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Difference Between CFA and MBA


CFA and MBA are both professional careers and educational achievements that are used within the field of business. A person who holds either a CFA or an MBA projects the image of a professional who has the business competence necessary in the field.

Both educational attainments are difficult to obtain and will require some costs in terms of money and time. Applications for both honors are often professionals in the fields of business who wish to broaden their horizons.

“CFA” stands for “Chartered Financial Analyst.” This is a certification that is offered specifically for financial analysts. It is awarded by the CFA Institute and is mostly achieved by completing a series of three exams. An applicant or a person who earned this certification is expected to be adept in tasks like management of high net assets. This type of management includes stocks, bonds, portfolio management, and other relative topics.

The CFA is designed to provide the applicant a detailed and specialized skill set in terms of the aforementioned topics. A person who passes this certification is considered to be an expert in using and managing financial tools.

On the other hand, “MBA” is the acronym for “Master of Business Administration.” It is a graduate level course that focuses on many areas of business like finance, marketing, operations management, accounting, human resources, and others. To sum it up, an MBA offers a more holistic approach to business. This degree is given by an academic institution after completing coursework and a master’s thesis that focuses on the field. The degree also serves as an introduction to business management for those already or starting in the field.
Both an MBA and CFA require a bachelor’s degree as part of the application requirements.

The CFA requires four years of work experience before admitting one applicant. Those who take up the CFA certification consume almost three years before they get certified. Once there is completion and passing of exams, they are required to pay a fee and sign a code of conduct regarding their new status. Usually, the CFA is taken while the applicant is still working full-time.

MBAs are different. For an MBA, an applicant can be a part-time or full-time student. Work experience is a good asset though not necessary This type of course normally covers a period of two years. Upon passing the degree, it is formally conferred upon the student in the form of a graduation ceremony.
Another distinction is the type or background of people who pursue these honors. CFAs are mostly aimed for financial analysts while MBAs are a requirement for business management or businesses executives.


1. Both an MBA and CFAs are honors conferred on people who studied and passed examinations and qualifications for such honors.
2. The main difference between the two is their nature of educational attainment. An MBA is a graduate degree course while a CFA is a certification. In comparison, an MBA holds a heavier weight compared to a CFA.
3. CFA is aimed at financial analysts for extended knowledge about management of high net assets while an MBA offers a range of study in different areas of business. Finance is the core of the CFA while it is only a portion in an MBA.
4. Requirements to pass a CFA include: passing the three exams, work experience, and paying a fee. All these are done in three years. Meanwhile, an MBA is achieved by doing coursework in the field as well as writing and defending a master’s thesis. The normal duration for an MBA is two years, but it can be extended depending on the circumstances.
5. MBAs can be taken by people who are in the field of business as well as newcomers. CFAs only take people who have four years in the field, especially in the financial industry.
6. CFAs are given by only one institution, the CFA Institute, while an MBA can be conferred by any educational institution that offers the

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