An MBA program is dynamic and versatile in nature which is complementary to the finance-focused CFA curriculum. CFA is a program providing the ability to acquire specific investment-related skills at a relatively low cost, an option for students interested in finance. However, looking forward to an MBA in finance after a CFA is a promising prerequisite.
What is CFA?
The CFA designation is an exam based on self-study which provides those who pass three exams (known as charterholders), with specialized skills like investment analysis, portfolio strategy, and asset allocation. The time required to earn a CFA is substantial and considering all three exams are cleared in the first attempts, it would be an approximately 19 months journey. Since the CFA curriculum is challenging and requires at least 300 hours of study, it makes any candidate stand out. A CFA charter is most relevant for research analysis and those who might want to progress to portfolio management.
How is MBA different?
An MBA typically takes two years of full-time study, with classes covering various aspects of running a business. MBA provides a broader overview of business principles and teaches students valuable analytical and leadership skills that prepare them for opportunities across a number of sectors and careers in finance. MBA provides an advantage in bagging management roles in larger organizations or establish in the field of marketing, finance, or investment banking. The advantage of an MBA is that the knowledge obtained in the program is valuable in other industries outside the investment world. Getting an MBA from a well-regarded school can make you more attractive to employers because it demonstrates drive and work ethic, not to mention a solid network.
Traditionally, MBA programs are broader than the CFA program, covering topics such as management, marketing, and strategy. In contrast, the CFA program provides deeper coverage of investment management than typical MBA programs. MBA provides specialization in various fields such as Marketing, Finance, or Human Resources which widens and diversifies a CFA profile and helps explore new areas. An MBA provides business skills while a CFA program teaches high-level, specialized asset-management responsibilities. Not only does an MBA enhance job prospects and earning potential and help build a broader network, but in some cases, firms will require an MBA for certain leadership or management roles. Together they prove to be a promising package with high skills and diverse knowledge. Both CFA and MBA would make strong portfolio management or corporate management profile.
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