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!

Tips for Surviving Midterm Exam Week

If you are like most graduate students, you dread midterm exam week.  Personally, I cannot think of one person I know who actually likes taking exams or gets really excited about studying for long periods of time.  I can usually handle the “spaced” out exams where I have one exam per week.  The real challenge comes when you are forced to have to study for 2-3 exams in the same week and it almost turns into a game of Russian Roulette deciding which exam you are going to study for.

However, despite all the horror stories that are in circulation, it is possible to survive midterm exam week and move on with your life. Here is a list of things to consider as your exam week approaches as well as things to do during your exam week:

1.  PREPARATION.  What is that, you ask?  Simple.  Start sooner rather than later, my fellow graduate students.  Trust me, I am the KING of procrastination.  But when it comes to exams, I don’t mess around.

2.  Find some study buddies.  This is always helpful especially when the material is hard to comprehend or difficult to understand.  People like helping other people.  You would be amazed what can be accomplished when you stick 3-4 heads together.

3.  TAKE BREAKS.  Get out from underneath your study rock and get some fresh air.  Hit the gym for an hour…go for a walk…watch an episode of House Hunters International (or three).  The point here is to just go do something “other” than studying.  Trust me, your brain needs a break.  My break during midterm exam week:  writing my blog.

4.  SLEEP.  I’ve made this mistake before.  And so have you.  Everyone has done it at least once.  It’s called the “all-nighter”.  This can be completely counterproductive to your study efforts.  Try as much as possible to keep your normal sleep routine.  Sacrificing 4 more hours of study time just isn’t worth it in the long run.

and

5.  REWARD YOURSELF.  You earned it.  Go treat yourself to some ice cream.  Maybe you’ll finally take a trip to your favorite restaurant with some friends.  It doesn’t matter “what” you do.  What matters is that your DO SOMETHING.  Get in the habit of rewarding yourself for a job well done.

Good luck!