February 28, 2013
When it comes to choosing a specialized career in Finance, individuals tend to land on a beach head of doubts.
What to take.What not to take.
The biggest debate keeps lingering around 2 gigantic names. CFA or MBA? A million dollar question indeed.
As a matter of fact this choice of certification depends purely on an individual’s professional goals. If you know exactly what you want to achieve, I believe 70 % of the confusion is resolved.
Lets start with a brief intro to both the terms Chartered Financial Analyst(CFA) & MBA-Finance.
Chartered Financial analyst is the certification provided by CFA® Institute. The exam is categorized in 3 levels, based on the level of difficulty of the exam. CFA® degree is recognized worldwide by the investment banks and firms in financial services domain. Qualifying CFA® can certainly help candidates seeking a career in finance and risk management. Students also go for CFA® post MBA or while doing MBA. Passing all the 3 levels could take about 3 years, to appear for each level in each year. Preparation for the exam could be pretty rigorous and demanding if you are from non-finance background.
Masters in Business Administration – Finance, where students are introduced to various areas of business like accounting, marketing, human resources, operations management, and majorly to Finance. The career path after MBA, depends on a lot of factors, including your area of interest, previous work experience and business acumen of specific domain. A lot of employers recruit MBA’s for team manager profile where the employee is expected to manage and take quick decisions in their domains. The basic types of MBA courses are typically full time (2 years), part time for evening and weekend batches. There are also Executive MBA’s which are specifically meant for more work experience people.
To proceed with the discussion and ponder on what to choose and what not, just ask few questions to yourself
Identify your Course Benefit
How far do I want to go in Finance?? Is it just a Managerial position I am aiming for or I really want to be an Expert in Finance.
Choose your Efforts Required.
Am I ready to give 10-15 hours per week to my studies?
Decide on your time horizon
I just want to do away with a course in 2 years?? Or I want to dedicate my 3-4 years to gain an expertise that will pay me back for lifetime.
Get clear on your Course Cost.
What price am I willing to pay? Whether I want the best with affordable investment? Or I am ready to pay heavy duty to get an attractive certification??
Hope you have your answers clear in mind. Isn’t that simple?
Now have a look at this crisp tabular comparison of CFA vs MBA Finance:
|Commitment Altitude||Will make you an expert in Finance||Will equip you with over all managerial skills|
|Time Horizon||On an average takes 3-4 years to gain expertise||Standard course of 2 years|
|Budget||Affordable certification||Range from 4 to 20 times than the cost of CFA®|
|Dedication Level||Average 10-15 hours study per week||Average 5-6 hours study per week|
|Median Salary Package||USD 73,000||USD 63,000|
This video might give you a better idea if you’re still confused
So for all those aspiring experts who are committed to carve a career in Finance, CFA® program is the ultimate choice. Those who are ready to put in best of their efforts, compromise on time & test their potential, there is nothing more challenging than CFA Course. If you have even the most basic of the business sense, then think of this deal where you get the best of the best, that too at a relatively much lower cost.
However if someone isn’t really sure about a career in Finance, then may be an MBA-Finance may prove to be a better choice as he may be able to switch to other spheres in future.