Pakistan is a land of strange happenings, a place where unimaginable things are quite common, a place where people have selfishness built into their souls from the grass root level, a place where you really get to know what the word “insanity” really means. Even the most prestigious of things turn into the most absurd ones here and an attempt to get rid of one such anomaly (where educational institutions turned into vultures) is Fin-alyst.
Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) program is one of the most prestigious security analysis program and is recognized internationally for its intense curriculum which provides students and professionals a full spectrum of tools and application skills around the world. The economic boom during 2003-2007 in Pakistan lead to strong equity market performance in the country and that lead to the introduction of CFA program in Pakistan. This is a story of how this prestigious program was abused in Pakistan and used to make money.
Some of the well reputed institutions started offering classes for this program and gradually the CFA got recognized. Now that is where the institutions played their role. Especially in Punjab, where people hardly knew about the applicability of the CFA program, institutions started offering classes and orientations where they started telling students about the high pay packages enjoyed by CFA charter holders. This was exaggerated so much as a tool to hunt down students who enroll in the CFA classes. The students were being lured into CFA without being told the applicability or the experience requirement for the program.
Hunting down students like vultures, these institutions finally managed to get huge classes of students. Above that, in order to improve their results, they advised their working students to get rid of their jobs to pursue the program. And owing to that, a lot of students actually left their jobs to clear the CFA program. After passing every level of the program, students were told to keep studying without working as they would get high salaries once they get done with their CFA program. The quality of studies they provided in the classes was satisfactory, but that is not the point. The point is, students were lied to so that the institutes could benefit from large turnovers of students.
The Pandora Box Opened:
Finally the Pandora Box opened when a lot of students from these institutions got done with their CFA program and went out in search of a job. Maximum of them had no idea where to get the job and tried to get into management, accounting, auditing positions. Those who knew that CFA would work in Capital markets, tried to get a job in local capital markets in Punjab but owing to the small size of those stock markets, they could not get any good positions. Their dreams shattered.The dreams about making millions in a month, the dreams about sitting on the top of every organization, the dreams that they were made to see in the classrooms. A couple of friends went into depression, a lot of them started teaching in local universities and some resumed their old job in accounts and auditing at their previous positions.
And that’s where Fin-alyst was born!
Since I had a lot of friends in Punjab who were doing the CFA program, I was more oblivious of the situation there. I used to tell them on a personal basis that they need to change their approach towards this program. CFA program is way rewarding but you need practical experience for that. If you don’t know how things are working in the real world, you just cannot help yourself. Once you clear your all three levels of CFA, some recruitment houses actually start considering that you are indeed over qualified for the entry level jobs in the local market.
In any case you need experience and only getting through the three levels won’t help much if you do not have real time experience. After looking at the huge lot of students I understood that there is a need to make them realize the truth about their measure of success. I finally kick started Fin-alyst.
Fin-alyst a totally free service which aimed to provide them the general education about their career into financial industry in Pakistan, the challenges, the way to get into right job to utilize all that you learn in the CFA program and the real time experience. The first step was the launch of Fin-alyst’s blog which will include different things I learnt during my experience in the financial industry.
The second step was providing free support stuff which includes one of the most important features of research. The third step was presence in Social Media like Twitter, Facebook to be approachable for students and professionals for any discussion and help. Moreover, anyone could also approach me through the Email address (firstname.lastname@example.org) provided. Fin-alyst was designed to present any job openings in the local financial services industry to share with all those who are interested.
Next step was organizing several seminars and workshops on practical aspects of the investment industry like understanding real life issues and dynamics of economy and different sectors, know how of the investment industry, right approaches for students to find a job in the financial services industry and financial modeling using MS Excel.
(Any wrong reference to the CFA program is purely incidental and you are requested to confirm with me about it before referencing it anywhere. This post has nothing to do with the CFA program, it only highlights the way CFA program was used by some institutions to exploit students)