Originally Posted by gdl203
^ Does your job entail recruiting people for investment banking positions? Do you review resume drops and conduct dozens of interviews a year? Are you recruiting captain at your firm for your alma mater?
I'm telling you with absolute certainty that a CFA on a resume for a career switcher with no finance or accounting background is a dramatic improvement, and will likely get your resume considered for an interview invite that you otherwise would not receive.
If one doesn't have the academic background to support a career change into banking, then an academic mitigator is necessary. CFA does the job, just like a part-time master may also work.
If you're asking do I work in HR in an investment bank, no I don't. I work in the front office and yes I do recruit / interview people for IB positions. I agree if you have literally nothing else related to finance or accounting, CFA says "hey I'm actually interested in finance." But realistically how long does it take for you to study and pass CFA level 1? Let alone level 2? The amount of time you spent studying for the CFA, you could be learning valuations, lbos, accretion/dilution, all that other crap you'll get asked in a 1st year analyst position or even SA. You could be reading Rosenbaum's book, going through technical guides from WSO/BWIS, or learning how to model. Not to mention, you could be networking with actual bankers that would increase the likelihood of you getting an interview far more than a CFA designation on your resume. Maybe it works differently at your bank, but in my firm (as well as others I've spoken with), any resume that gets submitted through OCR or the company's website is filtered by HR first, along with hundreds of other resumes. Networking is the most effective way to get an interview and/or get an offer. It's not that the CFA literally has no benefits, it's the fact that there are better ways for you to try to break into IB.
I've screened plenty of resumes and have been the interviewer for IB positions. Inevitably, someone with a CFA and no related background always ends up getting passed up for someone that has relevant experience, even if the latter came from a non-target with mediocre GPA.
Originally Posted by MSchapiro
I disagree. That article is particularly relevant for breaking into bulge bracket, however, coming from a non-target school or without a business background the CFA is still considered a sign of commitment. A lot of major investment banks are also increasing the size of their wealth management divisions (which yields lots of fees) and decreasing their M&A.
There is no harm in getting it other then the time. It will also provide you with an incredibly in depth understanding of finance that will aid you in understanding what many of the people you work with do. Not to mention a small salary boost when you inevitably leave banking for a financial services company (such as Thomson Reuters or Bloomberg that are 9-5) and have a family.
Huh? PWM may be housed under the same "corporate umbrella" as IB in some banks, but they're vastly different in the type of work you do and quite frankly the qualifications to get in - not to say PWM can't be a lucrative and rewarding career. A freshmen with no business related background could get an internship for PWM, but no way in hell would you even get your resume past HR for IB. Also, TR, Bloomberg, FactSet, CapIQ, etc are not sought after exit opps for IB analysts, unless you're talking about within their Corporate Development or Corporate Strategy groups. Plus, salary boost with a CFA once you leave banking has nothing to do with breaking into banking...
Edited by db78 - 12/19/12 at 11:57am