Resignation in search of greater options

Discussion in 'About FRM' started by Aldo1872, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. Aldo1872

    Aldo1872 New Member

    Hi David, I've been working in a Risk Department in a commercial bank for 5 years now. 3 years mainly in I.T (as my degree was in Computing) and the last 2 have been more on the business & analysis side yet still with an IT influence. However, I feel my career has stalled and I'm considering resigning and studying the FRM full time for a year, just to get it done then hopefully move forward. I took the Part 1 exam last November but failed due to simply not being able to devote to it the time required. Having an IT background ALL the topics were new to me. My question is this : Say it takes 1 year to get certified. In 1 years time would I be more employable with 6 years experience and still employed (albeit in a stalling career) or with 5 years experience and the FRM certification having been out of work for 1 year. Any advice would be most welcome, cheers
  2. Hend Abuenein

    Hend Abuenein Active Member

    I don't think anyone at this point (close to May exam) has time to answer and debate a general question like yours Blue John (least of all David), but I'll quickly tell you what I think .

    Quit the job to study?!
    No. Better stay in the job and study, even if at a slower pace. Give every part a year if you have to, just don't quit on your job.
    Do you know how hard it is to get a good job in finance in these times of depression?

    Good luck
    • Like Like x 1
  3. Aldo1872

    Aldo1872 New Member

    Thanks Hend, You may be 100% right but really without knowing anything about your background then your opinion is not going to make up my mind. 8 years ago I gave up working in factory to return to university when people around me told me I was crazy. Having since achieved a degree in computer science my career options and salary have increased considerably. I'm now ready to start making a move up the ladder again and I'm really looking for expert opinion on this matter. I know David is busy but I'm a patient man ;)

  4. Ankur S

    Ankur S Member

    Agree with Hend!

    FRM certification alone will not get you a risk job or help you change career from IT to Risk.

    I know quite a few people who have tried that...being in IT and doing CFA/FRM ..hoping to get into an actual risk job (non IT) has not worked for's difficult given the experience you have already gathered....unless you are willing to start at a junior risk position (take a hit for short term, in pursuit for a long term goal)....

    IMHO the only thing you could do is get the certificate, while in the job (getting paid while studying doesn't hurt)... start networking with people you know are risk professionals... mention to them about you pursuing FRM and hope they realize your potential....

    In my view lot of people have potential..lot of people can get FRM or CFA but networking/relationship really makes the difference..
    ....companies like continuous employment on breaks...and it tells more that you actually studied while working (shows your dedication)

    my 2 cents
    • Like Like x 1
  5. David Harper CFA FRM

    David Harper CFA FRM David Harper CFA FRM (test) Staff Member

    Hi Blue John,

    Thanks for trusting my opinion. I'm not sure anyone can be an expert on another's career, or should try. I do understand the temptation to quit a job, in order to free up valuable time and get into a better position. A job is, among other things, a primary drain on valuable time and energy. For example, I could not have seriously pursued seven years ago, if my consulting firm had not imploded and I was forced to devote all of my energies to another route. It is among my beliefs, is all I mean, that I do think there comes a time when we should "burn the ships behind us" (not the bridges) in order to pursue higher ground.

    But, I do not think the FRM certification warrants this (so I agree with Hend ... Ankur posted at the same time, I agree with him, also!), it's not even a close call in my mind. If you were talking about committing to a new business, for example, that you'd already spent a year or two, on the side, ramping up, I might feel differently. But let's put the FRM in perspective: it does not have the career traction that does the CFA. But neither FRM/CFA, to my knowledge, nor any certification can really do the job of getting you a job. And so this trade-off does not look worthwhile. More importantly, any certification (including FRM) is just one "tool" in the total toolkit, and I doubt it's even the most important (some will say networking is more important; I think going forward the most important thing is a saleable portfolio: my career advice is to build your "saleable portfolio"). I worry you've assigned too much weight to the FRM, in the context of practical pursuits.

