CFA Candidates Preferred in B-School Interviews


I am appearing for CFA Level 1 exam in June 2013 and planning to appear for GMAT in the second half of the year.

Few queries regarding one year full time Executive MBA Program in India & abroad :

  1. Does CFA Candidates(Level 1 Cleared) given preference over other candidates in getting the calls from the Prestigious B-Schools.

  2. Does Clearing Level 1 makes your profile stronger especially if you are planning for a MBA Program in Finance

welcome to the club.

it seems the answer to both your questions is no


Can you please elaborate, why does an added skill cannot help you or put a weight on your profile. I think , it might convince interviewers since you have something on your resume that sets you aside from other candidates. I am currently working for an IT MNC in a technical role. I want to break out in the field of finance. My role has nothing to do with Finance, but since I am passionate about it , I am pursuing CFA Level 1. I have done a part time Exec- MBA in Finance and FLIP Certification in Wealth Management , but none of them helped me out landing up a decent role in Finance. I think atleast CFA Level 1 would give you an upper edge over other candidates having some added skills and certifications. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Im not sure about india, but in the US the answet is no it doesnt help. It seems to make sense that it will help, BUT even admission officers and students who go inteview agree there is little weight. The thing is also that there are just so many people that have passed 1 or 2 already. Its not a big differentiator anymore.

Being a Level 1 CFA candidate has zero value. After you pay the exam fee, you are a candidate. You didn’t earn anything yet.

Plus, there are CFA charterholders that get rejected from non-M7 schools. Don’t use the CFA as a crutch. It is only one leg of the stool.

Clearing L1 means you were able to demonstrate knowledge that anyone with a finance undergraduate degree should have, so it doesn’t really bring anything special to the program. Good MBA programs understand that the knowledge and experience that the students bring with them, and can share with other students, is actually far more valuable than what the professors will “teach” you.

^ This. And its true for job market as well.

One of my friends who recently attended a program with a top MBA school here told me that they were surprised a person who is in the later stages of a CFA program decided to do an MBA…

Do an MBA and then CFA would help you for sure… The other way round (as Ninja, Iteracom etc here have said) doesnt mean anything…

Clearing level 1 does not set you apart from anyone, neither does being “passionate” about it. Everyone here is or will say they are passionate about the field in one form or another. As mentioned, L1 is knowledge any finance undergrad (which I guess would be the majority of MBA applicants any given year) should know. Besides, level 1 is easy, all you’re really doing is scoring above 70% on an all multiple choice test, doesn’t add weight to your application. What business schools were you thinking of applying to?

Also, since you’re in IT, why don’t you start a small business? I don’t mean the next facebook, something that shows you have entrepreneurship skills. I’ve seen a lot of guys in high positions come through here who have MBA’s from top institutions and if they had a technical background a lot of times their story before going for their MBA was “I created this website/program/company and then sold it to xxx”.

Does _ being enrolled _ for Level 1 make you stand out above other B-school candidates? No, it just means that you had $1,000 to spend on a test.

Does passing Level 1 make you stand out above other B-school candidates? Doubtful. Anybody who has an undergrad in accounting or finance should be able to pass Level 1 with minimal effort.

Does passing Level 2 make you stand out above other B-school candidates? Maybe, but probably not. Clearing Level 2 does show that you have some brains, because it is quite a bit harder than Level 1. But there are a lot of people that pass Level 2 and never finish Level 3. And why haven’t you passed Level 3 yet? If you passed Level 2 last year, maybe that means you just haven’t had the chance to take to Level 3 yet. But if you passed Level 2 ten years ago, that means you either can’t pass Level 3, or you’ve gotten lazy and complacent, both of which make for a bad MBA candidate.

I agree with the comment:

Do an MBA and then CFA would help you for sure… The other way round (as Ninja, Iteracom etc here have said) doesnt mean anything…

Why do you want to do an MBA after the CFA? That’s just pointless. Do one or the other not both. Think about why you are doing the CFA at all.

Are you an idiot?

he already established that in the other thread. he claims people should have their masters degree behind their name, and says putting CFA or CPA is retarded.

I disagree with both BS and Iteracom on this.

An MBA from a top-tier institution would certainly have benefit for a CFA charterholder. Actually, an MBA from a top-tier institution would benefit anybody. However, I would not go to Local State University’s part-time MBA if I were a CFA charterholder. That would be pointless.

Iteracom sometimes forgets that there are MBA programs out there other than Harvard, Wharton, Stanford, or Chicago.

However, if somebody did say that putting “Green Man, MBA” is preferable to putting “Green Man, CFA, CPA”, then that is laughable.

BlackSwan, here we have another example yet again where I get dragged into the flame.

All I did was answer the question if a CFA will help MBA admissions, that’s it. Nowhere in this entire thread did I say anything about a top tier MBA or low tier MBA. And yet here we are.

Do people read anymore before replying?

Even though I still agree with this post, I read what Douche said in the other thread, and now I agree with you and BS–he is an idiot.

Is this where you’re standing up for Drache, Green? And he’s being a douche to you on the other thread.

Yeah, I just noticed that. And Drache is Douche. And an idiot. But that doesn’t make him wrong all the way around. He does have a point in that it’s not worth pursuing a lower-level MBA if you are already a Charterholder.

In real life, I very rarely see people put their education on their business card. They put professional designations (CPA, CFA, etc.) on there, and they put job titles on there (CFO, Director of Finance, etc.), but rarely do I ever see MBA. And usually if you do, it’s somebody who works in HR or Marketing and is trying to lend some credibility to a nonacademic, nondemanding (or “soft”) field. It seems as if they’re trying to say, “Hey! Look at me! I’m educated, too!”

Actually, the best way to do it is to do a part-time MBA and study for the CFA exams during the summers and then refresh for the tests in June. Only by mixing MBA with CFA in this manner do you achieve maximum credential potency. If you do the CFA before your MBA then most places won’t even let you in, given that your MBA will be worthless once you graduate and that will affect the program’s placement stats.

Got it: CFA is furniture, not walking aid.