It’s post-exam and even though you’ve got the release of test results to look forward to you still have six months until you start studying for next year’s exam. Admittedly, many candidates enjoy the respite as they begin to reconnect with friends and family.
I don’t know whether it is just my type-A personality or something worse but I always hated this time of year! After conditioning myself to juggling work, family, my part-time consulting business and 15 hours of studying per week, the drop in stress hormones during this ‘quiet’ period of the year had me bouncing off the walls.
Fortunately, I eventually found an outlet for my energy.
This time of year presents the perfect opportunity to get to know your local CFA society and other finance professionals in your area. All but the largest societies are run almost entirely by volunteers and are always looking for candidates or members to help out. Local societies range from as few as 50 to as many as 10,000 in the larger markets, though lack of enough members to form a society does not preclude you from getting together.
Below is a link to the Institute’s society directory page:
Contact information for society board members can usually be found on the website. I have yet to meet a board member that was not extremely happy to talk with a new volunteer and help them figure out in which part of the organization they would most enjoy.
Hopefully I shouldn’t have to outline all the reasons why you would want to get involved with your local society. Anyone willing to commit around 1200 hours of studying and sacrifice the better part of three years has committed themselves to a career and the industry. You will be hard-pressed to find a group of people that more closely match your own goals and personality. Many charterholders are some of the most successful in their fields and putting yourself in their company will drive you to challenge yourself.
The most obvious reason to get involved in the local society is that, sooner-or-later, you will need something from your society. Most candidates see this in the need for a local sponsor when they apply for their charter with the Institute. After passing the level III exam, you will need a local charterholder to attest that you are a person of moral character and that you have experience in the industry. It can be an awkward request for those candidates that have never even talked with local charterholders.
Beyond this, unless you are supremely happy with your current role, you will want to have a network established when you look to advance your career. How much easier would it make the interview process if you have previously met and established a rapport with your potential supervisor?
Opportunities range from serving on the board of directors to simply helping with small projects. Social networking and the virtual space are something many societies are trying to expand. Most societies have established regular events and lecture programming that must be managed on a monthly basis. Your own involvement is entirely up to you and can be very rewarding, so give it a try. Click through to your local society and send an email to one of the directors.
Joseph Hogue, CFA