Last Week to the CFA Exam, Welcome to the Club

Just one more week to the December level 1 CFA exam, can you believe it? The time seemed to fly by every year I was a candidate and as much as I wanted to get through the exams, I always wished for just one more week of preparation.
But win, lose or draw next Saturday you’ve already shown the heart and discipline to make yourself a better professional. For that, I say, “Welcome to the club of CFA Candidates and Charter holders!”
You see, being a CFA charter holder isn’t about passing a couple of tests. It isn’t even about just being able to put those three little letters after your name. Being a charter holder is about being a true professional and being part of a network of professionals.
Through the CFA Institute and your network of other candidates or charter holders, you’ve got access to some of the best minds and information in the industry. Asset management gurus like Bill Gross, Abby Joseph Cohen and Ben Graham, all charter holders!
The Institute also offers a knowledge library on the website filled with some of the best published material and media in the industry. It’s easy to forget so set a regular reminder to check in on the site for new information and professional development. The website is pretty user-friendly. You can browse research by topic or by area of work. There are also some marketing templates for brochures, pitchbooks and mailers that you can use for your job.
Many of you are just starting your careers and will want to login to the Institute’s Jobline. Through the portal, you’ll find nearly 900 current listings from more than 200 employers all looking for CFA charter holders or candidates.
I got an email invitation last week to be a judge in next year’s CFA Institute Research Challenge, an annual global competition in equity analysis. The research challenge is a great way to get that initial experience into equity research and feedback from professionals. At events like this or one of the many networking events through your local society, you’ll find all the opportunity you need for professional development and to advance your career.
I am going to level with you. Your #1 goal in life may seem to be passing that exam on Saturday but at this point, it really doesn’t mean as much as you think. You have taken the first step to becoming a true professional in the field and your score on one test will not change that.
So take the rest of the week to kick it into high gear and get those last few points you’re going to need to pass the exam on Saturday. After Saturday, login to the CFA Institute’s website or your local society’s website and start looking around. You’ve got at least a month before you need to start thinking about the June exam. Use that time to develop your network and really get to know what it means to be a part of this club of finance professionals.
Good luck on Saturday candidates!
‘til next time, happy testing!
Joseph Hogue, CFA

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