Planning and CFA

Hey everyone!

I am back to blogging again! I mentioned I would talk about how planning helps us in grad school. Developing time management and planning skills is particularly useful especially during the holidays. This year many of my peers traveled back home to spend Thanksgiving with their families. Thus many teams had to plan ahead how our schedules would look like, what times would be best to meet, before or after the holidays, dividing up the work, etc.

One thing that was particularly helpful in our planning process was the development of a project management plan. I was given the opportunity to develop a project management plan following a template that we were provided after one of our speaker’s presentations. In this project management plan, we assigned tasks to each member of our group would be responsible for and set deadlines to complete each milestone of our projects.

CFA Planning

I have been amazed by the level of effort, skills and diversity of knowledge that peers bring to class every day. I asked a couple of my peers preparing for the CFA and CFA Research Challenge to share about their experiences. This is what they said.


Joey Nguyen, Interested in Investments Track

How has your experience been getting ready for the CFA exam?

Since I’m taking it in December, while we are overloaded with a lot of projects and I also have to work on the CFA research challenge, I just think I would try my best for the exam. Everything you learn in the exam materials is what you need if you want to work as an equity analyst or break into investment management.

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

Two things I learned from the preparation for the exam: first is stick to your schedule because it’s a big commitment, and second is being patient because you might have to take one level more than one. So just do it when you are really interested in asset management. One good thing is that 70% of the materials for level one will be covered from all courses in Fisher.

How has your experience been preparing for the CFA Research Challenge?

I have applied what I learned from class to a real investments project, also to work and to think as a real analyst. Bloomberg and modeling are two big key skills you can leverage from the classes while working. You also have to read a lot and try to find the key points (conceptualize it), learn where to start while reading a 10K and spot out the company’s problems. The CFA society also asks the company selected for the challenge to give a presentation about their company to all the participant teams so we need to know which questions we should ask to make them disclose some unique information.


Rizvi Bari, Interested in Investments Track

What are some takeaways of studying for the CFA?

I would say start as early as you can and do a lot of practice questions. I’m still trying to find more sources, but I think the professors are good resources. Working closely with the CFA institute helps a lot as well.


Jayaprabha Dhavale, Interested in Investments Track

What advice do you have for someone who is thinking about taking the CFA?

Personally, as I was already working, I studied on weekends only. Many of the topics were not as hard but some topics were new. Topics covered in the Financial Analysis Valuation class are covered in the exam. Regarding planning, I’d say you have to have a time line such as finish studying equity by this date, derivatives by this date.


Thank you to my peers who collaborated on this 😊

Cheers and Go Bucks!

Oh, the places you’ll go

To quote the title of a great book by Dr. Seuss, “Oh, the places you’ll go”.

Thanks to The Ohio State University’s partnership with the CFA Society of Columbus, I have had the opportunity that is given to very few that are in school. At the beginning of the year, I signed up for a student membership to the society for (a low rate of) $65. This has allowed me to attend a dinner and a lunch with them. At these events, I’ve had the opportunity to network with investment professionals. They have ranged from a sell side analyst at Wells Fargo to buy side analysts at STRS to an interest rate derivatives trader at Huntington. All of them have been more than willing to share their experiences and talk about nearly anything.

The best part of the society meetings are the speakers. So far I have had the luxury to hear John Rodgers and Abby Joseph Cohen. Mr. Rodgers is the President and CEO of the CFA Institute. He spoke about how important ethics are. As having passed the CFA Level I exam, I know that there is strong emphasis on ethics. He also talked about the future goals of the Institute. I even had the opportunity to talk to him for a few minutes after the presentation. That was a top 5 moment of my life.

Abby Joseph Cohen was another great speaker. With her working experience from Goldman Sachs, she was the smartest person in the room from my perspective. Ms. Cohen talked about economic cycles and the current recession. My biggest takeaway from her was how she framed the current unemployment problem. From the charts that were show, it looked like a structural shift (which was was longer) combined with cyclical unemployment (higher numbers) .

Speak to Me

The fall at Ohio State is a special time. School starts in August (at least nowadays it does) and football starts in early September (unless it, too, happens to start in August). Football season is great for Ohio State (see my other posts for more information on that topic), but not just because I love Ohio State football. Football season at Ohio State means a lot of guest speakers come to campus. Maybe I’m attributing too much causation for the abundance of speakers in the fall to football season, but it’s why I’d come if I were in their shoes. In case you think I may be exaggerating, here’s a list of just some of the folks visiting our campus (and, in many cases, the Fisher campus specifically):

Tuesday, Oct. 2nd: Pavlos Yeroulanos, former Minister for Culture & Tourism of Greece

Wednesday, Oct. 3rd: Jim Griffith, President & CEO of The Timken Company

Thursday, Oct. 4th: Bill Isaac, Chairman of Fifth Third Bancorp

Friday, Oct. 5th: Lynn E. Turner, Former Chief Accountant of SEC

Monday, Oct. 8th: Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Chrysler and Fiat and John Jay, Creative Director for Wieden+Kennedy

That’s just the line-up for the seven days ending Oct. 8th. Throughout the quarter we’ve had the opportunity to hear from many other people, such as Andy Rose (CFO of Worthington Industries), KR Kent (Controller, Americas for Ford), Jim Meeth (Past President of the CFA Society of Columbus), and Danielle Fallon, Tod Schneider, and Bhavik Khothari (all of Diamond Hill Capital Management, Inc.).

In the interest of keeping this post short, I’ve left out a lot of people who have taken the time to give back to The Ohio State University. Their generosity is greatly appreciated by the students. Getting to hear from people in industry, people who have built successful careers in their fields of interest, is a unique opportunity for us to learn about the opportunities that may be available to us after graduation.

In conclusion, to all of the people who have come to campus to share their experiences with us and to all of the people who are coming later this semester or next, on behalf of all of the SMF students, Thank You.