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It took years to pass FRM - Zero Finance Background - Only David at my side!!


Thread starter #1
I am writing this email 20 days after the FRM I/II results were declared. Just that it took me this much time to really sink in the feeling to the fact that I cleared both the part in November attempt. I did my post in the result thread but really writing this post to express my gratitude to David - who helped me bring down the Goliath name FRM.

I am a software architect with 16 years experience with absolutely no finance education hailing from India. Till a year and half back I was working in US only. One day during a coffee discussion about a job offer a colleague had (later I came to know was preparing for CFA), said that he will have to decide upon by seeing the time value of that offer!!! The word "time value" sounded so exciting to me. Then a close friend told me what it meant (he was from the top B school of India and already a FRM). Thus in this "bad company" I came to know about FRM and the 2008 crisis was there. We were developing software for bank backoffice operations (no relation to core Finance though). This is where I thought that lets do a formal certification and education in Finance.

Very soon I realized that encouragement is not enough, you really have to devote time. Earlier friends got me notes from other providers but frankly with no Finance backing it was all Greek. This is where I chanced upon BT while looking at some forums. Just my seeing some samples I knew that this would fit me. Thus I subscribed.

Then came the state everyone goes through as I realize reading those posts in your forum - is there a master plan to study, questions like how much time is enough for preparation? what basic books to read? - YES I read them all and frankly now that I have cleared I can relate to David's reply that there is no one size that fits all!!

Forum was the richest source. I started reading some basic books. Concepts which I did not read properly, I decided to take up again - basic calculus, probability. Thus number of hours is definitely individual. I was spending 3-4 hours daily for 8-9 months and at times even 8-9 on offs. It was like back to school in middle age of life.

- When I first attempted the exam I could not even understand a word as to what the questions were talking about. Just one think I could make out that this is a tough cookie. Not just any exam and it made me feel that I am attempting a right one.
- When I second time attempted I could understand questions but could not readily solve it!!!! Thus the start to basics journey began.
- Lastly I was so amazed at myself that I was indeed solving and getting the answers right to the decimals which were given as choice in exam!!!

If I say that I owe my exam success to David it would nothing. I would say that any single word related to Finance and risk that I understand (and flaunt that knowledge in executive MBA that I have now enrolled) is due to David and BT - notes, tons of questions, videos, forum. There was a time when I was just focused on solving a question so it would have taken even a day for me. Later things got lining up.

I had some personal situation changes also. I moved back to India, job dynamics and personal dynamics were changing. I could not spent years chasing the exam as there has to be time to accept that this one does not fit me. Thus this time I decided to pay final gamble - calculated risk :). I read that both exam in a day could be too much but the syllabus and concepts are closely knit. So, I read both levels. Ironically after exam I was feeling more confident about Level II then I (another suspense twist I had to live with for a month).

Anyways I feel really good that it ended in a positive note. But I would not really want end this journey here. This is a beginning. But I have no words to express my gratitude to David. It is only because of him. I saw him talking in one of his video and wanted to shake his hands right there. May be if I am NY sometime I would want to do that. I started from a point where if I see a reply from David to my question I would first feel proud that I could raise a question that is worth for David to be replied. I would assess my growth that way also.

David you are the true beacon to so many risk professionals. I hope I really make something in risk territory just so that you can feel proud of your student like me!!! Kudos to you!!!

- Regards,
Shailendra Bade
Congrats man.. This is solid proof that a person with no finance background can just as well pave his way to success as long as he works hard and patiently assemble the key building blocks.. Really awesome to hear and amazing to pass both parts singly.. Have a blast man:)

David Harper CFA FRM

David Harper CFA FRM (test)
Staff member
Thank you Shailendra (@Finaspirant) for such a lovely post. It inspires @Nicole Manley and me. We are grateful to have jobs that provide a service. Everybody deserves meaningful work. You are my kind of people: you have 16 years of experience as a software architect, yet you have the eagerness of a new learner. I'm the same as you, just role reversed. I have similar years of finance experience, and I am now re-learning to write code, in a new language, just like a new student (every day, I practice for at least one hour ...) .

Beginner's mind is an attitude: eagerness, patience (no shortcuts), diligent practice, tolerance with failure. Personally, I think anybody can achieve anything if they are willing to do what you did; ie, "I was spending 3-4 hours daily for 8-9 months." Thanks for your compliment but thank you more for inspiring the rest of us with your values.
Thank you sir for such encouragement to all FRM Aspirants including me.. Everyday is an opportunity to learn something.. In life there are no shortcuts to success.. Shailendra is a winner.. :)


Thread starter #6
Thank you all and David. I will continue my association with this learning platform as I am standing shoulder to shoulder to any risk professional due to BT only.