Coming from a family of bankers, I have grown up listening to discussions of stock markets. Stocks were my breakfast, and Financial insights were my lunch while economics was served as desserts in dinner. The default news channel was CNBC, and hence, my eyes eventually learned to follow the fall and rise in stock prices. Tracking stock prices, running to call my father if there was a sudden movement in any of our picked stocks, albeit without much understanding much of it, became much of a hobby for me during childhood.
When I grew up, and my interest in financial markets piqued, I understood that there is a lot more going on, than what meets the eye of a layman. It takes conscious efforts to understand the dynamics of how various investment instruments are interacting with each other across the world. More than English or Chinese, if there is any language which the world understands is Money, and sure as hell, I would love to be fluent in it.
But as luck would have it, I landed in NITIE, famously proclaimed as the ‘Mecca of Supply Chain and Operations.’ I started enquiring in a hush-hush tone about the finance roles being offered, and who are the CFA aspirants. I was amazed to learn that many seniors have cleared CFA level-1 just then. Not just that, seniors told me about many alumni who have cleared all the three CFA levels, and are working in prominent positions with leading organizations. I connected with my seniors and a couple of my alumnus to fully understand the career path and opportunities. Then, I fully understood there are a plethora of opportunities in the domain of finance for me here.
And so began my CFA journey.
With less than three months to CFA December’18 examination, in September, I registered for CFA Level-1. Amidst all the jitters about the summer placement process, guest lectures, unending company forms, and evaluations, I was sure that in a larger scheme, this decision would fit well. After being done with my summers, I devoted myself to CFA prep. But mind you, just even looking at the curriculum, can shake the best of the best’ confidence. The kind of wide array of topics it covers from Financial Reporting & Analysis (FRA) to Micro and Macro Economics, from Portfolio Management to studying the likes of Equity, Fixed Income, and Alternative Investments, have the potential to trouble you in your dreams. The key was not to get bogged down, but approach all the 58 readings one by one, get the hang of it and do ample practice to get the desired results. Once you put in your efforts, you gain momentum in these readings. Eventually, it doesn’t even feel like efforts are needed, the concepts are surely vast but truly interesting. It was clear to me that Pass or Fail, it will be learning of a lifetime. My earlier amateur knowledge of stock markets which I gained while managing my personal portfolio really helped me in understanding the concepts and terminologies with ease. But, even if you do not have much prior knowledge, the curriculum is so well designed that it automatically guides you through the process and builds a holistic knowledge base. I knew that CFA aspirants referred to Schweser notes and Irfanullah lecture videos, but let me tell you those are nothing less than blessings in disguise.
Although I was regular with prep but my ‘fully’ devoted preparation started just 40 days before the exam because earlier I had taken up part in organizing the cultural fest, after all, I am a management student as well. The typical day during my preparation consisted of skipping breakfast, attending lectures, studying & practicing for hours, self-loathing (that I should have started earlier). I caught up few other hobbies as well like, tagging fellow aspirants in CFA memes, browsing through Zomato and Swiggy endlessly and then after a big cup of coffee again completing the readings until I dozed off. On a serious note, I made sure that even during the moments of self-doubt, I approached the problem with passion, poise, and determination.
Now when the results were announced last week, and in retrospect, I think, it was one of the best decisions I ever made because of the extent of Knowledge I gained and kind of support I got here at NITIE for this accomplishment.
(P.S.- Diligently prepare for CFA level; keep at least 2-3 months for preparation. You’ll enjoy it more, and also because you do not want to sit for 14 hours a day preparing for CFA like me.)
PGDIM-25, Batch of 2020.