To be sure, it shattered a lot of dreams. Dreams whose seeds were planted, for some, as far back as the early nineties, when the Institute was formed. On visits to the hallowed halls of CFA headquarters. In conference rooms, where colleagues discussed the merits of MBA versus CFA. Upon receiving an email from a friend who’d just updated his signature to include those three little letters and a note to “please see my updated credentials,” when the urge to vomit was strong, but was no match for the realization, “I want that.”
On a Saturday in June, men and women around took a couple of tests. They were the Level I and II of the CFA and while outsiders, family members, MBA grads and the like would never understand how much these exams meant, test-takers knew all too well. Hundreds of hours of studying. Thousands of dollars in test prep books and classes. Social lives sacrificed. Memorial Day weekends uncelebrated. Relationships with neighbors on the receiving end of multiple requests to “Shut the hell up in there I’m trying to study!” more than a little be strained. Episodes of Ladies of London never watched. The downside would be that it was all for nothing. The up? The thrill of one day putting those three little letters next to their name.
The ensuing weeks have undoubtedly been torture. Going over the answers in one’s mind and then going over them again. Comparing notes with a friend only to find you put down the exact opposite, comforting yourself with the knowledge that this guy is the dumbest person you know, only to wake up in a cold sweat with the terrifying thought that he might be an idiot savant whose brilliance lies in taking standardized tests about asset valuation, financial reporting and analysis, and portfolio management techniques.
So while today, and the days leading up, have been full of nerves, it also brings sweet relief. No more second-guessing. No more excusing yourself during conference calls to go throw up. No more alienating your friends by trying and failing to explain to them the concept of CFA Camp.
Tomorrow at 9AM EST, lives will be forever altered. Some for the good, some for the bad. The former will learn that they passed the Level I or II CFA exam given in June; their prize will be the opportunity to buy more books and spend hundreds more hours studying for the next test in the series. The latter will forced to look within and ask some hard questions, like, “Where did I go wrong?” “Should I try again?” and “Maybe I’m not CFA material?” Read more »
Passing Series Of Exams More Difficult Than Two Years Of Boozing With Your Fellow MBA-Candidates: GuyBy Bess Levin
…some argue that students who have completed all three levels and won the right to put the three letters CFA after their names and be called a chartered financial analyst have an advantage over those with an MBA. “I think there might be a crossing point soon – I think the CFA in the financial industry might soon eclipse the MBA,” says Mark Shackleton, professor of finance and associate dean of postgraduate studies at Lancaster University Management School…While it can be very difficult to get into a top-flight MBA programme, once accepted, students can be confident they will finish. “If people sign up for an MBA qualification, there’s an expectation that they are going to get through or be helped through,” says Prof Shackleton. [FT]
As many of you know, the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute is a group that takes itself extremely seriously. While MBA programs may be content to have any old degenerate representing them, Team CFA holds its members and would-be members to a much higher standard. The organization has zero qualms about throwing one of its own out on his or her ass, and in the past has stripped charterholders of their designations or “publicly censure[d]” them (via CFA Institute Magazine), and rained down fury on people in the midst of attempting to earn their charter, for infractions that include:
- Writing erotic novels
- Touching one’s ears
- Violating the CFA Institute Rental Vehicle Policy 1
So it probably shouldn’t have come as much of a surprise that this had to happen: Read more »
As no one needs to be reminded, tomorrow is judgment day for 150,000+ financial services employees hoping to one day add 3 little letters to the bottom of their email signature. If you’re feeling prepared, confident, and calm, that’s nice for you. If on a scale of 1-10, 1 being “I have zero anxiety whatsoever about tomorrow’s exam” and 10 being “I’m screaming into a pillow right,” you’re somewhere between 9-15, take heart. Read more »
150,000 Financial Services Employees To Find Out Saturday If Last 4-6 Months Of Their Lives Were Worth ItBy Bess Levin
To most of the world, June 7th is just another summer Saturday. To those sitting for the Level I, II, or III CFA exams, it’s the day that determines if months of sacrificing their personal and professional lives– and in many cases, general standards of hygiene– in exchange for study time paid off. For those taking I and II, successful performances will dictate if they buy the books for II and III, or slink back to their old test prep rooms as if nothing happened. Those who pass III will be one step closer to mecca. Read more »
Back in December men and women across the globe sat down to take the first exam in a series of exams that they hoped would, one day in the distant future, allow them to place three little letters next to their name, on their business card, email signature, linkedin profile, and maybe even cock: CFA. In practice it would stand for Chartered Financial Analyst, but in theory, oh, in theory, it would mean so much more.
In the weeks since, they’ve tried to put their test out of their minds. Focus. Be in the present. Not agonize over their answer to the question:
Sammy Sneadle, CFA, is the founder and portfolio manager of the Everglades Fund. In its first year the fund generated a return of 30 percent. Building on the fund’s performance, Sneadle created new marketing materials that showed the fund’s gross 1-year return as well as the 3 and 5-year returns which he calculated by using back-tested performance information. As the marketing material is used only for presentations to institutional clients, Sneadle does not mention the inclusion of back-tested data. According to the Standards of Practice Handbook, how did Sneadle violate CFA Institute Standards of Professional Conduct?
Trying not to think about how they’d done was a fool’s mission, of course, as was attempting not to let their mind wander during particularly boring conference calls, about how they’d react upon receiving a passing score. They’d want to be humble, sure, but a confident humble. After all some of their friends probably would not be so lucky and they’d want to come off as sensitive, even though internally they’d be screaming “Hosanna!” from the mountaintops.
Waking up this morning, however, a sobering thought passed over them: what if they failed? What if the hours, days, weeks, and months spent planning were all for naught? What if the money spent was money down the toilet? What if the significant blows to their personal lives were made in vain? What if they had to return to CFA test prep school with their tails between their legs? What if the week they’d blocked off in their Outlook calendar for CFA Camp 2018 was premature? Read more »