CFA CFA General Entry into AM With Engineering PhD and CFA

Entry into AM With Engineering PhD and CFA

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    • Avatar of lancelance
        • Undecided

        Hi All,

        I am a researcher in computational engineering sciences with a Phd in Engineering working in Academia?
        Due to a strong passion for financial markets/investing, I have recently registered for CFA Level 1 in december. I am highly interested in Asset Management/Equity research areas. My long term goal is to continue investing for my own portfolio and if I am any better to manage OPM. I am trying to understand how difficult it will be to make a career switch with my background and what I need to do to increase my chances with my current background (PhD in Engineering + extensive research backgound in diverse industrial applications).

        1) Will CFA Level 1 and/or 2 + networking gain me entry into AM/ER. Will adding online business MOOC from wharton-etc help? (I am already doing some of these for knowledge)?

        2) Online MS-Finance options (costs around ~30K) in parallel to CFA level 1/2 (looking at Creighton, Auburn, Southern Newhampshire, Indiana-MSF programs)

        3) Since I am working in academia, I have an option to do MBA with tution reimbursed(will take 2 yrs). However the university I work in has no ranking and unknown anywhere (but AACSB) accredited).

        If option 1 can work that will be great, but if not, I will highly appreciate any valuable comments, suggestions, and advice from all the CFA charterholders and/or any others who have successfully changed careers.


      • Avatar of PaulJ8888PaulJ8888
          • CFA Level 3

          Hi Lance, I can give you my input.

          1) Concentrate on your CFA, the other education won’t matter for the buy side. If you want to work in investment banking (sell side) more education may look good.

          2) Don’t bother. CFA is the gold standard for buy side. PHd in Engineering is more than enough education. 

          3) MBA is impressive for the sell side but doesn’t mean much for the buy side. 

          With your background and CFA level 1 you would be well suited for an analyst position specializing in industries related to your field of study. Where do you live? These jobs may be few and far between or plentiful depending on that. While you work as an analyst for either a PM or Financial Institution keep writing your exams. By the time you finish your CFA you will have a couple years experience in the industry and your letters. From there you can look at becoming an associate portfolio manager and after years of success to a portfolio manager. 

          I assume you are a good computer coder. If so you may want to look into some quant work for banks, hedgefunds, and other asset managers. Again, where you live will depend on if these jobs are available to you. 

          FYI, I went from: Actuary -> Banking risk -> Consulting (almost IT) -> Education ->  Next move is to advising. I’ve managed money for myself and my family for ~6 years as well.

          Hope this helps!

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