MBA v CFA

For its 25th reunion last year, the members of Harvard Business School’s class of 1986 were asked to fill out an 85 question survey to give their former classmates a picture of where life has taken them since the gang parted ways. In addition to standard queries like “how much money are you making” (median annual net income: $350,000, median personal net worth: $6 million), “did you start a business” (36 percent said yes), “was choosing to attend Harvard Business School the best decision you’ve ever made” (48 percent responded that it was “one of the best decisions of my life,” 1 percent boldly claimed “it was not a particularly productive use of my time or money”), and how many times have you been laid-off and/or fired (4 percent have been “involuntarily dismissed” three times, 13 percent twice, and 47 percent once) the questionnaire writers dug quite a bit deeper to find out that: Read more »

US News has regaled us with its annual ranking of the top business schools. I know you need a safe space to get huffy about perceived slights (be it your MBA program being lower than you believe is accurate or by having to suffer the indignity of an inferior institution being too close on the list), so let it out here and now. (Tomorrow Matt will lead us in a rousing discussion over the best CFA test prep classes.)

101. Rollins College (Crummer)
[...]
25. Ohio State University (Fisher)
24. Georgetown University (McDonough)
23. Indiana University–Bloomington (Kelley)
22. Washington University in St. Louis (Olin)
21. University of Southern California (Marshall)
19. University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (Kenan-Flagler)
19. Emory University (Goizueta)
18. Carnegie Mellon University (Tepper)
17. University of Texas–Austin (McCombs)
16. Cornell University (Johnson)
15. University of California–Los Angeles (Anderson)
13. University of Virginia (Darden)
13. University of Michigan–Ann Arbor (Ross)
12. Duke University (Fuqua)
11. New York University (Stern) Read more »


Related: “A slideshow of me raising my hand in class” [@tyrabanks, earlier]

Are you an asset manager looking to do some hiring? Have you interviewed a bunch of so-so candidates but have chosen to hold out for you dream employee, as unlikely as it might be that one person would possess all you desire? Does your list include:

1) A guy who will make you and your clients “$$$”

2) A CFA charterholder

3) Someone who is not just going to sit at his desk throwing the term socialist around but will actively do his part to get rid of the so-called socialists running the country, through his freelance writing gigs, mostly

4) An email address that makes a statement

…? Then your Christmas 2012 hath come early. Read more »

Regular Dealbreaker readers know that we spend a lot of time around these parts having the CFA v. MBA debate. Which is most beneficial? Which is worth your time? Which has the highest NPV? Today brings a point in favor of the b-school track, courtesy of Columbia. While business school may offer more opportunities to get drunk, sleep with your fellow students, and take a break from the working world, it costs considerably more money than CFA books, requires you to go to class if you care about grades, and causes a considerable amount stress vis-à-vis going on interview and impressing potential employers. But what if we told you that there was a way to go to business school and not have to worry about all that? Would that be something you’d be interested? Would it tip the scales toward MBA in your mind? Enter, the Sponsored Student designation, wherein one’s employer pays for their schooling and keeps a job lined up for them at the end. A wildcard, if you will, in the CFA v. MBA debate. According to an informational video put together by a group of Columbia students, as a Sponsored, looking porn in class will be your “smallest transgression” (on the rare occasions you go to class), “drawing a picture of [your] dick” will be an acceptable answer on a leadership final, and “deep-diving” in someone else’s girl will count as your core competency. Let’s learn more. Read more »

As it turns out, the only piece of commenter advice on taking the CFA Level I Exam that I actually followed was “don’t have lunch at Headquarters, the strip club across the street from the Javits Center.” Initially, I wasn’t sure about this advice. When I left the Javits Center for lunch, a part of me felt that I owed it to myself, to Bess, and to our readers to have my CFA lunch at a strip club. But after spending two hours in a shabby cavernous room with terrible lighting surrounded by bored and disillusioned people unhappily doing things that they had memorized but didn’t really feel in their hearts, I couldn’t have handled a second-rate strip club.

So I went to a Mexican place in Chelsea and had a nice lunch surrounded by fully clothed people. To make sure that exam conditions closely replicated my successful practice exam, I also had two reasonably strong margaritas. That, plus my watch stopping in the middle of lunch, added a little excitement to my walk back to the Javits Center.

I can’t really tell you whether not going to Headquarters was good advice, since I didn’t do a controlled experiment. I suspect it was, and I arrived back at the Javits Center cheerful, refreshed, and swaying slightly. In any case, here are some other hard-won insights for those of you considering the CFA:
Read more »

I’m back. Did I miss anything?

My imaginary CFA results are mid-80% area for both the morning and afternoon sessions. That sounds like it predicts a pass on Saturday, though probably not at a 95% level of significance. (Does it? I have no idea.) The effect of 1 drink before / 1 during the afternoon is hard to discern although there were more wrong answers towards the end of the afternoon session than at the beginning. Also I was heartily sick of it by the end. Are there really II more levels of this thing? Do they have more stuff on them? That seems excessive.

Now I’m not going to run afoul of ethics guidelines by discussing anything on the mock exam, or real exam, or anywhere else. (Also, this is important: CFA Institute, if you’re reading this, we’re just kidding about the whole guaranteeing returns thing.) But the sense I get is that people find the ethics section particularly daunting, which, COME ON PEOPLE, you are not doing much for public perceptions of your industry. Nonetheless, as a public service for those taking the test on Saturday and looking to sharpen your skills, here’s an extra practice ethics question suggested by a reader. Read more »