I recently received an email from Pete (name has been changed, duh!). He has been a loyal reader of The Financial Blogger and he is seeking advice looking at his future career options. Here’s the email he sent me:
I just wanted to know what your advice would be.
I would like to make a decision between completing the MBA or CFA .(Is there something else?)
I currently work full time in a large insurance company on the infrastructure ops and development side and am married with 2 kids and another one on the way.
I have an undergrad in accounting, a few diplomas and a CFP certification.
I currently view myself as someone that is good at planning and organising, has vision and likes to look at things from a high level (bird’s eye view).
From a personal perspective, I feel that I need to complete one of the above qualifications to make myself more marketable in the work place. But at the same time, I have a dream of one day (soon hopefully) working for myself.
My working years these past 12 years have been in financial services. My wife is a stay at home mom and I get the feeling that she prefers it that way. So I need to work to bring home the bacon.
I’m good at strategising, and also good working with money. I can work on my own and also on a team, but I tend to be the quiet, thinking team player
I know both qualifications require tremendous sacrifices.
Given my personal circumstances, what would be my best option at this point in time?
Here are a few general thoughts:
- First things first, the decision of doing either a CFA or a MBA will require a lot of your time.
- Prepare your wife and your children, explaining that you won’t be around for a good 2 years (for the MBA) or 3 years for the CFA).
- The CFA will require self discipline as you don’t have any classes or teachers… just books!
- The CFA will also require self learning skills in order to understand the books.
- The MBA will give you a general view of the world and requires a lot of time for group projects. You will also have to travel to attend school (unless you do an online MBA but employers opinions are divided regarding this option).
Having said that and considering your profile (from what I know of your situation) I would choose the MBA because;
- It will help build a great network where you can find several resources for your future project (starting your own company).
- It will enhance your bird’s eye view and push your managing and strategic skills to another level.
- With an MBA, you will be able to get a management position. This is one of the requirements for most interesting management positions anyway 😉
- It’s easier to do than a CFA ;-).
On another note, the CFA title is very appreciated due to the hard work and natural genius that is required to achieve the title. However, this will lead you to highly analytical positions such as financial analyst and traders. This is not related to management at all.
So I guess that if you eye a management career or want to start your own business, you are way way better off with an MBA or even receiving an online mba . On the other hand, if you would like to become a stock market specialist, the CFA is the right choice.
And what about you?
Do you have any other feedback to give to Pete?