Is good MBA still > CFA?

The industry is always changing and I’m wondering whether MBA degrees are still worth the investment. I’m mainly referring to schools right outside the top 10.

Is it worth the cost to get an MBA from one of these peer schools (NYU, Cornell, UVA, Duke, UCLA, Yale, Ross) over trying to break into asset management with CFA? I have some relevant experience but not directly applicable so it’s still somewhat of a transition that I’d be trying to make with only CFA level 1 passed.

The advantage that a MBA has over the CFA is networking and recruitment.

and to add, of course, the better the MBA program, the much stronger network and campus recruitment you get.

If you are looking to “break in” as you say from a tangential role you have now, betting on passing CFA exams alone to get you there is difficult, a top mba has a much better chance of success

the general rule of thumb though is top 10, although because the rankings move around so much, a school like NYU Stern (which is ranked 13?) does fall into that Top 10 category in eyes of most, and bec they ahve a good full time recruitment program with a lot of wall street connections

that’s all the advice that makes sense given your little information about yourself

You’d have a better chance getting in from a top business school simply because, as former trader noted, you have (1) access to recruiting channels and (2) opportunity to credibly spend a TON of time networking. That is what business school is all about. CFA doesn’t help most people get a job on the buy-side unless they were there already.

Still, having said all of that, it all comes down to your quality of your ideas. I have worked with clients ranging from the top business schools to some undergraduate institution that most people haven’t heard of, and many of them have landed six-figure jobs in the industry. For the most part, it came down to the quality of their investment ideas and their ability to crack the buy-side case.

If you go into a buy-side interview and you don’t have good stocks to pitch, you’re pretty much worthless to them no matter what certification or degrees you have. In fact, ‘worthless’ might be speaking too highly; I’d say worthless at best, liability (a.k.a. money loser / capital destroyer) at worst.

Stock-picking equity funds account for a small percentage of “the buy side”. Plenty of people are well paid to work in global macro, fixed income, PE, Real Estate, currencies, etc.

Out of curiosity, did your fund outperform its benchmark last year? The majority of equity HFs underperformed the index last year, and by your logic, there are a lot of less than worthless people getting paid very well. (Many of these worthless people made bad decisions and earned >10M)

This isn’t at all a personal attack, I’m just curious. I respect how you help people and seem to help many launch their careers.

All good points, and it’s possible I made an erroneous assumption that the OP wanted to get into equities. There are other types of asset classes as you noted.

Most equity hedge funds are absolute returns and are not relative returns compared to the S&P, so the question of benchmark doesn’t really apply. So, the question you might consider asking is not whether funds outperformed the S&P in a banner year, but whether they have outperformed in a sideways or down market. I can’t share performance metrics of our fund with anyone that isn’t an LP or a prospective LP.

That said, performance matters but as a prospective analyst hire, he/she don’t have performance numbers in most cases – it therefore comes down to his/her process. So therefore, ideas always matter as a candidate, and once you have a job then that’s when performance numbers matters most. Still, even having a great process doesn’t mean you don’t get stuff wrong from time to time, but in the long run, a good process tends to yield good outcomes.

Thanks as well for the good words on helping people launch careers. It gives me a lot of personal satisfaction helping people attain their dream jobs and hearing that they’re now on an earnings trajectory that they had once thought was improbable.