AuthorTopic: CFA vs MBA
@2003-09-11 15:27:04
Does anybody know what would be the benefits of doing an MBA after the CFA? Is it really worthwhile?
@2003-09-11 20:30:25
I'm actually doing a MBA and CFA at the same time. There is overlap in 50% of topics: quant, accounting, eco, finance, etc. But it all depends on what you want to specialize in. The MBA is more case oriented with a broader perspective. If you plan to stick to the investment industry, a CFA is probably sufficient.
@2003-09-15 10:14:43
Thanks for the info! At which University are you doing both the MBA and CFA at the same time? Because there are not many universities that offer that. I'll first start by doing the CFA for now and get some work experience, then I'll see... I think that I would want to stay in the investment industry, but I don't know for sure being that I have no experience. Were you able to get into the MBA program without any experience?
@2003-09-15 11:56:27
I work full time, am getting an MBA part time at night (Xavier University), and just passed level one. There is no reason you can't do it all at the same time. Be prepared however, to study every day for at least 3-4 hours. Worse in the two months leading up to the exam.
@2003-09-20 23:43:41
I have considered all the MBA options. I have come
to the conclusion that the CFA is the best option in
the investment industry and also if you are looking
at it from the personal perspective. There is no
better way to accelerate ones personal net worth
faster than by applying the principles/tools gained
from this program.
@2003-12-02 11:56:43
I decided to do CFA&MBA at the same time. And also choose the Finance as the MBA concentration. Because it can help me concentrate my MBA study at Finance.
@2003-12-02 22:22:18
wow!!! for a person doing an MBA and CFA your pretty smart
@2003-12-03 10:24:49
for me? if i heared about CFA before doing my MBA , i wouldn't do it.
It depends on what you want to be and where are you (location).
It depends on the country you are in , the investment and financial institutions , and how they percieve the MBA and CFA.
@2004-09-28 06:43:28
I am a Chemical engineer by proffession and i know that the MBA was made for us so that we could get some finance , economics and management expertise. Funny enough i want to do the CFA instead of the MBA. Maybe its because the CFA gives you an earge in the financial sector and its more specialised. At the end of the day it depends on what you want to be. I am an engineer who doesn't like to be an engineer so, take of your interests.
@2004-10-01 09:10:36
i am chinese ,and i am doing my finance master degree and sign up CFA LEVEL I.MBA has a bad fame in my nation now. a lof of universities have MBA program,they just want money,and the quality is bad
@2004-10-01 20:37:27
Lots of MBAs are money grubbing courses at poor universities - if you make this investment best to do it at a place that gives you max benefit - not all MBAs are the same.

But the CFA is far from a 'Gold Standard'! It is learning by rote with little qualification or judgement allowed - many Ks are wrong or just assumptions. The CFA is mainly worth what it is by showing you can put yourself through: mindless memory tasks (whatever your specialism is, the CFA would have made you no more than average, and perhaps detracted if you subordinated other learning sources to it), you are a person of dedication even if it fails to show you can think for yourself. In this respect I think a decent MBA (or good Finance masters if you prefer to be more technical) is far far far superior.
@2004-10-03 08:34:42
I strongly recommend doing MBA in Finance and taking CFA Level I later in your degree after passing few finance classes. That is how I did it. Once you have finance knowledge you need less time to study for CFA.
@2004-10-03 11:58:34
I think that if you are planning on doing both, there is obvious overlap, so to avoid repetition I would think that one should not get an MBA in Finance and a CFA charter. Since the CFA program is heavily concentrated in finance, one would broaden their skill set and increase their personal equity by getting the finance discipline via CFA charter and getting an MBA in something else (Management?) to look good and enter the "MBA club". CFA breeds knowledge, MBA is just for show. IMHO
@2004-10-07 07:38:23
I too am doing the MBA at the same time as the CFA. I agree with Gerry that there is a huge amount of overlap in the finances and econ areas but disagree with those who downplay the MBA. The MBA offers you leadership and management skills that the CFA won't. What are your long term goals? I-Banking with an eye on moving up? Just moving up? Other? Those goals should tell you what to do.
@2004-10-18 10:08:42
As an engineer, CFA is totally new to me, but I still decide to take on it. I know I like it by heart. Thobile, I admire you for your courage to change your career too.

