Quantitative background (math, phys, engineering, computer sci) are far more important than CFA.
But CFA does help. It brings you up to speed on finance with a very broad overview. You get a little bit of econ, accounting, corporate finance, etc... along with knowing what each role in finance kind of does. It also gives you the knowledge needed to talk intelligently to other financial professionals.
Well i am doing my undergrad in computer science , so i do have an engineering background , but i am not sure that i had all the math subjects covered in my engineering so i am following the preparation for MSFE article of this forum . As far as top grad schools are concerned will CFA increase my chances of getting an admit ?
If you have no finance background or experience I think the CFA would clear any doubts as to whether you understand the field. CFA is more about fundamental analysis and equity research so it will not be directly relevant to an MFE.
Still a widely known and major certification in the financial field. If you ever want to break into a more main stream finance position once you have your MFE, the CFA will help.
well since i am changing my stream from computer science to finance , i personally feel students with a relevant undergrad background will have better chances in getting an admit in top schools than me ? so i was debating on whether to take up CFA ? if that boost my application compared to others in admission process then i would definitely go in for that,
I am currently an undergrad studying Industrial And Systems Engineering. I was wondering if I should take the first CFA exam in order to improve my chances of getting into a MFE program. I also have a internship in finance and have taken the introductory accounting and economics courses (but no purely finance courses), so I was wondering if taking CFA part 1 is necessary in order to show that I have a understanding of finance.
The FRM, though less "prestigious" (on a global scale, anyhow) would be more practical/applicable - especially if you intend to take risk classes as part of your MFE (and don't plan to study accounting)
CFA L1 will not help you get admit into a program. It will be an icing on the case if you have a strong profile but fundamentally, requirements for top MFE programs have always been top scores, strong performance in math/programming, top notch essay, recommendation letters, so on.
I agree that CFA will not improve your "PROFILE" substantially. But if you are relatively unfamiliar with finance, it will drastically increase your chances of admission and subsequently finding a job by:
1) Forcing you to learn all the stuff that is too boring for a quant but essential in the profession.
2) Bringing you up to par on any major gaps you may have.
3) Allow you to talk intelligently about finance.
4) Number 3 transfers over to your recommendations and personal statement.
Let me demonstrate some practical applications:
1) You are at an interview to be a trader and are asked what the relationship between margin and leverage is.
2) You are talking to an economist and he starts to talk about utility functions, aggregate demand, and equilibrium pricing.
3) You are asked what your ideal job in finance would be.
4) You are writing your statement and wonder what you should write down as your motivation to attend MFE.
That said, if you want MFE and a quant job after, you better have a quant profile...
Haha I think it is definitely a good thing to do if you haven't taken any econ, accounting or corp finance class. I mean the cost is $1000+, but how much are classes are universities? However it is all contingent upon your ability to study on your own though.
yea..i dint.. my best result this time has been columbia mafn waitlist + a bunch of second grade admits
m still gonna appear for level 2 in june though..
god!! how I wish financial analysis and reporting was not a part of the coursework..its such a pain
wish me luck
The value of having the CFA qualification depends on what you plan to do with it.
If you join a buy-side money management firm in an investment capacity then they will, most likely, require you to complete the CFA. The reason that they require their staff to do this is so they can tell their investors that most, or perhaps all, of their investment staff has the CFA. Having the qualification gives you more credibility when you are managing other people's money. Of course, the firm would pay for the fees associated with the exam, study materials, etc., and would probably give you some time off from work so you could study for the test. They might even pay for a CFA review course (which can be quite expensive.)
An MFE classmate of mine who, upon graduation several years ago, joined a major fixed-income investment management firm in California experienced everything I have described above. His remark was that the CFA material itself is not difficult; the hard part is the sheer volume of material (much of it "very boring") that you need to memorize for each exam. Note that just passing the exams doesn't automatically permit you to call yourself a CFA -- there is also a requirement of 4 years of relevant working experience before they will grant you the CFA charter. My friend finished all the exams in 2009 but just received his CFA charter a week ago because of this work requirement.
If you work for a sell-side firm then having the CFA is much less important, unless you go into a research analyst role, where you are publishing reports on various companies, etc., in which case it is a useful qualification to have. Publishing investment research as "John Q. Analyst, CFA" gives you a bit more credibility (at least, among those customers of your firm who are going to be reading that research) than simply "John Q. Analyst". Note that I am not referring to "quantitative" research. Rather, research which recommends that customers buy (or not buy) shares in some company for fundamental reasons.
If your plan is to join a quantitative hedge fund or a proprietary trading team then I don't think that anyone would care that you have the CFA, though as Yike Lu pointed out above, the knowledge that you would gain while studying the material could be helpful in job interviews. However, most of the material has little bearing on what you would study in an MFE program. Rather, much of the CFA material would be covered in a (non-quantitative) finance or accounting program.
If your plan is to become a risk manager then a qualification such as the FRM is far more relevant than the CFA.
Of course if you do manage to pass all three CFA exams by the time you graduate, congratulations!
It may help with your employment prospects -- but you'll have to work in the industry for 4 years before you can call yourself a CFA!