CFA CFA Level 1 What is your background/education?

What is your background/education?

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    • fabian
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      After reading the blog post on work/edu background correlation with performance, I was wondering what everyone’s educational background is.

      I’m non-finance (majored in engineering), but currently in a finance-based job.

    • Sarah
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      I specialized in finance and majored in economics. I also did a couple of certificates for financial advising at a retail level but I decided that I don’t really like retail that much.
      I am looking for a finance related job, and dream about portfolio management. I also like to read finance related books, I can recommend a few if you are interested @fabian =D

    • policedog
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      I did architecture, so not very related, haha. Am in finance consulting now though, so work-related experience covered 🙂

    • Snippy
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      I just graduated in 2012 with a Bachelors of Commerce degree with specialization in finance. No work experience, though. I may be the youngest person around 😛

    • policedog
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      How young is young? 😀

    • Reena
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      @SidMenon, I just graduated too and looking for a job. Did economics in university. We may be in the same boat

    • Reena
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      How young is young? 😀

      Surely it’s forever 21 😉

    • Snippy
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      Haha, i’m 21 indeed! 😀

    • tacheman
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      Haha, i’m 21 indeed! 😀

      Where do you live @Sidmenon?

    • Sarah
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      Wow so any recent graduates. Congratulations to all!

    • Anonymous
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      Math grad here 🙂

    • Snippy
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      @TacheMan, I live in Bangalore, India.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Awesome, we have quite a varied community here!

    • bearsfan2690
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      Recent grad in chemical engineering

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @bearsfan2690, what do you do since graduation then?

    • jimmyg
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      Economics and Math. So I’m under pressure to perform here 🙂

    • AjFinance
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      I graduated in 2008 with a Commerce Degree, more or less inclined towards accounting. @Diya portfolio management is indeed a dream destination 🙂 . I like reading as well, can you suggest any good financial literature that you’ve come across?

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance My favorite author for finance is Michael Lewis, he is pretty famous. I liked Liar’s Poker and Boomerang (even my 15 year old sister enjoyed Boomerang). I also like Quants and The Intelligent Investor and Security Analysis (books Warren Buffett is also fond of). If you are interested in behavioural economics/finance I recommend Dan Ariely’s books and if you have time Superfreakonomics and freakonomics. If you lack time freakonomics also has a movie and it follows the book closely.

    • AjFinance
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      Thanks @Diya 🙂

    • christine
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      Love Michael Lewis – Liar’s Poker was really funny.

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance I read all sorts of books if you ever need more recommendation just hollar~
      Malcolm Galdwell is also an all time favourite but he isn’t a finance guy but his books are interesting.

      @christine
      I like all his books in general but the Big Short was so tedious.

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya me too. Although I have been into Self Help books off late 🙂 Speaking about financial books, I heard about a book called Currency Wars while attending a seminar.

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance I’ve heard of it. Actually recently I haven’t been reading finance/economics related books – CFA is enough for now lol. Recently I’ve been interested in the brain and how it works.

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya surely its enough 😛 I had read “Power of the subconcious mind” sometime back. Its a good read.

    • hairyfairy
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      @Diya I did go on a Freakonomics bender some time back, including a lovely book called More Sex is Safer Sex. that’s an eye-catching title!

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance The second I see self-help book I am turned off. But since you are recommending it, l will look for a copy and give it a try. It sounds a lot like “Thinking, fast and slow” but that book uses a lot of technical terminology and hence is a slow read T.T
      Right now I am reading This is your Brain on Music. Since I like music and I believe that to be a good portfolio manager I have to understand what makes people tick~

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya yea well it depends, quite a few friends of mine won’t touch self help or motivational literature 🙂 . I got hooked onto it after reading Robin Sharma’s books, have read most of his publications. I have a few financial books on my Amazon Wish list that I need to read. Guess I’ll get it on my kindle after the exams 😉

    • Sarah
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      @Ajfinance it is just something about self-help books that piss me off. I’m not even sure what it is but I generally don’t go anywhere near self-help books even if they become really popular.
      Which books do you have on your wish list on Amazon?

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      Japanese and Economics major from UCI (Zot zot!) and have been an RIA analyst for about two years now since graduation. Hoping to move to equity analyst role within asset management.

    • Maroon5
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      Hi @DollarstoDonuts, what does RIA stand for?