But can anyone advise on how to start the career without any related experiences? What kind of first interview would be jumping from an engineer to a investment analyst?
@2004-10-21 04:51:37
I have already completed my MBA (Finance) degree and agree completely with the fact that some aspects of the two degrees overlap. But only level 1 and some parts of level 2 overlap with any good MBA program. Level 3 is advanced finance which I dont is taught in any MBA program anywhere in the world. I personally feel it would be a good value addition for me as I do not see any other degree matching upto the standards of CFA
@2004-10-23 08:45:51
To answer Awen's question: I had an interview with J P Morgan Chase in September this year. They asked me why i wanted to move out of engineering. I told them that firstly i love investment banking- and a degree in engineering is sufficient for one to grasp the concepts of rational expectations,chaos theory,random walk hypothesis and the like coz most Universities offer courses in Statistics(embedded in the Eng Degree). Economics and finance are not the hard to grasp if you have been thru Engineering. My other strong point was that i am a private trader(day trader), i use mostly technical analysis and a bit of fundamental analysis. So i have been making a lot of money in the stock market without having much background in investment banking. By the way they have not got back to me , maybe i failed the interview.

@2004-10-27 21:04:48
hi does any one of you guys know how much it costs to do an cfa in us and how to go about it. iam in india and the cfa options here are not up to the mark and have heard that cfa in us is worth a lot. need ur comments and assistance.
@2004-10-28 04:03:03
MBA gives you an option to explore yourself in the business world, majoring in finance includes corporate finance/basic accounting and investment while CFA provides you a great ladder to step into the investment industry. I have MBA/finance and currently working on CFA level I. The reason I work on CFA is because I found that my personality is suitable for working in the investment industry.
@2004-10-28 09:07:43
Thobile, thanks for sharing the experience. I am also thinking: are the recruiters looking for some specific personalities, which they believe is a key factor to succeed in investment business? Like, aggressiveness or conservativeness, creativities, etc. Since, the investment concepts themselves are not hard to master, for us, while the personalities are built in as we are born. I can do nothing about it.

The point is, what kind of quality we need to secure a position in investment industry? We need to build this in a relatively short period of time.
@2004-11-01 00:35:25
Two totally different things. An MBA provides a breadth of knowledge in courses other than those topics covered by the CFA. Grad school provides valuable experiences and skills beyond quantitative abilities. Two years of your life and a large sum of money is not somthing to be entered into lightly. It shows dedication to prospective employers. Many view it as a waste but I believe those are the people who don't have an MBA in the first place. If you are doing well in your career, on a fast track to Mgmt, and are not making a career change, perhaps an MBA is not for you. I would not have done it any differently and it was worth every cent. The payback in post-MBA salary is encouraging as well.
The CFA provides additional professional credibility, just as a CPA does. It may open doors, improve abilities, or allow for advancement. It does not however show management training or teamwork experience as is a focus in grad school.
I am obviously doing both, having completed my MBA recently. If you are struggling with this decision, perhaps you should contact a local CFA organization in your city (look on and discuss the benefits with a charterholder.
With that said, they are very different courses of action. I think both are valuable and provide different benefits but are difficult to compare.
@2004-11-03 10:25:36
i read lots of comments from a number of smart guys(they are doing their MBA) here...BY the way i myself iam an MBA in finance.Comparing a CFA with an MBA finance is like comparing an apple with an orange!An MBA in finance focuses more on the management side of finance with little emphasis in the investment business while a CFA is moulded for Investment experts like portfolio managers, stock analysts etc.i am working as a stock analyst in investment company , i can tell you that a CFA gives you more respect and credibily in the investment quarters.
@2005-03-17 12:43:48
Weighing the value of the CFA vs. the MBA is tough if you don't know what MBA program you're talking about. If you can get into a top tier MBA program--DO BOTH! I'm a student at Univ of Chicago GSB and a Level II CFA candidate. I anticipate that this will be a powerful combination come recruiting season for all the obvious reasons. If you are not going to a top tier MBA program, I would just do the CFA now and entertain the MBA on a part-time basis (possibly company sponsored) a little later in your career.
@2005-03-21 12:58:58
i read all the massages..everyone seem to have his view.but i think it would be best to go for the CFA alone. level I and II are sufficient to be your MBA in finance (at least this is my opinion). i finished my level II and believe me i saw people obtained an hounor degree in thier MBA and not knowing the knowledge i obtained from the CFA...

