CFA Vs MBA: Which one to choose?

To start with a more straightforward thought, to do an MBA or a CFA totally depends upon your preferences. MBA is a synonym for business, whereas CFA is a synonym for money. Now, what fascinates you the most will decide on what you are going to opt for. 

Why the comparison?

MBA and CFA are two of the most renowned designation when it comes to Finance and Management world. And as exaggerating as it may look, both of these designations are extremely rewarding as well. Some of the highest-paying jobs are after getting titles. But here we are comparing both of these because, as a student, you may get confused about what would be the best choice for you. As a potential Finance professional, you must know the difference between CFA and MBA.

About CFA

CFA stands for Chartered Financial Analysis and is a prominent certification that offers some of the most respected jobs in Finance and Investment Management. 

It is a career option for people interested in Finance. This course is not as typical as MBA in India but can be much more rewarding than an MBA (Of course not comparing with top 10 MBA colleges!)

For taking up CFA as a career, candidates who are in the final year of the Bachelor’s program at the time of the CFA registration are eligible.

About MBA 

MBA is Master of Business Administration, and as the name indicates, it is all about business skills. This course primarily covers topics ranging from human resources to accounting, from marketing and sales to managing operations, supply chains, and technology.

After the MBA, the streams are mostly divided into – Consulting, Operations, sales and marketing, Finance and product management.

Now one thing you will have to remember, no matter what stream you choose in your MBA, this degree will still stress broad knowledge of core business concepts. Because obviously, it is created for business understanding and expertise itself, so how can it not?

Fun Fact

Some hyper-motivated people do both CFA and MBA, making them experts in both the spectrums of these courses. 

Benefits of CFA over MBA 

  • CFA is cheaper than MBA; hence your financial state does not become a barrier to pursuing this career. 
  • The best thing about this course is that you have a scope of getting a job after clearing every level. Thus there’s even partial degree recognition, unlike MBA.
  • MBA is not always fruitful as the value of your degree depends upon the college you have opted for, but in CFA, this is not the scenario. CFA exam is a standardized one. Therefore it will always matter, unlike MBA. 
  • CFA can be pursued while doing a job, while MBA needs your full attention and time. 

Benefits of MBA over CFA

  • As MBA is a much more traditional and famous course than CFA, it will give you more recognition and credibility in the eyes of the employers.
  • MBA is a cohort based course, which involves interacting with fellow classmates from diverse background. Thus, it helps you build useful corporate connections, unlike CFA.
  • If you are a graduate from top 10 B Schools in India, employers will tend to have special preference towards you and it will increase your prestige in corporate world.
  • MBAs from top 20 MBA colleges in India tend to have a higher median salary package than a CFA charterhoder.
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Now Let’s evaluate CFA and MBA on few critical factors

CriteriaCFAMBA (Top 20 Colleges)
Cost2-2.5 Lakhs15-20 L
Time1200 Hours24 Months
Difficulty LevelVery Difficult Moderately Difficult
Payscale10-15 LPA15-20 LPA
PopularityNot Very PopularHigh Popularity

Which one should you pursue?

Both these designations will take you to different areas in your career. CFA will make you a finance professional, whereas MBA will make you a Business expert. Both are different, and hence your future goal will decide what you end up doing. 

If you are from a CA background and if you wish to have your career in Finance, investing, capital management, etc. then CFA is the appropriate option for you. But if you are from any other stream, say Healthcare or consulting, and you wish to step up in your career by either creating it into a business or by getting promoted to the next level, then doing an MBA would be the best choice. 


CFA is a considerably new stream in India when compared with MBA. Therefore, not many people know about CFA as a career option. But both of these designations hold relevant importance in their own segments. An MBA from a good college may reward you with a more significant salary package than CFA, but pursuing MBA is way costlier than CFA. So you see, both of these courses have their pros and cons. Hence it is up to you what you choose per your circumstances and preferences. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Is MBA good for making a career in Finance?

MBA is a good choice if you want to make a career in finance, only if you are pursuing it from top Business Schools. Else, you can choose CFA over MBA.

CFA or MBA, who earns more?

It depends upon the MBA college from which you have graduated. Usually, a graduate from top IIMs will earn more than a CFA Charterholder.

Bain & Co.
5000+ Students Trained in the field of Investment Banking, FRM & CFA

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