AuthorTopic: Chartered Financial Analyst Benefits?
@2005-05-23 11:34:53
Can anyone explain what the average salaries fot those who hold a CFA designation? And what is the advantage compared to the MBA? Will this designation assure me a job at a respectable Institution such as Meryl Lynch?

Thank you.
@2005-05-24 09:35:09
Not if you can't spell Merrill Lynch.
@2005-05-27 19:06:12
I have heard $22,000 per year on average compared to those without. All the big dogs will have it in the future, just like an MBA. Assure you of a job? No chance. Assuming you were a decent person with good skills, I would bet you would be above any applicants without. The advantage over the MBA is that the CFA program is all about finance and investments. An MBA in finance is 9-12 hours in finance. I don't see why so many people are getting MBA's for the investment world. An MS in Finance is 60 hours of CFA related material. How many times do you need for Organizational Behavior?
@2005-06-01 22:38:58
I think the MBA programs are expanding to meet the needs of well rounded corporations. More goes into a decision than finance, some objectives may be to better position the corporation in the future and have no immediate cash flows. The MBA helps the CFO/CEO make decisions using multiple variables, not just finance. Strategy, Org Behavior, International Policy studies, Marketing, Accounting, all of these disciplines are used. Not everyone in here is a broker, trader, or mortgage loan originator. MBAs make for well rounded management.
@2005-06-04 23:59:31
Undergraduate degrees make people more well rounded. A "masters" degree is designed to master your field, not just re-hash your undergrad classes. It's a damn shame all of these lib arts people think they should go get an MBA. The material is watered down to meet their level of financial knowledge if you haven't noticed.

We don't need well rounded managers (ie lib arts transfers), we need people who can dig a little deeper than that. A typical MSF program includes in-depth accounting (much deeper than a typical MBA, much deeper) and int'l policy.

I don't know what you are saying by the broker, trader, or mlo comment, but since I am none of those, I think I will pass on it.
@2005-06-07 05:20:34
What are you talking about, suited? Traders and brokers? People don't get the CFA to be a broker or trader, or a CEO. Any schmoo can be a broker. It's chartered financial ANALYST. I would say most of the candidates want to be analysts, money managers...etc.

An MBA gives you a more well-rounded skill set, but that's not what I want. I want something focused on security analysis and portfolio management. If you can get both, that's great. But given the choice it depends on what you want to do, and for analysts, the cfa is the way to go.
@2005-06-07 11:10:50
You are making a few assumptions, economics major? I had a undergrad in accounting and a MBA with finance. I guess you haven't seen the demographics for the CFA available at Many upper level industry executives are pursuing the CFA. Anyway, not everyone that has an MBA is a liberal arts major, and not all MBA programs are the same. You need to evaluate what you get and what direction you would like to go. I wanted the flexibilty and opportunity to seize any job I put my sights on, not just being an analyst my entire life. The days of working in one field and one job all of your life are gone, flexibilty is the key. Yes, right now your heart is set in being an analyst, but that may change as you get older.
@2005-06-08 15:00:08
I still don't know what your point is. I agree the mba is more flexible and leaves your career path more open. I never disputed that. The CFA is not trying to replace an mba. I'm not saying one is better than the other, the CFA is more focused on finance and security analysis. I've seen the demographics and the vast majority of cfa's work for banks, brokers and mutual fund companies. Any upper level executives going back and getting their cfa's are just doing it for a credential, not to help them get a job. As I mentioned in my previous post, if you can do both, more power to you, if you can't and you want to work in money management, as an analyst, wealth advisory etc..then a cfa will take you just as far as an mba. Like you said you need to evaluate what direction you want to go and decide what the best course of action is. As far as your analyst comment goes, to manage money on the buy side being an analyst for a while is just a stepping stone and judging by your comment I'm "assumming" you have no idea the kind of money sell side wall street analysts make.
@2005-06-10 18:51:57
I don't know what sell side analysts make, enlighten me. I do know what CEOs and CFOs make. How many sell side jobs would you say are available and what's the growth rate? Would you say the "cream of the crop" land these types of jobs? I wasn't driving a point earlier, I was just being realistic. And, I believe that the higher level executives don't need the creditentials. As far as the MBA/CFA/MS argument goes, I was just stating that it depends on where you want to go--no arguments for or against.
@2005-06-11 21:54:19
"Why else would a top exec go and get his/her CFA if not for a credential?" Guess what. I'm a 47-year-old "top exec" -- Chief Economist at the largest bank in the Middle East, on the management team for a $9 billion investment portfolio, make more money than I'll probably ever spend, and just took the level III exam. Why would I be in the CFA program? Simple ... for the knowledge.
@2005-06-14 12:42:11
GeoffChiang @ 2005-05-27 19:06:12
Google @ 2005-06-04 23:59:31

I think you two don't know what an MBA is.

most MBA programs require you to have a well-rounded base, with classes like marketing, management information systems, and business law, that are essential to running a business. I didn't take any classes like this while attaining a B.A. It's true that it's broader than an MS in finance, but then, an MBA is to train people for management positions, who can always delegate finance jobs to others.

