Congrats to those who passed… and try harder if you haven’t [31 Aug 09]

With the release of all three levels of the CFA exam, I can see that many of you are positioning yourself for the next step, whether preparing for the next level, doing revision for current level or planning career switches.

(1) Preparing for CFA exam—key is discipline
I am pleased to see many of you pass the Level 1 exam this time: out of those who have reported your grades to me, I see 12 PASS; 4 FAIL, which only goes to show that many of you have indeed put in effort and listened to my advice to just FOCUS on exam preparation last season.  It’s early days for Level 2 or Level 3 next year actually as the Stella/ Schweser guides for next year will only be out in Nov/ Dec… but I see some of you being very proactive and have already approached me for Levels 2 or 3 reading material/ notes for some selected topics, which is a good sign.

For those of you who plan to do the Dec Level 1 exam (again), it is NOW high time you gear up on a disciplined regime to do 1-2 study sessions per week, and complete going thru everything once by end Oct/ early Nov.  Remember the month of Nov is really for practicing mock exams.  For those of you who did not receive my mailer to students, I have appended here for your reference the mailer to my Level 1 students last season (read the para under the heading “Why you need to focus on exam now?  Becoz even folks with major in Finance can FAIL Level 1 exam”).

It is important for you to identify your weaker topics in the previous Level 1 exam, so that you can target and beef up your weaker topics this time round.  Some of you asked me if I know of people who are willing to provide coaching for just your weaker topics.  I am indeed aware of such people willing to provide such targeted coaching (whether one-on-one or small group) for specific topics, at a fee to compensate for their time of course, so if you have such needs for specific topics, just drop me a note and I can help to arrange something for you.  Do also feel free to forward to your frens who are still struggling with the Level 1 exam.

(2) Planning career switches—key is competency building

I have also recently received a number of requests for opportunity and/or calls for advice on “how can one get into the finance industry”.  It is perfectly natural for people to be looking for opportunity now, as the job market has kinda picked up…and I am indeed aware of some pockets of opportunity.  This does not however mean indiscriminate hiring or everybody can get a job in the finance industry, like during bull market times.  We all need to be aware that the cake has indeed shrunk, and employers are now highly selective when it comes to hiring.

It is worthwhile to start thinking about what possible interview questions are likely to be asked, see my attached mailer on competency building.  The worst thing to happen is: when job market picks up, there are many opportunities, but one keeps failing at interviews coz one lacks competency in the areas required, as demonstrated by an inability to answer the technical questions that are frequently asked at interviews.  That’s why I keep saying competency building is so IMPT.  I have recently initiated research on some fundamental analysis and am glad to have got some of my students/ frens involved in the research effort too.  If you happen to have some spare time and wish to pick up a skill or two, do feel free to approach me.  In a nutshell, there’s some serious work to be done; no remuneration, but a learning opportunity for you.

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