Life does't end after qualifying CA
Welcome back to my blog!
I apologize for giving you false hopes as per my last post. I did plan to update this regularly but I couldn't. It was a lot to take and share but I am in a better headspace now and I am a CA now.
I wouldn't make any promises this time about when you will see my next post but I hope you enjoy this one!
We were supposed to get our final results for CA on July 15, 2022 and it is usually announced by late afternoon but surprisingly they announced it early morning this time. I did not have the guts to open it myself so someone else opened it for me and VOILA, I passed.
All those years of preparation played in my favor. I jumped, I rejoiced and spoke to so many people who showered me with their wishes.
It didn't hit me until a few days later that the journey has ended now. When I could sleep without setting alarms, make random plans without a mental check on studies, it is truly a LUXURY.
And then began the cycle of Placements.
To be honest when I got done with my exams, I was sure that I will not join a corporate. I tried different gigs, interacted with people and figured out that I will need some more time and training before I launch something on my own. Hence, it was time to get back to office life again (considering I haven't worked at all this year)
Though I had made plans to travel, read, organise book clubs (which I did), after a few days I was just bored. It's funny how much you can day dream before exams but once you are free, all those plans never get executed.
Within a few days I was added to multiple Whatsapp groups for recently qualified CAs and the first application forms were from top consulting companies. Then came industries & Big 4 firms and what not.
There were days of just sitting in front of the laptop all day, making edits and re-edits to the resume. I made around 7 versions of my resume, each highlighting or removing one thing or the other. Getting it proof-read from numerous people, changing fonts etc. took most of my time till end of July.
If you think if you have cleared CA, you have conquered it all, STOP dreaming. Nothing comes easy.
Thankfully I was shortlisted for Management Consulting companies otherwise I wouldn't have any job right now. Before the shortlist, I sent a zillion texts to people working in Strategy roles on LinkedIn, barely some of them replied.
I got shortlists for some roles, none of which were good in terms of job profiles or pay. If you think CAs are paid extraordinarily well after qualifying, I will ask you to check the average package. It is a sad truth but it is what it is.
After the shortlist, I spend days discussing cases with my friends. For the first two weeks the days were only filled with hours of calls of taking up cases and some of them passively listening to other people solving it.
Case interviews give you a thrill like nothing else. You can take the case anywhere and do anything with it - your creativity is at play. Initially I was not a big fan of Consulting but case prep turned the tables and I thoroughly enjoyed the process. I was too bad at it when we started, no structure, no understanding. Frankly, I wasn't putting much effort as well.
After two weeks, when ICAI Placement shortlist was announced and when I didn't get any other exciting roles off campus, I knew it was time to buckle up.
I think I had very high hopes from ICAI but obviously rankers are given a preference for most of the good roles ( and I have nothing against it).
The next two weeks were rigorous reading and practice of cases till the interview day. The whole month was extremely stressful and full of anxiety about what next but nothing beats the interview day.
The interview day started at 8 and went on till 11 at night. Every round was eliminative so you could just sit and look at the screen for the next round, on your tiptoes all day, all this while not losing your sanity to perform well when the interview happens.
Thankfully I performed decent. With all these interviews I have given till now, there's only one learning - an interview is never a test of your latest accomplishment but it tests whatever you know since your childhood. At times I have been asked things which I had read somewhere in bits and pieces and somehow I remembered fragments of it, so that helped.
The results were announced after a day and I got in. I will be joining BCG as a Management Consultant in January so I have a lot of time to kill now. :D
All this seems very rosy isn't it? You know why?
Because this is a perfect story, a story of victory, of effort, of hardwork and reward. Everything makes sense in hindsight.
But the fact is it is extremely annoying to live in uncertainty, the uncertainty of not clearing the exam is not even close to the uncertainty of not getting a job even after qualifying.
I have seen many people settling for jobs and roles they never wanted, or accepting a pay which is much less than their caliber and experience but it is what it is. The point is if it was all so rosy, I would have written this summary earlier, I didn't have the guts to.
So, if you are on the other side of the screen and you think grass is greener on the other side, put on your glasses.
It ended well in my case ( at least that's what I think right now) but nevertheless I wanted to give you a fair picture.
The month I could finally chill. Traveled to a few places, did a 30 km trek, organised a book swap event, read a lot of books and met my friends from college. Super exciting!
I did not fill my planner at all last month for the very first time in years. I could watch TV shows and series while I was travelling, rather than looking at books. I feel my life has changed a lot these past few days.
I can wake up and sleep whenever I want to. At times I feel excited about the abundance of time, at other times I am just bored and I end up over thinking about trivial things.
Am I at peace though? Definitely!
Things seem to be in place after all these years but with all this racing and being short of time all these years made me internalize it. Sometimes I feel I can't take this abundance of time, that I am wasting time yet again and that I should keep doing something or the other. I guess I am still getting used to life after CA.
How did you spend the last few months? What were the highlights? Are you pumped for the last quarter of the year?
Wishing you a fulfilling fall,