“Start Early, Plan Your Studies Wisely And You Can Easily Clear CFA” – Swapnil Gore, IIM Rohtak

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) exam is considered as one of the most valued exam for a finance graduate. It is a series of three exams covering a broad range of topics relating to investment management, financial analysis, stocks, bonds and derivatives, and provides a holistic knowledge of other areas of finance. Below are the excerpts from an interview with Swapnil Gore, a PGP07 student, who has cleared CFA level 1.


Hello Swapnil, Greetings from the PR Cell of IIM Rohtak. First of all, congratulations for clearing level 1 of CFA. Let us begin right from where it started. You have done graduation in chemical engineering from an NIT. What motivated you to leave your core engineering background and switch to finance?

Thank you. By the time I was in third year of engineering, I was pretty sure that Chemical Engineering is not what I am going to pursue a career in. I was always fascinated by the stock market and its operations. Then in my graduation college, I won a Stock Market contest played on virtual money and stocks. This peaked my interest in finance in a serious way, and I started reading the basic concepts on Investopedia.


When did you first come to know about the CFA exam?

I came to know about CFA from a senior in college, who was appearing for the same. From him, I got to know about the curriculum and the subjects I needed to prepare.


What was your motivation behind it?

By the start of this year, I was certain that I would do an MBA in finance. After I was done with the CAT interviews, I had 50-60 spare days to utilize. This was the time that I started preparing seriously, and put in maximum effort. For me personally, giving CFA was a challenging task because I had no prior commerce background. But yes, I just focused on working hard and thankfully, it paid off.


When did you start preparing for it?

I was passively preparing for it for a long time, but just after my CAT interviews were done with and I had time to kill, I dedicated all my time to clearing CFA level 1.


Please share your study plan, how much time on average did you dedicate to CFA per day?

During the preparation phase, I was taking part-time lectures in TIME institute. So whenever I didn’t have lectures, I would go to the library and study. From 8 in the morning to 8 in the evening was the time when I would either study or take lectures.


Pretty hectic schedule we must say! What advice would you give to the aspirants, who are preparing for coming December/June exam?

One thing which I would like to emphasize on is to start as early as possible. The biggest challenge for me was the vast syllabus to cover. Also, if you are not from commerce background, the task becomes even harder for you. So start as early as possible, and read everything from the CFA curriculum and nothing from outside its scope.