    I've had a lot of these sort of conversations lately. I am biased in the general toward advice that runs something like: first (utilize your current assets), make sure you've explored and gotten feedback on opportunities related to your current situation (too often, people make assumptions about their own organizations without fully exploring. I am shocked how many times people have come to the conclusion that their current job is a dead-end, without truly doing due diligence in their organization. Have you had "out of the box" conversations with enough people in your current firm?); second, if you've done that, I would develop an extracurricular plan: the action plan you assign to yourself in your after-work hours, but while keeping your job (if it includes the FRM, I think sequencing out your study plan while working is much better than full-time study any way. Do you really want to study FRM 80 to 100 hours per week anyway).

    I think you over-weight the practical value of the FRM and even the benefit of a full open year to study. I think you can tackle the FRM while working. I think the key, as in everything else, is disciplined action (habits) on a daily basis. Is there anything we can't accomplish, if we are willing to spend some time (even an hour or two) each day? I hope that is helpful, good luck!
    • Like Like x 2
  6. Aleksander Hansen

    Aleksander Hansen Well-Known Member

    Let me be blunt:
    If you were interviewing for a job with me, and you told me you had quit your former job to study for the FRM full-time for a year I would wrap up the interview and have HR escort you out of the building.
  7. Aldo1872

    Aldo1872 New Member

    Hi David, Thanks for the comprehensive reply. However, I feel your answer may have been swayed by other people hijacking the thread. I've done my due diligence, we're now state owned (having been bailed out during the crisis.) We're up for sale to return to privatisation by 2014. 1 out of every 2 people are waiting on redundancy. My immediate manager does not even work in the same country never mind the same office. Absolutely no new business and assets being transferred daily to a bad bank. While the sale may bring it's advantages or disadvantages I can't wait around in hope and have my career stagnate in the meantime. I left all this information out as I'm not looking for others to make a life changing decision for me. I'm simply trying to logically gain all the facts of what positions I could be in, say in 1 years time. I'll re-post my original question :

    My question is this : Say it takes 1 year to get certified. In 1 years time would I be more employable with 6 years experience and still employed (albeit in a stalling career) or with 5 years experience and the FRM certification having been out of work for 1 year.

    The chances are that very soon i'll be on the job market anyway. I'm studying every morning for 1 to 1.5 hours but progress is so very slow and frustrating. I'm tending to sway towards continuing with that approach based on others advice. But what you said about the FRM is very telling in that it is not as good as I think it is. Thats a very fair and good point. I must think on this more.
    Thanks so much for taking the time to reply. Having used the site before I do trust your opinion a lot but don't panic it's not quite good enough that I would pack in my job if you said i should ;)


    PS @ Ankur - thanks for taking the time to reply positively. I have made the jump from IT to risk but this is about my career moving forward again.

    PS @Alexander - congratulations you're the second person to come on this thread with a worthless opinion
  8. Aleksander Hansen

    Aleksander Hansen Well-Known Member

    You asked a pretty dumb question that you cannot expect people who do not know you well, or that is, complete strangers to give you a great comprehensive answer to.
    But given what you state in the question - and it may be the case that you find my opinion worthless - however employers do look for gaps in your employment record. If you are trying to get a job in a competitive finance position where you are expected to work hard and put in long hours, then the fact that you would need to quit your job and study for the FRM in order to pass will make it seem like you are unable to handle a heavy workload. It also speaks to your [lack of] qualifications in finance.
    I told you my answer would be blunt, yet it is an honest one.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. Aldo1872

    Aldo1872 New Member

    Aleksander, you answer may have been blunt but it was also rude. I agree employers do look for gaps in employment. My question however was very specific, so much so that I re-posted it. Perhaps the next time you choose to be so blunt it would be helpful to tell us things such as your age, years working in finance, business you work in and since you have such unforgiving interview techniques how many people you have working under you and how many interviews you have been involved in. I'm not here to argue with anyone. I believe I'm asking David a fairly harmless and well thought out question. I'm also not expecting anyone to decide if I should or should not quit my job , it's one about employability. I'm simply trying to gather facts.
  10. Hend Abuenein