Management isn't about doing everything yourself, but about running a team. An MS prepares you to be a vital part of the team, but not a teamleader.

If you only know finance, you're not fit to run a company, because there's so much more involved. On the other hand, if you want to run a company, you only need to know enough to understand what the accountant is telling you, and to read financial statements - my cousin runs her own company, but can't even balance her own checkbook - luckily, she pays an accountant to do that for her.

Many people who pursue an MBA aren't interested in finance; those who are, will often pursue an MBA in finance, which usually requires 20+ credit hours in finance related courses.

I personally am pursuing an MBA with a double major in Finance and Management, while I'm also studying for the CFA. My long term goal is to run a financial management firm, or a family of funds. As such, I need both.
@2005-07-20 21:55:32
I have been in the financial industry for the past 8 yrs nbfcs';banks-retail;mortgage banking;treasury . But to be a stalwart in financial analysis u need have specialised course dedicated for it. Like u have a surgeon doing MS but he specialises in a particular area. A cardio vascular surgeon cannot do intestinal surgery eventhough he is aware of the functionality of the intestine. Likewise CFA acquires the requisite market skills to deliver and service the niche area in the financial market. Making it to the top of any organisation ,its a combination of so many skills and tactics. But if your financial acumen are strong u can don the cap of any role as the final results are reflected in numbers to the stakeholders
@2005-07-25 07:19:54
According t the CFA Institute website:

Impact of the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) Designation on Compensation

The 2005 study once again illustrated that employers are willing to pay a premium for investment professionals who have earned the coveted Chartered Financial Analyst? (CFA®) designation. Among those with 10 years experience or more, those with the CFA designation out-earn their peers without the charter by 24 percent (median of $248,000 vs. $200,000). The gap is even wider among all respondents, regardless of levels of experience; those with the CFA designation command compensation levels 54 percent higher than those without it ($180,000 vs. $116,850). As for the value of the CFA designation compared to an M.B.A., the study shows that for professionals with 10 years experience or more, those with the CFA designation out-earn those with only an M.B.A. by 18 percent (median of $236,510 vs. $200,000); however, the combination of the charter and an M.B.A. ultimately proves to the most lucrative educational mix (median of $255,000).

?Employers recognize the value of the CFA charter because it?s a measure of both competence and integrity,? said Bob Johnson, PhD, CFA, managing director at CFA Institute. ?Those are difficult qualities to measure, but when investment professionals have voluntarily subjected themselves to the profession?s most rigorous examination process, and succeeded, that obviously sends an important message to employers.?

@2005-08-16 12:23:16
one of the benefits i get is that i get free dental and medical coverage through CFAI no matter what country i live in. that's a great benefit of getting CFA.
@2005-12-07 15:23:29

There are a 1001 chief excutives with MBAs but come to think of it CFAs still report to them!

So i'll say MBA or CFA it all boils down to what you want and where you want to be!
@2005-12-09 00:46:58
Actually most of the S&P 500 companies CEO's are really engineer's... some received MBA's later in life and a few have CFA's, but they probably got to be at the top becasue they understood the technical aspect of their businesses.

CEO= engineer (MBA,MsF & CFA)
@2005-12-09 16:29:12
From a 1998 Forbes Magazine survery of the top 800 CEOS in the US:

53% had graduate degrees, meaning 46% had a BA or less (6.5% had no college degree). They do not give a breakdown of what type of graduate degree was earned. Remember "graduate degree" can refer to an MA, MS, MBA, JD, MD, or PhD. The current CEOs of Medtronic and UnitedHealthGroup both have MDs, and Ken Lay had a PhD. The lesson here is that there is no "key" to getting to the top. Just work harder.
@2006-01-17 15:44:35
I am a technocrat but I recently acquired Juris Doctor degree and I am going for CFA. What kind of prospects I can look forward to. I have worked in Financial industry for about 13 years a IT professional.
@2006-01-18 18:27:22
I too have the same question like paragrastogi above.

Technocrat for 14 years,Mechanical Engineer by degree,Software professional by job,living in NY now pursuing CFA degree.Can i look forward to some brighter prospects.
Thanks in advance for answers
@2006-04-27 19:18:36
I am also a Software Professional for past 14 years. I would like to know the prospects on completion of CFA ? What kinda value add i can expect ? Any one with similar experience pl., guide.
@2006-04-27 19:34:27
I am also a Software Professional for past 14 years. I would like to know the prospects on completion of CFA ? What kinda value add i can expect ? Any one with similar experience pl., guide.
@2006-04-27 19:35:00
I am also a Software Professional for past 14 years. I would like to know the prospects on completion of CFA ? What kinda value add i can expect ? Any one with similar experience pl., guide.
@2006-05-19 17:57:48
I have been a Project Engineer for the past 8 years in the oil & gas industry but would be undergoing my Specialist Masters degree in Shipping,Trade and finance at the Cass biz School, london.Also attempting CFA level !,Honestly,I am tired of technical stuff but its quite a load for now but i would like to hear of any focused information that could be offered in respect to value adding,pls guide
@2006-07-10 23:38:15
Hi, i am currently a chartered accountant But, with CFA, one will be complete and focused in portfolio management.
@2006-09-23 16:29:19

I am an indian staying in mumbai.
As i am planning for further professional studies, is these CFA progam right to choose to develop in my carrer. I have completed Graduation from Mumbai Unversity.
Can i do the CFA course.
Please advice.


