CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is the REAL certification that matters in the world of finance. Celine, a final year NEOMA student, completed her CFA Level I and is currently preparing to take Level 2. She shares her advice and gives us an overview of her preparation for this certification.
Can you return to your journey?
I completed prep and joined NEOMA in 2018. I had the opportunity to get to know two NEOMA campuses. I spent my first year in Rouen, then I went to Reims to get an M1 on a CFA course. I also chose NEOMA for this course. Despite COVID, I managed to pass the first level. Today I am finishing my second year of master’s degree, preparing for the II level.
All about CFA
For those who don’t know what is CFA?
The CFA is a certification in finance with an international scope and is offered at three levels, with an average of three years to complete these three levels. It is accessible to all ages and is rather geared towards asset Management. However, starting from CFA I level, we deal with all subjects related to finance.
Why did you decide to prepare for CFA Level I?
I immediately chose NEOMA for the CFA course because I wanted to work in finance. I knew as soon as I finished my training that there were few jobs in finance and that I needed to improve my resume. A PGE diploma is not necessarily enough to integrate this universe. So, I chose NEOMA because I thought there was a certain quality of CFA teaching in NEOMA.
Level I is very difficult. Today there is only 25% success rate. But the CFA still appreciated my resume very much in the interview. I rarely had an interview where no one came to challenge me for the CFA.
Why continue with level II?
First of all, this is a challenge. Like preparation, we tell ourselves that we have to go all the way. Today, simply completing Level I does not make you a CFA. You must have all three levels. I also want to take advantage of being a student to take Level II. Indeed, even CFA Institute states that it is quite difficult to pass the CFA levels when you are already working.
Read also: CFA Finance: Rising Bounce Rate in 2020
CFA Prep Tips
How are you preparing for the CFA?
It depends on the personality of each person. Generally speaking, as a student or person with no background in finance or asset Management, and for those who don’t necessarily understand financial products, it takes an average of 300 to 500 hours of work (including personal time and hours of support from NEOMA).
For my part, I liked to take on everything that is called testimony, that is CFA courses, in advance. To gain an understanding of the subject, a first active reading of the courses is required. The CFA covers topics that the student has rarely encountered before. However, I didn’t take notes. I have highlighted the key points that I saw in my books. After two or even three quick readings of the course, I went straight to the questions. You have to be careful, because the CFA is an exam, the questions of which are worded in a special way. To be successful at Level I, you must become accustomed to this question format.
How are the questions different?
Because they are modeled as multiple choice questions. Questions are technical and refer to a course or more turned in a computational sense. The problem with CFA is that all three answers are possible. This is where it becomes more difficult for students. You are never sure about your answers during an exam. Just make a comma error to falsify the whole result.
How has NEOMA helped you prepare for the CFA?
In NEOMA, a big plus is that most of the professors already have a CFA degree, as well as a doctoral degree, they have completed this training, they have mastered it. They worked in asset Managementthey know their subject very well. Their added value will be to repeat the key points of the course in order to explain them to those who are less understood. They know in advance on what points, in general, questions fall into the CFA. First of all, they help us to better prepare for these issues.
What is your advice for passing level I?
Be careful in your changes, do not miss a single detail. CFA questions will focus on details rather than course generalities. Get used to the unique format of CFA questions.
Read also: Now NEOMA allows you to prepare for CFA Level III.
The impact of the CFA on Celine’s professional career
How has the CFA influenced your professional career?
In the post-COVID period — and even during the COVID period, when I had a year off — there was huge demand in the domestic market, despite supply that remained as, if not less, than the cause of the pandemic. pandemic. CFA improved my resume.
Preparing for a CFA when you’re only 21 is a curiosity for recruiters. I have not completed Level I yet, but I have indicated that I am a CFA Level I candidate. When you tell recruiters that you are a candidate, it shows motivation on the part of the student and an interest in finance. As a recruiter, you never know if a student really wants to apply to finance.
In all my interviews, recruiters asked me questions about CFA. In finance, the CFA is starting to gain momentum today. Therefore, companies will challenge students when they announce themselves as CFA candidates.
How do you envision the future?
I am already aiming to pass three levels of CFA. It is known that the CFA is a certification focused on asset Managementbut it opens a lot of doors when you are a student. In this way, I was able to join positions 100% focused on corporate finance. I worked as a credit analyst at the Société Générale and at coating in the BNP.
During my postgraduate internship, I was able to get a job at an American investment bank. Incredible knowing that NEOMA is not on trend at all. goals American banks. My CFA really appreciated my candidacy when I applied for them summer and their training.
So, I joined corporate finance without knowing too much. I really enjoyed it, it allowed me to use my CFA certification on a daily basis. So I imagine myself, why not, stay in the investment banking world later.
Read also: CFA® 2019: some new features and mixed results