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I am currently attending University of Rochester - Simon School for my PMBA in Finance. I graduated from an average school - SUNY Buffalo, along with most of my friends. Many of my peers are now making 80-90,000 just from an undergraduate degree in NYC (who had no work exp.). They tell me that an MBA is a thing in the past, more "old school".
They tell me if I really want to further my education, drop my MBA and go for my CFA certification instead. Of course, I know how much valuable a CFA is compared to an MBA, but what are your thoughts on obtaining an MBA?
Simon ranks top 25ish in the United States, do you think its worth it ? _________________
Equities Analyst Middle Office- Citigroup MBA - Finance University of Rochester - Simon School of Business (2013)
Well, this is an age old discussion. Look on dealbreaker or wallstreetoasis for many run throughs.
I think in some paths they are interchangeable, but outside of finance the CFA is worth very little. There are also plenty of CFAs and your friends are telling you this because they are probably doing the CFA and not doing an MBA.
Having looked at the CFA materials and met a lot of people who have the qualification, it really is a qualification that is more of what the person makes of it than some badge of quality. You learn a lot of stuff and do long exams. I rarely meet CFAs who feel the qualification was particularly valuable to them, though certainly has some value as a resume item (and a sign of losing 100s of hours of your life).
Oh, and don't necessarily trust numbers people tell you. _________________
Real talk. I'm an average kid. I'm doing my MS in Finance at an average university. I don't have a whole of work experience because I pretty much went from undergrad and into grad in less than a year's time. So for someone like me, a CFA is extremely valuable add-on because I didn't graduate from a top university and is essential for me to compete with the top guns.
Also, it will look KILLER on a resume when I do apply for a top dog school later when I already have a grad degree in finance and a CFA (hopefully, fingered crossed). But, it is a lot of work. More work than you will put into your MBA or MS in Finance, hands down.
A CFA also shows that you have a genuine interest in the subject matter, making it very appealing for financial institutes. Just my .02 _________________
CFA is not a game changer a Top 10 MBA is. CFA is more like an add on to your profile and is most relevant in ER, IM. Its a good to have. Best do both.
I'm going to have to disagree with ya there buddy, a CFA is pretty intense and will definitely change up a lot of things. Not that a top 10 MBA won't, but i wouldn't write off a CFA so quickly. _________________
I am not in finance so a CFA is not on my goal list. However, consider this... an MBA from a top 10 school may get you a salary of 100k (im thinking its more than that in NYC) but the network of people you meet there will be far more valuable than the CFA.
As we all know on Wall St. its mostly who you know... CFA will not get you in the door of a top HF or a PE. However, an MBA from CBS, Wharton and the like will ... and this is mostly because they have an alumn already in there. _________________
You have no idea how ridiculous this convo sounds to me. I have seen this debate so many times, mainly on analystforum.com (CFA forum).
As a CFA charterholder, I do not receive a minimum salary of 150/250k. It would require a raise for me to get half of that minimum.
The CFA program is both intense and very finance specific. If you know one day you are going to be an investment banker, you better get a top 10 MBA, and then a CFA designation.
I would both agree and disagree with VWJetty. I will agree it requires more work than the average MBA, based on what I have seen the average workload is for some friends. I could do their finance homework in my sleep as a charterholder. A top 10 program is probably a little different and requires as much work.
I would disagree that the designation gains you that much more interest from financial institutions. Most at this point in the economic cycle can have their pick of good employees, and CFA is more of a requirement now that a lot of people have.
Top 10 MBA is more of a game changer for certain. Not only will you be considered a subject matter expert, but you will know how to work well with others, which the big companies look for.
Finally, I went through the CFA program because I didnt go to a top 50 undergad, and wanted to beef up my resume. I will let you know how that pans out next year when I apply to the big boys (top 10) now that I got the gmat out of the way.
Best of luck with the CFA tests VW, work hard and knock them out. By the time you are done with CFA (which it sounds like you are taking), studying for the GMAT will be easy.
Go onto analystforum and ask the members if theyd prefer the CFA or top MBA. Most will agree with top MBA.
Stay in school buddy. You are in a very strong program and the networks you make there will be more vaulable to you than the CFA designation. Afterward, if you want to further your career, by all means pursue the designation. Grad school is going to be more helpful in you finding a job.
Hi wswiz, I've was in the investment management business for many years and before that sales and trading with major sell-side firms before I became a consultant. Here's my quick take:
The two are not interchangeable. A CFA is great if you want to be a financial analyst, but many CFAs I know at top firms also have their MBA
An MBA is about so much more than just crunching the numbers and being a good fundamental analyst. You probably know that, so I don't have to list all the reasons why you would do well to stay in school and keep learning the other disciplines that also play into the role of financial analyst. (Strategy, marketing, operations, macroeconomics...).
The CFA is also a LOT of work. Ask anyone out there who has passed Level 3. It's a bear, and you will lose all of your free time for several months a year for 3 years. And then, you could not even pass unless you study a whole lot.
An MBA program is more interactive, more fun, and opens more doors in the interim. There's kind of a window of opportunity there, and you should take it. *THE CFA WILL ALWAYS BE THERE FOR YOU* But the MBA will not.
Hope that helps, Betsy _________________
Betsy Massar Founder Master Admissions http://www.masteradmissions.com Author of Admitted: An Interactive Workbook for Getting into a Top MBA Program http://www.admittedmba.com
Good point. Yeah, I'm studying for my CFA right now. I am a registered member on analystforum already under the same username. I didn't go to a top school for undergrad and i went straight from undergrad to grad to do my MS in Finance again at a not-so-top university, which is why i'm doing the CFA now in hopes to land a pretty decent job afterwards that will pay for the rest of my CFA level exams and then apply to a pretty decent MBA program.
Although, I hear that if you have a CFA and a MSF, you don't really need an MBA anymore? What's your take on that? I'm trying to get into the investment banking business as well. I'm still pretty young (25) so I have some time but I definitely want to start working towards my goals right now. _________________
I am honestly not familar enough with what a masters in finance to judge if its good enough.. Its tough to get in the door at an investment bank. I certainly am not qualified enough and dont know the right people.
Like most people say, you just have to network really well to make it happen. If I could trade the 1,000 hours or so of my life to the CFA for 1,000 of networking, it probably would be more fruitful. It really is a who you know industry, and a top grad school would probably do a lot for your network.
From a learning persepctive, if you have a masters in finance and the cfa, you know more than one person should ever know about finance most likely. You are pretty qualified to be an investment banker. You just dont have the network that an mba brings
thanks for the quick reply. yeah, i think you are right. i'm just trying to get the book knowledge down solid and square for now. they say knowledge is power. i'll let you know how well that theory turns out _________________