CFA vs MBA | 9 Essential Differences You Must Know!

CFA® vs. MBA – Which is Better?

The critical difference between CFA and MBA is the skills obtained. CFA focusses on enhancing Investment Management skills, including Investment Analysis, Portfolio Strategy, Asset Allocation, and Corporate Finance. In comparison, MBA concentrates on overall Management Skills like Marketing, Operations, Finance, Human Resource Accounting, etc. Another difference is the mode of study. CFA is a self-study program, whereas, MBA in most cases is a Full-time Classroom-based Program.

I am taking the liberty to assume that if you are reading this article on CFA® vs. MBA, then you are slightly confused about the right choices that you want to make. Please don’t worry. You are not the only one here! – Even I got disoriented :-)

Appearing for CFA Level 1 exam? – Do have a look at this excellent 70+ hours of CFA level 1 Course

CFA vs MBA

NOTE - Recommended Courses
  1. Online CFA Level 1 Training - 70+ hours Videos
  2. Online CFA Level 2 Training - 100+ hours Videos

For removing this chaos and ease your decision-making process, I have created this CFA® vs. MBA infographics.

Reading time: 90 seconds

CFA vs MBA infographics

 

 

 Pro – Tip: CFA® vs. MBA


Why should you go for CFA® designation?

The differentiating benefits of earning the CFA® designation include:

  • Real-world expertise
  • Career recognition
  • Ethical grounding
  • Global community
  • Employer demand

The sheer demand for the CFA® charter speaks to the difference it makes. More than 160,000 CFA® exam registrations were processed for the June 2015 exams (35% in the Americas, 22% in Europe, Middle East, and Africa, and 43% in the Asia Pacific).

For more information, refer to- CFA® Programs.

  • Investment Management Career – If Investment Management is the word you are attracted to, then CFA® is definitely for you. Investment Management generally includes managing large investment funds and deciding where to invest money.
  • High-End Investment Banking Stuff? – CFA® curriculum covers advanced skillsets required for Investment Bankers and Equity Research analysts. You will find most of the Investment Bankers and analysts have taken CFA® examination.
  • Hedge Fund Career – You will also find CFA® helpful if you are planning to go for Hedge Funds, but it is not a necessity in this field, though.
  • Resume Booster – Due to the high value for a CFA® Charter holder, having this degree is a Resume booster.

You can also read CFA Exam Date and Schedules for essential timelines.

Why you should go for MBA:

  • Work with Best Firms (not necessarily Investment Banking) – Doing your MBA from reputed business schools can get you entry in the best knows firms to work for. Well, known business schools give you direct access to recruiters at top banks, consulting firms, and other companies.
  • Rebranding – If you want to rebrand yourself, expand your networks, or explore new industries, the MBA is definitely for you.
  • Overall Development – MBA focusses on the overall development of the student and does not focus on any particular skill set. The overall effect is significant when you want to rise the ladder and are expected to possess multiple skill sets.

What’s your Career Choice?


  • CFA® is like digging a deep but narrow hole –  So if you want to do anything “outside” of Investment Management, Investment Banking, Equity research, or Hedge fund Job, I would recommend that CFA® is not for you.
  • MBA is like digging a small but wide hole. If you want to change your field, learn new skill sets, move from Science to finance or marketing, then MBA is a good fit for you. With an MBA degree from a top institute, you can land yourself in a good company. Also, you can still become an Investment banker or a consultant as a lot of Investment banks, and consulting firms are in search of fresh MBA talent.

[clickToTweet tweet=”CFA® is like digging a deep but a narrow hole; MBA is like digging a small but a wide hole.” quote=”CFA® is like digging a deep but a narrow hole; MBA is like digging a small but a wide hole.”]

Conclusion


CFA® is highly useful if you want to make a career in the investment management field. However, an MBA is a widely recognized degree, and you will get a diverse experience way beyond Investment Management (consulting, strategy, HR, etc.). For doing an MBA, you will have to sacrifice your full-time Job and comes at a very high cost along with the opportunity cost. However, for CFA®, you don’t have to quit your job to take CFA® exams but sacrifice your leisure time. Could another option be to consider both – CFA® and MBA? I did my MBA first and then took CFA® :-)

Other comparison articles that you may like

So which one are you taking – CFA® vs. MBA?


If you have any questions/feedback on these – CFA® or MBA, please drop a comment below.

