Re: Bloomberg Opinion Piece: “Wall Street’s CFA Program Is a Colossal Waste of Time”

On 17th August 2021, Bloomberg published an opinion piece titled “Wall Street’s CFA Program Is a Colossal Waste of Time ” and this post is a response to that article. The CFA Charter has very often been regarded as the gold standard when it comes to qualifications in the financial industry and this article has undoubtedly ignited some discussions, with subreddit threads such as this one being just one of the few examples. Calling the CFA program a “Colossal Waste of Time” seems to be a pretty bold statement and given that in the article the author (Jared Dillian) mentions that he passed level I but never completed the qualification, a lot of readers were quick to dismiss his opinion. The author also expressed his view that he favours MBAs over the CFA program which caused a slight digression towards the comparison of the two qualifications. However, some readers were eager to identify elements of truth in the article as they possibly mull over their options following the decrease in pass rates for the latest sittings.

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May 2021 CFA Level I Results at Historical Low, only 25% Pass

The May 2021 numbers for the level I exams have recently been made public, a result that saw only a quarter of test takers get a pass. This is an extremely low pass rate and to put this number into context, this is the lowest pass rate in the exam’s 58-year history. By looking at the historical pass rates published by CFAI, we can see that the percentage of candidates passing the exam is between 40-50%.

woman biting pencil while sitting on chair in front of computer during daytime
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OK, I got the CFA charter, what now?

As someone who got the CFA charter six years ago, I recall that when I was studying the curriculum, I came across a lot of advice on forums where discussions were centred around passing the exams but after passing my level III exam, I felt that I needed more guidance on reaping the rewards of my hard work. If you passed the level III exam, chances are that you studied over 1000 hours (this is a rough calculation based on the study hours that CFA Institute estimate). Having had six years of experience as a professional with this designation and having changed jobs a number of times, I would like to share some thoughts that I am hoping newly qualified charterholders might find helpful.

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Level 2 of the CMA (Certified Member Analyst) Exam

On 6th June 2021, I sat level 2 of the CMA exam. For those of you who are not familiar with this exam, CMA which stands for Certified Member Analyst is a financial analyst exam administered by the Securities Analysts Association of Japan. There is a big overlap with the CFA exam and the qualification is very well respected in Japan. I would say that most financial professionals in the industry possess this qualification. I introduced level 1 in a past post which you can access here.

Candidates who pass level 1of the exam can apply to receive the learning materials for level 2 and will then have three attempts to take within three years. Should a candidate not pass the exam in the 3 attempts, they will need to re-apply to study the level 2 curriculum otherwise they will need to re-start from scratch by having to retake level 1. This is a very important point to be aware of if you are registered to take this exam.

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Exam Preparation Tips

Dear Reader, if you are reading these words, chances are that you have an important exam coming up and that you are looking for some helpful content online. Or maybe you are just looking for a good excuse to put off your revision. If you have been kind enough to read other posts on this blog, you might have seen that I have sat a number of finance exams so I hope that you can let me get away with me referring to myself as a self proclaimed test taker. The whole point of this brief post is sharing what I’ve learned through years of test taking, hoping to make these 5-10 minutes worthwhile for you.

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What I blog about when blogging about blogging

Last month was TheFinanceNerd’s three year anniversary. The blog originally started as a way for me to share my thoughts and experiences about financial qualifications in the hope of providing useful information to people thinking of levelling up their skills. However, over the months, this theme evolved to include broader topics such as personal development and education. This post is a summary of this blog’s journey and outlines some of the key lessons that I’ve learned over the years.

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I tried Time-Boxing for 8 months, here’s what happened

Time-boxing has been one of those buzzwords that I have been hearing very often lately so I was very keen on giving it a go. For those of you who are not familiar with it, this is a technique for allocating a fixed period of time during the day for working on planned tasks. Time-boxing, as the name suggests, is a way of taking individual tasks and finding chunks of time in your calendar to plan them in an organised manner.

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My experience with the Open University (OU), Part 1

If you are reading this post, chances are that you might be considering studying at the Open University (OU) and you are searching online for information to help you make your final decision. 6 months ago I was in your position as I was frantically searching to see if my potential £18k investment in my education was justified. I was particularly interested in the below points which arguably are what might interest most prospective students.

– career prospects
– prospects for pursuing further studies
– course rigour
– teaching quality
– general experience

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Overcoming the Fear of Public Speaking

It is very common to hear that public speaking ranks high among the list of things that we might fear. Some studies have also looked into claims about the fear of public speaking ranking above the fear of death[1]. The purpose of this post is not to discourage you with more facts about how much we dread talking in front of people but is meant to give you some ideas that you can act on so that you can overcome your anxieties and become a successful speaker. This post is a summary of what I have learned from reading books on public speaking, observing and learning from professional speakers but more importantly things I have learned from my own mistakes.

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The World Quant University (WQU): Application and Overview

A free MSc in Financial Engineering sounds crazy but it looks like this is exactly what World Quant University seems to be doing. With an ethical goal of making education globally accessible to capable students, regardless of their financial situation, WQU launched their programme in 2015 by Igor Tulchinsky and has been gaining popularity, especially in the past few years.
The course is fully provided online and covers a wide range of topics/subjects that would be taught on a Masters in Financial Engineering.
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