Chapter 1: Roadmap to choosing the right professional courses

15 July 2020
10 minute read

This month’s edition is all about the different courses you can pursue alongside your graduation. These Courses could be a highway to your dream job. Courses like FRM, CFA, Actuarial Science etc are a way to make you job-ready for your career. These courses not only add to your job-specific skills but can help you gain that extra edge over the others. Want to sync your passion with your career? This could be your first step towards making that true! Move forward and read the first edition of Corporate Catena to find the answer to all your queries & doubts about these courses!


  1. Chartered Financial Analyst
  2. Financial modelling
  3. Actuarial Science
  4. FRM
  5. Digital Marketing
  6. Chartered Accountancy
  7. ACCA
  8. Data Science

1) Chartered Financial Analyst:

About the Course:

CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) is a globally recognized credential in the field of Financial Management and Investment Management, provided by the CFA Institute. The program has an in-depth focus on financial modelling, portfolio management, and other investment-related areas.

CFA has 3 levels:

Level I-

•Introduction to asset classes- Equity, Fixed Income, Alternatives etc.

Level II-

•Higher dive into valuation of assets- like Equity- Fixed Income- Derivatives

Level III-

•Introduction to Portfolio Management and Wealth Planning


To be eligible to apply for The CFA Program, candidate must hold a bachelor’s degree, or be in the final year of your bachelor’s degree program (or have four years of qualified professional work experience.)

Career options after CFA:

  1. Portfolio Manager

  2. Research Analyst

  3. Investment Banking

  4. Corporate financial analyst

Top Employers of CFA chaterholder

  1. J.P. Morgan

  2. UBS

  3. Morgan Stanley


1. What is the exam fees for all three levels?

Ans.Early Registration Fee- USD 700 for 8 Months

Standard Registration Fee- USD 1000 for 4 Months

Late Registration Fee- USD 1450 for 3 Months

2. How is CFA different from CA?

Ans. • The focus area of CA is Auditing, Accountancy, and Taxation whereas the focus area of the CFA Program is Investment Banking, Equity Research, Investment, etc.

•Candidate can start preparing for the CA right after the 12th standard whereas a candidate can start pursuing CFA only after graduation.


Candidates can opt the course from:

  • Finguru
  • Proschool

2) Financial modelling:

About the Course:

Financial modelling is the task of building an abstract representation of a real world financial situation. This is a mathematical model designed to represent the performance of a financial asset or portfolio of a business, project, or any other investment. It is a core skill that is almost mandatory for anyone who wants to build a career in finance.

Course Coverage:

  • Structuring and designing models
  • Sector-specific working of revenue and expense
  • Understanding various possible ways to compute different line items forming part of financial statements
  • Tax calculation
  • Integrating financial statements to present a cohesive output

What is a financial model used for?

  1. Making acquisitions (businesses and/or assets)
  2. Growing the business organically (e.g., opening new stores, entering new markets, etc.)
  3. Selling or divesting assets and business units
  4. Budgeting and forecasting (planning for the years ahead)


There is no minimum qualification required to pursue the Financial modeling course. Professionals with Financial Modeling skills working in Equity Research, Investment Banking, Credit Ranking Analysis, Financial Analysis, Business Analysis, Project Finance, or Fund Management have an advantageous edge over others.


There are many sites offering this course:

  • Udemy
  • Ernst and Young learning solutions
  • Finladder
  • Internshala
  • Eduprestine
  • Wallstreetschool


1. Who builds financial models?

There are many professions and career paths that require financial modelling. Here are some of the most common ones:

  • Investment Banking Analysts & Associates
  • Equity Research Analysts & Associates
  • Private Equity Analysts & Associates
  • Credit Analysts
  • FP&A Analysts & Managers
  • Corporate Development Analysts & Managers

Ques: How will Financial Modelling help you in your career?

The financial modelling program doesn’t require the candidate to have a commerce background. As long as the candidate wants to understand decision making which may be in the form of project finance, or equity research or any other field where decision making comes in handy.

