MBA (or MS) vs. CFA

AM_13's picture
Rank: Senior Monkey | 92

I just finished my undergraduate degree in finance (magna cum laude) and will begin working at Vanguard this summer. In a year or two I plan on either pursing an MBA, an MS in Investment Management, or the CFA; if I do go the degree route I would be gunning for an M7 school. I am wondering which of these options would give me the greatest value, and for anyone who has had to make a similar decision in the past, which did you choose and what was your rationale for doing so?

Comments (6)

May 27, 2018

Well, they are not even comparable nor alternative, to say the least. If you're about starting with in AM you will be required to take the CFA probably, while MBA/MS are more focused, especially MBA. Anyway MBA > MS

May 27, 2018

Where are you working at Vanguard? Most of the sexy jobs are in PA. The company will require you to stick around a few years if you get an MBA or CFA.

May 27, 2018

I am working in their PA office, I am originally from the Philadelphia area.

May 27, 2018

Cool, I worked for Vanguard in another location. PA is definitely where any job you'd want is, the other locations are just call centers and financial advisers I think.

Most Helpful
May 27, 2018

I did the CFA program right after graduating and finished up an MBA last year. Like the comment above, these aren't exactly comparable. The CFA is more about solidifying your expertise within the investment management world, whereas an MBA has much broader potential outcomes, of course. Generally speaking, think of an MBA as an accelerator (i.e. you want to move up in your current industry more quickly) or a pivot (i.e. you want to leave investment management and start in a new industry, which is the route I took). Within the investment world, I don't see a ton of value in having an MBA - none of the coursework was anywhere near as rigorous as actually working. The other thing I'd note - an MBA after a year or two of work experience is a pipe dream outside of a very small group of schools (Harvard being one of them). You'd be a much stronger candidate with 4+ years of work experience before applying.

Having worked in the investment management industry for a while before getting my MBA, I'm not sure I've come across anyone with an MS in Investment Management. Not sure what it would get you that work experience or the CFA wouldn't.

    • 3
May 31, 2018

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