MBA or CFA: Which Is Better For a Career In Finance Industry

One of the most common debates that aspiring professionals have is about MBA vs. CFA. Both of these have high value and have a long list of successful alumni. However, they have very significant differences depending on the career goals that one can consider. The critical difference between both these study programs is in the skills. Both CFA and MBA have a high value regarded by financial accreditations. The common point in both of them is that they require hard work and dedication for excellent career mobility.

To decide between an MBA and CFA, you need to identify the long and short-term career and education goals. Before determining an option, let us take a few questions into notice:

I. What do you expect from the degree that you choose?

II. What type of career do you want?

III. Which degree offers the best return?

Both these studies have an intense course of study in which the MBA has a high touch and experiential. CFA program develops narrow Expertise while MBA offers comprehensive training and further specialization.

The type of study involved in both programs is a significant difference. Let us look at the requirements of both these studies.


CFA is a self-study program on a graduate level. The CFA coursework has three areas correspondingto three levels. A candidate has to clear all three levels to complete the coursework. Corse experts make it very clear that the CFA study is challenging and has complex course material. CFA coursework takes almost 300 hours to complete, and for extra certifications, an individual needs several years of work experience (preferably in finance). CFA institutions oversee all the exams and course studies and act as a regulatory body for management professionals.


On the other hand, an MBA is an expensive and comprehensive degree. Students rotate through various business studies foundations, including finance, management, human resources, or a marketing MBA. For the candidates interested in finance, MBA offers extra specializations to develop expertise in the field. If you decide to earn your MBA degree with a specialization, you establish a strong skillset. On a typical framework, MBA consists of a two-year program in which students develop professional and leadership skills. Many MBA alumni report that their two years of study has given them a formative and life-changing experience.


CFA program costs less than the MBA program with a focus purely on finance technical orientation. It is a suitable option for the ones that have an interest in portfolio management and equity researching. The prestige of having certification in CFA because of the single standard is entirely homogenous. The program has more focus on building technical skills rather than networking.

In contrast, MBA has high variability with the prestige measured from the school attended. MBA is better for the ones who have an interest in executive leadership and management. The career path for MBA lies in career banking, private equity management, and corporate development.


The benefits of earning CFA designations include expertise in the real world, ethical foundations, career recognition, global community, and employer demand. If you are into investment management, then CFA is the right choice for you. Investment management includes investment funds and ways to make suitable investments. Other career options for CFA include investment banking, equity analyst,and hedge fund management.


Completing your MBA from a reputed organization gets you an entry into the best firm for the financial experience. A benefit for MBA pursuers is that business schools have contacts with well-known banks, consulting firms, and other reputed companies to access a better career. MBA is a choice for someone who wants to expand their network and explore various industries. MBA focuses on the overall development of a person and does not focus on a particular skillset. If you want to growthrough the leadership hierarchy and need a considerable skill set for the role, the effects are better.


In the end, both CFA and MBA have value in their respective ways. However, CFA has a broader recognition by professionals in investment, money management, and investment advisory. CFA open doors for financial advisors to start their career with initial training and background. MBA is better if you want to learn a new skill set and deviate from other marketing specialties. With an MBA degree, you have a chance for better jobs and positions.

  • About Me

  • Duke Brighton. Today I’ve got a great partner, a beautiful daughter, a stable job in finance and a fun side hustle in e-commerce. It wasn’t always like that though. I struggled for years and always seemed to make the wrong choices of what to do and whose advice to take. Late in my 20s, I found the right mentor and everything changed. I learned there are no shortcuts and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

    I don’t know what your situation is like today, but I know there is someone out there who can guide you well. It’s my goal to help make that information accessible.