This week, we met up with High School Senior E-Therng L. (’22), who earned the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Institute Investment Foundations Program Certificate! He is also the Club Leader of the Young Investors Society (YIS) Chapter in Malaysia. Born in Penang, Malaysia, he spent his Prep Senior to Grade 2 years at ISKL before moving to the U.S and China. He returned to Malaysia and ISKL in Grade 5.
Here is his story.
“The CFA investment program is a program that covers the essentials of finance, ethics, and investment roles. It covers all aspects of finance, such as ethics, economics, investment instruments, and more. I initially joined the program after seeing that YIS has partnered up with the CFA to bring the program to YIS students. I was interested in the CFA program as it is a rigorous program for finance professionals, but I couldn’t take the first level test of the CFA yet. So I felt that this program would give me a better insight into the financial field and the CFA program in general. You have to join YIS and submit an application to enter this program. The program is currently closed to new applicants, but they open up every half year.
‘The CFA program teaches many things such as the ethics and regulations of the investment industry, micro, macro, and international economics, the different financial sectors and instruments used such as debt securities, equity securities, and derivatives.
‘My advice for those who would want to enroll is to start early. I didn’t pace myself that well and finished the program quite late due to delays after several months. Because of that, I had to rush through the final few sections before I took the test. It took me longer than 80 hours to finish the program as each chapter took me about 4-5 hours to complete on average after taking notes, watching videos, and doing practice problems. And there are 20 of such chapters. Also, I would recommend you use the candidate resources as they have a lot of activities that motivate you to complete the program, such as games, flashcards, and achievements.”
A Passion for Finance and Investing
“I got interested in investing back in Grade 7 when I joined a financial literacy course in ISKL. I wanted to continue this passion in high school, so I signed up for YIS. In the beginning, YIS was a bit hard since I came back to ISKL in the second semester and missed the first club fair. However, over time as I further engaged and participated in the stock pitch, I was able to catch up with the other students.
‘I think that other people should join YIS because of what it teaches. The core purpose of YIS is to teach students how to become financially independent and how to grow their money over time. When you leave for college or start a job and place money in the bank, it is going to earn about 3% interest, maximum, and that is simple interest as well. It isn’t a lot of money, considering the inflation rate. However, if you learn how to invest in the stock market, you can earn a lot of money with compounded interest. YIS can teach you how to invest in long-term stocks that will generate returns in the long run so that you will be able to save enough money for retirement. In addition, even if you aren’t interested in learning about investing, if you join YIS and write an essay given a prompt, you can win $365. This monetary reward allows students to start investing with the money they won.
‘YIS has mainly taught me how to invest in stocks and the different methods of being able to determine a good company. It also helped me develop research and public speaking skills through the annual Global Stock Pitch Competition. I joined the competition in 2020 and managed to win second place among six different teams from other Asian countries.
‘In general, my advice for students is that you are in charge of your learning. When I entered YIS in the second semester, I was incredibly behind and felt lost as we moved towards more advanced topics when I didn’t even understand the basic ones. However, instead of quitting the club, I advocated for my learning by asking questions and participating in the stock pitch, which helped me be on par with the students that joined early on. If you’re ever feeling behind, the responsibility falls onto yourself to make decisions that can help you improve, and ISKL will ensure that you get help with your learning.”
Plans for the Future
“My ultimate career goal is to become an investment banker or a marketing analyst. I am mainly inclined towards the latter as it aligns with my interests in computer science and finance, but it is also a highly paid job. To do that, I aim to learn computer science in college and then pursue a Master’s in financial engineering or computational finance. Besides that, my dream is to live a life where I am financially independent and able to support my family.
‘I also wish to give back to society by visiting different schools and teaching subjects I am passionate about. I got inspired by this as YIS was started by James Fletcher when he was going around and teaching high school teens about investing. A student told him that his lessons were inspirational, which led to YIS’s creation. Similarly, I am inspired by our Club Advisor, Mr. Mark Van Cott, who uses a large portion of his personal time to come in and help teach or advise students. He is a parent and does not have the obligations to do so, but he committed his time and care to teach us about finance.”
“I think my most memorable moments at ISKL were in my extracurriculars. Back before COVID-19 hit, I was part of the badminton team. The Junior varsity excursion to Singapore was one of my highlights, along with my Grade 8 Malaysia Week trip and Grade 10 Global Action Program (GAP) trip. For Malaysia Week, we went to Gopeng, Perak, and I remember building close bonds with my peers and having a lot of fun.
‘For GAP, we were all challenged to go beyond our comfort zone as we visited Vietnam and had limited access to technology. Although one might think that technology such as phones or computers to be essential to our daily lives, I never found myself thinking about my devices much because there was so much to do there, especially when we had to work together to build a house!”
What does “Be All You Are” mean to you?
“To me, ‘Be All You Are’ means to be yourself and not to try to conform to the way other people want you to be. Your culture and various experiences shape your personality, and a lot of time, people will try to demean you and try to change your values and what you like. However, when you are all you are, you are always standing up for your individuality in a world where people are trying to fit in by following the norm.”
Do you know a student, faculty, staff, or alumni with a story to tell? Nominate them to be featured in our Panthers of ISKL stories by sending in your submissions here.
To find out more inspiring stories of our students read about Alan C., the Musical Youtuber Mizuki S., the Leader of Change!