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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