How a Gap year is looked at by the B-Schools if it comes after working for 3.5 years.
Since i am looking for a switch in career from IT sector to Finance ( Investment manager or PMS to be specific). And for that reason I have started CFA, to boost my knowledge and to show the admission Panel that i am serious about this switch in career. I have also completed 4-5 Finance related courses online. But Preparing for CAT and doing my CFA along with the Job is turning out to be very hectic and since i already have a 3+ years of experience, i can’t afford to get a bad CAT score this time around (this year i score a mere 90%ile). So i was thinking about resigning from my work to fully focus on CFA and CAT prep. and along with it i was thinking about joining a NGO . But i am not sure how the Interview Panels will see this, what kind of negative effect it can have on my chances if any ? Please suggest what else can be done during this break to justify my Gap and multi tasking ability (if doing CFA , CAT prep and NGO work is not enough to convince the panels about it ) . Also please suggest about the kind of NGO work can add more value to one’s profile if any.
Answering this question as it stands relevant for a lot of other candidates who find themselves at the crossroads with such tough life decisions. A gap is never perceived well, to be very frank. Worse of all when it comes after a considerable work ex. However, if you have means to justify your gap with a substantial work (CFA in your case), the panel is receptive. I know of a friend who took 2 years of gap after core work ex of 2 years and became a travel blogger finally made it to IIM L.
So, go ahead with this plan.
As already mentioned, a gap is something which is always questioned in the interview. Since you are planning to take up NGO work along with CFA, I would urge you to prepare your justification in a way that your NGO work would also fit somewhere down the line with your plans of pursuing Finance. The panels are smart and my only concern is that the work in NGO should not be seen as a mere “cover-up” for your gap. The panel looks for genuine interest in whatever you do, no matter what it is. In fact, a gap doesn’t matter as long as you can justify it with something you are really passionate about. Also, I strongly recommend you to focus on CAT and CFA, it’s already quite handful. Although by no means I am undermining your ability to multi-task, I believe focus is a mantra for foolproof success. All the Best!
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