Exam Super Surprise, It Doesn’t Matter!

Here we are more than a week after the exam results and the elation hasn’t worn off for those that passed. Nor has the disappointment gotten any better for the candidates that did not make the cut. Statistically, about half of you are looking forward to the end of your studying and the other half are wondering if you want to continue in the process.

Whether it comes as a cruel reality or a reassuring truth, the fact is, it doesn’t matter whether you got good news or bad last week. It really doesn’t!

I’m not saying that the CFA charter is not a significant milestone and something worthwhile. I am glad I took the challenge and made it through. What I am saying is that it is just part of a continuing process in your life as an analyst.

While passing the exam might help you land a job, failing the exam won’t keep you from getting one. Networking and persistence will trump the CFA charter in the job search any day of the week.

Not passing the exam also does not mean you will not be a good analyst or investment professional. Everyone that failed this year’s exam will eventually pass, given enough determination and hard work, the same amount of determination and hard work that are prerequisites to being successful in the industry.

The only difference between those that pass the exams sooner rather than those it takes a few extra years is that the early birds realize one indisputable truth a few years earlier.Passing the CFA exams does not mean you are done studying!

I do more reading now than I did while studying for the CFA exams. The only difference is that now, I have to find the material instead of having it all delivered to me in a series of texts. I have to find and study a company’s annual and quarterly reports. I have to study any press releases and news reports. I have to find and study other analyst opinions on the company and the industry. I have to find and study the specific industry’s trade journals. I have to study the macro trends that are going to affect the industry.

Beyond the ‘studying’ you will do to analyze your coverage universe or group of investment products, you will also need to keep on top of the general regulatory environment, changes in tax code and accounting principles, and the newest paradigms in wealth management.

It mays seem a dismal truth for many, the idea that hard hours of studying never really end, but I don’t mind it at all. Why? Because I have embraced it as a part of being a true professional, as a part of being the best in my career.

In fact, I have embraced the idea of this life-long process so completely that when someone asks what I do for fun, I have a hard time not saying, “I like to read some of the trade journals or surfing the web for new ideas on accounting gimmicks.”

Maybe I’m a nerd and just love this stuff too much but you really do need to find some joy in it. The industry is extremely demanding on its analysts, especially the new ones. Your first three years as an analyst, you will put in far more time ‘studying’ than you ever did for the CFA exams. Those thinking about dropping out of the CFA program because they are tired of studying may want to reevaluate their chosen career path.

Think of it this way, in your career as an analyst just as with the CFA exams, there will be a minimum passing score but not a maximum passing score. The minimum score is not published and is always changing depending on the size of the candidate pool and their knowledge. Falling behind this MPS once or twice will not doom your career but you need to continuously improve on your score to be a better professional.

‘til next time, happy studyin’

Courtesy: Joseph Hogue, CFA


Know more about CFA program: www.pmtcglobal.com/cfa.html