MBA vs. CFA: Does Your Postgraduate Work Shine?

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Difference between MBA and CFA

After completing a college education, many professionally minded students choose to apply for a postgraduate degree. Various financial degrees are available for students to choose from depending upon the career they pursue, while completion takes 2 or more years to complete. Professional level employers see this as an asset they look for in a candidate. The candidate can choose the program prior to entering the workforce, or in some cases a post graduate education can be sponsored or encouraged by their employers if it well suited to a work schedule.

After successful completion, the chances of promotion increase as employers look for qualified personnel who are willing to do whatever it takes to get ahead in the corporate world. The MBA or CFA holder may also consider the options of searching for a higher paying job or more prestigious career path.



An MBA is a postgraduate degree or master’s in business administration, which approaches a scientific path to management. Students become familiar with concepts relating to marketing, human resources, accounting and operational management. The program is designed to provide the necessary skills a top manager needs to control all parts of the business effectively. Graduates with various economic and business backgrounds can apply for an MBA.

The CFA degree is an international certificate given by the Chartered Financial Analysts Institute to professional financial analysts who have passed three examinations.

Type of Programs

There are a few types of MBA programs for which students can apply. Full time MBAs take two years to complete. Accelerated MBAs can take less because breaks between semesters are shorter. Part-time MBAs can be completed in three years or more if attending classes held in the evenings or on weekends. Executive MBAs are targeted to managers having more than 10 years experience. Distance learning MBAs imply courses are delivered to students through correspondence or students can participate in video conferences. Dual MBA programs allow students to earn a bachelor’s degree and an MBA after successfully completing courses over a four or five year period.

The CFA program implies a set of three examinations. An exam is taken each year by the candidate. The Level I exam can be taken either in June or December, while the next two exams can be taken once a year – usually at the beginning of June.

Admission Criteria

A candidate for a MBA program has to take a Graduate Management Admission Test, while for some programs a Graduate Examination Record is accepted as well. Work experience should be accumulated over a certain number of years; in the case of an Executive MBA more than 10 years are required.

To take exams for the CFA certificate, a candidate must hold a college degree. He also needs to have four years of work experience in a position involving decision making.

Similarities and Differences

  • An MBA is a postgraduate degree in business administration. A CFA is an international certificate given to professional financial analysts.
  • MBA programs usually take two years or more to complete. A CFA takes three years to complete.
  • For MBA application the candidate has to provide GMAT or GRE results and prove he has had relevant work experience. For the CFA certificate, the candidate needs to be a college graduate and have four years of work experience in a decision making position.


comments 2 Comments

  • Ayman Darwish . 3+ yrs. ago

I think the certificates are more applicable nowadays comparing with the high studies if the candidate would like to get high positions in his work and dislike education

  • best management insitute in mp . 3+ yrs. ago

Thank you for sharing. Not to many people in your position are so gracious. Your article was very poignant and understandable. It helped me to understand very clearly. Thank you for your help.

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