 

Reader Interactions

Comments

  1. AvatarAnkita Burli says

    Hello Sir,
    I am currently in my 2nd year of MBA Finance from a decent B School. I intend to work in stock broking firms as Analyst. So is CFA ideal for me?

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Ankita,
      CFA is ideal for Equity Analysts. You can go ahead with your plans.
      thanks,
      Dheeraj

      • AvatarAnkita Burli says

        Thanx a lot for your advise sir

        • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

          Thanks Ankita!

      • AvatarFaraz says

        Hello sir,
        My name us faraz. I have gratuated my b.com last year. N alsi worked for 4 montgs in a amazon service provider network.. i wantvto kke yy ir in investment banking particularly in equity research . PAssiinate about finance.. i did study well in classs 10. Its average .. preoaring for cat also.. can i apply for CFA??, Cz i need a full of exposure of finance6

        • AvatarFaraz says

          My maths is average.

          • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

            Hi Faraz, for full exposure in Finance, you can opt for CFA exam. It is a self-study exam so you don’t have to miss your regular ongoing engagements.

  2. AvatarMamta Jain says

    Hello Sir,
    Your article was really helpful. Thank you!
    I am persuing LLB along with CS.
    I want to work in BSFI’s in future.
    I wanted to know which option would be better?
    MBA in Finance or CFA or FRM?
    Also what’s the duration of FRM?
    And which one of the above is preferable?

    • AvatarDheeraj Vaidya says

      Hi Mamta,

      It depends on your interest between CFA or FRM. CFA is more into investment management, portfolio management etc, while FRM is more into Risk Management and quantitative analysis.

      Given your background in CS and LLB, i guess either MBA or CFA will be great. FRM may become too quantitative in nature (particularly if you are not much into maths).

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  3. AvatarPooja says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I have just finished my MBA in finance and I am currently working with CRISIL in Equity Research (Sell side). I am planning to appear for CFA level 1 in June, but from what I have read till now CFA does not hold much relevance for sell side analysts. Is that true? And if it is what other courses can I pursue on similar lines as CFA?

    Pooja

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Pooja,

      CFA exam is oxygen for sell side analysts. You learn a lot and in addition, your resume will get considered for global sell side companies.

      Hope this helps. All the very best for your CFA exam.

      thanks,
      Dheeraj

      • AvatarPooja says

        Glad to hear that. Thanks :)

        • AvatarDheeraj says

          Welcome Pooja! thanks.

  4. AvatarMadhur says

    Hi…
    Article which you have posted is very helpful.
    I am bcom graduate and a CA final student.
    Do you think a CA degree in resume is enough to make it strong.?
    If no then what should i do… CFA FRM or MBAfinance?
    In future i want a market related job.
    What is minimum time to complete CFA course?
    My dream is to work in reputated firms in new york.
    Please help me.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Madhur,

      Lots of things in your mind :-) Don’t worry, you are already doing great as you working towards your CA. Along with CA, either of the two things can work really well – MBA from a reputed college or CFA for a great future. The minimum time to complete CFA course is around 1.5 years. This assumes that you sit for CFA Level 1 in December, take CFA Level 2 in the following June and then CFA Level 3 in following December.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  5. AvatarShobhit Agarwal says

    I found this article really good,
    I am BBA Finance final year student from very reputed institute in india.
    I want to build my career in Investment Banking. After completing my graduation I even do have a job offer.

    What I came to know from sources is that,for CFA one needs to study for 5 hours a day.

    Would it be possible for me to study for CFA while pursuing job or should I quit job and only focus on CFA.

    I want to work for investment bank like JP Morgan, Credit Suisse;in future. Do they prefer hiring CFA.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Shobhit,

      Are you planning to appear for June exam or December exam? Not sure of the source for 5 hours of study daily for CFA. If you plan to take December exam, then you have ample time. With regular studies over the weekends (4-8 hours in total), you should be well prepared for the exam.

      Also, it is advisable that you keep your job and study for CFA. BBA Finance + CFA + Job experience will be an excellent credential to look at.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  6. AvatarArijit Bohra says

    Hi Dheeraj,
    I have completed my MBA in Finance from a decently reputed college in India. Prior to that I have experience in Manufacturing and Supply chain.
    After being exposed to the stock market and the study of finance subjects during my MBA, I have developed a deep interest in researching businesses for investment.
    Currently I work for a very high-reputed professional services firm. I however, wish to move to a smaller firm in the field of equity research. Hence I have started working on financial modelling skills and learning various valuation methods.
    Is the shift possible?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Arijit,

      Shift is very much possible. You will have to prove two things to the prospective employers – 1) Your credentials in equity Research field – learning financial modeling, valuations, accounting etc. 2) a professional degree that validates and boosts your resume, here CFA seems to be a great fit.

