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.
For 49% of the June test takers, this is the greatest day of your lives. You have spent years chasing after those three little letters. You have sacrificed time, sleep, relationships, and money. Money not just spent on books and prep courses but on the jacket sitting in the back of your closet, still in the garment bag, with the gold stitching on the breast pocket. “You want it to say what after the name?” the guy in the store asked? “C-F-A,” you said. “All caps.” “What’s CFA,” he wanted to know. “It’s designation, for investment and finance professionals,” you told him. “It’s three little letters that give confidence to investors worldwide.”
“Oh, kind of like a CPA?”
“No not like a CPA at all. This is…so much more.”
You knew you were jumping the gun getting the coat before you’d even taken the Level III exam, but you just couldn’t stop yourself. And it’s not like you wore it around town. It just sat there, behind a bunch of crap. Somehow just knowing it was there gave you hope and on nights when you needed a little extra motivation to finish a particularly grueling practice test, unzipping the bag and running your finger across the crushed velvet lapel and over the fine buttons helped get you through it. Read more »
Fifty-two percent of you are walking on sunshine. Your bags are packed, you’re ready to go. Next stop: CFA Camp. The rest of you need a hug or for your colleagues to at least do you the courtesy of leaving you alone for five minutes to JO&C.
Thirty-nine percent of Level 1 takers and forty-three percent of Level II’ers are likely feeling prettay prettay prettay good at the moment, possibly on account of celebratory morning drinks or the realization that the promise land is within reach. The rest of you are probably in not as great a place, on account of having just thrown away the last 4-6 months of your lives. Read more »
Earlier this week, an incensed Goldman Sachs employee informed us of a new development at 200 West that was causing great civil unrest. “They replaced the regular sized (8 oz?) with tiny little cups (5oz?),” he wrote, steaming. “Last week the cappuccino machine wasn’t filling my cup and I was wondering why. Now I know, the machine is filling the tiny cups!” Not about to take the TLC situation sitting down, he of course had a plan. “I guess now I will just have to get two cups of coffee at once.” While he was surely dead serious about making good on his threat, there is no longer a need to double up. Read more »