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The CIR – is it an option or a ‘must’?

For those who have not yet taken the CIR exam, Alexandre Bykov explains why it is valuable.

Many of us come to a crossroads in our careers when we are faced with the question – what next? There are two obvious choices: either change our line of work/employer or enhance our careers with a professional qualification.

Last time I faced this dilemma, my desire was to improve my knowledge of IR (I was already MBA educated, and had City work experience). The IR Society’s Certificate in Investor Relations (CIR) was a great option which offered to cover many areas in addition to fundamental principles of IR.

Should you do it?
The IR Society answers many FAQs about the exam on its website, and I am happy to share my personal experience.

Was it time consuming to prepare for the exam?
The short answer is – no. I had a choice of either attending classes or studying at home in addition to mock exams online. I chose to do the self-study.

After procrastinating for nearly four months, I decided to embrace the study, and it took me only a week to read the study guide.

Was the exam hard?
Again, the same short answer – no (providing you spend sufficient time preparing for the test). I should admit I did not pass the CIR exam at the first attempt. It was a valuable lesson as I had to spend more time studying the principles of investor relations; and it paid off - my second exam attempt scored a 75% mark.

I can give you a piece of advice – do as many mock tests online as possible; also, if you have time and extra cash – attend the classes.

Was it beneficial?
It was indeed. It helped me to systemize my knowledge of capital markets in relation to IR as well as earning a valuable industry benchmark which has helped me with my career. Moreover, it encouraged me to go the extra mile – I set up a Digital IR community on LinkedIn and developed an online magazine, www.evolvingIR.com.

Gain professional skills
Professional qualifications are becoming increasingly popular in a wide range of industry sectors – not least IR – because they not only help to equip people with industry-specific skills but can also demonstrate a commitment to training and career development. In today’s super-competitive employment arena, the professional qualification can help you to stand out from the competition and give you an edge when applying for that new job or internal promotion.

The CIR will help you to reach a wide range of objectives:

• know the main regulations and compliance;
• learn more about capital markets; and
• be familiar with the fundamentals of accounting, ratios, valuation and investment analysis

I strongly recommend the CIR as it will enable you to gain professional skills to improve performance and as a result improve your earning potential.

Published: 6 July, 2016