      With these two, you should be able to make a move!

      All the best,
      Dheeraj

  7. AvatarShashank says

    I am thinking of pursuing CFA. I intend to go for CFA level I in June 2016 and CAT in Oct/Nov 2016. I want to treat CFA as a back up for if i get into a good B-school next year after CAT, i intend to complete CFA after i complete my MBA. Is this plan feasible?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Shashank,

      Plan is very much feasible. Infact, for your CAT interviews, clearing CFA level 1 can boost your chances for getting into a good MBA college.

      Cheers,
      Dheeraj

  8. AvatarSahil says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I am a science graduate with two years of experience in Sales and Marketing Consulting. I intend to do an MBA in future. Do you think CFA would add any value in my line of experience. If yes, then I plan to attempt L1 in Jun’16 and then L2 in Jun’17 along with the start of my MBA in the summer of 2017.

    Can you comment on my plan, is it of any use ?

    Regards,
    Sahil

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Sahil,

      CFA is of little use to those in the Sales and Marketing profile. However, if you do not want to be limited to only marketing consulting, you may want to add up CFA in your portfolio. This will result in better understanding of Finance field and will help you in your MBA too.

      Hope this is answers your queries.

      All the best,
      Dheeraj

  9. AvatarAnubhav Sinha says

    Hi Dheeraj,
    I came to know that 4 years of relevant work ex is required to get the CFA charter. So, is it necessary to have the 4 years of work ex before taking CFA L1 exam or before CFA L3? Also, can I take the CFA L1 exam with no work ex at all, that is, immediately after graduating and joining somewhere?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Anubhav,

      Answers to your questions –
      Is it necessary to have the 4 years of work ex before taking CFA L1 exam or before CFA L3? – Not necessary. You need to be a graduate to take this exam.

      Also, can I take the CFA L1 exam with no work ex at all, that is, immediately after graduating and joining somewhere?
      The answer is YES.

      You should strive to take CFA exam as early as possible.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  10. Avatartom says

    Hi Sir, thanks for the article. Im still blur either to take CIF Charted Islamic Finance which is now there was high demand prospect in Malaysia or to take CFA. I plan to make career in finance field before 33- now 23 and pursue for corporate career after 33.

    My 2nd thought is to take CIF/CFA plus master in economics.Then pursue PHD in economics and become lecturer after 35.

    My degree in economics. Thanks again sir.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Tom,

      Unfortunately, i do not have much information about CIF. I got some basic information on CIF from the internet, however, I am not in a position to draw a direct comparision between CIF vs CFA. My understanding is that CFA has a global appeal and will not remain limited to Malaysia.

      If you can manage, a combination of CIF+CFA should not hurt and will be an added advantage.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  11. AvatarSai Prasad S N says

    I am engineering graduate but deeply interested to work in investment banking. This is my plan; I want to prepare for MBA competitive exams and do CFA together, if I manage to get into good college in India before completing CFA I’ll join MBA and continue CFA along. If not I’ll complete CFA and get into any firm, work for some time and get MBA from abroad. How’s my plan and what are the things I need to take care of.

    Sai Prasad

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Sai,

      I think you have a great plan at hand! You can pursue both of them together. Just go for it!

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  12. AvatarAlex Cristopher Lee says

    Best comparison I’ve found so far!
    Thank you.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      thanks Alex!

  13. Avatarsiddhesh bhatkhande says

    Really helpful and guiding info provided over blog.
    Still would like to get an advise over the same from you if possible.

    Thanks a lot!

    Thanks & Regards,
    Siddhesh Bhatkhande

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Siddhesh, drop me a line anytime!
      Best,
      Dheeraj

      • Avatarshubham says

        hello dheeraj .. Can you please help me with something ? I want to do CFA as i am very much passionate about career in Finance industry . I am thinking about MBA but have average profile which makes it difficult to get into top B school so I was thinking to at least clear level 1 of CFA before joining MBA course so that i complete whole course by 2 years of MBA . DO you think clearing level 1 will help improve my profile ? or should i do for My MBA first ?