Billa Bhai
@2006-11-29 11:46:24
I am studying MBA in Finance Major. I knew from my professor that CFA will be a change for the people who want to upgrade yourself which I didn't heard about this before. I just want to know how can I prepare myselt to be ready for CFA exam. You explanaion would be helpful for me and everybody who want to know further.
@2007-05-07 15:41:10
has anyone heard about FRM frm GARP -global association of risk professionals..pls guide me if it is more worthy than cfa in terms of future salary...als i plan to give level i cfa dec 2007...i am in delhi...anyone there to help me out with study material and solving queries...

@2007-05-30 03:48:10
MBA is by far a better stamp on your long as its from a top tier instt. Herein lies the key point, MBA courses differ substantially with colleges. A good MBA program would require you to go to a company, meet with their execs, understand the problem they are facing, analyze it and present your solution in a clear and concise manner. What it teaches you is that quant skill is all good an well as long as your career aspiration is to be an "analyst" (not that there is anything wrong with it), but to get ahead, you need to have that general mgmt expertise. If you ask me, in an ideal situation, you should get your CFA right after your college, work for a few years as ana analyst and then supplement your resume and your skill set with an MBA from a tier 1 school. Ever wondered why all the big dogs in finance, consulting, PE clamour to the recruitment events of a big B school.
@2007-06-06 20:32:09
Another option is to go to an MBA program that is a CFA Partner. There is no reason to have to choose between a CFA designation and an MBA anymore. The CFA Institute has a program where it partners with universities (

There are 30-40 partners and some of these universities have partnerships through their MBA programs and a few have student investment programs (e.g. that focus on training students to perform investment research.

When I hired analysts (as Director of Research of a firm that managed $50 bil) I often hired out of good MBA programs; however, if a person did not have an MBA or investment experience then I looked for someone with accounting experience or progress toward the CFA charter. I reasoned that if someone was going to go through the pain of studying for the CFA exams then he/she was serious about investments.

The three most important factors in who I hired included: 1) intelligent (everyone in investment reseach is smart), 2) hard worker (hours can be high but so is the pay), and 3) passionate about investments (thus the hours are actually fun).

Given all that is said above, it is best to have the CFA designation (the gold standard for investment research) and an MBA (since investments is a competitive field to enter). The CFA Partner program provides you with several good schools to pursue both.
@2009-09-07 15:44:21
it really doesnt matter what you have for credentials if you dont know where you are headed.
@2010-04-04 12:04:11
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@2010-06-16 17:30:26
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@2011-09-19 21:18:37
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@2012-02-05 22:16:22
Hi Experts,

I am into IT services sector since more than 5 years now.

I do not plan to change my career line at this stage, but i was just checking out options to bolster my career by a professional certification apart from a technical one.

Few of my collegues suggested me CFA, which i then studied about and found it bit irrelevent to my prefessional experience.

But on a second thought ,i am in Business Intelligence and CFA might help be to gain more Domain knowledge on Investment and Finance.

Please help me by corroborating my understanding here and guide me for other options if CFA is not a fit for me.

Many Thanks

Shaad :)
@2013-02-17 19:28:40
In my humble opinion, most of you need to figure out where you want your career to go before you start debating the pros and cons of an MBA or CFA. If you are looking to increase your skill set and open doors in the finance world, as I am, it may boil down to a question of whether you have time (and dough) to sit in a university class, or would benefit more from studying on your own.

Stating for a fact that one is better than the other when you have neither (let alone both), and no idea what the overall career goal your hard earned credentials are working towards immediately identifies you as an asshole. Go buy a hat, write "asshole" on it with a sharpie, and wear it to the test so the rest of us can spot you.

As for those of you with IT backgrounds looking at the CFA, I think (and this is just some dude's opinion), that you are sitting right at the intersection of information and finance, and that will be a great place to be.

Don't worry about what the guy in the cubicle next to you makes, just crank through this thing, get better at your job and let's kick some ass.

Pep talk over.
@2019-05-02 03:49:28
The areas where a CFA can use his skills are: financial accounting, management accounting, and financial management (both as relevant to India and for the international scene), investment management, security evaluation, project planning, venture capital management and credit rating among other things.

CFA Discussion Topic: Chartered Financial Analyst Benefits?

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I just wanted to share the good news that I passed CFA Level I!!! Thank you for your help - I think the online question bank helped cut the clutter and made a positive difference.
Edward Liu

Edward Liu