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Currently I've been out of school for nearly a year. However it's becoming more apparent that I need to invest in either some industry certifications or an MBA. Considering I really don't want to go for an MBA, that leaves me looking towards the certifications. As it currently stands there are two major certifications I could actively pursue: CFP or CFA. Out of those two options, the CFP is focused on client facing wealth management, and the CFA is more geared towards research and analysis. I'm looking more towards the CFA, partially because I believe it would be a better fit and allow me to pursue a broader set of careers. Unfortunately that means I need to dedicate 3-5 years and substantial amounts of time to actively pursue this certification. I know both Chris and Richard have managed to complete their courses while working, but I'm not looking forward to the time commitments this will require.

 

Every time I mentally start bitching about all this work I remind myself what one of my professors said "No one is going to pay you anything for doing what they think is easy."

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Good luck. It definately isn't easy but hang in there. When I was studying for the CPA, I felt like quitting because of the time investment and the sheer helplessness I felt when I didn't pass a section. Then I read a post about a lady who spent 20 years to get her CPA due to various distractions of course. It then became aparent that you really have to treat these certifications like a marathon rather than a race.

 

In my opinion the CFA is harder than the CPA... so I am sorry but you may have little to no free time from now till you pass but it should be worth it.

 

MBA is easier... much easier.

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Luckily I have a few things going for me: I've recently graduated and still remember most of the stuff I learned in my finance degree. I will be allowed to use some of my time at work to study/prepare for the exams. I also work with a CFA/CFP and I will most likely make use of his knowledge and the books he's already bought and studied from.

 

I haven't signed up for anything just yet, but I'm mentally preparing myself for the level 1 exam this December. I've been slowly going over some study material I picked up from the internet (I'm 250 pages into the 1300 page pdf). Most of the stuff covered has been pretty basic review from things I've learned, which is good. I've also briefly seen a few people link to this website: http://www.300hours.com/ Which as the name suggests, estimates it takes around 300 hours of study to successfully pass the cfa exams. I just need to focus myself and study at least 1-2 hours a day Monday-Friday and take as many practice tests as is physically possible. I have some reasonable confidence in passing level 1, but level 2 will be rather difficult if I only have 6 months to study.

 

And just think, if I manage to pass all of this crap I still need to sit around with my thumb up my ass until I accrue enough "relevant workplace experience" to actually call myself a CFA.

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Wow. Sounds like you have a solid plan. Good for you!! Everyone is different but the best way I found to study was to handwrite notes on a portable medium like a small notepad. Short blurbs to help me memorize or connect concepts. Then I would take my notebook everywhere and whenever I had freetime I would review. That's how I finally passed FAR in the cpa exam.

 

I'm rooting for you! Keep us updated on your progress.

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.....it's becoming more apparent that I need to invest in either some industry certifications.....

 

Honestly, it is pure coincidence, but my manager has been talking with me and wants me to get moving on this too. Soon. He wants me to have some IT certs before the end of the year. At this point, I'm the least qualified person on the team (on paper only). This has not held me back (yet) because I'm on good terms with management and my expanded responsibilities and promotion have shown that but to go any farther it could start getting very difficult to justify.

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My grad school education has been absolutely worthless in terms of promotion so far. I'm still in the same position I was when I started grad school but that is likely more due to my personal performance relative to my peers.

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Kuhla/Ren: Some say learning should never end. Good luck to both of you.

 

Richard-- I think most times promotions are about timing amongst other things.

 

I am currently taking an online Accounting course and have one more in August... so for the time being, I can still say, " I hate school." No I am not taking classes just because I hate myself-- these fall under the educational requirements for licensure.

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