        • AvatarDheeraj says

          Hi Shubham, I echo your thoughts. CFA will surely help you and you must try to get this asap. It will not only help you during your MBA but will also open up great job prospects.

          All the very best!
          Thanks,
          Dheeraj

  14. AvatarKyle says

    Very insightful article. I have my CFA charter and am currently debating on whether or not I should pursue an MBA through a part-time program. I am an equity analyst with 10 years of experience and hope to continue to move up within the investment management industry. Do you think getting an MBA will be worth the investment?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Yes Kyle, MBA will be of great value. It will not only enhance your overall understanding of the business but will also be helpful to get roles of greater responsibilities in future.

      thanks,
      Dheeraj

  15. AvatarIsha Jaiswal says

    Lots of good information here, another useful post. I really appreciate your work. Thanks for sharing.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      thanks Isha!

  16. AvatarTejaswini Shah says

    I thoroughly enjoy your articles. This one specifically is a major eye opener for me.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thank you Tejaswini!

  17. AvatarKartavya Patil says

    This is a very well written post, my compliments. CFA vs MBA debate is explained in a very Crisp and Clear way.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Kartavya :-)

  18. AvatarDiane Raddick says

    Hi, I am interested in Banking sector, specifically Risk Management. Will doing CFA help me?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Diane,

      If you are looking at a career in Risk Management, then FRM will be of great help (instead of CFA).

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  19. AvatarAmooti says

    I have seen some online MBAs. Cant I take these instead of quitting my job?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Amooti, you can definitely take those but which specific online MBA you are talking about? Unfortunately, most online MBAs are in general not considered at par with the 2 year program.
      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

      • AvatarAmooti says

        Thanks for the info Dheeraj.

        Your question is my current dilemma actually. Do you know any credible fully online MBAs you can recommend? I really have to take an MBA next year but I cannot quit my job as I am the sole bread winner at home.

  20. AvatarAlisha says

    Hi

    Is it okay to have a 3 year gap between CFA Level 1 and CFA Level 2 attempt?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Alisha, I dont’ see any problems with this. Please go ahead and take CFA Level 2.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  21. AvatarNatalie Rubert says

    Thanks Dheeraj for this excellent article. Cover to the point information, Thanks again.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      thanks Natalie!

  22. AvatarAlisha says

    Hi

    Is it OK to have a 3yr gap between giving CFA L1 and the CFA L2 exam?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Alisha,

      I don’t see any problems in that. You can give CFA level 2 after a 3 years gap.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  23. AvatarElin T says

    I had this dilemma whether to go for CFA or MBA. This for this CFA vs MBA comparison. helped me a lot.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Elin, Many thanks :-)

  24. AvatarSally says

    This article is useful for someone like me who had the dilemma whether to opt for CFA or MBA. Thanks Dheeraj.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Sally, Many thanks. I am glad you liked the article.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  25. AvatarKeerthi says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    Thanks for the detailed comparison.

    I have a question. Does CFA curicullum cover Merger and Acquisition concepts. I have just passed CFA level 1 and intend to complete the certification.

    Best Regards,
    Kirthi

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Keerthi,

      Yes, CFA Level 2 Financial Statement Analysis curriculum does cover Mergers and Acquisition concepts (purchase method and pooling method of accounting).

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  26. AvatarMatt L says

    Hi Dheeraj, I am glad to see this article, indeed it is very informative. I had one question… I am interested in Venture Capital field. Will doing a MBA program help me?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Matt,

      Typically professional who have experience in Investment Banking find it easier to move into Venture Capital or Private Equity Field. What is your background? Can you please advise.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

      • AvatarMatt L says

        I am in my final year and was hoping to go for MBA.

  27. AvatarRyan T says

    Hi Dheeraj,

    I am going to appear for the CFA level I this year. I am finding it difficult to remember all the guidance & Standards in Ethics Module. can you please help????

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Ryan,

      Dont’ worry too much on this. I guess the only thing that can help you here is to revise Ethics module multiple times. This is what i did and hoping that you would do the same.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  28. AvatarAlwin Periera says

    Dheeraj, I have followed all your articles. The Alibaba Model was exceptional. Thanks a lot.
    I am sure that all the CFA related doubts of aspirants will be solved by this CFA vs MBA article. Cheers, keep writing :)

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      thanks Alwin! my pleasure :-)

  29. AvatarRichard T. says

    Nice Content. Please keep writing more. Good Luck!!!

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      thanks Richard!

