
My point is definitely go for the CFA, but only realize the most it will do for you is MAYBE get you CONSIDERED for an interview,....after getting the Interview.....Its sink or swim...no one will worship b/c you have the CFA......
P.S. this is the greatest web site for CFA exam preparation! Thanks Mike and your friends!
|You are wise beyond your years. That sums it up beautifully.|
I know you are an expert on hiring people.
But one thing you should know: no one will hire you if you spell "might" as "mite"
be sure to spell check your resume before sending it off!! :O)
|I forgot to tell you that I totally agree with you.
Certifications alone will not get you a job.
People put way too much emphasis on certifications.
You need to get WORK EXPERIENCE
WORK EXPERIENCE employers care more about work experience. having 10 certifications just proves you lived at home for 10 years with your parents and did nothing but sit around studying.
|With thousands of CFA's, there's no doubt that one's
communication and analytical skills need to be homed to win
in the job market. Work experience is fine, but one must be
able to transfer skills learned/enhanced to the next position
regardless of the industry.
|I also concur with Ducani. The same also goes for having a MBA.
Having worked on the street for 6 years I have come to see the expectations of newly minted CFA graduates way out of proportion to reality. Remember it is a market economy and we all have to justify our existence. People should ask "what do I bring to the table?" Having the credentials is just one side of it. If people want to work on the street where the money and the challenges can be great , they should expect some tough competition--and that's the way it should be. This business is not equally stratified to the top, it is bottom heavy, but the hight at the top is higher than other industries --provided you can compete and make your own opportunities.
I also want to touch on a topic that could be explosive to some:
I believe the 3 years work experience guideline is too laxed. To increase the prestige of being a charterholder ie. a CA or CPA, should the work requirement be more stringent? Too many disciplines qualify as work experience. A lot of young CFA's have high expectations upon graduation with few experiences to offer and get disappointed by what they can get. I don't want to sound like an elitist, but I want the CFA to be recognised the way it should.
|Ducani spells it out perfectly. How do I know? My firm laid me off this summer after three years as an analyst. I have been on 4 interviews since June, and no offers yet. The first interviewer told me they got 100 resumes in 2 days, no kidding! Being a CFA Chartholder has only gotten me to the first round. With 100 resumes coming in for one position you are automatically out if you do not have CFA Charter. When I was working we were hiring for a tech analyst, because my group was small everyone got to look at and choose from the resume pile, again, no CFA Charter, no looks. My other three interviews have all been setup through my contacts and network, but even with this advantage the environment is brutal. If you don't have the charter, don't have an MBA, and don't have the work experience, you had better network like crazy and the sooner you start the better your chances. I could get into the strategies for moving from operations(where a lot of CFA Candidates reside)to the investment side of the business is anyone cares.|
|I too agree with the fact that a CFA certification is not going to get you a job unless you have the analytical/quant skills. I nfact most asset management firms are preferring techies. Remember finacne can be taught but not analyical skills. Don't place too much emphasis on CFA. It definitely gives you an edge over someone who is not a CFA, in the screening process. Other than that don't expect much..|
|I agree with all the opinions but then I don't agree with all the negativity. I understand that the present state of the economy has forced employers to be extremely selective over what skills and abilities prospective candidates must possess. I have seen the CFA in many comparisons to other disciplines like MBA and CPA, and have read about people getting far in life with a BA or BS and a CFA. It has gained a lot of notariety over the years, and still sets a standard for financial excellence...if not why are we here?|
|I don't know where you guys live, but I have not found any of this to be the case in Atlanta (where I live). Yes, in New York City, the labor market is so over flooded with out-of-work financial professionals, I bet that a even a full CFA charter won't do you a lot of good. However, I got a new job and a 48% pay increase last September, and I have only passed Level 1. Oh, and I've only been out of school for a year and a half (undergrad).
I have found that the CFA is way more valued by independent Financial Advisers who are managing client portfolios, and not so much for hedge fund managers, traders, etc. It is quite common practice for CFA charters to expect a 30% pay increase on completion of each level down here, as long as you are looking for the right kind of job! Unless you just don't have any communication or analytical skills, you can expect to have a 6 figure salary with a CFA in a big city in the south.
Good luck to everybody next week!
|Let's be realistic. There are less than 100k CFA's in the world. No one ever said the CFA is an end all to getting a job. But it sure makes you look a lot better when you go up against someone without a CFA.|
|Work experience is king. I still can't wrap my head around people leaving their jobs to study for CFA or MBA. Work experience and everything else is icing on the cake.|