How to Decide between a CFA® Charter and MBA

How to Decide between a CFA® Charter and MBA

Candidates pursuing a career in the financial industry often ask whether it is better to pursue an MBA or CFA. However, since earning an MBA or CFA is beneficial to finance professionals, pursuing either is a personal decision. It would help if you considered several factors to determine which is better suited to you. Additionally, you can choose to pursue both as you advance in your career.

In this article, we explore the characteristics of each certification to help determine the best fit for you. You should keep in mind that comparing CFA and MBA will not highlight one as better than the other, but you should use the information to help you determine the next step in your career. It would be best to consider the following before making a choice.

What job position do you want to apply for after you finish your studies?

Knowing what you want to do after completing your studies before enrolling for an MBA or CFA program is essential. The CFA program is more focused on investments and asset management. Consequently, earning a CFA charter is ideal if you want to pursue a career in investment, such as a portfolio manager or a corporate financial analyst.

An MBA has a broader approach than the CFA curriculum, and the skills you gain are not specialized. Therefore, earning an MBA exposes you to many areas in the financial industry. You should consider earning an MBA if you want knowledge in many business facets and are still unsure about the industry you would like to work in.

What are the qualifications of an MBA vs. CFA?

The enrollment criteria for MBA varies depending on the business school, and you should ensure that you meet the specifications of the school you would like to attend. However, the following are general qualifications for you to enroll in an MBA:

➢ You should have completed a bachelor’s degree
➢ Completed the GRE or GMAT exam and attained a satisfactory score
➢ Some business schools require you to have professional work experience
➢ You might need to complete additional program pre-requisites

Requirements for earning a CFA charter are;

  • To enroll in the CFA professional course, you should hold a bachelor’s degree or an equivalent or be in the final year of your undergraduate studies. You are also eligible to register for the CFA program if you have at least 4,000 hours of relevant work experience or 4,000 hours of the combined university and professional experience.
  • Sit for and pass all three levels of the CFA exams.
  • You should agree to abide by the CFA Institute Code of ethics and become a member of the institute by paying the fee.
  • You should provide proof of 4,000 hours of full-time work experience in a position involving decision-making on investments or a product that contributes to the decision-making process. The work experience can be from before or after you did the CFA exam.

How much money are you willing to spend?

When deciding whether to choose an MBA or CFA, the cost of the course is one of the main considerations. Although you need to pay for both courses, pursuing a CFA charter is relatively cheaper than earning an MBA. In addition, the cost of an MBA is higher if you choose an elite business school.

If you purchase premium exam prep packages, you can spend approximately $12,000 for a CFA program. On the other hand, the approximate average cost of tuition to earn an MBA is at least $80,000. Therefore, the choice you make will depend on your career goals.

The effect of earning a CFA or MBA on your future salary is also a consideration. The average salary of a CFA charter holder with at least five years experience is $72,000, while that of a business school graduate with similar experience is $57,000. Professionals with both certifications earn an average of $87,000.

Which course is better for your schedule?

You can complete an MBA program in two years or less if you are a full-time student and the CFA program in approximately eighteen months. However, this would be possible if everything went smoothly and you undertook intense studying. You should put in at least 300 hours of studying for each level of the CFA curriculum.

The CFA Institute reports that candidates take an average of four years to complete the three levels of the program because you can take a year off after every level without compromising the chances of completion or adding the cost. On the other hand, you can choose part-time studies for your MBA program, but it will take longer than two years to finish your studies.

Most CFA candidates work while pursuing their certification because work experience is required to attain a charter. Additionally, earning a CFA is an individual experience, while MBA programs involve more teamwork and require networking.

In conclusion, pursuing an MBA or CFA certification benefits financial professionals, and the choice depends on individual goals. However, you do not have to choose one over the other and can decide to pursue both.

Start your journey to becoming a CFA charter holder with Enroll in our CFA study packages to access a vast library of study materials to help you prepare for your exams. In addition, our online study notes and video lessons will help you assimilate the most complex concepts.

Shop CFA® Exam Prep

Offered by AnalystPrep

Featured Shop FRM® Exam Prep Learn with Us

    Subscribe to our newsletter and keep up with the latest and greatest tips for success

    Shop Actuarial Exams Prep Shop GMAT® Exam Prep Shop Executive Assessment® Exam Prep

    sindhushree reddy
    sindhushree reddy
    Crisp and short ppt of Frm chapters and great explanation with examples.
    Hui Ni
    Hui Ni
    Thanks for the effort and time spent in making these wonderful video! Not only did it help with it academically, it makes me feel motivated and comfortable that have someone guiding me through every chapter after chapter! Appreciated very much! ?
    Geoff Graae
    Geoff Graae
    With the help of analystprep I cleared both FRM 1 & 2. The videos posted online are some of the best resources I used and I would recommend them for anyone looking to clear this program. Thank you!!
    Nithin Nallusamy
    Nithin Nallusamy
    FRM instructional videos was very helpful for my exam preparation! Prof.James is such a good heart and his way of teaching is impressive! Thanks a lot prof for free YouTube videos...
    Isha Shahid
    Isha Shahid
    Literally the best youtube teacher out there. I prefer taking his lectures than my own course lecturer cause he explains with such clarity and simplicity.
    Artur Stypułkowski
    Artur Stypułkowski
    Excellent quality, free materials. Great work!
    Ahmad S. Hilal
    Ahmad S. Hilal
    One of the best FRM material provider. Very helpful chapters explanations on youtube by professor James Forjan.