Distinguishing Between an MBA & a CFA

MBA and CFA are two professional qualifications that offer a wide scope in careers. Professional courses prove to be an asset after graduation when a person is looking for career opportunities, and chances of their absorption in the industry improve considerably. Two such professional courses are MBA and CFA. While MBA is a Masters in Business Administration degree, CFA is a Chartered Financial Analyst certification offered by the CFA Institute.

While both an MBA and a CFA work in managerial positions in the industry, the difference between the two is quite clear and evident in the approach taken during the study period. While an MBA specializes in business administration, which is a scientific process of tackling management, a CFA is a financial analyst who is an expert with financial tools. Finance is just a part of the curriculum during the two-year MBA program, while finance is at the core of the CFA certification.

While the MBA is a degree course spanning two years, CFA is an international certification that a student gets after passing exams at regular intervals. In an MBA course, students are taught various concepts relating to human resources, marketing, accounting, and operational management. The course is designed to make a student industry-ready in the sense that they become capable of handling all situations in a business. To be eligible to take CFA exams, a person must have at least four years of work experience in a financial position in a company.

For regular students, the MBA is a two-year program divided into four semesters. CFA exams are held every year and take three years to complete (assuming a candidate passes all three in their first attempts). While there are many institutes offering MBA degrees in all parts of the world, to become a CFA, a student has to pass an international exam after paying the requisite fee.

Key Takeaways

  • Both MBA and CFA are professional courses, with the former specializing in business administration and the latter in financial analysis.
  • MBA is a two-year degree, while CFA is an international certification obtained after passing exams at regular intervals.
  • An MBA prepares students for various aspects of business, while a CFA focuses primarily on finance and requires work experience in a financial position.
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen
Maria Nguyen is a talented writer with a flair for developing captivating content in a range of formats. Her commitment to thorough research and producing top-notch material has contributed to over 4 years of professional writing and editing experience. Outside of work, Maria finds pleasure in solitary activities and immersing herself in nature. Her introspective nature and passion for self-reflection inspire her creativity. She believes that spending time alone and observing the natural world can provide valuable insights and foster personal growth, broadening her perspective as a writer.


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