Celebrating 50 Years of the CFA Charter

CFA Institute

Travails of Travel

At times, the biggest challenge to becoming a CFA charterholder has been getting to the exam. Civil unrest… Maoist attacks… burning buses… transportation systems shut down… ambulances commandeered…. These stories from Bangladesh, India and Nepal show what some candidates have endured simply for the chance to sit for the exam.

Commandeering an ambulance
In June of 2011 I was an L3 candidate in Bangladesh getting ready to take the exam. Political tensions had been building and three days before the exam we learned there a nationwide strike was scheduled for the same day. That would make it impossible to take public transportation to the exam site.

The day before the exam opposition activists torched around 10 buses in pre-strike violence. So all candidates had the problem of finding transportation to the exam site. I managed to spend the night before the exam at a relative’s home close to the testing site. Others had more difficulty. One L3 candidate, whose brother is a doctor, commandeered an ambulance to take him and his brother to the site.

The exam went on like any others I’ve taken, and the turmoil outside did not hamper performance all that much. But once we were finished, we had the problem of getting home. Fortunately, the candidate who came by ambulance was able to get it to come back. This time 8-10 of us crowded in for what proved to be a very entertaining ride back to our destination.

Despite the troubles, the passing rate that year was excellent. The many successes that year prompted more people to undertake studies for the Charter, and today we’re maintaining a Facebook group of more than 1,300 members and looking forward to launching the first CFA Society in Bangladesh.

Asif Khan, CFA

A happy ending
Back in 2009, when I was desperately looking for a job after graduation, I realized sitting for the CFA exam would help me get an edge over my peers. Even though it cost me my entire savings, I still booked the venue at Nepal for Dec 2009. Unfortunately, on exam day, there was a strike, and the exam got cancelled. A lot of us from Bangladesh and India went there, and it was a shock for most of us.

However, after coming back, I had a written exam for a job interview on 8 Dec at Credit Rating Agency of Bangladesh (CRAB). I remember coming home and telling my parents how the exam went really well because of preparation for the Level 1, and later I got to learn that the person who set the question paper passed L1 last June and made questions similar to L1 mocks.

Thus, even though I was backing up on passing the L1 exam to break into the financial sector, my preparation ended up helping me get my first full-time job.

Afterwards, I later went on to work for Standard Chartered Bank, and then BRAC EPL Investments Ltd., where I am currently working as an associate at our Structured Finance Unit.

I ended up passing the L1 in June 2012.

Kind regards,

Shafkat Mahmud
Associate at Structured Finance Unit
BRAC EPL Investments Ltd.

Patience, perseverance and ingenuity
In 2007, legal issues – since resolved – kept some 10,000 CFA candidates in India from taking the exam there. The Wall Street Journal covered the global exodus it caused – and the patience, perseverance and ingenuity that got the candidates to alternative test sites. To read the article, go to http://online.wsj.com/article/SB119707778738417937.html

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