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CFA or CPA or a combination of both?

Abhiroop Sen's Profile

Hi. I am an audit associate at EY with a master's degree in commerce from university of Delhi. I want to pursue a career in finance, preferably investment banking in the States. For that purpose I have enrolled myself in CFA and I also plan to get a MBA in Finance in future from USA. Will an additional degree lIke CPA (along with the CFA) help me gain a stronger position in the job market? Or would it, in any way help in getting a green card?

Answers

Anonymous
(Credit Risk Analyst) |

For a career in investment banking, a CFA is better since it focuses primarily on the investment field. An MBA in finance covers a broader range of finance topics and can prepare you for a variety of other careers in finance. Having a CFA, MBA, and CPA will certainly help you to stand out. It just depends on where you want to go in your career and the educational requirements of the jobs that you pursue.

Ben Murray
Title: Vice President and CFO
Company: Cartegraph
(Vice President and CFO, Cartegraph) |

Agree with post above. CFA if pursuing the investment route and CPA if pursuing public accounting and the corporate route.

Topic Expert
Joseph Ori
Title: CEO
Company: Paramount Capital Corporation
(CEO, Paramount Capital Corporation) |

I have all three, MBA, CPA and CFA and it depends on your career path. If you want to be in corporate finance or accounting, MBA/CPA, if you want to go into the investment or money management field, CFA.

Jeff Durbin
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: F. Gavina and Sons, Inc.
(Chief Financial Officer, F. Gavina and Sons, Inc.) |

I have an MBA and CMA and passed level I of the CFA before deciding I really wasn't interested in being a stock analyst in the telecom industry (where I had 10 years of experience.)

The first level of the CFA is pretty broad but levels 2 and 3 really specialize in security analysis and portfolio management, respectively. The CFA is definitely the preferred certification on Wall Street. A CPA or CMA really doesn't provide a lot of value-added.

An MBA is also pretty much required but it should be from a top 20 or 30 school. Really, it needs to be from a top-10 finance program. An MBA from a school known for marketing like Northwestern is worth a lot less than an MBA from a school known for Finance like Penn or Chicago.

But, you already have a masters degree so perhaps you can do a 1-year program. UCLA has a 13-month MFE and they are known for Finance. My alma mater (sales pitch here), the University of Rochester, has a 1-year Masters in financial engineering in NY. John Hopkins, USC and many others have the 1-year's MS in Finance. The dirty secret is that these are much easier to get into than an elite MBA program but you get the same professors.

Focus on CFA first and your career. I know a recent alum from my business school who is an Indian national and he is doing valuation work for EY in Los Angeles. I think leveraging off your experience with EY is more valuable than another masters degree.

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