thanks for the input, guys. i've asked some colleagues of mine and they all told me that if im planning to stay in my line of work, the CFA would not be necessary (since my job generally falls under S&T). for some of the quant guys, their next step would be a MS then perhaps a Phd, but in terms of ROI (of time and money), i don't think it would be appropriate in my case.
on the other hand, would taking at least level 1 help my chances of getting into a good mba program in the future? (to show my interest & knowledge of finance, since i have a BA in a totally unrelated field - neither economics nor finance).