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CFA exam shock for student who chose asset management career

It's not entirely clear where Tara Mott works in London, but it's seemingly in an asset management firm in Canary Wharf. Mott, who graduated from the UK's Warwick University and is busy building a social media profile as a finance influencer, says she chose asset management above investment banking. 

While starting your career in an investment banking division (M&A or capital markets) is good for a "short-term bust of experience" on your CV, speaking in a YouTube video posted a few months ago, Mott says asset management offers a better all round experience for someone thinking longer term about their career. Not only does Mott say she "loves the work-life balance" in her current job as an investment analyst, but that the company she works for has a "great culture."

It's not clear, however, whether Mott wrote this before or after posting a video to TikTok, lamenting the need to now spend three years studying for the notoriously difficult CFA® exams. Given that each CFA exam takes 300 hours of extracurricular study and can require multiple sittings, the work life benefits of junior asset management jobs over junior investment banking jobs can be less than they first seem. 

Speaking on YouTube, Mott says she would have been miserable as a junior banker. Jobs in investment banking divisions suit the sorts of people who "model in their spare time because they find it fun," she adds. That is not her.

Mott had an offer to join Deutsche Bank as a summer intern, but turned it down to go into asset management instead. "If you're interested in IBD, you know that your life is going to be work every single day what's on your mind is work and you're going to be working extremely long hours and that wasn't for me."

The bankers she met (presumably at Deutsche Bank) were "miserable inside", said Mott. The same might be said of someone on their third sitting of CFA Level 1.

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Bear with us if you leave a comment at the bottom of this article: all our comments are moderated by human beings. Sometimes these humans might be asleep, or away from their desks, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. Eventually it will – unless it’s offensive or libelous (in which case it won’t.)

AUTHORSarah Butcher Global Editor
  • Ce
    2 July 2022

    The more you learn, the more you earn.
    The more your train, the better you are.
    There is no secret in life, work hard and stop complaining, too many people want to work little and earn a lot. CFA is long and difficult, yes. It is also a great way to learn a lot, to develop your stamina and get better on a lot of aspects (all the technical aspects but also concentration, memory, speed of reading, etc.)

  • Ke
    14 June 2022

    So this article is about a woman - we're not sure where she works - and some posts she made - we're not sure in what order - and how she might have been upset in another position - one she's never held. But she's upset she has to take a test directly related to her career.

  • As
    10 June 2022

    CFA is just an exam; you are accountable to no one but yourself, and the time spent on CFA is an investment in yourself.

    Extra hours pulled in investment banking is nothing like that. You are accountable to a host of clients and internal stakeholders (some of whom quite scary), and the extra work hours are primarily for the benefit of your employer.

    Clickbait title.

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