bottom line..go for the CFA..and try to hit the 3 level...and you will be in a great position
@2005-03-25 09:27:30
Hi ppl,

I am from India, Doing My Chartered Accountancy here {similar to CPA}. Want to knw the merits and demerits of CFA, pls do help.
@2005-03-27 23:50:34
hey vasi:

CA and CFA are totally different professions.No over lapping of the work. Am telling you this because I am a CPA,with a BCom and MCom from bombay and a masters in accounting from the US.

Merits: CFA will open you to 2 jobs: Research Analyst and Portfolio Manager. Growth is tremendous, both in terms of money and knowledge.

Demerits: Having spoken to quiet a few people in the fields of brokerage,investment banking, private equity, etc.. chances are that an MBA in finance (from a good university) will be preferred over a CFA. The global CFA degree focuses heavily on investment banking. The CFA degree offered by the indian institute is far more exhaustive than the global one, but, you know as well as I, in today's world what ever USA brands is considered the best. Universities like Harvard, Wharton are no doubt great but its a pity that the very few people know universities like the Indian Institute of Management,INSEAD.etc are superior.

Anyways, the whole point being go with what the world respects -YES CFA IS A GREAT DEGREE.It will provide you with a great platform to enter the complex world of finance and eventually rake in a lot of mullah. As a friendly advice,try not to do both CFA and CA at the same time. CFA is not a walk in the park as most people think and I dont need to tell you about our great CA degree with the passing percentage of only 2%.
The choice is always with you. Best of Luck
@2005-03-29 07:18:04
hi jakal,

thnks for the inputs,
@2005-04-01 13:37:58
yeah cfa thing i snot for ppl in asia mostly nd especially in subcoontinent it snthg no rewadrds here u dont have much opps in such work , more chances in audit , accounts , etc
@2005-07-27 15:51:45
I just started as a CFA Level I candidate, and anticipate starting for my MBA in the fall or spring. If you think about it, if you leave the industry after a couple of years, you lose the CFA designation, but will NEVER lose that MBA. I say, get the MBA without a doubt, and the CFA designation added to that should really take you to the next level. With an MBA, you can do anything, with a CFA, you can only be in finance. You never know where life will lead you.
@2008-12-04 02:13:33
thobile and awen,
i am currently in the same boat as you guys, chemical engineer in the industry for about 5 years. i like my job, i like the career, but i dont love it, i want a possible career change from engineering to finance, because i love trading stocks, and i love investing. i guess the grass always looks green on the otherside, but i really want to make the move. was just wondering how its been working for u guys since the jpmorgan interview and for u, awen? i am considering this cfa idea, but want to make sure others have successfully made it to the other side when taking such a leap of faith? and btw wat is the average salary for level 1 cfa? i got a mortgage to pay, atleast the engineering salary is covering that
@2009-01-19 18:46:35
My experience: everyone in the bank has a CFA. It's necessary but not sufficient. The movers are the one's with an MBA. Get an MBA. Get a job. Do CFA. CFA won't get you a job. Everyone has CFA. Not everyone has MBA. Get your MBA from a school with good reputation and excellent alumni connections. That is what gets you a job. CFA doesn't make you special because everyone you will work with has it. You have to do it. It doesn't make you special. You make you special. Banks recruit from certain MBA programs. Do one that they recruit from. Do your CFA whenever. Sooner the better of course. You don't want to be studying while your babies are crying.
@2009-02-09 08:44:24
I was a chemical engineer working in manufacturing and was successful in making the switch to investment management. I have been at one of the larger mutual fund shops in research for 18-months now. Based on my own experience, probably the most direct route and highest probability of success of switching into investment managing is via the full-time top MBA route. The vast majority of our hires come from a small group of top schools. I was an odd-ball new hire but fit with the job since they valued my industry experience. At the time of my hiring, I had just taken level 2 and was attending business school part-time. Passing level 1 by no means insured me of a job or any salary, but I think at least helped signaled I was serious about switching careers. Based on my experience, the CFA is still a valued distinction - at my company less than half of research and portfolio managers have the charter. Don't expect progress within the CFA program to universally mean the same thing to everyone in the industry. I was lucky that my hiring manager was a charter holder. At the opposite end, I work with two younger analysts, one from Tuck and another from Wharton - who both did not complete the CFA program and are quick to disparage the program as just an empty long memorization exercise. I am pretty sure my resume might have not even been reviewed if they were in charge of my hiring.

