Would you get the CFA if it was free?
September 18, 2012 at 10:03 pm #174016
Here is my dilemma. I have the CPA, CMA, PMP, MBA, MSF, blah, blah, blah. I have convinced my employer to pay for the CFA exam and study materials with no strings attached. I have no desire to go into auditing or tax so corporate finance is my future. I figure that a CFA certification can only further promote my career. But after four years of graduate school and certifications I am burnt out. I have a three month old child and have begun taking up some hobbies. I hate to waste an opportunity to get certified for free and look back one day thinking that I should've just gotten through it.
So my question is, if you were in my position and had the ability to take the exams and get certified for free, would you bite the bullet and continue? Or would you say you had enough and you're ready to enjoy life?
Thanks in advance.September 18, 2012 at 10:23 pm #377889
I am not sure if I think you should do it, but as a mother of 2, if you are going to do it, do it fast. Kids grow quick and take up a lot more time with age. School, sports, and other activities suck your time like no other, and everything else becomes just a bit more difficult to accomplish… Just my two cents. Congrats on you little one, and best wishes on your decision 🙂September 19, 2012 at 4:35 pm #377890
I would say to absolutely do it…if you think that it will be relevant to your career. (I am a little biased, because I am planning to take that exam at some point as well). Before I went into public accounting, I worked at a fund of hedge funds and loved it; I have no doubt in my mind that I will be working in financial services as an analyst of some sort in the future. The majority of the analysts and VPs either already had the designation or were working toward it. One thing I did learn from those who have it, though, is that if you don't plan on being involved heavily in investment type decisions, it may not be worth your time or effort. Most of those at my company that I talked to said that it's pretty irrelevant outside of that, so if you want to be in corporate finance I don't know if you will see the rewards for having gotten through the rigorousness of that exam process. In the right position, however, you will definitely be happy that you did it.September 19, 2012 at 6:13 pm #377891
MSF+MBA+CPA are absolutely sufficient, if you ask me.
I'd spend the time enjoying life and my baby.September 19, 2012 at 6:20 pm #377892
Right now? Helllls no. Too lazy…
Few years? Yeah, probablySeptember 19, 2012 at 7:35 pm #377893
If I were in your position I would not do it. Your looking at a 3 year min in order to complete it. IMO you would regret it alot more if you started it and quit, vs never trying it at all.September 20, 2012 at 1:28 am #377894
No, but then again I think employers are actually likely to view too many certifications negatively. At some point you will just seem like someone looking for letters behind your name.September 20, 2012 at 1:42 am #377895
Why do some people put masters degrees behind their names like they are certifications/designations?September 20, 2012 at 2:50 am #377896
Minimorty, I guess my question is, why wouldn't you do it? Every person in my office who has their masters degree has CPA, MST after their name.September 20, 2012 at 12:13 pm #377897
I wouldn't bother right now, enjoy that new baby. You've already earned enough credentials to rest on your laurels at this point. If you stay with your current employer they will probably still be willing to pay down the line for it, or if you switch jobs use that as a negotiating point when you get an offer.September 20, 2012 at 1:23 pm #377898
Unless you are planning to work in Finance, I'm not talking about Corporate Finance, I think it's a waste of time.September 21, 2012 at 5:58 pm #377899
I appreciate everyone's opinion. I am definitely leaning towards no pursuing the CFA for now. I have been monitoring the hiring market where I live and the only jobs posted in the last 8 months that even mentioned a CFA designation were not many or teaching positions.
As far as putting MBA behind your email signature, that also baffles me.September 22, 2012 at 4:46 am #377900
I've wondered about putting graduate degree designations next to someone's name as well. I knew a coworker who did that with an MBA degree, and it was from an online school. The coworker was also an accountant, good at analyzing data and reporting it. Coworker never worked in public accounting. It made me wonder if the coworker had some kind of inferiority complex, b/c I don't know of attest services you can sign with that designation.September 23, 2012 at 5:19 pm #377901
@OP, in terms of burnout I'm pretty much in the same boat. Taking CFA/CPA concurrently, and it's tough. I wouldn't recommend it unless there's some serious babysitting/child care assistance in the near future.
That beng said, if you have your MSF, Level I won't present many problems for you. Levl II is defintely tougher, but most of the material should be familiar. The difficult part is the question format, volume of material, and the depth of understanding.
Level III is where you'll probably presented with many new concepts and an essay format. It's tough, but I've heard Level II is tougher.
If you're still on the fence I'd recommend checking out the material on investopedia. They have a free online study guide (albeit a bit outdated, but 80% is still relevant) for Level I. I'd say that if you feel you have a really good grasp of the concepts and have some energy, then go for Level I. Remember, this is a marathon , and not a sprint.
Unlike the CPA exams, the CFA credits don't expire, and many people take years to get the certification. So don't feel like it's a “now or never” situation. That being said, as a fellow burnout, I'd recommend taking some time away from studying. The itch to hit the books will come with time or not at all. If the latter, then it probably wasn't going to happen anyhow.
Also, to the poster who mentioned that the CFA might not have much relevance to Corp. Finance, I have to politely disagree with the people who told her that. Of course, the use/benefit totally depends on the specific company you work for. I've worked at firms where it is highly valued because the hiring manager had the charter. Having it also gives you tons of kudos from the finance community no matter what you do. Yah, many people in equity research, asset mgt, security analysis, and portfolio management already have it, but you don't see a lot of it in corp finance.
Obviously, if you say “CFA” and you get blank stares at your firm then there's not much benefit there. But don't rule out it giving you a bump in the future for a different firm or position. Hell, your current firm might even merge with another firm that can use someone with that background. Just saying that the effect goes beyond the inital obtaining of the charter, and can give lots of long term benefits.September 24, 2012 at 3:19 pm #377902
My opinion about adding graduation designations….
It's fine if you already have the CPA to put next to it. Sometimes you want/need to distinguish yourself from other CPAs.
But just slapping it on there by itself if you don't have any other credentials is tacky and makes you look ridiculous.
It actually used to mean something 15+ years ago before online schools started handing out graduate degrees like candy.September 25, 2012 at 3:02 pm #377903
Dtoma i agree completely. I am finishing my masters soon and have absolutely no desire to put it next to my name. An MBA or any other masters is not a certification and certifications are what go next to your name. Putting a masters degree after your name looks ridiculous to be honest. If I was a higher up at a company and someone handed me a business card Terry Tate, MBA, I would probably chuckle to myself and never contact the person. Yes you put in work to get it, but its school and everyone has gone through school.February 22, 2017 at 3:28 pm #1495006
ehhh. thought I would grave dig. Thoughts?February 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm #1495021
@dtoma its funny you mention that about the online programs. A coworker of mine was telling me about his graduate program…the first class he told me about how he had zero tests, apparently the professor didn't believe in them and they just had class discussions and if you participated enough times you got an A. In the next class he told me that professor didn't believe in exams either only open book quizzes that they got to take home and spend the entire week working through. I was blown away. I went to a 5 year undergrad program and the advanced accounting classes were brutal…matter of fact our 2nd year accounting courses were considered the “weed out” classes, you lost over half the class just in the 2nd year alone…I think we started with over 100 students and finished with around 15. I was amazed at how ridiculously easy he had it.February 22, 2017 at 4:05 pm #1495032
I agree, adding a masters degree behind your name is tacky….like trying too hard to make it something more than it is….initials behind your name should be for professional certifications
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