AuthorTopic: CFA for an MBA applicant
@2019-01-22 15:33:23
Hello everyone. This is my first post on the forum, so I apologize in advance if this topic has been discussed before.

I currently work for a small hedge fund in Chicago, doing research for the equity stat arb desk. I am currently in the process of applying to 5 top business schools, so I can make a transition into equity research at an investment management firm.

I am preparing for worst case scenario since there's a decent chance that i won't get into any of the schools i'm applying to. Some people have told me that a CFA without an MBA can help me make the jump while others said that since i don't have previous experience, only an MBA from a top school will allow me to make the career switch.

Any thoughts/advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated.

@2019-03-26 06:22:50
A few candid words of advice -

(1) If you can transition to equity research to a prominent buy-side shop directly, I would recommend it. As someone attending a "top MBA" program right now, I can certainly say that recruiting is a major pain in the butt and you also probably don't want to set yourself back $150K in expenses for two years. There were times since I've been here that I contemplated whether I should have gone to get my MBA in the first place, simply from the standpoint of cost vs. benefit? but then I started really enjoying my experience here, namely in terms of what I learned in class and engaging with people who were similarly curious and driven about business as I was. Also, since I'm thinking about changing careers and wanted to be constantly immersed in situations where I could learn about other industries. Ultimately, since I plan to do something not related to finance during the following summer and potentially after b-school, I needed to go to business school because recruiting for those types of events? as well as the necessary education and experiential learning? probably wouldn't have come through my prior job.

(2) On the other hand, the CFA is good for recruiting but won't really help that much with business school admissions. While it signals your commitment to a field and your individual motivation, it doesn't necessarily show leadership or excellence in team-oriented environments which is what most people outside of finance would say are critical to business. (Of course, you can certainly try to argue this point in your MBA applications and how effectively you can do that will determine how likely you get in). And lastly, while MBA *does* give you access to additional channels and could be good for career changers, the success by which one can pull off a career switch is not equal for all candidates. For example, in looking at people that seem to be gaining the most traction with buy-side firms, they all have real passion for investing and generally have prior buy-side or investment banking experience as well. In other words, they probably could have gotten to the buy-side without an MBA, but a top MBA certainly facilitates that. This probably isn't true for someone that came from some non-finance sector and now wants to do buy-side, however? tough luck for them whether they're in b-school or not.

Hope that helps...

CFA Discussion Topic: CFA for an MBA applicant

To post a new topic or reply to a topic, please log in or register for a free user account.

I passed! I did not get a chance to tell you before the exam - but your site was excellent. I will definitely take it next year for Level II.
Tamara Schultz

Tamara Schultz