It was 8th August, 2014. The Judgment Day for every CA student giving his attempt in May’2014. Tension, fear, excitement… There was a gush of lot of emotions flowing through. The next 40 years of life were to be written on the ICAI’s opinion of our intellect to be announced that very day. The world had come to a standstill and the only thing one had prayed for to every single God known to mankind for the past few months was winning our last battle with the Institute. It was around noon the results were out. Group 1 pass. Group 2 pass!!! The Gods were listening and had been kind. All the hardwork, sacrifice and sweat for getting those 2 letters in front of our name had paid off! Shouting my lungs out, really felt like my ultimate goal had been achieved and money would just be pouring from all sides.
As the celebrations ended an important question popped up. What after the CA degree? The pass percentage being so low, most of our time post exam till results are out is gone by planning for what better we can do for the next attempt rather than planning what to do if we pass! There are plentiful who have faced this question. With degree in pocket what now? Those who haven’t faced such a question consider yourself to be among the gifted few who get their calling early enough to choose your flight to glory! My advice for others, please start planning.
My “shanpatti” as we call it of being a 1st attempt qualified CA was soon bogged down. Soon I realized passing the exam was nowhere close to any end. It was just 1 phase of our career that is over with a tougher phase just knocking doors. The Job Search phase. In the Exam phase you atleast have clarity that 8 books are to be studied. The same is not the case with the Job Search phase. Contacting our long lost relatives with well placed jobs for their guidance, forwards resumes to friends, friends of friends, friends of friends of friends, uploading resume’s on all possible websites buzzing job openings. Job openings and pay packages were the talk of town. Campus placements and other interviews that I gave soon made me realize that I am not the only one whose prayers have been answered. There were about 500 more in Mumbai campus alone. All competing with me for an opportunity to work with their favorite employer. Looking at the selection criteria’s for opportunities to appear for an interview a thing I noticed is that the corporate world divides all the pass-outs among 3 categories. The Rankers, The 1st Attempt cleared and Others. All the 3 categories are on 3 different planets.
The CA curriculum is staggeringly wide. The 8 subjects that we study are 8 different specializations in themselves. To top this there various categories of employers ranging from Banks, other Corporate sector companies, CA firms or self employment by choosing to practice on our own. Now keep multiplying all the combinations. Choosing 1 path is a daunting task. Some even face the additional burden of taking a decision for further studies. Passion for work, money, further studies and even your Articleship experience must all boil down to 1 choice. It’s not easy. You might have tough time convincing people we can do more than just audit and tax if you do not have any prior experience in any choosing such nontraditional career paths like a career in investment banking, advisory or going into an industry. But having said that, it is not impossible.
Again there might be a big trade-off between Package v/s Passion. The jobs that interest you may be rare, low paying, it may not be with your preferred employer, but the job description fits your liking. At the opposite side high paying jobs now might not interest you. Though when asked casually many of us would choose passion over package. However it is easier said than done. When you hear your friends getting starting packages like an 8 lacs per annum or 10 lacs per annum, you really have a strong desire to change your passion. Rejecting interview calls from Big 4’s just as you not interested in profiles is a brave call. Thankfully my articleship experience opened doors for an advisory profile I desired. The pay is not a 8 or 10 lacs but I still have a long way to go to worry about that and more importantly I will be doing something I like. As they say, just love whatever you do, paisa toh jakh maarke piche aayega. I would like to quote some lines from Warren Buffet here. It says “Games are won by players who focus on the playing field, not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard.”
So, I have choosen passion over money, what have you?