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Struggling to get a CFA Charter? Feel more inadequate here

If you feel like studying for and passing the CFA exams is an uphill struggle in a world where a pass is becoming increasingly optional, CFA Institute is at hand to make you feel that your excuses are lame compared to the torments successful Charterholders have gone through. 

In a touching (and not at all cringe-worthy) new podcast by CFA Institute, you can learn why your excuses for failing the exams or failing to take them in the first place won't fly. We’ve listened to some (the ones that seemed most interesting, anyway), so you don’t have to.

There's the tale of Azra Mizra, a senior portfolio analyst for ABK Capital, a Kuwait-based investment manager. Mizra spoke about the difficulties faced by women who leave finance for motherhood and try to re-enter the industry.

Mizra, who credited the CFA charter with helping her find a job in her new home, neglected to mention that she had been employed for six years before she took the Level I CFA® exam in 2017 in both Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The host points out that, "Saudi Arabia has been a very conservative country that holds strict beliefs on traditional gender roles.”

Another interviewee is Ecuadorian Santiago Castillo, a VP with Spanish investment bank Sigrun Partners, who had a horrible accident riding a bike, fracturing his collarbone, elbow, and hand. “It was awful – I had to have a cast – I was not able to move my arm much.”

Castillo still attended university classes, relying on the generosity of his friends carrying his backpack while he lamented the loss of opportunities. 

Tribulations were also overcome by Attila Köksal, the first CFA charterholder in Turkey. He had to sit in an exceedingly uncomfortable chair for his level I CFA® exam – which he failed due to an administrative error that was corrected. He studied for an hour a day, whilst also being the deputy CEO of investment bank.

Köksal credited his “very understanding” wife for her help in passing the exams. If he skipped one day, he would study for two hours the next. The best advice for passing CFA exams may therefore be a) moderation and b) finding a supportive spouse. 

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Have a confidential story, tip, or comment you’d like to share? Contact: Zeno.Toulon@efinancialcareers.com in the first instance.

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AUTHORZeno Toulon

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