is MBA even respected in investment management?

I recently got passed over for a job because the other guy was a CFA Level 3 candidate. That’s the reason they gave me. Instead of my CFA, I pursued my Master’s in a quantitative subject while working which has helped land some interviews and it took me about 2 years to complete. The other guy only had a Bachelors. I also did not know which career path I wanted to go towards so I didn’t commit to the CFA program earlier. I have enough experience to get into a MBA program (hoping to gain a better network, brand, and a versatile degree) but I’m wondering if it’s even worth the money. Do advanced degrees in this industry even carry any weight? While the MS degree that I have does help open some doors, but I’m somewhat regretting that I didn’t go for the CFA instead as it seems to be held in much higher regard than any advanced degree.

If you already have a Master, i don’t think going for an MBA is a good idea?

While i think your situation is only an one-off case, there are definitely employers prefer hiring CFA charterholders or candidates and there are others prefer hiring MBA grads.

So it depends on the firm and i wouldn’t say there is an absolute advantage either way.

You don’t have to regret not going for the CFA because you can always start now!


I’m definitely starting on the CFA program, but I’m debating on whether the MBA on top would be even worth the money and committment. Classes would start in September.

One thing at a time i think. Do not underestimate the work involved for the CFA program.

To tell you the truth, i think you are risking being too qualified if you do MBA as well on top of everything else you got going on.

But that’s just my 2 cents, you may find a job out there that requires both (although highly unlikely).

If you want to transition, network or have on campus recruiting, do your MBA. If not, don’t waste your time.

MBAs are lame. Most only have 2-3 clases of basic finance. It is a very soft degree in my opinion in terms of actual learning. However, if you get into a top 10-20 program, it will pay off due to the signal that you are smart and will have good networking. Anything less than a top 20 program is a waste of time.

@OP - your details are a little vague (maybe intentionally so?).

If the other guy had a Bachelor’s in Finance from Wharton and is a Level 3 Candidate, and you got your Master’s “in a quantitative subject” from University of Phoenix, then this is not a difficult decision to make.

Only good for networking/transitioning. Top 5 might be a little more impressive.

These days anyone can get an MBA. You already have a masters, they know you are book smart. Finish the CFA and show them you are dedicated to the investment profession.

CFA opened doors for me that were closed. Never considered an MBA due to cost and time. CFA cheaper and more respected, IMO. Know another guy in same boat as me who went MBA route. He is now a realtor and miserable because he couldn’t differentiate himself from hundreds of other generic MBAs when he tried to break into the investment profession.

I don’t think a top MBA is as well-respected as it should be in the investment management space. I hear a lot of people saying that experience in the markets is what matters most, which I agree with, but it’s not as though the things you learn in business school don’t matter at all. (However, outside of the top 10 schools, an MBA’s value proposition to the buy-side is much harder to justify in my view).

Having gotten MBA from a top school I can definitely tell you that things such as my abilities to analyze competition and industry characteristics, to present my ideas and arguments, and to build relationships are far more polished now than they were before business school. While the MBA was definitely valuable from an alumni networking standpoint, the skills have really come to the forefront in my current role. Then again, I took my business school education very seriously so like most things in life, it’s really what you make of it.

In terms of recruiting, the MBA wasn’t that hard of a value proposition to explain since half the people that work here including my PM have MBA’s. Getting into the buy-side is first and foremost about the quality of ideas that you generate. But even if there aren’t signs here that say “Wanted: MBA!” my business school experience has helped me become a better analyst, which has led to better alpha and profit generation.

Part of me wishes I had done an MBA when I was younger. I don’t talk about my Ph.D. much here, but one of the reasons I didn’t do an MBA was because I’d been in school for long enough doing my Ph.D. that the thought of spending another two years in school was something I didn’t think anyone around me would support (and it would have been very expensive).

I did the CFA instead, which wasn’t a bad decision, because it got me up and running on a lot of issues I needed to be fluent in to be taken seriously, but it was not able to substitute for some of the benefits that an MBA program would provide, namely, a network of alumni who I could tap for job leads.

I actually do think that the substance of what one learns is business school is valuable. Sure, it’s not rocket science, but it is still stuff that helps people make better business decisions faster. Much of it can be learned through experience too, but if you can learn in 2 years what it takes other people a decade to learn by trial-and-error, that’s not a bad thing.

In asset managemetn and hedge fund work, experience and track record is what gets you better credibility. My cousin worked at First Boston and had a manager say “you can go to business school for two years, or you can stick with me and I’ll teach you everything you need to know.” He took the latter route and doesn’t regret it.

However, the MBA is a more general-purpose degree, so if you want to bail out of finance for one reason or another (contracting industry, work-life balance, whatever) the MBA is a credential that transfers a lot better than something like the CFA.

i also think that if you already studied quants you should probably find a job in quants?

if you are good at it, it’s easy to transition yourself from quants to finance, granted you are not going to be the PM right away, but in a supporting role, then you can decide if it is for you/ study for CFA then.

That’s my 2 cents.

Depends what part of the industry.

There is no correlation between having a MBA and becoming a great trader. In fact, I noticed a negative correlation (albeit a small sample size).

In general I agree, although I would add a MBA from your local university if that university is well respected where you work.

15-20 years ago when someone has a MBA people take you seriously, now, it’s a toss up, some people dont’ care, some people are somewhat impressed, some people even think you’ve made a foolish decision!

You’re insane to think someone could be taken seriously if they said someone who did an MBA at say Stanford or Chicago made a foolish decision. Come out of a program like that and there will ALWAYS be a six-figure job offer waiting for you somewhere.

23% of Wharton’s graduating class this year took jobs in Asset Management/PE/VC. I would imagine numbers look similar for HBS/Booth/Stanford. Considering the vast majority of b-school students have little interest in those types of jobs, I’d say MBA students are batting pretty high for getting the types of roles that people at AF seem to find “highly desirable”.

lol its nana troll

Well out of ALL MBAs out there, how many of them came from a well respected, top 10 schools in the world.

Then the question is, is it the MBA that does the trick or is it the school?

They could graduate from Stanford in any discipline and still be respected IMO, not necessarily the MBA program that gives them the edge.

My point is, if someone just has MBA behind their name on a business card, you wouldn’t really take them as seriously as say 15-20 years ago.

20 years ago, no one would be douchey enough to put MBA after their name on a business card. Now, it’s common practice.

I have never, ever seen that in the US or any other country in which I’ve worked, and I’ve seen the business cards of many, many people who have an MBA. I would hardly say it’s common practice since I’ve never seen it before. Is it unique to Canada? I recall hearing something before about people doing it there (still doesn’t excuse the tackiness).

It’s common practice in Canada.