Congratulations LIII passers! Anyone here with no relevant experience?

Firstly congratulations to all who have passed LIII! I am 28 yrs old, have an engineering background and just starting work in the strategy and ops division of a Canadian MC firm as a senior consultant. I have recently passed LII and have no relevant finance experience. I was wondering if it makes sense to write LIII without making a switch to finance. Will I have to take a major wage cut if i try to transition into finance at this point? Will LIII make more sense if I work in the industry? I am looking for some constructive feedback. Thanks and congratulations again.

I was in your shoes couple of years ago. Passed L2 in 2005 but no relevant experience at that point. I had a hard time breaking into the industry even with passing L2 so I thought, no more cfa exams unless I get a job. After much effort, got a ER job at boutique firm through networking at local cfa society (passing L2 sure helped in getting this job). Took a year or two off before taking L3 (passed L3 this year). I found that working in the industry makes u understand and appreciate the curriculum much better. I actually enjoyed studying for L3 because I could relate a lot of the subject matter to my daily job duties. I guess there’s no black and white answer to your question, but in my case it worked out well to wait for L3.

If you’re changing careers, it’s too hard to predict when you are going to get your break, and it doesn’t make sense to put off doing more CFA work just because you don’t have the job yet. Also, you learn more, which makes you come across smarter and more confident when you do get interviews. But it’s also important not to take the attitude that you are going to wait to finish the CFA curriculum before looking for a job. Do both. Of course, in late April and may, you may just have to crank on CFA only, but other than cram time, you should be pursuing both simultaneously.

thanks folks, very sage advice indeed.

Take it every year until you pass. What benefit do you have in waiting? What if you decide not to take it this year and the pass rate is 85%? What if you put it off and the pass rates start dipping below 50%? At 50%, even if you study hard, there is no guarantee you will pass.

I am in a very similar position. I’m a professional engineer who basically became interested in this subject matter while completing an MBA. Like you, I now find myself a level 3 candidate with no applicable work experience. I’m not even 100% sure that I will ultimately be in a position to get that work experience, as there are a few career possibilities I am open to. However, I am definitely taking the exam in June for many of the reasons listed: 1) Although I hope to go 3-for-3, a pass is NEVER a given and I don’t want to put this off, and then struggle to pass when I really need it. I’d rather take every chance I’m given. 2) Maintain the momentum of the learing. Especially true for those of us that don’t work with any of this material routinely on the job. 3) It is a personal goal of mine just to pass these three exams anyway. As far as breaking into the industry goes, I am actively looking, but at the same time I’m doing my best to improve my odds in my current job, which is Fleet Integrity Director for a large industrial services organization. I find that there is considerable scope to “extend” my role in ways that augment finance knowledge, such as rigorous capital budget planning. Also, I have built a relationship with the Treasury folk here who are astounded that I am doing the CFA exams (none of them are CFA charterholders, but they respect it). This has allowed me to volunteer to help them on some projects. Pretty simple stuff, like buying commodities forward (such as aluminum, which we use a lot). It may not be much, but it gives me a little bit more to talk about in an interview. I bet you can scrounge up some similar opportunities where you are working right now.

Is it easy to get an Operations job in the investment industry after passing level 2 of the CFA exam? I haven’t tried yet. I know that many people here hate those type of jobs calling them Back Office Monkey work, but it may be a small foot in the door.

You can land an ops job no problem.

No relevant work experience.