‘For The June CFA Attempt, I Started Preparing In August The Year Before That’ – Subhayan Chatterjee – IIM Rohtak


Considered as a valuable addition in any finance enthusiast’s CV, CFA is a tough exam to crack. Presented below are the excerpts from an interview with Subhayan Chatterjee, a second year student at IIM Rohtak who has recently cleared the CFA Level 1 exam.


Hello Subhayan, greetings from the Public Relations Cell, IIM Rohtak. First of all, many congratulations for clearing level 1 of the CFA exam. Please tell us something about this exam.

Thank You! To begin with, a CFA aspirant should realize that MBA and CFA certification are two very different things. In CFA, one learns about, as well as put to use, all the different aspects of finance and if one intends to work in the financial sector, then this is an extremely valuable course. One gains an in-depth knowledge of finance, which spans over three levels of exams. Level 1 covers the basics of finance. The Level 2 covers the basics of valuations whereas Level 3 encompasses the practical applications of the theoretical knowledge. To be a CFA charter holder, one must pass all the three exams as well as have relevant work experience of four years in the financial sector.


You are an Electronics and Communication Engineer from NIT Trichy and have work experience in the travel industry. Is having a non-finance background a disadvantage when it comes to CFA certification?

Initially, it was a bit of a challenge to switch from engineering to core finance, but I was passionate about it. I had a clear idea that I wanted to pursue a career in finance, so it was only a matter of getting down to it and mastering the basics before attempting CFA.


Were you able to leverage your experience as an intern at JP Morgan in your preparation?

Absolutely. During my summer internship at JP Morgan, I got the practical experience of all the theoretical concepts I had learnt. I was an acute observer of how things actually work at the back end of an organization of such a large scale. This internship experience was extremely crucial in providing a technical overview of the real world. I got to learn a lot merely by observation and got to know the company in depth.


MBA is a hectic course, especially at the IIMs. How did you manage your course academics alongside the CFA preparation?

I agree that MBA is a very hectic course and one has to go through quite a lot of case studies, but regular, consistent study takes a lot of the burden off. Time management as well as prioritization are of essence when preparing for this exam while pursuing an MBA.


Can you shed some light on the importance of clearing this exam? How would a candidate be benefitted when he steps out of college and enters the corporate world?

All the subjects in the curriculum of CFA have very high relevance in the corporate world. Subjects like Ethics and Financial Reporting and Analysis, which also have large weightage in the syllabus, have paramount importance in the life of any professional. So I want to reiterate that for anyone desirous of making a career in finance, this exam holds extremely high importance.


Can you please share your study plan with our readers?

I believe in regular study. I studied daily with up to two hours devoted solely for CFA preparation, and made sure I solve at least 10-15 questions daily. I also took a lot of online CFA mock exams which really helped.


How should a student planning to take the CFA exam start preparing? Can you please suggest some useful preparation tips for the students preparing for this exam?

For the June attempt, I started preparing in August the year before that. So, a fair amount of time and preparation is required for this exam. For aspirants, I’d only say that passion for finance is of paramount importance for clearing this exam and regular and focused study will helps one tide over and reap rich dividends.