CFA® vs. MBA – Which is Better?
The critical difference between CFA and MBA is the skills obtained. CFA focuses 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 :-)
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For removing this chaos and ease your decision-making process, I have created this CFA® vs. MBA infographics.
Reading time: 90 seconds
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 analystsEquity Research AnalystsAn equity research analyst is a qualified professional who interprets financial information and trends of an organization or industry to provide recommendations, opinions, reports, and projections on the corporate stocks to facilitate equity trading.. 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 FundsHedge FundsA hedge fund is an aggressively invested portfolio made through pooling of various investors and institutional investor’s fund. It supports various assets providing high returns in exchange for higher risk through multiple risk management and hedging techniques., 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 BankingInvestment BankingInvestment banking is a specialized banking stream that facilitates the business entities, government and other organizations in generating capital through debts and equity, reorganization, mergers and acquisition, etc., 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.
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® :-)
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.