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Thread: Does CFA certification help in PhD admission process?

  1. #1
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    Feb 2014
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    Does CFA certification help in PhD admission process?

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    I was wondering if CFA certification would strengthen my PhD Finance application. I have good but unimpressive grades in my UG/Grad schools and would like to know if I can demostrate my ability to master materials through CFA instead.

    Here is a glimpse of my profile-

    Undergrad: Computer science engineering (74%) from a decent university in India (75% is considered as Distinction). >70% in all math courses that include Linear algebra, calculus, numerical methods, prob and stats.
    Postgrad: MBA in banking and finance from University of Wales, UK. 2:1 Honors degree with distinction in dissertation thesis.
    GRE: Yet to take, targeting 165+ in Quants, 160+ in verbal.
    Prior research/teaching experience: Nil except for dissertation in MBA (Studied Capital Structure determinants of companies listed in London Stock Exchange).
    CFA Level 3 Candidate
    Referees: Corporate finance professor (Phd in Econ, MBA from LBS) and Banking project professor (Phd from China)- both are working in UK universities currently.
    PhD Stream interested in: Quantitative Finance (Asset pricing, and forecasting models)
    Post PhD aim: Haven't decided yet. I am also a practitioner and would be interested to work in banks in Stats modeling.

    Work experience post MBA: 2 years as Quantitative Research analyst. Worked on Asset price forecasting, and statistical analysis on multi asset portfolios in Indian KPO. Proficient in R, S+, SQL, MATLAB, and VBA. Does work experience help in the application?

    Target schools:

    Graduate School of Economics, Finance, and Management- Frankfurt, Germany (Pros- close to European Central Bank etc)
    ESADE, Spain
    IESE, Spain
    Swiss Finance Institute, Switzerland
    Australian National University, Australia
    University of Melbourne, Australia
    Bocconi, Italy
    University of Toronto, Canada.
    McGill, Canada.
    Nova, Portugal.
    EDHEC, France (pros- good in Risk management and Quantitative Finance)
    HEC, France
    ESSEC, France

  2. #2
    Alea Iacta Est daffodil5435's Avatar
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    Sep 2011
    New York, NY
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    There are a whole bunch of posts related to this topic...look around...

    In short: Doesn't hurt, but won't help either...

  3. #3
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Does CFA certification help in PhD admission process?

    I think it helps a lot.


  4. #4
    Trying to make mom and pop proud
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    Re: Does CFA certification help in PhD admission process?

    Definitely not helps a lot. But it helps to show you have enough finance knowledge, as your undergrad is not finance/econ.

  5. #5
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    TX, USA
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    Re: Does CFA certification help in PhD admission process?

    Sorry, but Ph.D. in Finance programs do not look for skills you learn from the CFA program. It's a great program but does not add value to your Ph.D. application. It doesn't hurt if you mention in your resume, but do not expect that the adcom will give you more advantage in comparison with those who got a strong background in math, econ, and programming. Especially if you're interested in empirical finance, then programming skills (Python, R, Matlab) would be the edge. Furthermore, what you will study (and do research) at Ph.D. level is very different from what you learn in the CFA program.

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