One of the reasons I decided to enroll in the MSc Finance at Leicester was to increase the likelihood of success in getting the CFA charter. The program covers at least 70% of the CFA body of knowledge, so I figure that means I should be better able to pass the first two exams than someone who is doing self study. The other thing I was thinking was that if the exams prove impossible to pass, at least I will have a recognized qualification in finance that can still provide a career boost.
I called an IT guy here at work to fix a nagging Microsoft issue on my laptop, and upon his arrival at my desk, he noticed my (mostly unread) SFM course book, which started a lengthy discussion. It turns out that he has an MBA with a specialization in finance. He has struggled to find a finance job in this country (he’s originally from Pakistan), so he had begun preparing on his own for the CFA exams (though he has stopped preparation because he found it difficult to allot the recommended 4 study hours to his daily schedule). This privileged disclosure was surprising enough, but then he proceeded to tell me that due to the dearth of CFA charter holders here, passing just the first exam could result in a finance job paying about $200,000 annually. Naturally, I was floored, but he assured me that he knew a handful of people here who had only passed the level 1 exam before getting great jobs that had few similarly qualified applicants as competition.
Now my ADD brains are spinning out of control. On the one hand I’m thinking that I definitely made a good choice by deciding to enroll at Leicester. On the other hand, I’m thinking that if my daily schedule is already this hectic and I barely find sufficient time to study now, how will I approach CFA exam preparation? I’m guessing that I really need to take a look at my daily schedule and identify all of the time gaps and inefficient use of time in order to maximize efficiency, both for this program and for the CFA exams.