Monday, January 30, 2006

CFA level 2 breakdown Posted by Picasa

Sunday, January 29, 2006

End of an era for hedge funds

SEC to Supervise Hedge Fund Industry: Financial News - Yahoo! Finance

This had to happen I guess, given the amount of free-reign culture that had permeated the hedge fund insutry. I am sure some of the bigger funds will continue to thrive...

Monday, January 23, 2006

SAS Class Notes

SAS Class Notes: Link for SAS online class at UCLA.

In other news:
- Attended a lecture by Harvey Stein, Head of Quant Research, Bloomberg
- Wrote my first C++ code for bond valuation as part of C++ class hw.
- Need to "watch" the first Corp fin class (online courses are fun!!! Can do them at my own pace).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

CFA prep.. thoughts

I started thinking about CFA after I got into MFE. My main concern was my lack of finance work exp, so I wanted an additional qualification on my resume that signaled my interest and aptitude for finance to future employers. But my main surprise from the CFA program was that it is also an excellent way to get started in understanding the basics of finance, accounting and economics. In a way, a crash course combining most MBA year 1 type courses.

Of course, one gripe most candidates who have to pay for it themselves have to face is: Is the cost worth it? After all, the books, exam fees, enrolment fees , prep materials, etc can run into a couple grand easily. Moreover, it is not an exam that can be passed with a month or two of studying (unless you have a very strong accounting and finance background).

I started looking seriously at the materials in August.. Some thoughts on my prep (remember that this is stuff that just worked for me..):
  • There is no subsitute for solid studying - I used only Schweser prep materials. For level 1, I think those are enough. Some people study from books and claim that its better. I am not sure, when you have limited time, its better to read from some notes. Also if you havent done already - sign up for the free tip of the week at I really liked the key SS concepts email I used to get every week.
  • Do all areas throughly. I left out a couple of areas - microecon, and some parts of quant (I dont like hypothesis testing too much.. its too boring).
  • Be on top of the game on accounting and investments (equity, debt and derivatives). These topics and ethics are the most important. My accounting was really bad - so I just did the good old technique of rote-memorizing key concepts. Believe me, it helped.
  • Speed is crucial. I think this is where I got some help. My engineering background has taught me to do calculations fairly quickly.
  • The actual test is tougher than what I found on Schweser sample exams. So it better to do a couple of exams from other sources.
  • Be a calculator wizard....use your calculator regularly during your studying.
  • I took the exam in December in SF. Be prepared for small things like parking, food, etc. Be mentally prepared for two long 3 hour sessions. It is mentally as well as physically demanding.
  • Ethics questions on the real test were tough.. the practice book and GIPS standards need to be studied very carefully.
  • The candidate readings are very important. Many questions came from the AIMR candidate readings.

I am glad I passed, mainly because when I started this journey, I didnt know too many engineers who had done this exam. In any way, I think it helped me understand some basic concepts. Now, I need to start thinking about Level 2.... The question is - Can I prepare for Level 2 while doing MFE course fulltime???

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

CFA level 1 ...


I just couldnt believe it when I saw the results. I had been keeping a bit mum about my CFA on this blog because I really didnt prepare well for it. But it all worked out great at the end.

More about this in a later post!! plus some tips on CFA prep.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Living at Cal

Living at Cal - University Village, Albany (UVA)

Looks like I may decide soon on the whole living situation at Cal. While living really close to campus and doing the whole college scene sounds enticing, I also need a good apartment with some decent amenities (parking space, laundry, etc). The University Village seems like a ideal choice.. and looks like I may be able to get one of these apartments (a townhouse actually) soon enough.

- University housing - safe, serene and BRAND NEW!!.
- Reasonable rents (not cheap, mind you)
- Community of other graduate students from all over the world.

- Bit far from campus, 15 min by Bus. Buses every 15/30 min.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Need Latex in school?

I have been using MS word for the past few years at work. I like Word, but dont like its equations editor. In school, earleir, I shied away from LaTEX (which was a hit among my friends in Math, sciences, electrical engineering, and others), and stuck to another program called Framemaker (acquired by Adobe later..).

I love the LaTEX produced documents though, especially the clarity of the mathematical formulae (I know this is going to be a very geeky post, I can almost feel it).

I just starting playing with LaTEX for windows - MikTEX along with a editor Winedt (install in that order) and got started on some rudimentary LaTEX. The question is - do I need it for my MFE course? Probably not, but then it may help in those SDE homeworks.. :)-

Here are some tutorials to get started:
Basic tutorial
List of Links

Amazon: Listmania! -

Amazon: Listmania! - View List "Financial Engineering"

Just started my own list on I hope to add some of the textbooks as well as other FE bibles on this list as well as my book reviews in the coming months.

Happy New Year, everyone!!!