  30. AvatarYatin Sawant says

    Thanks for the amazing comparison. I am so glad to find exactly the content what I wanted!!! :)

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Yatin!

  31. AvatarRicha Sarang says

    I have completed my CFA level I examination and I am now planning to appear for the level II. What are the recommended study hours for the same according to you?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Congratulations Richa on passing CFA Level 1! CFA Level 2 will require a similar 250-300 hours of rigorous preparation. CFA Level 2 is a bit advanced compared to CFA Level 1.

      All the very Best,
      Dheeraj

  32. AvatarNick says

    Currently, I am a undergrad student majoring in Finance in Thailand. I will be done in December. I haven’t done 10+2 –> only did the IGCSEs. My dad runs a jewellery business which I will join if I do not go for Masters. I have no prior knowledge about the business and I will move to India to train myself (it has been taken care of).

    I am considering an option and would like an opinion on this matter. I was thinking that while I learn my family business under someone else’s guidance, I also prepare myself for CFA. Since I am already a Finance undergrad, I will be furthering my studies in my field of interest. This would mean I can learn about how to handle a business and earn a CFA (provided I pass). But this would also mean boycotting the MBA.

    Also, maybe throw in a Gemological Institute of America (GIA) course at some point – although unlikely.

    How do you think of my plan? Will it be wise to not pursue MBA?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Nick,

      Thanks for your note. I am slighted concerned on what exactly you want to pursue in the long term – Your Dad’s business or Finance? If you want to continue with your Dad’s business, then i guess MBA will add lot of value. Actually it also depends on the MBA college but in generaly you would learn not only finance, but also strategy, marketing, operations, HR and other critical areas important for business. If you are not planning to continue with your Dad’s business, then you could take CFA which will definitely add lot of value.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  33. AvatarNazia Khan says

    This is a very informative article. Good Comparison done for CFA vs MBA!!! Looking forward for more articles!

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thank you Nazia!

  34. AvatarAnkit Singhal says

    Good Morning Dheeraj Sir,

    I must say that you are a great job.
    Background- B.A(H) Maths, M.Sc Maths & MBA Finance.
    I have developed keen interest in finance during my MBA programme and also upgraded my skills of financial modelling, Valuation etc. I want to work as a financial analyst in a good financial company but could not find the same.Now I am thinking over preparing for CFA level 1.I am interested in a career comprises of financial research,valuation etc.I need your expert advice.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Ankit,

      Sure thing. you should go ahead and appear for CFA Level 1 if you serious about your finance career.

      All the best,
      Dheeraj

  35. Avatarkomal says

    Hello sir thank you for this article.
    I hav completed my b.com degree and I am preparing for banking exams as well.
    is it advisible to me to go for cfa, and can you please tell the procedure to apply for the same.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Komal, first thing is which field you really want to make your career? taking CFA only depends on that. If you are thinking of making your career in Consumer Banking space, then there is no point taking CFA.
      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  36. AvatarEmma says

    Thanks for the Comparison, founds it quite useful!!! :)

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Many thanks Emma!

  37. AvatarMakarand deharkar says

    this was the first article i read of yours and i am glad to visit early.i am an engineering graduate and gave cat(common aptitude test)for b schools in India.I was not selected though.but i created my mind to get a work ex in finance and then opt for mba(appr.2 years).Is it reccomended to go for cfa along with job? tia….

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Makarand,

      If you have keen interest in finance, then opting for CFA would be the correct choice. You can do this along with your job or MBA, whichever way suits you. Earlier you do the better it is!

      All the very Best,
      Dheeraj

  38. AvatarKate says

    I am a huge fan of this blog and a regular follower of your articles. Amazing Comparison!!!

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Kate! I am glad you like these articles.

  39. AvatarBrian says

    Is there any other reference study material? I am currently using the Schweser notes.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      I think Schweser are good as a reference material. You can also refer the CFA books for preparation.

  40. AvatarRussel Perry says

    I must say that all the content in this particular blog gives you detailed information. Please keep up the good work. Thanks for this CFA vs MBA article.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thank you Russel! :-)

  41. AvatarVinod Satija says

    Just came across this article and found it to be a well written comparison between CFA vs MBA. I am going to appear for the December exam. I have gone through most of the replies given to various comments and have found that most of my doubts are clear now as well. Thanks a lot.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Vinod!