Ques: How does Financial Modelling help in Investment Banking Jobs?

As we have seen, Financial Modeling also helps investors to find companies where they can invest for better returns. Usually, the Investment Banks also end up helping/advising their clients on how to manage their financial assets.

Financial Modeling assists investment bankers to do the valuation of the companies. If you want to get into Investment Banking, then Financial Modeling has proven to be a pre-requisite.

Ques: Few courses that you can look up if you want to learn Finacial Modeling as a skill?

  • Business and Financial Modelling by Wharton on Coursera
  • Beginner to Pro in Excel: Financial Modelling and Valuation on Udemy
  • The Wall Street School
  • IMS Proschool

3) Actuarial Science:

About the Course:

Actuarial Science is the study of application that applies mathematical and statistical methods to assess risk management in insurance, finance and other industries. It deals with evaluating risks and maintaining the economic stability of insurance or financial organizations.

What does an actuary do?

Actuaries analyze the financial costs of risk and uncertainty. They use mathematics, statistics, and financial theory to assess the risk of potential events, and they help businesses and clients develop policies that minimize the cost of that risk. Actuaries’ work is essential to the insurance industry.


Anyone who has passed 12th grade.

Top Employers of CFA chaterholder

  1. WNS
  2. PwC
  3. McKinsey
  4. IDBI Bank
  5. Ernst and Young

Career options:

  1. Economists

  2. Mathematicians and Statisticians

  3. Budget Analyst


1. What is the exam fee for Actuarial Science from different Institutions?

Ans. •SOA – The initial exams P and FM start from around Rs. 17000/- each for computer-based and Rs. 14500/- for pen and paper based.

•IFOA – The initial exams CM and CS series start from around Rs. 17000/- for pen and paper based exam.

•IAI – The initial exams CM and CS series start from around Rs. 5000 for pen and paper based exam.

2. What is the passing rate of these institutes?

The passing rates of both SOA and IFOA are same, which is 40-50%. Whereas, the passing rate of IAI is quite less than this, which is 20%-30%.


  • Societies of Actuaries(SOA)
  • Institute and faculty of Actuaries(IFOA)
  • Institute of Actuaries of India(IAI)

4) FRM:

About the Course:

  • FRM is a specialized exam for obtaining expertise in Risk Management.
  • FRM is suited for those who want to make a career in Risk management in Banks, Treasury Department or in Risk Assessments.
  • FRM today is one of the most prestigious and rewarding certifications in Finance.


  • There are no minimum eligibility requirements for appearing in the FRM exam.

  • Once a candidate passes FRM Part 1 Exam they must pass FRM Part 2 Exam within 4 years. If a candidate fails to pass the FRM Part 2 Exam within that timeframe, they must start the program all over again and re-enroll in the FRM Exam Program.


It takes nearly about 1.5 to 2 years to clear Part 1 and Part 2 of FRM Exams. Exams are conducted twice a year in May and November. The approximate cost of two exams is 60,000 (USD 1000) and tuition fee is 50,000.

Career options:

  1. Analytics Client Consultant

  2. Risk Management Analytics Consultant

  3. Risk Manager, Personal Banking

  4. Corporate Risk – Managing Director – COO & Risk Officer for Global Asset Liability Management

  5. Risk Quantification Manager

  6. Manager, Operational Risk Advisory and Oversight for Wealth Management

  7. Large Enterprise Commercial Risk Manager

  8. Senior Operational Risk Manager

  9. Credit risk specialists

  10. Market risk specialists.

5) Digital Marketing:

About the Course:

  • Digital marketing is the component of marketing that utilizes internet and online based digital technologies and other digital media and platforms to promote products and services.

  • Digital marketing extends to non-Internet channels that provide digital media. The extension to non-Internet channel differentiates digital marketing from online marketing.


  • Digital Marketing as such requires no minimum qualification.

  • Although, some institutes ask for a Higher Secondary level qualification.

  • Mostly, it requires only basic computer and internet surfing skills.

