A huge moment in the lives of many young Wall Streeters is coming up this Saturday.
That’s when all three levels of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam will be administered.
Many, many young professionals have spent months cramming for the notoriously brutal exam.
To put the exam’s difficulty in perspective, consider that fewer than 20 per cent of candidates pass all three levels of the CFA program on the first attempt. It takes the average test-taker five to six solid months to prepare.
We say all this just to set the scene for a truly terrible story one CFA candidate shared with us.
Last June, this CFA candidate went to the restroom and then…
Well, we’ll just let him tell the tale:
The afternoon session is about to start, so folks make their last minute run to the bathroom. I’m in the bathroom and a fellow Level I candidate steps up to use the facilities (the urinals go all the way to the floor). Candidates are carrying the various test-day items (calculator, passport, exam registration, etc.), and this particular guy didn’t seem to have any pockets. So with hands full, he decides to put his belongings on the counter near the sink. Not more than five seconds later, I hear all of his things drop to the floor. The worst part: his calculator hits the floor, the case shoots underneath the sink…and the calculator flies right into a urinal.
The look on his face was priceless. All of us stare at the ill-fated calculator, then stare back at the poor guy, who says what each of us were thinking — “I gotta have it. I can’t not have it”. The poor guy uses some paper towels, grabs the calculator, rinses it quickly in the sink (but not too long for fear of ruining the batteries), and hurries out to the exam room.
As I look back at this funny incident, I can’t help but think two things: (a) I would have done the same thing. The calculator is your lifeblood for this test. (b) The guy never did use the bathroom. That had to be a tough (and gross) afternoon session.
I have no idea if the guy passed or failed, but it sure made for a memorable test day.
Would you have done the same?
If you have a CFA horror story you’d like to share, feel free to send an email to [email protected] We can keep you anonymous if you wish.