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This is an interview in a series of Interviews that Pristine Careers would conduct. Pristine would meet professionals/ students / other people, who have been successful in clearing FRM and get their views on how to succeed. EduPristine is hopeful that it would give the readers some insight into how to crack FRM and other certifications in finance

Paramdeep Singh, a director with EduPristine speaks to Nageshwar Sastry, an expert in Risk Management (specially Market Risk) and Analytics. Sastry has been working in the field of Risk Management and Analytics for the past 6 years. He has significant experience in project management and market Risk Management, particularly in Derivatives and structured products. He has a strong background in Quantitative Analysis and thinks that to clear the exam you have to focus on the fundamentals. Sastry is an engineer by background and has done his Bachelors and Masters from IIT Bombay and MBA from ISB.

Param: Tell me a brief about your background?

Sastry: Education – BTECH + MTECH from IIT Bombay, MBA (Finance and Marketing) from ISB Hyderabad Professional Background – 6+ years of experience as Business Analyst and Project Manager in the fields of Market Risk, Derivatives, Structured Products, FX, Credit Derivatives and Fixed Income Projectsfor large sell-side investment banks

Param: Why did you give the FRM exam?

Sastry: To develop risk management knowledge (including credit and operational risk). FRM is a well recognized international certification and it helps in enhancing career prospects. I have observed it commanded a lot of weight in derivatives and market risk department of the banks I have worked for.

Param: Do you think that background plays an important role in clearing FRM?

Sastry: Yes. A quantitative and analytical background definitely helps. Prior project experience in Capital Markets/Derivatives/Risk helpful.

Param: What has been your Mantra for success?

Sastry: Concentrate on fundamentals.

Param: When did you start preparing?

Sastry: 3 months before the exam.

Param: how much did you study?

Sastry: Approximately 2 hours per day on business days and 5-8 hours on holidays.

Param: What subjects did you concentrate on?

Sastry: Operational risk, Portfolio and hedge funds, Credit risk, Market risk and Quantitative analysis – in this order of preference (more to less) I concentrated more on subjects where I do not have or have less experience.

Param: What do you think is the best way to crack the subjects?

  1. Credit Risk
  2. Market Risk
  3. Operational risk
  4. Quantitative Analysis
  5. Portfolio & hedge Funds


  1. Credit and Market risk – Key is to understand the basic principles on which the products are conceptualized and priced
  2. Quantitative analysis – Most important… Without this you cannot get through other subjects. Get grip on hypothesis testing and other numerical techniques. Try to figure out why the techniques exist and their application vis-à-vis risk managemen
  3. Operational risk – This is very easy to understand if you have a little bit of patience. This is where most of the quant techniques start making sense. Just try to correlate every concept you learn here with the day-to-day risks you come across in your job.
  4. Portfolio and Hedge Funds – You need to be familiar with portfolio and investment management techniques. For Hedge funds, it is just reading articles, news items etc

Param: What books did you study for the subjects?

  1. Credit Risk
  2. Market Risk
  3. Operational risk
  4. Quantitative Analysis
  5. Portfolio & hedge Funds

Sastry: I followed Schweser study notes and Pristine Career material. I relied a lot on “Visualize FRM” from Pristine Careers. The charts were very helpful in remembering all the concepts. Apart from that whenever I was free, I used to scout through internet and read all available literature.

Param: Other reference Material that you used while studying?

Sastry: GARP FRM book (but too long…did not read religiously) Lehman notes on credit derivatives.

Param: How best can Pristine Careers be used for preparing for FRM?

Sastry: Attend the lectures regularly. Read the topics at least a day before the lecture. Practice problems and solve assignments regularly. Interact with faculty freely (Pristine has the facility to interact with their faculty offline through emails as well)
Pristine Careers’ Mock FRM and Visualize FRM are really excellent. I think that one should definitely take Mock FRM and try to remember formulae instead of deriving them, as people tend to.

Param: What are your career plans after achieving the FRM certification?

Sastry: I am planning to get into risk management services and risk analytics.

Param: Lastly, what did you do on the final day before the exam?

Sastry: I went through Pristine Careers’ Visualize FRM. The best I have come across. Relax, Relax, Relax…..

Param: Your Advice to FRM/ Finance aspirants:

Sastry: Be religious and sincere in your efforts…all will be well. These FRM Interviews are presented by EduPristine (Leader in FRM/ CFA/ PRM/ FinanceTraining)

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