Is CFA useful

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Report on the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) experience

Since the end of my studies (2003 with a degree in business administration, former University of Banking, Frankfurt) I was concerned with the question of suitable professional training, because the awareness of the necessity of lifelong learning was already there. Finding ideas, however, was relatively difficult. I fluctuated between an MBA, specialized master’s programs and alternative training opportunities. However, an MBA and various master’s programs (both full and part time) put me off in terms of cost and time - I had finished my privately financed HfB degree and wanted to work full-time first and earn money accordingly.

Thus “only” the other further training opportunities remained. However, since these were much more specialized, they had to be much more precisely tailored to a specific professional perspective or should supplement, expand and not simply replicate (at a lower level) the knowledge acquired during the course.

In February 2003 (shortly before the end of my studies) I had just joined the corporate auditing department for the capital markets department of a large green Frankfurt bank with the aim of seeing a lot of the international capital market business of the bank and, after successfully completing 3-5 years of auditing, moving into a capital market-related one To change activities within the bank (if the opportunity arises). So I was looking for further training that I could complete during the time in the revision and which, in terms of subject matter or content, should only bring me something in the next job without knowing exactly what it should look like.

The choice fell on the broadest possible and yet challenging advanced training for the capital market business, the CFA. However, some questions remained unanswered beforehand. My main concern was not to learn enough really new things and to repeat too much existing knowledge from my studies. In my mind, I had therefore initially focused on the preparation and successful passing of the CFA Level 1, as a kind of trial-and-error. I also got together with two like-minded colleagues who were much more convinced of the program - that also helped to dispel the doubts.

The preparation for the exams was the same for all three exams. About three months beforehand I started to work through the Schweser documents mainly on the weekends. I spent the last month before the respective exam working through the practice exams, which allowed me to repeat the material again.

After successfully passing level 1, I concentrated on level 2; after successfully passing level 2, I managed to pass level 3 the first time. The preparation strategy always remained the same. So I drove successfully to the end. In the meantime he switched to the treasury department of that bank (2006).

My concerns about repetition of knowledge have only been partially dispelled. The large Gaap accounting and balance sheet analysis part (Level 1 + 2), as well as the free-written asset allocation questions (Level 3) really helped me. The details on financial instruments, math, etc. were not new. On the other hand, this saved considerable time in exam preparation.

What has the CFA done for me since it ended? Specifically, he helped me with a job change as a relevant additional qualification. He also helped me to find my feet in the fund management industry since my last move to the Asset Management / Depot A side (mainly by dealing with the GIPS topic).

I have not yet participated in local CFA events due to time constraints.
Experience report from Florian Pointner

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