“Ever heard of the story of David versus the Goliath? The Goliath, in this case, is the CFA Charter, and we are the small yet smart David. And remember, that if it is well-fought David wins…
If you are considering fighting this 18 months battle and earning some respect then you just found yourself the right place to know what lies ahead of you. I will give you a short & simple tour of the whole 18 months so that you can approach it better and be happy, not frustrated.
I had just passed out of graduate school, feeling very satisfied that I was a graduate now. I felt certain that Mukesh Ambani was waiting with an offer letter right outside my College gate. Ouch! That never happened! In the coming three months I discovered that all my awards & top mark sheets made no sense at all in the market. So I thought I should probably start working & get some additional expertise. I always loved stocks, I loved watching CNBC & I had started investing in stocks at the age of 17. However I never formally acquired any knowledge in this domain. This is when I got to know about the CFA, the gold standard in investment profession; well, at least that is what they say! So I registered for the exam, made my passport which I never needed in my entire life but now I needed it for an exam! Anyways, everything seemed fine, until the books arrived. I hit the roof when I saw the size of each book and the sleepy text font. Anyways I started right away(as you should), it was a slow process and a very painful one. Never had I ever studied so much in my entire life and it had started to annoy me.
At first, it didn’t actually spoil my social life, I used to study in the weekends but as time passed and the exams got nearer I had to skip my outings. A lot of money had been spent on it, and it made no sense to back off. I could have easily taken admission into a B- school and managed to get a job but some people like me take unnecessary challenges in life. I shall tell you soon whether it pays off or not.
1. The first thing to Learn:
Have a realistic plan for the entire program; it is not really required to become unsocial to clear this exam. It actually helps in understanding the concepts better.
After reaching midway I had totally lost touch with all my friends. At some point, it felt as if this wasn’t a learning experience but some kind of mindless pressure to get some return on my investment. This was neither fair on the exam nor on the well-structured curriculum. Do not take this exam with a mindset just to clear it, try to make it into a more learning experience.
2. The second thing to Learn:
Make it a learning experience, take live examples from the real world and try to apply it with what you learn in the CFA curriculum, this will make the entire experience of CFA preparation more meaningful and much more pleasant It had been 4 months of rigorous studying and I wasn’t thinking about anything else apart from the exam. It was always about the exam; even while sleeping I used to think about the formulae. My schedule had been wrecked to the core, eventually, I was sleep deprived and still pushing myself to the edge.
3. The third thing to Learn:
Don’t just think about Finance! Think about more than that. Explore and read about other topics than just finance. It will give you time off the subject
Finally, after giving the exam in December, I was waiting for my results and I got it finally; yes I cleared it. I was the happiest person in the world! But yes there were other friends of mine who cleared it too, who took less pressure and kept their social life intact.
Moral of the story,
4. Don’t become Goliath to beat Goliath, become David:
Yes if David had tried to imitate Goliath and tried to beat him, he would have lost but instead, he was smart and quick. There are multiple ways in which you can beat all the challenges in life, not just one.
Just like any other obstacles and challenges in life CFA is another challenge that you can take to step into a different level of satisfaction. However always remember that anyone can clear any obstacles provided she tries to work on her strengths and not just imitate someone.
“Work on your weakness but win with your strengths is what I can leave you with.”