There are some incredible advantages to taking one of the most prestigious courses in the finance industry — the CFA. It is ranked highly amongst investment experts as it offers several lucrative opportunities that boost your career. You can apply for jobs in many distinctive profiles such as portfolio manager, research analyst or risk analyst. You get to work with some of the biggest MNC companies in the world like Citigroup, Morgan Stanley, HSBC and PWC. You interact with some of the brightest financial minds, get a strong foundation in finance concepts and pick up trade skills that make you stand out.
The best part? You are employable after finishing any level of the CFA, not just the final one. If you complete the CFA level 1, you are eligible to work with several financial firms and mega companies.
The first level is an intensive course, which ensures you are proficient in a wide range of finance subjects. Your training makes you a worthy hire even if you haven’t finished all three levels. While it is ideal to complete the entire CFA course eventually, you can take a little break after level 1, gain some valuable work experience and then proceed to obtain your charter.
The CFA course details
The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) course is an intensive, rigorous program with a strong focus on investment-related subjects. You learn how to handle portfolios, manage wealth and evaluate assets. While there are three levels in the course, the topics remain the same. The levels move from basic concepts to advanced, and you must clear an exam before you move up to the next rung.
Each level is a mini course in itself. The training is comprehensive and even enough to qualify for employment. Here below are some of the course details for CFA level 1.
CFA Level 1 subjects:
- Ethical and Professional Standards
- Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning
- Corporate Finance
- Equity Investments
- Financial Reporting and Analysis
- Quantitative Methods
- Alternative Investments
- Fixed Income
CFA level 1 exam details:
- The exam occurs four times a year
- They contain 180 multiple choice questions divided between two sessions
- There is a break between the two sessions before you can continue
First and second sessions:
- The exams last for 2 hours and 15 minutes.
- Each session carries 90 multiple choice questions
- Some of the CFA subjects are ethics and professional standards, quantitative methods, economics, and financial statement analysis
- You need a bachelor’s degree from a recognised college
- Alternatively, you can apply if you have four years of relevant work experience
- Apply for CFA from an affiliated country
- You must own a valid passport
Job profiles post CFA level 1
Once you clear the first level, you may want to take a break and gain some work experience before you apply for level 2. There are many job profiles in the finance and investment industry that are suited to your qualification.
1. Junior financial analyst
Many level 1 students become financial analysts as it offers valuable opportunities in the finance field. The job responsibilities are:
- Offer investment advice to companies to increase capital
- Analyse the business performance of an organisation and create a growth strategy
- Create informed reports that help company heads create effective strategies
- Make predictions about the market for investment opportunities
- The average salary is Rs 4-4.5 lakhs a year
2. Equity research analyst
As the title indicates, you’ll be in the research and analysis team. Your job will include:
- Doing intensive research on the stock market
- Offering valuable advice and insights to investors
- Using financial data available to make informed business decisions
- The average salary is Rs 6 lakhs a year
3. Investment product analyst
You have a major role in researching market trends and developing investment strategies. Some of your duties are to:
- Evaluate financial products for investment purposes
- After careful analysis, offer recommendations to investors
- Create presentations that showcase your research
- The average salary is Rs 6.5 lakhs a year
4. Junior business analyst
You will be required to process business information and help improve company productivity and efficiency. Your responsibilities are:
- Analysing the company’s performances and looking for areas of improvement
- Creating reports that list essential facts, figures and strategies
- Tracking cash flow
- Implementing business plans
- The average salary is Rs 7 lakhs a year
Tips on getting a job post level 1 exam
While your CFA certification helps when applying for a position, it helps if you have additional skills and techniques to supplement the job hunt. Here are some ways to accelerate your career trajectory:
1. Be proficient in industry knowledge
You need to know the latest happenings in the investment services arena. The more well-informed you are, the better your chances of impressing the recruiter. While the textbook theory is essential for your education, you need some street smarts to persuade a company to hire you.
2 Good presentation skills
Many global corporations and MNCs expect employees to have world-class communication abilities. You will be required to present your ideas to your team, upper management, clients, investors and even international professionals. Clear and effective communication is essential to build relationships with different people and convince them to make the right decisions.
3. Network with other industry members and CFA holders
With a level 1 CFA certification, you can attend industry events, seminars and other relevant functions. Your qualification can get you in contact with existing CFA students and alumni. You can forge bonds, learn about potential jobs firsthand and get details about new developments.
4. Use social media strategically
Social media has revolutionised the job market. It is now easier to connect with companies, recruiters and potential clients. You can log in to LinkedIn and Facebook for job listings and other opportunities.
5. Try for internships
If you can’t find a job, apply for an intern position instead. Once you get your foot in the door, you can use your skills and knowledge to get noticed by the company managers. When you are starting, prioritise experience over salary. Eventually, you will be in a position to get the high-paying job you are after.
Benefits of doing CFA Level 1 with IMS Proschool
As one of the finest coaching institutes in India, Proschool offers a variety of professional courses in the field of accounting and finance. Their CFA coaching classes are popular amongst students as they use innovative teaching methods. You receive in-depth, detailed lessons so you can understand the subjects better.
Proschool’s CFA course details:
- Students are taught by experienced CFA charter holders, who teach by example
- You get access to a variety of learning resources such as over 2,000 practice papers, video recordings, and online study material
- You can opt for the live classroom experience or learn through online sessions
- There are mock tests conducted to help you learn better
- You are prepared to take on job interviews after completing CFA level 1.
The CFA is one of the few courses that offer incredible opportunities before you even complete all three CFA levels. If you pass level I, it indicates you have a firm hold on financial and investment concepts. You have the training and skills needed to apply for many entry-level jobs. While many experts suggest completing all three levels to reap the career benefits, you can take the time between levels to boost your resume with some substantial work experience.