Poll: CFA Best Designation to Hold

Might be a repost. This is from ‘Ignites, A Financial Times Service’. Fairly small sample, but seems to be the trend lately: Poll: CFA Best Designation to Hold Article published on August 4, 2010 By Mariah Summers The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation is the most highly regarded designation in the fund industry, beating out the Master of Business Administration (MBA) and other credentials. That’s according to a majority of Ignites poll respondents. About 67%, or 447 voters, said the CFA is tops. That made it the most popular choice in an Ignites survey asking which designation employers respect the most. Roughly 27%, or 179 voters, said the MBA is the most preferred credential, putting it in a distant second place. Nearly 7%, or 44 voters, said other designations, such as the Certified Financial Planner (CFP) and Certified Investment Management Analyst (CIMA) credentials, earn the most respect. The poll’s results are consistent with what industry recruiters are finding at many firms. “CFA is by far the most respected and useful certification out there,” says Mark Elzweig, president of Mark Elzweig Company, a recruiting firm. “CFA holders have technical knowledge that is specific to the asset management industry. They have an in-depth understanding of the investment process, too. “An MBA is good to have but not as helpful a credential. CFA holders are everywhere in the asset management industry: institutional marketers, key account people, manager research people, product managers and many other roles,” he says. “This is by far the most career enhancing credential that someone can have.” Another industry recruiter agrees. "The poll results aren’t surprising because more firms are requiring the CFA designation as a condition of hire,” says Chris Seitz, associate principal at Heidrick & Struggles, an executive search firm. “I see one as being more relevant than another; it’s not that one is superior or inferior. “Applicants can use the CFA as a differentiator to get a leg up on other candidates,” he says. “The MBA used to be that differentiator because fewer candidates had earned graduate degrees. Possession of a CFA demonstrates a certain dedication to the asset management industry and signals that the charter holder may have a deeper level of investment acumen than those candidates without one.” Seitz adds that there’s a place for the MBA in business leadership positions. “The MBA is more important when you want a wider view of the running of a business,” he says. “It is especially applicable if you’re someone who aspires to leadership and management positions that stretch you beyond your own functional expertise. An MBA is supposed to provide general management training and a medium to hone/practice critical thinking versus the focused investment management subject matter expertise offered by the CFA.” Precisely 670 Ignites subscribers participated in the survey as of 3 p.m. Tuesday. The poll is an unscientific sampling of Ignites subscribers. Readers voted only once on a voluntary basis. Ignites’s audience consists of financial advisors, money managers and service providers.

of course, this is flawed. If it were a top 20 MBA, it would be a different story. They are lumping in Harvard MBA w/ University of Phoenix.

I admit I always read these debates, but no use beating a dead horse as there’s no definitive one-size-fits-all answer. In terms of salary, a top 20 MBA will likely give the best boost (due in no small part to the networking aspect of school vs CFA’s self study). Obtaining the CFA may be best compared with an MBA on the spectrum halfway between Harvard and U of Phoenix, but depends on the position. For management, a MBA probably wins out over a CFA, but for a research analyst or financial modeling position, the quantitatively-focused CFA would be optimal. I should be biased towards the CFA in the endless debate against MBAs, but given that even within finance most people couldn’t tell you what the letters stand for, it would be pretty far-fetched to claim a CFA is more respected than a Harvard MBA. Can’t compare an apple to a variety of oranges.

how about CFA + MBA > PHD ?

I look at CFA & MBA as being pretty separate things to me (although an MBA with a finance emphsasis gets them somewhat more comparable). Similarly to what Sundevils said. This article was specifically on roles within funds though, so it makes sense the CFA would be more highly valued.

WTF Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > how about CFA + MBA > PHD ? CFA + Top 10 MBA Close or = Top to Good school Phd CFA + Mediocre to who cares school MBA < Top to good school Phd CFA + Top 10 MBA > = Mediocre school Phd CFA + Mediocre to who cares school MBA < Mediocre school Phd Preference may varies depends on the industry/sector/program. Also note that typically unlike an MBA program, ‘who cares’ school does not offer phd program.

And yet again, we’ve opened up another MBA vs CFA debate… for the millionth time.

iteracom Wrote: ------------------------------------------------------- > And yet again, we’ve opened up another MBA vs CFA > debate… for the millionth time. LOL +1