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. On the other hand, MBA concentrates on overall management skills like marketing, operations, finance, human resource accounting,,Human resource accounting is the accounting and recognition of expenses related to organization's employees, including costs associated with recruitment, selection, training, and hiring. etc. Another difference is the mode of study. CFA is a self-study program, whereas MBA is largely a full-time classroom-based program.
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To remove the chaos and ease your decision-making process, we have created the following CFA® vs. MBA infographics:
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Pro – Tip: CFA® vs. MBA
Why should you go for the 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 puts forth 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, the Middle East, and Africa, and 43% in the Asia Pacific).
For more information, refer to CFA® Programs.
- Investment management career – If you are keen on investment management, then CFA® is certainly for you. Investment management generally includes the management of large investment funds and determining money investment.
- High-end investment banking aspects – CFA® curriculum covers advanced skill sets needed 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 may find most investment bankers and analysts have undertaken the CFA® examination.
- Hedge fund career – You can also find CFA® helpful if you plan to 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 unnecessary for this field.
- Resume booster – Due to the high value for a CFA® charter holder, having this degree is a resume booster.
You can also read the CFA Exam DateCFA Exam DateCFA exam is a three-part exam to check your fundamentals of wealth planning, investment tools, portfolio management, and valuing assets. Candidates with a background in finance, accounting, economics, or business generally pursue this, and its exam dates and notifications can be followed on its official website. and schedules for essential timelines.
Why you should go for MBA:
- Work with the best firms (not necessarily investment banking) – Pursuing MBA from known business schools may get you entry into the best-known firms to work for. Also, reputed business schools offer you direct access to recruiters at top banks, consulting firms, and other companies.
- Rebranding – If you feel like rebranding yourself, expanding your networks, or exploring new industries, then MBA is definitely for you.
- Overall development – MBA focuses on the overall development of the student and not on any particular skill set. The overall effect is significant when you desire to raise the ladder and are expected to possess multiple skill sets.
What’s your Career Choice?
- 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, and 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 many investment banks and consulting firms search for 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 facilitates a diverse experience beyond investment management (consulting, strategy, HR, etc.). You may need to sacrifice your full-time job which comes at a very high cost, with the opportunity cost of doing an MBA. However, for CFA®, you need not quit your job to take CFA® exams except to sacrifice your leisure time. Could another option be to consider both – CFA® and MBA? However, 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.