PREPARING THE CFA: WHEN, WHERE, HOW?

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is a diploma awarded by the CFA Institute that helps strengthen a finance-oriented profile. This difficult examination is well regarded by recruiters in Anglo-Saxon countries as well as in Asia and Europe, and comprises several levels (I, II and III). Many students are turning to the CFA experts and are asking questions about the value of this degree for their career and the opportunities it opens: “Is the CFA needed to get a first job? What are my chances of succeeding? Is it not better to enter the workforce first before preparing for this exam? How to revise the CFA study material? “

The CFA, for whom?

To have some numbers in mind, 200,000 candidates from around the world register each year for this difficult exam. It is an international asset because the CFA is recognized by recruiters from around the world, regardless of the school whose candidate is from. The CFA is even strongly recommended for obtaining certain positions in Anglo-Saxon countries, even if it is not a prerequisite for hiring in France.

15% of the candidates are still students. Indeed, you must hold a Bachelor to introduce yourself and it is not impossible to start at the Master, parallel courses. More and more renowned schools and French universities understand the interest of this label. The CFA Institute has also created a partnership with the 3 Parisian (HEC, ESSEC and ESCP-Europe), as well as Paris-Dauphine, Pantheon-Sorbonne and Neoma Business School through the  CFA University Recognition Program .

The Level 1 of the CFA includes 240 multiple-choice questionsTo take the exam, more than 70% of correct answers are required.

A wide variety of subjects are covered in the exam: Quantitative Methods, Economics, Corporate Finance, and Portfolio Management. The exam also tests the candidate’s knowledge of investment decisions with such tests as Equity Investments, Fixed Income and Derivatives, Alternative Investments. . Expect to also tackle more confusing topics such as Ethics and Professional Standards, where an intuitive approach will be insufficient to succeed.

 CFA certification: an international label for a career in finance

In the financial sector, there is no comparable label in terms of international recognition. This degree is a pledge of value that guarantees skills and practical knowledge about investment decisions. CFA certification has 3 levels (or “levels”).

Many candidates see long-term studies and wonder if it is good to start as a student. Opinions are shared, but passing the CFA certification during your course has 3 main positive points: 

  • A decisive advantage over other candidates: your CV will be significantly above the lot when applying for an internship or for a first job, especially if you have a level 2 or 3. Level 1 n ‘ is that little discriminating.
  • An international dimensionof fact, which will support your Master’s degree regardless of the rating of your school
  • A more flexible schedule than once on a permanent contract

 How to prepare?

  • First tip, manage your schedule of revisions. Two annual sessionswelcome CFA Level I candidates: in June and in December. Do not underestimate the workload involved in such preparation: between 250 and 300 hours of work recommended! So, if you register in June, it is better to go wide and start preparing in November or December.
  • Do not take this exam lightly: only 43% of the candidates passed the Level I exam in June 2017. Gather the relevant teaching materials, and take advantage of the least busy periods to review a maximum.

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