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An eFC user asks: To break into New York's top financial institutions, would a candidate do better to pursue the CFA designation, a CPA certification, or an MBA degree?

What do you think is the optimum path?

AUTHOReFinancialCareers News Insider Comment
  • kr
    22 November 2010

    i almost have a similar confusion... I am a MCom and now thinking of getting a masters degree.. I also have a option of doing CPA and then MBA but not sure will it really help me in anyway. is someone can tell me what are the prospects of being a CPa in corporate world.. like IB's or or finance side of any company?

  • Sh
    15 June 2010

    Well my problem is really confusing, i hve a bachelor degree in accounting, i work as an assistant planner in a container terminal, im lookin to change my career back to somethin related to my degree, CFA or CPA, i cant get a top 20 MBA coz i live in egypt, so my choices come from CFA or CPA although CPA depends if i get a visa to usa, but CFA i could get tested in egypt, i was good in college with investment & financial subjects, wasnt really good in accounting subjects, i hate memorizing, im good at understanding and reasoning though, so whats better for me for a career change? and would CFA level 1 could get me started in a financing career in the middle east? someone heeeeeeeelp very confused and ive gone crazy thanx for all inadvance

  • nu
    1 June 2009

    So I am particularly young, as I am graduating next year from undergrad. I am wondering what it would take to break into the Management/Asset Management field, particularly in NYC. Would having a CPA right out of school benefit me more than getting my CFA level 1? I understand that receiving a MBA would only be beneficial with more years of experience under my belt. So I am basically debating between a CFA (which I will either get after school or after my CPA) or CPA right after college? Which is a better route? Thanks for any advice.

  • Jo
    Jon Jacobs
    12 May 2009


    In this market one must grasp at anything that might work. Wealth management is a sector that's still in demand, unlike most institutional client banking functions that traditionally hired new MBA holders (i.e., IB).

    So if you have anything in your background (such as past contact with wealth management clients you could reactivate) or personal constitution (i.e. a strong disposition toward sales, entrepreneurship or face-to-face interaction with very wealthy families), then you could try that route. Unfortunately, MBA isn't the best credential for wealth management - it's better suited for the dealmaker type career tracks that aren't hiring in today's market.

    The other tack is to leverage the engineering background. Automated trading methods, such as high-frequency statistical arbitrage, are said to enjoy strong demand. If your education can position you as a finance "quant," that could be your way into the financial career path.

    --Jon Jacobs, eFinancialCareers News staff

  • ka
    12 May 2009

    I have an IT/engineering background. I just got my MBA (finance). I have about 8 years IT experience in the wealth managment are with a Series 7 certification.

    I need a break into the financial career path.

    How ?

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