How to Advance Your Career at Schwab: Exploring Alex's Journey to Becoming a Chartered Financial Analyst
By Andie T.
Among Schwab’s many core values and beliefs, the desire to further one’s self in their career and ignite their passion is one that many Schwabbies have in common. The ability to gain additional knowledge and expertise in one’s business acumen or even a completely new field is an opportunity that many would not want to pass up. At Schwab, that opportunity is provided to our Schwabbies in many ways, one of which that reimburses employees’ eligible expenses for approved, qualifying education and training. Education reimbursement is a benefit offered by Schwab, which aims to provide Schwabbies with opportunities to develop their skills and advance in their career.
For current Schwabbie, Alex B., the education reimbursement benefit helped him reach his goal of becoming a financial analyst through earning his CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst). Before he started his career in financial analysis, Alex worked for the Supervision and Controls team that supported Investor Services right out of college. After spending 5 years with this group, Alex mentioned, “It was a great entry point into the industry. I figured out fairly quickly that I was really interested in financial analysis and through doing research, I found that the CFA was going to be a great way to get the knowledge I needed to really start my career in financial analysis.”
After realizing he’d like to pursue his interest in becoming a Financial Analyst, preparing for the CFA was the next logical step. Alex described how he, “did the research and saw how much it would cost. I had saved some money up, but obviously it’s pricey. There are 3 exams that you prepare for and it takes 2-3 years to get it done.” Despite the expenses and long-term commitment, Alex described how his senior management and team leaders showed their support and encouragement for him pursuing this opportunity: “When I spoke to my leaders in supervision about it, they were all really supportive. Aggie Cahill – who’s the current SVP of Supervision – she’s big on developing her people, so she was 100% behind it. She said, ‘Yeah I think that’s a great idea. I want to see you continue to grow in this industry.’ Elaine Logue was the SVP of Supervision at the time and Aggie was reporting to her. Elaine was also very supportive of me expanding my knowledge and going for the CFA, so they were both completely behind me doing it and allowed me to go and use the benefit for that.”
With supportive leaders by his side, Alex’s teammates also followed suit: “Sometimes I would study in the morning before work. I’d come in a little early and maybe study an hour before work and my teammates were super supportive of it. They knew that I was putting in a decent amount of study time, just like outside of work. They’d always ask me how’s it going. Right before the exams, like the week leading up to the exam they’d always say, “We know you’re under a lot of pressure, so let us know if you need any help. Let us know if your workload is too heavy and fortunately, I was able to manage that. But they said hey, if you need a helping hand or something like that with work, just let us know and we can get you the help you need. So, I really appreciated them being super supportive.”
After officially earning his CFA, Alex notes how beneficial this was to progress his career in finance: “I had a blast going through the CFA program, I learned a ton. For anyone who’s interested in the program, I recommend it. It’s benefitted me in terms of it helped me to get the job that I wanted, I learned a ton about the capital markets and once you get it, you become a part of CFA society. The CFA is a big part of the reason I got my current role.”
The job that Alex wanted, which happens to be his role currently, is working as a Financial Analyst supporting Enterprise Finance: “I’m a financial analyst for Schwab Asset Management Solutions or SAMS, as they’re called now.” In his role as a Financial Analyst, the CFA has proven to be quite valuable and an essential part of being successful in his position: “The knowledge I got on financial analysis going through that program – I use most of that content every single day in various parts of my role, various different tasks I’m involved in, various different responsibilities I have. It’s directly benefitted me."
For anyone also interested in pursuing the CFA, Alex had some parting advice and thoughts: “First and foremost from the beginning before you start anything, try to really do the research and make sure it’s going to help you get to your end goal, so you don’t invest a lot of time and effort into something and then realize later down the line that this isn’t really going to help me reach my career goals. Before you get started, try to look at your schedule and say when can I invest the time to study? When can I invest the resources to get this done? For me, I decided I’m a morning person, so I think spending an hour in the morning, four days a week, that will get me to my end goal.”