Career options:

  1. SEO manager

  2. PPC Marketing Manager

  3. Blogger

  4. Influencer

  5. Marketing and Automation Specialist

  6. UX Designer

  7. Social Media Manager

Online sites which offer Digital marketing:

  1. Google Digital Marketing Courses (Free with Certification)

  2. Reliablesoft Academy (Paid with Certification)

  3. SEMRUSH Academy (Free with Certification)

  4. ClickMinded Digital Marketing Course (Free and Paid with Certification)

  5. HubSpot Online Marketing Courses (Free with Certification)

6) Chartered Accountancy:

About the Course:

Chartered Accountant is a designation given to an accounting professional who has received certification from a statutory body that he/she is qualified to take care of the matters related accounting and taxation of a business, like file tax returns, audit financial statements and business practices, maintaining records of investments, preparing and reviewing financial reports and documents. A Chartered Accountant is also qualified to offer advisory services to clients which include companies and individuals.

About ICAI Exam

In India, the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI), conducts CA exams and certify a candidate as a qualified Chartered Accountant on successful completion of the three-level course.

Examinations conducted are:

  • CA Foundation Level

  • Intermediate (Integrated Professional Competence) Examination

  • Final Examination

Eligibility criteria for Foundation Route:

  • The candidate must have passed Class XII and completed four months of study period to be able to appear for Foundation examination.

  • The candidate needs to register with Board of Studies for four months of study period.

Eligibility criteria for Direct Entry Route:

For direct entry to Intermediate course, the candidate must be:

Commerce Graduates/Post-Graduates (with minimum 55% marks) or Other Graduates/Post-Graduates (with minimum 60% marks) from a recognized university (including Open University).

Top Recruiters

  • KPMG

  • Deloitte

  • Topaz Energy & Marine

  • Standard Chartered

  • State Bank of India

  • HDFC Bank


Ques: How do you get a rank in IPCC/ Intermediate group? And is there any relaxation when you appear for both the groups together?

Intermediate/IPCC paper is divided into two groups, Inter 1 and Inter 2. Each group consists of 4 papers. A candidate can either appear for both the groups at once or first clear Inter 1 and then appear for Inter 2. However, if they want to be eligible for rank, they must give both the groups together. Moreover, there are certain relaxations on the passing score when you appear for both the groups together. If you appear for the groups individually, you have to score 200 in group 1 and 150 in group 2. But if you appear for both the group’s at once, you will have to score a total of 350 in both the groups. This means, if you score 230 in group 1 and 120 in group 2, the total comes up to be 350, hence you will pass the exam. However, when you appear individually, there is no layoff or carry forward of marks.

Ques: What is the direct entry option? Who all can opt for it?

Direct entry option allows a graduate to skip CA Foundation exam and directly be eligible for IPCC group 1 and 2. Any commerce graduate or post-graduate with 55% marks or any graduate from any other stream with 60% marks, can opt for this option. To be eligible for the exam, apart from holding the degree, the candidate must have completed 9 months of articleship and taken 4 weeks of ICITSS (Orientation course and Information Technology). Candidates who have passed the Intermediate level of Institute of Companies Secretaries of India or Institute of Cost Accountants of India can also exercise this option. But, they only have to go through only 8 months of articleship.

Ques: What are the career opportunities after CA?

  1. Taxation

    • Direct tax
    • International taxation
    • GST/customs consultancy

  2. Management Consultancy services

    • Project financing
    • Mergers Acquisition
    • Valuation

  3. Auditing

    • Statutory audit of companies
    • Cooperative audits
    • Forensic audit
    • Internal/management audit of companies

  4. Finance

    • Investment banking
    • Insurance sector
    • Commercial Banking

7) ACCA:

About the Course:

The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) institute.As a globally recognized education and updated/Industry relevant content, ACCA qualification is a great way to build a career in Accounts and finance. Students can pursue this along with their graduation. Its flexible examination scheme makes this qualification more attractive.

Course Structure:

To qualify as an ACCA member, a candidate will be required to do the following:

  1. Attempt and clear 13 exams (ACCA does provide exemptions in some exams depending upon the candidate’s previous qualification)

  2. Record 36 month’s experience in a relevant role. The candidate can acquire the experience before /during/ after completion of the qualification.

