Finance is one of the most common career choices amongst college students and young, aspiring leaders. Many people find finance an open-ended career option with various job prospects and even entrepreneurship offerings.
It is true because finance comes in handy in almost all walks of life, whether calculating and budgeting your daily expenses or doing the same for a huge corporation. However, it is essential to realize that finance goes beyond budgets and numbers. The finance industry encompasses banking, investment, capital markets, leverage or debt, credit, and much more.
But the real struggle begins when choosing a specialization in finance. The abundance of options often overwhelms people and confuses them even further. One of the options is CFA. A Chartered Financial Analyst is a postgraduate certification offered by the CFA Institute. It is a three-part exam that tests several fundamental topics, including portfolio management, investments, asset management, and many more.
CFA is a highly recognized and globally accepted qualification with significant demand from several industries and sectors recruiters. However, the only downside to becoming a CFA is that it can be pretty grueling. Although completing CFA has become relatively more accessible now with the wide availability of prep material on different platforms such as Wiley CFA and online instructors to help you prepare. Still, it would be best to put in constant effort, determination, and hard work to qualify. But we can assure you that the outcome will be worth every step.
This article will discuss a few reasons you must consider CFA as one of your career choices.
1. The most prestigious designation in finance
CFA is one of the most valuable designations in the financial industry, and there is no denying the fact. Not only does CFA have a glowing reputation, but the reputation of the CFA Institute and its charter-holders is also towering.
CFA provides the highest value for asset managers and research analysts – beating all other professional designation. The CFA Institute also stands out for its well-maintained and configured system that provides ease and comfort to applicants. Moreover, CFA also works excellent with non-financial professionals.
You can choose to pursue CFA to broaden your skillset and stand out from your peers. It will also most likely increase your chances of promotions to a better-paid position. CFA can specifically benefit lawyers, accountants, and auditors. However, the list doesn’t stop here. As mentioned above, anyone can pursue a CFA if they wish.
2. Several career options
By pursuing CFA, you open doors to several career choices. Organizations such as banks, investment firms, and other financial industry sectors require CFA graduates. The most common career choices of CFA charter-holders are:
- Portfolio management
- Research analyst
- Financial analyst
- Risk managers
- Chief level executives
- Relationship managers
Hence, it is well-established that pursuing a CFA can indefinitely put you at an advantage over others and give you a chance to choose from a wide variety of careers.
3. Higher skillset
Like any higher qualification, CFA also enhances your skillset and broadens your knowledge base to a significant extent.
Getting your CFA allows you to gain:
- Financial skills: financial skills are extensively necessary to succeed in today’s increasingly competitive world.
- Analytical skills: Analytical skills are essential to make critical decisions and find solutions to complex problems.
- Problem-solving skills: Problem-solving skills are crucial for mitigating conflict and landing the best possible solution.
- Communication skills: Communication skills are essential to allow others to understand your ideas and perspective and convey information effectively and assuredly.
- Time management skills: needed to improve productivity, reduce stress, and prioritize your time.
CFA teaches you financial reporting, quantitative methods, investment analysis, portfolio management, economics, and more, among the more technical skills.
Moreover, the CFA curriculum provides you with complete knowledge in finance. All three levels focus on ten topics, each group getting increasingly challenging. The ten issues include:
- Ethical and Professional standards
- Quantitative methods
- Financial report and analysis
- Corporate finance
- Equity investments
- Fixed income
- Alternate investment portfolio
- Portfolio management and wealth planning
The best part about pursuing CFA is the affordability. Unlike many other certifications
(especially ones as valued and recognized as CFA), CFA is much more affordable and convenient to complete.
The total amount a CFA candidate spends depends upon the level and amount of prep material they purchased, but it should be between $2600 to $8000. $2600 for the most basic requirements, including registration fees for all three levels but excluding all third-party prep material. Similarly, it might cost you $8000 for registration and advanced test prep material for the whole process.
Another commendable feature of the CFA program is its high return on investment. Whatever amount you spend on achieving your qualification, CFA will guarantee to pay you back each penny and more.
5. Work at the top finance and investment firms
CFA is your ticket to work for major investment firms. No qualification, whether in accounting, finance, or anything, can guarantee to get you a job. However, a CFA can put you at an advantage and considerably raise your chances of employment, especially in investment firms. Investment firms highly value the CFA qualification since it is relevant to their work and requirements.
Many investment firms only hire CFA charter-holders for specific positions and divisions. Therefore, a CFA qualification can give you a distinct advantage during your career.
6. Higher pay
Last but the most exciting benefit of pursuing CFA is the extensively high pay. Most CFA charter-holders work at multinationals and global financial institutions that pay them at a premium.
However, your payment is still extensively high if you work at a small or new startup. You are also more likely to be given better projects and more recognition than other employees.
If you want to go into finance and study it at a higher level, then CFA is your safest option. Completing CFA gives you several benefits, but it is not as easy as it appears. In reality, CFA is much more complex and challenging. Therefore, it would be best if you remained steadfast, observant, and coherent throughout the process. It is a rewarding qualification but an effortful, taxing, and draining one.
Therefore, make sure to do sufficient research before applying for CFA. Look deep into all the courses returns, and then decide whether you want to pursue it or not. Sometimes people pursue degrees only because either someone advised to or someone else was completing it and then struggle constantly.