  42. AvatarSM says

    Is CFA recommended after doing CMA and CPA?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Yes, you can take CFA. I think you should first think about your interests – whether you want to move into Investment Management/Investment Banking. If yes, then definitely, you must take CFA exams.

  43. AvatarSuzan Walker says

    Nice Comparison between CFA vs MBA. I really liked the presentation with the help of an Infograph.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Suzan!

  44. Avatarjanice Almeida says

    Thanks for this Amazing Comparison. I have been following your blog since quite a time and i really enjoy the content that you write. :)

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thank you Janice!

  45. AvatarVibha Purohit says

    Hello Sir, I wanted to ask that for CFA Exams, self study mode is enough for study or is there a need for inperson classes?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      I found self study to be sufficient. What’s your background Vibha?

  46. AvatarAllen says

    Great Article. I had a question that, how relevant is the CFA certification today?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Allen, CFA is most upto date and relevant for Investment Management. It is well recognized within the finance professionals.

  47. AvatarHenriatta says

    The 90 seconds Infograph clears most of confusion about CFA vs MBA. Thanks a lot.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Henriatta!

  48. AvatarAbby James says

    It has been almost 8 years that I completed my MBA in finance. Is it too late to pursue my CFA?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Never too late Abby. I guess you should pursue CFA is you are keen on Investment Management kind of roles.
      All the best,
      Dheeraj

  49. AvatarHeena Zaveri says

    I was planning to go for CFA for my further education and this CFA vs MBA comparison has helped me to compare the two fields. Thankyou for the simple comparison. Helps a lot!!!

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Heena. I am glad this article on CFA or MBA helped you!

      All the very best for your CFA examination.

      Regards,
      Dheeraj

  50. AvatarAmanda Green says

    Good Comparison shown between CFA vs MBA. I really like your blog. Looking forward for some more good post :)

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Amanda!

  51. AvatarMonica Garcia says

    I was looking for the perfect comparison between CFA vs MBA and found it here. Amazing!!!

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thank you Monica!

  52. AvatarJoseph Periera says

    Thankyou for the Infograph. I had a small question that Which is Better For Landing a Top Position in Investment Banking?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Joseph, my take will be CFA if you are not graduating from an IVY MBA league.

  53. AvatarJoshua Green says

    Hi Dheeraj, Excellent Article.
    I just wanted to know is CFA necessary for a career in Venture Capital?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Joshua,
      thanks for your comment. CFA is not absolutely necessary for Venture Capital as it does not cover this in depth as a part of the curriculum. Venture capital job may require preparing financial model, valuations and term sheets.
      Best,
      Dheeraj

  54. AvatarPrince says

    really helpful article .. thank you Dheeraj !!
    I’m doing CA and I’m thinking of doing ACCA and/or CFA..
    after investing 4-5 years in CA, I don’t want to get into 2 years of MBA..
    which of the two courses would be better ?? ACCA or CFA ??
    which course has more scope in India ?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Prince,

      ACCA and CFA are two totally separate areas. Both the certifications have tremendous potential, however, you need to decide where you are inclined – Accounting (ACCA) vs Investment Banking/Corporate Finance (CFA).

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  55. AvatarKarishma Shah says

    Can CFA improve your chances of intake into B-schools if you are considering CFA before MBA?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Karsihma,

      I think CFA can dramatically improve your chances of getting into MBA. Your resume will surely look stronger and also, will define your definitive focus towards finance.

      thanks,
      Dheeraj

  56. AvatarRushikesh Kochar says

    Hello Sir, My question is: Do the industry value CFA candidate coming from non finance/CA background?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Rushikesh,

      CFA is valued independent of your background. It is considered to be gold standard in Financial certifications.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  57. AvatarSai says

    Cfa and cfp both have equal opportunities in India?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Sai,

      CFA and CFP cater to totally different clients all together. CFA is all about investment management and Investment Banking. CFP is a retail client portfolio management. As of now CFA has more presence in India and is well known. CFP has recently started picking up but i see immense potential in this examination. It depends on you, what you want to actually become. You can take either of them for a successful career.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  58. AvatarSoham Churi says

    I’m in my early 30’s and in my first year of a business school. I initially worked for a VC funded startup and wishes transition into investment management. Is just the mba enough or should I also pursue the CFA?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Soham, CFA could be an added advantage to your skillset, though given your experience, it is not absolutely necessary for you to take CFA.
      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  59. AvatarSanchit Sareen says