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya Handbook of Fixed Income Securities – Frank Fabozzi, Distress Investing – Martin Whitman, Outliers – Malcolm Gladwell, Wealth of Nations – Adam Smith, Blink – Malcolm Gladwell, The Practicing Mind – Thomas Sterner, Eurodollar Futures and Options Handbook – Galen Burghardt. Need to add a few more before I lose track of them 😛

    • Sophie Macon
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      @AjFinance, pretty classic stuff you have there, especially Wealth of Nations.

    • AjFinance
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      @Sophie yea I’m always on the lookout for such books. Just don’t know when I’ll get time to read them 🙂

    • christine
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      @Sophie yea I’m always on the lookout for such books. Just don’t know when I’ll get time to read them 🙂

      I’m guilty of that too. Mainly philosophy and creative wit types. They’re all sitting on my shelf right now, staring sternly at me.

    • AjFinance
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      @Christine Which are the ones you’ve read, I mean the philosophy and creative wit ones?

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance Wealth of Nations reminds me that I want to read Adam Smith’s Mistake by Kenneth Lux. Seems interesting but the book is out of print (yea it is that old)! I love Malcolm Gladwell’s book. Yea I should also write down all the titles I want to read!

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      @Maroon5 Registered Investment Advisor. We manage the portfolios of institutions and high net-worth individuals. Basically, we construct an asset allocation based on the client’s risk tolerances then choose managers we like to fill the asset classes. Basically, an RIA is a “manager of managers.”

    • christine
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      @ajfinance I haven’t read them – I’ve just bought them. Hence stern stares!

      I’ve got The Pleasures & Sorrows of Work (Alain De Botton, that was a weird purchase since he’s never had a job in his life!), the whole QI series, The Honest Truth About Dishonesty, The End of Money. To name a few.

    • Sarah
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      Damn between all of us we could run a book club lol

    • christine
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      I know! I was just going through this thread and thinking of somehow having a book review list, or something. If you’re ever interested in writing a book review @diya, @ajfinance let us know!

    • Sarah
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      @christine sure, sounds like fun. Just let me finish my current Taiwanese drama marathon and I’ll have a look at which book I want to review. You’ll hear from me shortly =D
      I’ll also go through this thread and compile a list of all the books mentioned =D

    • MattyJ
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      @christine I would be up for that too! I’ve got a shed load of books that I’ve read, am reading or still have to read. Am reading A biography on Jamie Dimon at the moment. Recently read David Einhorn’s book ‘Fooling some of the people all of the time’, and would probably recommend this as the best book to read if your doing CFA exams as it covers so many of the topics but shows how they are used in practice as part of a true story.

      You obviously have to include CityBoy in any finance book list…it’s probably the single biggest reason as to why graduates want to go and work in finance!

    • AjFinance
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      @Christine those are catchy titles 😉 . About the book review, sure we can do it. I like writing, and I have a blog that I started a year back but haven’t written much.

    • AjFinance
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      @Diya A compliled list is a great idea. Perhaps we can keep a special section on the home page that says Must reads or Finance Collection that would include aforementioned books and more. @MattJuniper thanks for the suggestion, will look up that book, hadn’t heard of it. Biography of Jamie Dimon sounds great. You can’t help but admire his style of leadership. One more for my wish list I guess, its a shame haven’t read it even though I was employed with the company previously 🙂

    • Sophie Macon
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      @AjFinance / @Diya: Why not start a new discussion list on books? One of you can constantly keep them updated on good suggestions – I can see a few good ones there I’d like to add to my summer reads!

    • christine
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      I’ll have a think on how to organize this. If there are any suggestions let me know!

    • Sarah
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      @Sophie, @christine Internally we should probably organize it in an excel file and we could have a poll to see which books are currently popular with CFA candidates/members. We should probably have a cap on how many books are on the list? Or we can divide up the list by category, I’m pretty sure a lot of non-finance/economic books were mentioned.

    • christine
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      I’ll share something around later today @diya 🙂

    • Sarah
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      OK @christine
      So the tally so far is 22 books, I included the books @christine mentioned but hasn’t read. I dropped a few of my own suggestions since they aren’t strictly finance. If you want the list I can sent it to you. I still need to add the author for a few titles.

    • christine
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      Yes please @diya – can you email team AT 300hours DOT com? I’ll drop it into a spreadsheet and share around.

    • christine
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      Thanks – got it! I have the beginnings of a plan and will put it to action soon.

    • christine
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      I’ve started a new category called Book Recommendations (which doesn’t show in the ‘Recent Discussions’ list so that it doesn’t get too spammy). I’ll upload the recommended books so far as discussions so that each thread is just about the one book.

