FRM vs MBA – Which is the Right Decision?

FRM vs MBA – Which is the Right Decision? Life is all about making the right choices, it does not matter how you make the choice. I think we definitely miss out on the small but very important things and that is the journey through which we arrived at the decision to choose the correct thing.

Finance is a very lucrative career and yet very boring to those who are not interested. So if you are confused between whether to take FRM examination or complete your MBA or both, do have a look at this quick guide to help you phase out the dilemma.

In this article on FRM vs MBA, we discuss the following

  1. FRM vs MBA Infographics
  2. What is Financial Risk Manager (FRM)?
  3. What is Masters in Business Administration (MBA)?
  4. FRM vs MBA Exam Requirements
  5. Why pursue FRM?
  6. Why pursue MBA?

FRM vs MBA Infographics

Reading time : 90 seconds

Lets understand the difference between these two streams with the help of this FRM vs MBA Infographics.

FRM vs MBA infographics

What is FRM or Financial Risk Manager?

The Financial Risk Manager is a global certified program based in the US and offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals. The course consists of two parts and prepares you for everything from risk management and measurement to quantitative analysis techniques, as well as financial markets and products and evaluation models.

The FRM course requires the candidate to have two years of full time working experience in the finance arena which can be in the form of risk management, trading, academia, equity research, portfolio management, auditing, economics, risk management or risk consulting.

What is MBA or Master of Business Administration?

A master’s degree in business administration prepares you for the field of business and is typically for people who want to make a career in marketing and general management.  The two year’s course offered in business schools prepares you for management analysis and strategy while providing a thorough knowledge on accounting, finance, marketing and human resources.

The MBA course is available in full time, part time and distance learning processes, with each having a significance of its own in the industry.

FRM vs MBA Requirements

The cost often plays a huge deciding factor for many and is one of the biggest disadvantages of an MBA program. While MBA is a two year rigorous study filled with internships and exams, passing the FRM certified course is more difficult as it requires a great amount of dedication and hard work from the entrant. The success rate for FRM courses is 45% to 52% and this can give you a fair idea about its difficulty. The FRM is a multiple choice questions exam.

The MBA program is set in a semester mode and the two year course sees a candidate pass out four semesters. The success rate of a candidate in this program depends on his GPA, test score, strong work ethics and internships, great recommendations by professors as well as industry professionals with whom he has rubbed his shoulders and his leadership qualities and abilities to come out with an edge amongst his peers. Thus career prospects vary and depend on an individual’s talent and hard work.

Why pursue FRM?

FRM today is considered as an alternative option to CFA. While CFA and MBA remains the traditional choices to boost career prospects, FRM as observed by industry experts is poised for growth considering that the market is less saturated with FRMs than CFAs at the moment. Though FRM can boost your earning power, to believe that it would happen overnight and create you a millionaire is a wrong perception. The HR managers in the banks are still to be made aware of FRM as a certification which is on par with a CFA (though less holistic and more narrow) and therefore it is not a must have while a candidate is being recruited.

FRM certified course is best suited for those individuals in the finance industries who play a senior role in management firms, government agencies, Investment banking firms, hedge funds, asset firms, commercial banks, central banks, credit agencies, corporations, technology and asset vendors, consulting firm and so on and want to jump up in their positions or are looking for a change in career domain.

#Tip: Dedication and Patience are a must quality for a candidate to clear FRM exams.

Additional certification after a traditional degree is a pre-requisite considering the booming number of talented professionals in the industry. Thus FRM is for professionals who are looking to excel and make progress in their portfolio or who desire a shift in their career with a more diversified, analytical and challenging role in their career. The syllabus of these certified courses have a much broader global perspective and has a current relevance in today’s financial market scenario.

Why pursue MBA?

MBA provides good business skill and is appropriate for you if you want to climb the corporate ladder.  With a degree in IT, Finance or Marketing it is worth the pain to study MBA as it will prepare you to excel in the managerial roles. However, MBA is a rigorous study course and is extremely wide in its syllabus touching upon the various topics perhaps not in great detail but nonetheless preparing you in general for each of the diversification.

# Tip: It is however my observation that an MBA is a must as it prepares you for business entirely while a certification course is a supplementary to an MBA enhancing your abilities, analytical skills and ethical grounding.

Other comparisons that you may fine useful –

Prep Guides and Tools for FRM Exam


Monetary issues do guide our choices and often lack of interest and talent is over ridden in making a career choice. However, the most repentant is the one who makes a career choice to go with the flow without adequately researching the various industries and the courses. Choose FRM if you are interested and passionate about Finance and Risk Management. Choose MBA, if you are interested in management and business aspects of a company.


  1. By Winnie on

    Thank you very much Dheeraj. Your articles are always amazing. I feel more informed and enlightened. Keep up the good work.


  2. By Aditya chaturvedi on

    Hello sir,
    I am perusing frm course, I have done and also a CA student. I want to know is there really good scope for frm after doing normal or I want another courses, degrees to make good career. And what is its difficulty.


    • By Dheeraj Vaidya on

      Hey Aditya,

      You need not worry too much about this as of now. You are already pursing CA which is one of the most sought after degrees. you are doing great :-)

      However, I have seen that in most cases, CA opt for CFA certification instead of FRM. I guess this could be due to common overall of curriculum of CFA with CA as well as their career choice of being in the Investment Management industry.



  3. By mich on

    I am a finance degree graduate. working as an accounts assistant.
    this is clearly not my thing , and am would like to have a career change to the finance industry.
    can I take FRM as my first step to a career switch?


    • By Dheeraj on

      Hi Mich,

      I hope you are not thinking of FRM just because of frustration in your current job. if you are interested in Risk Management profiles, then FRM can add lot of weight to your resume and help you in career switch.



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