Should I take Level III this time?

Dear All,

I am a retaker, failed twice.

This time I had plans to start early in October. Not yet registered

However, I am the CFO of an early stage biotech and the CEO announced that they plan to go IPO by June/July 2019.

For those who have experience in IPO ( it will be my first time), can you recommend if I should take level III this year as you know that during IPO, there will be roadshows and lot of travels and work and am not sure if I would have during the last month which is very crucial.

or Should I aim for 2020?

Would appreciate your honest thoughts.



I left level 3 undone for two years (even registered) to aim job performance objectives. Best decision ever: doubled income, sharped many skills (hard and soft), and enhanced technical expertise.

Take a break, do your job well and come back for L3.

Remember that education should excel our careers, not to be a liability or a risk.

Thanks Harrogath!

Disagree with Harrogath.

If you have taken it twice you know what its about and have alot of the fundamental knowledge grounded (I hope). 2019 attempt should be about fine tuning weak areas and practicing far more questions. I think you are close to the finish line and the momentum is there, do not put your foot on the brake now, it will just make it harder to get going again in 2020.

2019 is your year. Beast it and don’t make excuses!

Let’s get real here. Harrogath is right, IMO, CFA charter is a mean, not an end. There are many ways to learn technical skill and learning by doing is the best way. I thin it is perfectly fine to take a pause and sharpen your technical (IPO) skill.

The difference is Harrogath is taking 3 for the first time. He took a break after 2. Saurab has done it the previous 2 years. There is most definitely a momentum element here that he should take advantage of.

Being CFO of the company, you will have to do majority of the work with your Advisors and Arrangers and believe me IPO preparation and execution is a tough ride which requires lot of hard work and effort. I think you may not be able to give proper time to your studies.

I agree with Harrogath and ws, Saurabh seems to have a good thing going on career wise and it would be best to give it all the attention than to try and split it between preparing for LIII and the IPO. However, I do see your point rex, but I believe it all boils down to what does OP value more at this point (unless OP thinks doing both is feasible then by all means go for it)

Since IPOs are a lengthy process in general and for start-ups add 2x time, chances of it being postponed are very high. You can still take your exam in June 2019.

All the very best ahead !!

Valid points! IPO will be tough and stressful.

PERSONALLY, I would never take a break now. What’s the point i’ve done it 2 years in a row, just be done with it in 2019. If I didnt keep the momentum then come 2020 I would feel like im starting at sq.1 again with probably large curriculum changes being phased in.

Whatever you decision, best of luck!

I would sign up. Liquidity in the market for a biotech IPO can dry up in a blink. Plus all it takes is one clinical study to be pushed back 6 months and you will have capacity. Unless the cash burn means you have to raise finance in 2019, then go for it!

Thanks for the great discussion. Everyone had valid points

After hearing everyone, I decided to register with the HOPE that IPO could be postponed. Markets are getting volatile as we speak.

So I will have 2 cases

Case 1 : IPO gets postponed. I can leverage the time and try to get it done and all. If I dont register, I would repent why I hadn’t registered

Case 2: IPO is on time. I know it would be tough to clear, I can try whatever I can.

So thanks to all of you and fingers crossed!

Just take the exam. Invest in some revision course that will fit your busy schedule. I can’t imagine it will be easier in the future when you’ve forgotten a lot of stuff and have to refresh. Career comes first, but if CFA is important to you then now is the time to strike.

No offense dude, but it’s this simple - you either do it or you don’t. Just don’t complain whichever way you decide.

I think the L3 curriculum is drastically revamping/changing. Last year I think it was fixed income, and this year it’s equities. So post-poning may be burdensome in the future as more new materials get added to the curriculum. That’s just my 0.02. It’s ok, I took it too. Twice. And passed on my third attempt. Took a different provider that focused on my AM writing (which was hella poor in the prior attempts) and this year passed with flying colors.

I would just focus on mocks and questions all the way through. TBH that’s all you’ll probably have time for.

You’re already the CFO, it’s not like getting the CFA will progress you any further at your company. So otherwise just wait, it will always be there.

What was your approach for taking it the third time and which provider did you use?

IPO? That is like to printing money… you dont do anything and just watch the money come… I would register ASAP get the CFA and then when you do earnings call, they can announce you as Mr. CFA Saurabhm… with that title you can probably sway the buyers in.

Just don’t let anyone on the call know it took you 3 attempts at level 3…