Prospectin’

For a chronological index of my path to the CFA, click here.

I’ve been getting a good bit of emails concerning life after the CFA program – specifically what can be expected in terms of employment after passing all three exams (or maybe even only the first or second).

People obviously want to know whether the CFA program is going to be worth their time and money in terms of opening financial employment doors, enabling a career switch, etc.

Volume II
All Hail Volume II!

In short, I don’t really know the answer to any of these questions because (in a nice way) I don’t really care.

I think I’m maybe sort of like the student majoring in Art History or Religious Studies who knows that it may be difficult to find a job later on, but is so passionate about the subject that he can’t help but take the risk.

Well… maybe that’s not the complete picture. First of all I don’t think the prospects are as dire as they are for Art History. And I guess I do have the following ideas floating around in the back of my brain:

    (1) With my engineering / algorithm development background along with passing the 3 CFA exams, I could probably get my foot in the door as a quant somewhere.

    (2) Or I could start my own business managing other people’s money. According to this link you don’t really need any sort of certification to do this (in the USA). But having passed one or more CFA exams can only help in attracting clients and making sure you basically know what you’re doing. Maybe this would even count towards the required work experience for the official CFA designation?

    (3) The stuff I’m learning in the program should make me a better private investor, so even if I can’t break into investing I’d expect to at least recoup the money spent on the program by not making any (more) significant errors managing my IRA and HSA.

    (4) Finally, many of the lessons learned in the program carry over into other areas of life. The quantitative methods and statistics sections have already made me a better engineer. And knowledge of economic & business principles could maybe be seen by an employer as partially (though certainly not completely) MBA-ish.

Well I managed to finally finish up Volume I and am on page 41 of Volume II (Economics). The sections so far on elasticity have been fascinating. I think I now understand another reason behind why stores have sales. Disregarding other factors (e.g. clearing shelves for next season’s products) it seems a sale could tell you whether you’re selling your products at the right price.

By temporarily changing the price of a product and keeping track of the corresponding change in quantity sold (or revenue made), you can determine where you are on the elasticity curve. That can give you a good indicator as to whether you should raise or lower your regular price to maximize revenue (see total revenue test).

This stuff shouldn’t be new to me. Funny thing is, I took both macro- and microeconomics in college but remember almost nothing! There was a large set of old test problems floating around and the word on the street was that if you basically tossed the textbook aside and just concentrated on working the old problems, you’d have a much easier time passing the tests (true).

Sound familiar? 😐

For a chronological index of my path to the CFA, click here.