Life in Investment Banking: CFA effect. Meritocratic or Diploma driven

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc....

English: Logo of The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc. Category:Goldman Sachs (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Initially presented on http://www.echarterholder.com, we found these 2 interviews very interesting:

“1.      What is your current charterholder status?

Charterholder

2.      What are your best/worst memories of the CFA exam?

Best:  receiving my congratulatory email three years in a row; Worst:  having to study every Memorial Weekend in the US (the last weekend of May); also, taking Level I in a huge, open room with no heat in December (in Los Angeles, which was cold that day)

3.      What were your expectations before passing the CFA exam (study, time and effort, career, salary, etc.)?

I expected to study 10 – 15 hours per week for four months leading to each exam, and pass.  I did just that.  However in truth, I left each exam room not confident that I passed.  I felt very fortunate.  I did not anticipate a change in my career or compensation as a result; rather, was looking forward to the knowledge, the credential, and the network.

4.      What has the CFA charterholder done for your career (so far)?

I joined Merrill Lynch in their Credit Risk Management group in 2001, directly out of undergrad with a degree in International Studies + Chinese.  In my first performance review, my manager suggested that I put the CFA into my sights.  I did so starting in 2004, and earned my charter in 2006.  Coming as a non-finance major into the industry, I found the CFA curriculum very helpful to support the financial analysis I was doing in my job, and to be familiar with various related topics.  The CFA network also proved to be a valuable resource to me, as following my transfer with ML to Utah in 2004, I became involved with the CFA Society of Salt Lake’s leadership, serving in various capacities including president and board member. The CFA background was also very helpful in my MBA Program (2006 to 2008), allowing me to be a resource to the faculty and classmates in the finance curriculum.  This then resulted in my invitation to teach finance as an adjunct faculty member in the University of Utah’s masters of finance program.  In short, the CFA program has been a wonderful tool for me to catapult my career at ML, BofA, and now Goldman Sachs, as well as to network within the industry.

5.      What’s your Top Tip for new CFA candidates?

Set aside time each day to study an hour or two, and stick to it.  Don’t try to play catch up the few weeks before the exam.

6.      What is your current role/position?

Vice President, Credit Risk, Goldman Sachs

7.      What’s the best career advice you have received?

Become technically excellent at whatever your current role is, and be nice to people along the way.  Those two things will lead to many future opportunities.

8.      What does your typical day look like?

I review and approve the work of analysts who are assigning internal credit ratings to our counterparties, plus get involved in various projects and initiatives.

9.      What’s a fun fact about you? (i.e. surfer, world record holder, etc.!)

I backpacked through Asia for 2 months after my sophomore year of college.  Thailand, Cambodia, Malaysia, Singapore, and China.  Spent only $10 – $20 per day on a room plus food.  Helped me realize the value of education!”

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What is your current charterholder status?  Active

What are your best/worst memories of the CFA exam?  

Best was to acknowledge on D-Day that all these people/candidates were all here for the same purpose, felt like we all understood each other and amalgamate during that stressing special day. Worse part is always after the exam as in many cases, one is never certain can succeed.

What were your expectations before passing the CFA exam (study, time and effort, career, salary, etc.)? 

Expectations were in line with what we had been told re: study and effort needed.

What has the CFA charterholder done for your career (so far)? 

Since am working on the sell-side, CFA has given me the credibility among my clients

What’s your best Tip for new CFA candidates? 

Study regularly, pretty much everyday during the 12 weeks before the exam but really no need to take any day off the week before because this is making it worse as it builds up your stress level.

What is your current role/position? 

MD in equity sales

What’s the best career advice you have received?  

Be open minded and nice to every single person in your firm

What’s a fun fact about you?

Love poker more than Finance but I am not good enough with the cards 😉

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2 responses to “Life in Investment Banking: CFA effect. Meritocratic or Diploma driven

  1. Pingback: CFA vs MBA for a career in finance? | Alpha Banker·

  2. Pingback: CFA vs MBA for a career in finance? | Alpha Career·

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