3 Key Questions CFA Candidates Will Ask

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The Top Three CFA Questions Readers Ask Us

As this site marches on merrily, we get many questions from readers and candidates.

That’s a great thing. We love questions. Why do you think we have an online community?

It’s not just a stupid thing we say. It’s great when readers ask questions. It gives us good feedback on what candidates are worried about, or wondering about. That’s great input to help us drive the direction and tone of what future articles should be about.


The types of questions can vary, but several themes emerge after going through enough questions. In this post we go through a particular theme, and an actual question submitted by a reader, followed by our answer. If you want to add to our answer, just enter it in the comments. If you’ve got a question yourself, just drop us a line!

#1. What jobs should I look at after completing the CFA exams?
I just cleared my Level II exam. I had a few questions regarding the various job opportunities post-CFA. What kind of roles can you expect in Investment Management, Analytics, Credit Analysis and Private Equity? Is it true that Private Equity is one of the most sought after job profiles?

Firstly (a very important point), your success at securing a new role is primarily a function of your work experience and ability to network and get interviewed, rather than your qualifications. Thinking that there is an array of jobs waiting for you past your Level III passing result is not really a realistic view of looking at it.

You will need to scope out the exact industry you’re aiming for, the specific role and firm(s) you’re targeting, and you need to know everything there is to know about them. That is the way that is guaranteed to maximise your chances of success

Private equity is indeed one of the roles that are most widely sought after (esp after business school), but the wide range of roles you’re asking about makes me think that you may need to think more about exactly what you want.

#2. Do I qualify for work experience with my current role?
I am the Portfolio Manager and Director of a Registered Investment Advisory. I am the only member of this RIA however. It is registered in two states. It has funds under management. I established this in 2011. Will this be adequate to meet the work experience requirement? Thanks in advance!!

We’ve had several similar questions from independent managers and advisors such as yourself. This would really depend on your AuM. Is it friends and family? Do you have professional clients? How involved you are in the analytics and investment decision-making process is also key. References from your clients and other professional networks would be important.

It is definitely possible and relevant work experience if it is a full time professional role, but note that you will have to work harder to write up your case. We’ve covered work experience writing tips before, and you can also check if your experience qualifies using these lesser-known methods.


#3. I failed last time, and I’m feeling a bit unconfident. When should I start studying?
I am totally heart broken on seeing Band 10 . I worked at a firm for 12 hours then study at night and lived on 3 to 4 hours sleep. Admit I started in January which was tad late given that I was working long hours. 

This time round I have chucked up my job , already studying for FRM part 1 in Nov. Just want to know that starting back in November should give me ample time to prepare again for June 2013 Level II?

Sounds like you couldn’t have done it any better. 3-4 hours sleep a day isn’t sustainable anyways so I think a Band 10 after starting in January is pretty good! 

People fail – a lot of it in Level II! We are no exception either, and we’ve talked about how to deal with the disappointment and cope with it post-results. Howard (one of our guest contributors) has also written about his experience extensively. You’re definitely not alone.

To answer your question, if you start studying in November this time around with the same dedication I’m pretty sure you’ll nail it. Focus on practice exams and questions towards April and make sure you work through tons of them.

It takes a lot of heart not to give up at this stage, so that’s already a great start. Take some time off to recharge and come back focused. Good luck!

Do you have your own question that you’d like to ask? Don’t be shy.

Zee Tan
Author: Zee Tan

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