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Ajay Minocha is India’s first blind person to receive CFA Charter

The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Charter is one of the most highly respected certifications in the investment management profession. Investment banking analyst Ajay Minocha is one of India's four visually impaired persons to do the CFA and the youngest to get the CFA Charter. The key, says Ajay, is to rely on yourself.

The certification of Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is regarded as the gold standard in the investment management profession. 27-year-old Ajay Minocha, who is among India's four visually impaired persons to complete CFA, has also achieved the distinction of being the youngest to receive the CFA Charter.

A charter is a professional credential awarded by the CFA Institute to financial and investment professionals who have completed the required programme of study, passed all three examinations and met other professional requirements

Ajay, who lost his vision late in life, started working full-time at the Mumbai office of a United Kingdom-based bank after doing an MBA at the top-ranked Indian Institute of Management, Indore. A few months into his job, Ajay felt the need to develop further skills.

I realized that I should acquire more technical skills to excel in my career. A lot of postgraduate courses don't teach you skills in areas like operations and finance and I felt that a CFA will give me that knowledge. - Ajay Minocha, Investment Banking Analyst

Ajay set up a punishing schedule to achieve this, studying after work and on weekends. In 2016 and 2017, he cleared the first two levels. He was unsuccessful in his first attempt in the third exam in 2018 but cracked it in 2019. "I set a fixed timetable and stuck to that, never deviating from it", says Ajay.

With the CFA Charter under his belt, Ajay has set his sights next on higher studies. His achievement is no small thing and is being celebrated by one and all. The Alumni Committee, IIM Indore is among those to acknowledge it. "We are proud of Ajay Minocha, alumnus (PGP 2013-15 batch), who has cleared the CFA Level 3 examination to become one of the 3 and the youngest visually impaired person to do so. He will be getting his charter in November, to become the 1st visually impaired charter holder from India. We wish him all the very best in his future endeavours."

Ajay's followed an intensive course of study, details of which he is happy to share with NewzHook readers.

"The CFA Institute provides the reading material in an accessible format and it is delivered through the Vital Source Bookshelf which is 100% accessible. Equations too are made accessible with the Maths ML Facility". He has a special word of thanks for the video lectures provided by Pune-based organisation FinTree. "Doing the curriculum alone is not enough and can get rather dry. The video lectures are accessible and bring a personal touch", he says.

The CFA Institute provided accommodations as well like extra time, reasonably qualified writers and a separate room. Because the institute only allows for certain calculator models to be used, and talking financial calculators are not available, Ajay memorised all the keystrokes! "I downloaded the calculator manual, made the keyboard layout in an Excel file and learned all the keystrokes".

Pretty amazing but this approach defines Ajay's attitude towards life and the curves it throws up.

"I did my schooling with my mother's help but by college, I decided to become self sustained", recalls Ajay. "When I lost vision in 2011, I switched to e books, scanning on my own and didn't want the habit of using a volunteer. Even during the CFA, my aim was to be self- sustained".

That's my key message, he adds to all visually impaired people. "Take more time if needed, but become self sustainable. Rely on yourself".

Also Read: Inclusive Stem is out to make hands-on science learning accessible to blind & low vision Indians

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