Changing jobs during CFA Studying?

Hi All,

Just want to get your take on this as I’m studying for the December Level 1 exam but also want to stay open to potential job opportunities. I think the opportunities could be worthwhile if they result in possibly a 25-50+% pay increase.

I’m interested in middle office jobs / possibly research or front office if I’m lucky. I think expecting my work hrs to increase to 10+hrs is reasonable. I currently do about 8-10hrs a day.

Has anyone gone through a job change during their CFA studying? How did it work out?

If you have a better job opportunity, that should be your top priority. Worry about CFA later.

^ agree

Career > CFA exam

Any day of the week. Good experience will always trump any designation.

I did this in May this year when I was studying for L1. It really sucked. One minute you’re putting all your energy into studying for CFA, and then you have to switch off and prepare for an interview. And for every job there was first the headhunter interview, then maybe a HR interview, then finally an initial interview. Each spaced 3 or so days apart, so 1 job interview would take around 10 days of stressing and not really being able to fully focus on CFA. I think I passed L1 only because I was 95% there already by beginning of May. If I wasn’t, I think the interviewing might have killed my chances.

In the end, my rule was to only go for the “golden” opportunities and didn’t bother with the “looks okay” opportunities.

Anyway, I passed L1 and got a new job at the end.

^What do you do now?

Wonder if this is worth it…

A portfolio admin job reconciling trades and issuing reports for an investment advisory side (buy side / execution firm).

Very similar to what I do now, reconciling for a 3rd party portfolio administrator.

Looks like pay would jump up 13-15% with maybe a 5k bonus.

I’m thinking my main focus would be to get into a buy side firm and then network / get promoted or atleast build up buy side experience.

15% a year for several years adds up. Take it and then network.

The first time I did this was while studying for L2. I started looking early on (Dec/Jan) so the actual interviewing only minimally affected my studies. It’s actually starting/learning a new job with many more hours (in March) while studying a much harder level that was most challenging. I didn’t have a very pleasant 60+ days, but it worked out in the end, and it was a gamble I’m glad I took since the job was a surefire upgrade.

Then a year later while studying for L3, I had some headhunters contact me in late April. Ironically they were after me b/c of the CFA trajectory but were not very sensitive to my study demands (they wanted me to start just before the June exam and said I can always take it next year). In the end, they put me through various interviews at several levels of the firm and exerted a pressure I really didn’t like. I ended up doing a final round the day before the exam that I felt coerced by (after pleading to schedule it any other day but that). The offer, though very attractive monetarily, didn’t jive with me, and the recruiters more than rubbed me the wrong way, so I pulled my application. And luckily, I also passed the exam.

My advise would be a) go fully prepared into interviews, but be efficient with your time and don’t waste too much brain matter over-preparing for the HR-types. Amp it up only once you reach the team/manager, and b) if you’re starting a couple months/weeks from the exam, be upfront with your new boss about the demands of the exam, and see if you can work something out, timewise (esp. if the exam was part of the reason you got hired).