Why is CFA still a niche career option in India?

When one looks out for a course post his/her graduation, what matters the most is the security that comes attached with it. Everyone desires to pursue a course which ensures financial security in the shortest span possible. So one always opts for the courses which are known since ever and have a reputation attached to them. A course earns this reputation largely due to two factors. One the credibility of the degree in the job market and secondly from the time since when the course was introduced to the students.

In India CFA as a course takes a hit because of the second factor. Once an aspirant completes his/her graduation two-three standard options are thrown at them. CA, MBA etc. Though these courses have their own standing in the job market but CFA helps one become the master of finance. It offers complete education related to the finance industry making one eligible for any post in the same industry.

Second major issue is attaching CFA with relocation. People have a mindset that only people who wish to pursue a job outside India must opt for CFA as a course. But that’s not true. Doing CFA definitely wins you an edge in the global job market but that doesn’t mean it can’t benefit you in India. CFA adds value to the resume and is beneficial both exponentially as well as for breaking in.

The cost attached to the course also raises an alarm in the minds of students. That makes some believe that it is a course for the elite! But even that is a misconception. CFA is a course for anyone who wishes to pursue a career in the finance industry. The cost attached to the course can be recovered easily with the array of job opportunities that it opens for its aspirants.

Research and development is also an underrated profession in India. CFA is often misconstrued to be a course making one eligible only for research and analysis. It definitely makes one more equipped for this profile but it also makes one compatible for the other job profiles available in the finance industry. People also need to understand that research and analysis is also an important part of every industry.

Presumptions and misconceptions surrounding around CFA makes it a less opted course for students. I hope this blog has cleared a few of them. For more information on CFA and its benefits please visit https://www.facebook.com/CFAwithManishRamuka/.

CFA with work

Human desires are never-ending. Some crave for wealth, some for work satisfaction and some for knowledge. Whatever your reason might be, but if it’s in your mind then sooner or later it culminates in your actions. But the first step towards achieving anything is DREAMING.

So, you are in an IT department of a firm and doing really well. After years of monotony, you get attracted to the work profile of your friend in the finance department. You DREAM to shift your desk in the finance department. Similarly, say you are in the operations department of the finance wing of your office. But your love for numbers entices you towards the front end job of your colleagues. Or maybe you are in the front end job already but DREAM to be at the managerial level.

For dreams like this what you need is the knowledge to understand the technicalities of these job profiles. CFA as a course gives you the same. It takes you through the intriguing world of finance and gives you the correct tools to ride through it with ease and success.

You may also have a strong driving force to entangle your work life with CFA. It brings with it a challenge to skillfully balance work, studies and life! Well but it’s all worth it. An enriching course like CFA can give you an edge over the others in the race, because of the knowledge and expertise that comes with it.

So now, the answer to the most important question, “How to prepare for the exam along with a full-time job”. Well, the first and the most essential step is to start early. If you are a working professional it is advisable to give yourself a minimum 6 months to prepare for the exam. That leaves you with more time to prepare and more chances to clear. For a more detailed discussion on the same you can refer to my previous blog <link>.

While deciding on taking up the course you may bank upon your weekends. Well yes, they are the saviors but we do forget they are all we have after a hectic week of work. We need to steal time from the same 2 days for your other commitments. So instead of burdening the weekends one should try to spread it out over the week. A daily routine of 1-2 hours of study will not only relieve your weekends but also make sure that you are in touch with the study material.

One of the advantages of doing CFA while working is the practical applicability of the course in your work and vice versa. It makes understanding the concepts easier. The practical approach towards the subject also assists you to target the multiple choice questions in less time and in an efficient manner.

After netting out all the positives and negatives doing CFA while working leaves you in a win-win situation giving you the desired push in your professional life.

CA v/s CFA

Career choices are never easy. What adds to the confusion is the entire flow of information available these days. Majority of this data is either irrelevant or confusing. This is one of the many issues my students discuss with me. In my today’s blog, I have tried to shed some light over the most obvious career choices post the 12th board exam; the since ever reputed course CA or the global favorite CFA.

 

Let’s begin with the eligibility criteria. One can take up CA after their 12th board exam however to take up CFA one has to complete his/her graduation. Sounds like an advantage right? But what negates this advantage right away is the minimum time to complete the respective courses. If cleared at one go, it takes at least 4 years to become a CA while it takes only 1.5 years to become a CFA.