  3. Complete the Ethics and Professional Skills module.

Examinations conducted are:

  • CA Foundation Level

  • Intermediate (Integrated Professional Competence) Examination

  • Final Examination

Career Options:

  1. Holistic approach in curriculum trains you for diverse roles; you can go on to per strategic tasks.

  2. Multinational organizations including the Big 4 and large number of captives/KPOs are aware of the ACCA qualification since its members/students are spread across 181 countries.

When are the ACCA final exams held?

ACCA has a flexible study approach and you can take their computer based test at any of their ACCA’s Authorized Computer Based exam centres.


Ques: What are the entry requirements for the ACCA Qualification?

To enrol onto the ACCA Qualification at Fundamentals level you need a relevant secondary school education covering five separate subjects, which must include English and maths.

Ques: How quickly can I complete the ACCA Qualification?

From 2016, ACCA will run four exam sessions per year. Students can sit a maximum of four exams at each exam session, and a maximum of eight distinct exams each calendar year. You could, therefore, complete all of the exams in 2 years.

However, as you also need three years’ of practical work experience before you can become an ACCA member and be considered a qualified accountant, the qualification takes a minimum of 3 years to complete.

Ques: What exams do I have to take to complete the Foundations level?

The Foundations level exams and awards are detailed below:

  1. Introductory Certificate in Financial and Management Accounting

    • FA1 – Recording Financial Transactions
    • MA1 – Management Information

  2. Intermediate Certificate in Financial and Management Accounting

    • FA2 – Maintaining Financial Records
    • MA2 – Managing Costs and Finance

  3. Diploma in Accounting and Business

    • FAB – Accountant in Business
    • FMA – Management Accounting
    • FFA – Financial Accounting

  4. Certified Accounting Technician (CAT)

  5. To achieve this award you need to complete all of the above exams and two of the following exams:

    • FTX – Foundations in Taxation
    • FFM – Foundations in Financial Management
    • FAU – Foundations in Audit

Ques: How is ACCA different from CA?

The main difference is that its passing percentage is somewhat higher than CA and in ACCA you can give the papers one by one instead of studying for all the exams at once.

8) Data Science:

About the Course:

Data science is a blend of mathematics, business acumen, tools, algorithms and machine learning techniques, all of which help us in finding out the hidden insights or patterns from raw data which can be of major use in the formation of big business decisions. With the amount of data that is being generated and the evolution in the field of Analytics, Data Science has turned out to be a necessity for companies. This field is such that anyone from any background can make a career as a Data Scientist.


  • Data Science as such requires no minimum qualification.

  • Mostly, it requires knowledge of tools like R, Python, Coding, MS EXCEL and knowledge about some mathematical techniques and Business understanding.

Career Options:

  1. Business Analytics Professional

  2. Business Intelligence Professional.

  3. Data Scientist

  4. Big Data Analysts

  5. HR Analytics Professionals

  6. Marketing Analytics Professionals

  7. Data Mining Engineer

  8. Data Architect

  9. Research Analyst and many more.

Where to pursue from:

  • Coursera

  • Metis

  • Dataquest

  • edX

  • Harvard

  • Udemy


Ques. How Data Science differs from Big Data and Data Analytics?

Data Science is a field containing tools and algorithms for gaining insights from raw data and includes data related tasks, whereas Big Data implies an enormous amount of data that can be filtered using various channels and Data Analytics is the field for providing insights as well as deals with the prediction of future.

Ques. How do Data Scientists use statistics?

Statistics is one of the most important disciplines to provide tools and methods to find structure in and to give deeper insight into data. It serves a great impact on data acquisition, exploration, analysis, validation, etc.

Ques. What is the average salary of a data scientist?

A report by AIM had found out that the average salary for a data scientist in India is ₹12.7 lakh p.a. in 2018, which has levelled off with the average salary of ₹12.6 lakh p.a. across all experience levels in 2019.

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