How Would a CFA Certification Help an Undergraduate Engineering Student Towards a Career in Finance?

Someone on Quora asked:

“I am an senior undergraduate student (Electronics and Communication Engineering, NIT Calicut, India) planning to apply to MS in Finance (American and Europian BSchools), this year around December.

Please give me some idea about the advantages of CFA exams in June and December respectively before applying for a masters course in Finance. (Level 1 and 2).”

This was my response: 

In the worst job market ever for the financial industry, early 2009 right after the collapse of the stock market, an associate of mine had remade his resume.  In the first paragraph of his cover letter, he wrote:

Have you ever picked up a book that you could not stop reading? For me, that series of books is the six-volume reading of the CFA curriculum. As someone who has always excelled in mathematics, finance, accounting, and economics coursework, I have found a set of books which challenges me to congruently apply these skills and inspires me to keep reading. With current enrollment in the CFA program and sales experience in the financial services industry, which you seek for the Sales Assistant position in Los Angeles, California, you could have the best candidate for the job.

Every single recruiter wanted him.  He got interviews everywhere.  He moved himself into a six figure position in the absolute worst job market.

How essential is a CFA to your career?

While I had to completely change professions and industries, he was landing six figure offers.

It will definitely distinguish yourself from the rest of the people in the industry, but only if you know how to sell yourself as well.

Originally posted on Quora.

Leonard Kim consults startups and writes books like The Etiquette of Social Media: How to Connect and Respond to Others in the World of Social Media

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