 

Both the courses comprise of 3 levels. In CA the levels are CPT, IPCC and CA final. While in CFA the levels are levels 1, 2 and 3. The average passing percentage of CPT level is 15%, IPCC is 6% and the Finals is 8%. Against that the average passing percentage of CFA level 1 is 43%, level 2 is 46% and level 3 is 47%. That clearly shows us the probability of one clearing CA or CFA in the minimum time frame mentioned above.

 

The course formats are also completely different. In CA only CPT has multiple choice questions format, that too with negative marking for each incorrect answer. Rest 2 levels of CA contain essay type questions. In CFA only level 3 consists of essay type questions that too partially. Rest all exams are multiple choice questions that too without negative markings. This practical approach towards attempting papers makes one study smart and score better.

 

The focus area of CA being auditing, taxation, and costing, the job profiles it attracts includes being an accountant, auditor or a budget analyst. While in CFA the focus areas being ethics, corporate finance and fixed income, the job profiles it attracts includes investment banker, portfolio manager, and equity research. Depending on their area of interest one can distinctly choose the respective courses.

 

CFA is indeed a more expensive course as compared to CA. But that is set off with the array of opportunities the course opens for an individual. Acceptance of CA as a degree is confined to certain countries but widely accepted in India, whereas CFA as a degree is globally recognized and accepted in Asia, Europe, America and Australia. That gives one more opportunity to earn back their education expenses.

 

After the above analysis for me, a clear choice is CFA over CA. But that doesn’t matter. What matters is the interest area, the focus and the final designation in which you wish to see yourself. Hope this blog has answered all your questions. For more such information visit https://www.facebook.com/CFAwithManishRamuka/.

When to start preparing?

Be a first-grade child or a CFA aspirant, the word “EXAMS” sends chills down the spine of everyone. What do to? How to proceed? What can be skipped? How many hours to study? etc etc. Well so in this post I would like to spill some beans on the same and calm your anxiety. This post is a little informative but far more reassuring!

 

So, first things first, when to start preparing? Well, the ideal time span needed for an efficient preparation for level 1 is 6 months. Why? Well here are a few stats:

58 chapters (reading+schweser’s question bank+curriculum)                       58 days.

+A buffer of 10 days                                                                                                  70 days.

+10 days for revision (1 subject per day)                                                             80 days

+5 days buffer                                                                                                           85 days.

+5 days for practicing mock exams                                                                     90 days.

Now, above my friend is the most hypothetical scenario wherein you are locked up in your room with no social or professional life! So if u want to enjoy those aspects of life u better start early.  Yes, people do start later and successfully attempt the exam but why to take the stressful route? So the sooner you start the better it is!

 

Students often come up to me and ask which section can be skipped in the cape of smart studies. What I normally suggest to them and would suggest people reading this post too, “NOTHING”. Aspirants must have a hang on every section for a successful attempt. It not only reduces your stress but also increases your chances to clear the attempt. Pay special attention to subjects in which you score irregularly in your mock attempts. They may give you goosebumps if they appear in the paper.

 

Next comes the approach, which is the key to beat monotony and make studies fun! What I normally suggest my student is to adopt a mixed approach. A few quants there and a few theory here, will not only make preparation fun but also let you cover a lot more in a single day. If you are the ones who go by the timetable I would suggest that you try to squeeze in entire free weeks to handle your personal and professional issues. They can be used for recreation as well as revision of those notorious subjects which give you nightmares.

 

Practice makes a man perfect. However cliché this may sound but this is one of the wisest words quoted for success in every field of life. Get a hang of your calculators and all the shortcuts. Practice the mock tests, as many as u can, to get a hang of the exam pattern. It’ll prepare you for what’s going to come your way in those 3 hours.

 

Now a few tips for the Dday. Go prepared with all you need to attempt the exam. Answer the easy questions first. Give a smart guess for the ones you don’t get. There is no negative marking in the exam. So my key advice is “Attempt all the questions. You have nothing to lose!”

 

Guys coming up next is a mumma’s guide to exams! Yes I am jotting down a few basics which we all know but forget on time:

  • Sleep well during preparation and also before your exams. You would definitely not want to fail coz of fatigue!
  • Take regular breaks and ditch your gadgets at that time. Do activities which rest your mind.
  • Go for a jog with music as your company or treat yourself with a spa.
  • Remember! Even if you fail it’s just the preparation for the next attempt! Think for the worst and watch the best happening!

 

With an “All the Best” I am ending this post. Hope it helps. Watch out this space for more information and tips to become a CFA, an easier way!