    Hi..I found the article really helpful, thank you. I intend to pursue both MBA and CFA in future. I wanted to know which one should i opt first, MBA or CFA? Also if I do CFA first, will it increase my chances of admission in good B-school?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Sanchit, thanks for your feedback. Passing CFA level 1 will definitely increase your chances of cracking a good B-School. However, it also depends on how to perform in your entrance examinations.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  60. AvatarAnubhav Khatija says

    Hello Dheeraj. I had a question related to the study material. Are the Schweser model papers good enough to prepare for CFA Level 1 exam?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      I found Schweser notes to be sufficient enough. However, if you are done with the Schweser notes, you can also look at some practice questions from the CFAI books.
      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  61. AvatarShristi Negi says

    Thank you for providing an amazing comparison between the CFA & MBA. I have one doubt currently I am doing my MBA in analytics and finance, what do you think after doing MBA should I pursue for CFA? And if Yes than how much added advantage it will be for me?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Shristi, thank you! If you have interest in Finance and want to pursue a career in Investment Banking or Portfolio Management, then CFA is recommended. Otherwise, i don’t think it is required for you to take CFA.

      Thanks,
      Dheeraj

  62. AvatarVidisha says

    This analysis is really good, it did help me answer few of my questions i had in deciding what to pursue. I had one question though, since i am a science graduate will i be able to take CFA or MBA?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hello Vidisha, you can actually take either of the two – CFA or MBA? Which one suits you depends on your interest? If you like financial markets etc, then CFA could be something to go for. You will have to spend some extra time on learning accounting. If you are interested in general strategy, HR or business functions, then you may opt for MBA.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  63. AvatarMinal Jain says

    I really feel that its a great way to present information through a single image. i had a question pertaining to the CFA certification. How relavant is a CFA certification in a banking context? I would be great if i can get some insights into this. Thanks.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Minal,

      CFA certification does not cover much of Banking (commercial banks etc) stuff. CFA certification is all about Investment Management related functions like Portfolio Management, Stock Analysis, Fixed Income, Derivatives, Ethics etc.

      thanks,
      Dheeraj

  64. AvatarEmmanuel says

    Thank you so much for this detail, I am a Graduate of Engineering and currently i am doing an MSC in Engineering management. I wish to further my career in Banking which i started almost 9 years ago.
    I am considering doing an MBA and CFA after my MSC.

    please advise me between MBA and CFA which should i do first

  65. AvatarRobyH says

    This is an extremely helpful article, for sometime I have been battling between enrolling for CFA or MBA. Thanks a lot for the analysis.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Thanks Robert!

  66. AvatarJoaquim Govanhica says

    Hello Dheeraj, this article is so comprehensive and helpful. Thank you very much. Please note I have a question related to this comparison. I’m doing Master in Financial Management and I have plan to enroll for CFA on I complete the master program. What is your advice considering that both programs focus on finance.

    Thanks
    G

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Many thanks Joaquim. Given that you are doing Masters in Financial Management, you already covered 60-65% of the CFA curriculum. I think enrolling for CFA along will definitely be a plus and will complement your chances of moving in Investment Banking kind of roles. Also, for you to pass CFA should not be tough, just that you need study systematically and practice mock tests.

      All the very best,
      Dheeraj

  67. AvatarPooja Gupta says

    I found this article really comprehensive. Thank you so much for the information. Just one thing which i would like to ask..Would it advisable to undertake both the CFA and MBA simultaneously?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Pooja, Interesting question. Doing MBA and CFA simultaneously can be challenging but not impossible. If you can manage both – study for MBA as well as for CFA, nothing like it! It will give you an immediate resume boost if you pass atleast the level 1 exam.

      Best,
      Dheeraj

  68. AvatarMilind Rane says

    Hi Sir, I found this article extremely helpful. I had a quick question. I am a working professional and i am going to appear for the December Level 1 exam. Can you guide me how I can prepare myself for the same along with my JOB. Any tips?

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hi Milind, Studying along with job is always difficult. However, you have ample time as of now. It will be great if you could study for atleast 1-2 hours daily, if not then 6-8 hours over the weekends. All the very best for your examination!

  69. AvatarNeelam says

    Thank you for the wonderful comparison. I am an engineer and took CFA Level 1 last week. Let us see how far do i go.

    • AvatarDheeraj says

      Hey Neelam, many thanks. I am glad you liked this.
      p.s. – My colleague Madhuri created this awesome CFA MBA infographics

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