      I’ll credit each book recommendation to each member with an @mention, and will upload the books over the next few days.

      If people find this helpful we’ll keep it as a permanent feature. If you want to recommend new books, just PM me 🙂

      Big thanks to @Diya for collecting all the titles so far!

    • Maroon5
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      Ah I get it @Dollarstodonuts, that’s RIA. I noticed you also did CAIA. What’s that about and is it helpful/useful in your current role, or for your target role in AM? Does it overlap the CFA?

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      @Maroon5 the CAIA (chartered alternative investment analyst) is much like the CFA but it only focuses on alternative investment vehicles (PE, Venture Capital, Hedge Funds, Real Assets, etc.). It’s only two levels and it is fairly new. I embarked on it because I thought it a good way to prepare for the alternatives section for the CFA and at the same time earn another designation.

      to be honest, it’s not the field I want to go in but given that the test is new and the pass rate is high, I thought I’d get in on “the ground floor” while it’s still a relatively easy test. the CFA is much more applicable to my career goals of moving into asset management.

    • Maroon5
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      Ah, so it’s complementary then @Dollarstodonuts! As mentioned in this “What do you do” thread, I’m looking to explore the AM sector too. What role in particular are you looking at? Portfolio mgmt?

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      @Maroon5 I’m looking to become an equity analyst since my passion lies in researching companies. i may want to become a portfolio manager one day but then again it’s not uncommon for someone to stay as an analyst for their whole career. but one step at a time i suppose!

    • Maroon5
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      We will get there someday @Dollarstodonuts. You a little quicker since you’re nearly done with the CFA. Good luck!

    • christine
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      @dollarstodonuts any particular industry you’re interested in (for eq analyst)?

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      @Maroon5 Good luck to you as well! With some hard work and determination I’m sure we’ll both reach our goals 🙂


      @christine
      right now my personal investing has me focused on the beverages and vitamin/supplements industries which I’ve been enjoying quite a bit now. how about yourself??

    • christine
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      Personally I’ve been looking at tech. Are you looking for a career in beverages and/or supplements?

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      Oh cool! I’m really just looking for a move into equity research, with no real bias towards any industry. It’s just tough because most of the jobs I’ve applied for ask for valuation/modeling experience from I-banking or previous equity research roles, which I don’t have.

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      @christine are you currently an equity analyst yourself?

    • christine
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      Oh no I’m not @DollarsToDonuts. I have a few good friends who are but never did it myself. 🙂

    • DollarsToDonuts
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      @imdnextbuffet saw from @christine that you’ve been an analyst for the past 2 years. was just wondering if you could share your story about how you entered that role.

    • imdnextbuffet
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      Japanese and Economics major from UCI (Zot zot!) and have been an RIA analyst for about two years now since graduation. Hoping to move to equity analyst role within asset management.

      With majors in Japanese & Economics from UCI is amazing. But to get into Equity research role, I believe you would need either experience or the degree related to the same. As your experience is in RIA which I believe is “Regulatory Impact Analyst/Assessment” is quite different then what ERA’s do. So you need some financial degree to backup your skills which is why CFA would be recommended. 🙂

      p.s. – I’m a research analyst & CFA lvl 2 June 2014, FRM part 1 Nov 2013.

    • Reena
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      Awesome @imdnextbuffet! what sector do you cover in research?

    • imdnextbuffet
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      Awesome @imdnextbuffet! what sector do you cover in research?

      I’m sector agnostic covering bluechip & selective midcaps, but preferred sectors include Banks,Autos,FMCG & Pharma.

    • fabian
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      Awesome @imdnextbuffet! what sector do you cover in research?

      I’m sector agnostic covering bluechip & selective midcaps, but preferred sectors include Banks,Autos,FMCG & Pharma.

      Good, you can be our 3H resident equities advisor then 🙂

    • imdnextbuffet
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      Awesome @imdnextbuffet! what sector do you cover in research?

      I’m sector agnostic covering bluechip & selective midcaps, but preferred sectors include Banks,Autos,FMCG & Pharma.

      Good, you can be our 3H resident equities advisor then 🙂

      I shall indeed, definitely do whatever I can with my knowledge in anyway possible.

    • lulu123
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      What are your degrees?

      Mine is (still in process) bachelor of commerce – accounting/finance

    • Reena
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      Hi @lulu123, I have a bachelors in economics, just graduated. We talked about this previously in this thread, check it out!

    • fabian
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      Engineering, so obviously highly relevant to the CFA 🙂

    • lulu123
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      Haha, i’m 21 indeed! 😀

      not the youngest one anymore!

