|Topic||Can I do CFA on top of my PhD?|
I'm currently pursuing a PhD in organic chemistry. I'm getting tired of it and started reading about business and economics in my spare time, which I find very interesting. Unfortunately, in general chemists with my background seem to be able to transition into business roles only after 10-15 years of scientific work in a company. At least that's what I've been told by the few experienced people I’ve been able to talk to. I’d like to get there much quicker. Would having a CFA help me with that? I’ll have 3 months of complete free time soon due to parental leave and was considering to commit to a full time study to pass Level 1 in December. It would probably look impressive if I could show that I’ve got a PhD as well as a at least a Level 1 exam. I’ve heard of people getting an MBA after their PhD and getting good jobs quickly. MBA would be too expensive for me though.
|Your biggest barrier will be to show potential employers that you are serious about a finance career. I don’t know how many hours you need to put into your PhD until next May, but passing L1 in December or in June should be doable, and if you can bear not to have a life you can even get through L2 in June. Worst case, you’ll gain some basic financial knowledge, even if you don’t get a job.
Best advice - look via LinkedIn (get a premium membership) for people whose jobs look interesting, then call them up and ask them to sit down over coffee or even a 15-min Skype interview. Then come prepared, nicely dressed/shaved and LISTEN. Send them a nice thank you note afterwards / a book from Amazon. If you still like any of the jobs you’ll both have some knowledge on how to move forward as well as a potential contact. I’d assume that your best bet would be IB or AM in Basic / Specialty Chemicals or Pharma.