Sam is our first CFA exam blogger. He was born and raised in Illinois, now working in New York City. He is waiting for his CFA Level 1 results in late July.
When you only have 7 weeks of free time, you really, really appreciate it.
I spent the last couple of weeks catching up with friends, especially with my colleagues to thank them for all the extra work they’ve done for me.
Sally and I had a few wonderful mornings rollerblading and walking in Central Park. During one of the strolls, I kept asking myself: is the CFA worth it?
Without the CFA exam, I could have done this every weekend. But 5 weeks later when the results are out, I’ll have to toil away with studying. Hopefully for Level 2 and not all over again for Level 1. In either case, it will take a lot of time and effort.
Why CFA for Me?
To me, it’s obvious. It isn’t explicit in the company rules, but I know I need the CFA designation for promotion. Given it takes an average candidate 4 years to complete the exam, I have to do it now.
Thankfully I also find most of the exam content interesting enough. If I had more time, I could even enjoy reading the CFA curriculum books. That’s a big “if”, I know, but it shows that I have a passion in this industry and what I do.
Why CFA for Others?
But then, not everyone has the same need and passion. I know of someone who go for the CFA because he’s done with CPA and want to get yet another designation. A combination of CPA and CFA could be powerful, but he doesn’t seem to have a clear career path. He even mentioned going to Law School and become a lawyer afterwards.
For candidates like him, does it make sense to spend 4 years going for a designation that could be useless down the road?
I’ve heard of another candidate who took the CFA exam for “personal challenge”. The guy doesn’t work and doesn’t plan to work in finance. He just heard CFA is hard so he goes for it.
Is he serious? There are gazillions of things a person can do to challenge himself — and adds value to his professional and personal development at the same time.
Life is good. I wouldn’t waste my time going for the CFA if I don’t have to.
Note from Stephanie
Sam, you are spot on! It is incredibly easy to get qualified for the CFA exam. Many people therefore fall into this trap and want to give this a try as a casual candidate. In fact, 20% of candidates didn’t show up on exam day. Imagine the hundreds of dollar going wasted?
There are also candidates who want to switch career and believes the CFA exam is their ticket. It isn’t as straight forward. No designation can guarantee a job.
Here is my post on this topic and why people should take the time and make a solid case before going for the CFA designation. Thanks again for bringing this up. This is super important in my opinion!