    Hend Abuenein Active Member

    If that includes me as the first, then I don't think that's a very nice thing to say Blue-John.
    To speak for myself, I was trying to help. And I answered your question in sincerity.
    If you post a general question on a forum and end it with " Any advice would be most welcome", then you should at least respect that busy people who try to juggle through work, family, & studies actually take the time to reply to you just to help.
    And, no one hijacks threads on a public forum. That's why it's called a forum. Everyone gets to say their say.
    Next time, if you want David's opinion only, send him a private message.
    • Like Like x 2
  11. Aldo1872

    Aldo1872 New Member

    Hi David, Sorry for causing such a stir! I did email you privately and Suzanne suggested I post on the forum so here I am. I didn't realise I would have so many peoples opinions, worthless or not I have no idea who these people are or how qualified they are to give such opinions. I thought when you post to a forum with "hi David" that it is obvious it's intended for you and not open house.

    Anyway, the general opinion is to stick at my job and find time to study when I can. I'll continue to do that until I think of a better option. thanks again for your time and a great site.
  12. Dmitrij

    Dmitrij Member

    Blue_John: what I know from talking with other people is that financial certifications separately are not very good to base a career on. The FRM, CFA and some other certifications are somewhere at a BSc. Economics/MSc. Finance level, somewhere in between. The certifications are good to pad a resume with, one of the bullet points that differentiates you. However, having spoken to someone from a major bank in the Netherlands, the person said

    "When people come to us all happy that they've passed the FRM, and pretend that financial certifications are a major deal and they're super smart because they passed the exams, we just show them the door". In other words, it's good for additional, broad knowledge, but don't bet everything on it. It's just 5-10% of the whole application, regardless of CFA/FRM/ERP etc. Besides that, the financial industry in general is not a very good bet right now.
    • Like Like x 1
  13. qin841121

    qin841121 Member

  14. Aleksander Hansen

    Aleksander Hansen Well-Known Member

    GARP appear to be very flexible in terms of what they accept as work experience so I doubt there will be any issue of CFA/FRM experience not overlapping.

    Regarding the masters... Depends on the university. Do they have a strong network of campus recruiters or do you have to go knocking on their door?
    If the school is good your grades will usually not matter a whole lot. In fact, many employers never ask to see you grades or GPA, only a copy of your degree. Now, the more competitive IBanks and hedge funds DO care a great deal and will automatically filter out your application and toss it less you have a certain GPA. Personally I would focus on doing well in my masters, and seek to network relentlessly; but that might not be what's optimal for know best.
  15. qin841121

    qin841121 Member

    thanks aleksander for your reply. I shifted my question to a new thread as I feel bad about hijacking Blue_Jon thread
  16. Aleksander Hansen

    Aleksander Hansen Well-Known Member

    I think he'll live :)
  17. btlski

    btlski New Member

    I've noticed here (and in other forums) a tendency to overweight the value of the FRM by those looking to get into Risk Management. The FRM is simply one way to communicate to potential employers that you are serious about the field of risk. Nothing more. While it's true that a considerable breadth of risk management topics are covered, you will quickly forget most of it if you don't have the opportunity to apply them while working.

    You'll also notice those posting above who are currently working in risk aren't that impressed by a candidate simply for possessing the certification, a sentiment which I'll echo. The ideal candidate will have many other attributes to round that out (education, technical/programming skills, quantitative skills, strong knowledge of capital markets). Usually everyone has a niche, but still can achieve some balance of the other req'd skills. My company also weights communication skills heavily. Lots of folks have the quantitative skills to measure risk, but that's for naught unless you also have the communication skills to have an impact and effect change. Believe it or not, it's really hard to find an articulate & somewhat extroverted quant ;).

    Aleks & David's advice was prudent. Start with what you have and build out the rest, but not at the expense of a resume gap.

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