    • lulu123
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      @fabian sarcasm?

    • fabian
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      Whoa – how young are you then @lulu123?

    • lulu123
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      @fabian place your bets! haha

    • fabian
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      @lulu123 😀

    • lulu123
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      @fabian hint: did not graduate YET (bachelor of commerce)

    • christine
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    • Sophie Macon
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      Looks like you have to grow up @Sidmenon, we have our new little one @lulu123 here 😛

    • mcricky
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      I am commerce graduate with major in Accounts and did it in 2008, since then i have worked at different position in accounts field, right from Cashier and presently as Financial Analyst!

      @AjFinance
      and @Diya: impressed by ur suggestion of books. Surely i’ll grab one soon!

    • Snippy
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      This can’t be happening! Younger than me?

    • christine
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      Hah! I was right! 😀

    • AjFinance
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      I am commerce graduate with major in Accounts and did it in 2008, since then i have worked at different position in accounts field, right from Cashier and presently as Financial Analyst!

      @AjFinance
      and @Diya: impressed by ur suggestion of books. Surely i’ll grab one soon!


      @mcricky
      Glad you found it useful 🙂 Though I must admit that @Diya is the one driving the book suggestions.

    • Sarah
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      @AjFinance There is no friend as loyal as a book
      -Ernest Hemingway

      Damn I sound like a total nerd

    • Snippy
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      @Diya Nerds are cool. I can’t understand how a person cannot love reading? 😀

    • Sascha
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      BA Japanese and Japanese Studies, with Economics & Finance Minor

    • Sophie Macon
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      Ah that’s where the pro Japanese is from @Sascha!

    • bearsfan2690
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      @Sophie Work at Intel as a process engineer; contemplating a jump to finance at some point, taking Level 2 next June…

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @Bearsfan2690, good to see you here, and congrats on your recent pass!

    • krafiei
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      Hi all – I’m a Canadian CA (Chartered Accountant), CPA and CIA (Certified Internal Auditor). Very excited to embark on this new path.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Hi @krafiei, welcome! Sounds like you’ll be our resident FRA / accounting expert then 🙂

    • Sarah
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      Hi @krafiei. Welcome to 300Hours.com. Wow so many letters after your name already! If tog don’t mind why are you pursuing a CFA designation? To get ahead or personal satisfaction?

    • krafiei
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      Thanks guys!!


      @Sophie
      – it’ll be my pleasure! I do have 7+ years of financial accounting background an am currently a financial audit manager.


      @Sarah
      – I decided on the CFA after many months of research and evaluating my career goals. As I mentioned above, I’ve been on the financial reporting and auditing side for nearly 8 years, and am hoping to learn more about the finance / analysis side of things. My ultimate goal is a career in finance, maybe as an analyst.

    • Sophie Macon
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      Are you interviewing for a role now then in that area @krafiei. With your background I think there’s sufficient transferable skills as long as you’re awesome at explaining them in an interview 🙂

    • krafiei
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      @Sophie – I haven’t sought a job in that area yet, mainly because I’m still having fun and progressing in my current position.

      I’ve also committed to one more “busy season” with my current employer to allow for a proper transition of my files. After that, and hopefully with a couple of CFA levels under my belt, I’ll look for an analyst position.

      What type of role do you currently have, if you don’t mind me asking?

    • Sophie Macon
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      I used to be in corporate finance for 5 years @krafiei – now I’m a business owner and also contributor to 300hours 😀

    • dpittle
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      I have a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Technology, an MBA (in … BA stuff), and now work at an investment firm that required me to get my 6, 63, 7, and 66. I haven’t done any music stuff in over a year. Now with studying for the CFA I’ve actually tried incorporating music back into my routine to destress during those long nights of drilling quizzes on Quants and Econ.

    • Sophie Macon
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      That’s amazing @dpittle. What a big change I must say! How do you find the CFA studies so far? thanks for sharing with us 🙂

    • dpittle
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      Thanks @Sophie! The studying makes me feel I’m in a cloud of uncertainty. I’ve been drilling quizzes left and right and averaging mid 70s to high 80s in Ethics, Econ, and Quants. I’m currently reading FRA and haven’t done any quizzes on that yet, but that’s going to be coming up. Nervous that I’m not doing enough!

    • Sophie Macon
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      Sounds like good progress @dpittle 🙂 Keep on pushing, let us know if you have any questions then. FRA is one of the tougher sections and we’re always happy to help clarify concepts!

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