Finance was new to me and I did not start my part-time business school program with the intention of switching. Midway through, I got the itch to change and I think enrolling in the CFA program was a very good complement to my background and relevant to the direction I wanted to go. I would not want to discourage another engineer with a similar background from trying to make the switch - just wanted to emphasize that you might have a similar long road ahead and suggest that enrollment in the CFA program is not golden ticket - its just another piece of your package. The job market for finance jobs today is even harder than what I experienced - to make the change, you'll need to be committed to working hard and maximizing all of your options. You'll need a longer time to establish yourself than your peers who may already have a few years of direct finance experience. You may need to network more to land the first job or take a lower position. Enrolling in the CFA program is ideal way to test your interest level and commitment to change without giving-up your current job or incurring the total cost of a top MBA school. This career-change path isn't a whole lot of fun, but was right for me. Analyst Notes was very valuable study resource - its not a replacement for spending the necessary time to learn the material, but I thought it invaluable to my studying and measuring comprehension. I really missed it for Level 3.
@2010-11-18 06:07:06
Hey thnx siggy.u answerd most of my question as i m in kinda similar situation as u were b4 doing cfa..
after doing sum research...i think CFA would b worth the time and effort,,,,,,,,,,and i m fully motivated to go for it now...and i hope by the time i finish it...worlds financial mkt is out of mess...and jobs are easily available..
@2010-12-04 12:28:37
Hi, siggy25 thanks for sharing with us your thought and experience, I am from engineering background too and have been working as a Geotechnical engineer for the last 4 years, but honestly it is not worth it! I do not see myself being an engineer for the rest of my professional life and thinking of doing CFA this June 2011 maybe level 2 then an MBA in a year or two. My question is : is five months enough to prepare for June 2011 Level 1 exam as I just founf out about the CFA recently? thanks
@2011-04-08 10:01:36
Hi all invited
I assumption you demand a "high jinks"here a barely longer in this forum
@2019-07-07 09:56:42
I think when choosing a study option you have to be honest with yourself about what you want to achieve and what your situation is:

Growing up outside of North America I had to learn some hard lessons since moving to North America and doing my undergrad and post grad here.

Lesson 1: No one really cares how smart you are. Many people mistakenly believe that their grades/qualification is THE issue when determining employment it is not. Job applicants need only possess the minimum tertiary qualification for eligibility to most positions.

Lesson 2: Why are you doing an MBA/CFA. If it is for academic curiosity great. If you think its going to make you rich/get you the position you are after on its own, its not.

Lesson 3: Its not what you know its who you know. Ivey league / top tier MBAs don't teach you superior theory they give you a superior network.

Take this from a guy who has passed CFA level III, MBA, engineering, deans list top standardized testing scores etc.

CFA Discussion Topic: CFA vs MBA

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Your review questions and global ranking system were so helpful.