A lot of people who are interested in a career in the financial sector are wondering which is better between a Masters in Finance and the Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA program. Is Chartered Financial Analyst or CFA a master degree or is it a credential that complements it? Which one among them is better for a career boost in the field of finance?
In order to find out the answer to the question, it is a must for you to focus on CFA, the way you can earn the designation, and the way it can give the advantages to your career.
The CFA program refers to a self-study program. This one is intended for portfolio and wealth managers, investment and research analysts, and professionals who are involved in the investment decision-making process. In addition, it is also for finance students who are eager to work in the investment management profession. It is known as the key certification for investment professionals, especially in the areas of research and portfolio management.
There are a total of three levels of CFA exams: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3. As a candidate, you will have to start your journey from Level 1. In order to apply for CFA Level 1, you will have to fill out the form. Aside from filling out the form, you will also need to include a few documents, such as scanned copy of your international travel passport, scanned copy of your graduation mark sheet, scanned copy of your graduation degree, scanned copy of your sign, and scanned copy of your passport size photo. Make sure to keep ready the required documents as per the prescribed size and formats.
When filling out the form, you will be asked to provide the important details of yourself, such as educational details, personal details, professional details, and so on. After doing that and after uploading all the documents, it is time for you to submit the requisite fees for the registration. Apparently, the registration fee varies, depending on the deadlines of registration. It is a must for every candidate like you to submit the one time enrollment fee of $459 while registering for the CFA course. If you register within the early registration deadline, you will have to pay $700. However, if you fill the application form after the early registration deadline but before the last date, you will have to pay a standard registration fee of $1000.
If you want to be a member of CFA Institute or to be able to get the CFA charter, the requirements that you have to meet include holding a bachelor’s or equivalent degree or be in the final year of a bachelor’s degree program, passing the three levels of the CFA exam, and gaining 48 months of professional work experience.
The Advantages and the Disadvantages of CFA
The most common advantage of the CFA certification is the expertise that you will get in the field of investment management and beyond. You will be able to learn a lot of things, resulting in your CV to look more impressive. It is not easy to earn the charter. In fact, it takes a lot of effort and dedication and everyone knows this fact. Not only that, being a CFA opens the chance for you to increase your remuneration. However, it is worth noting that the designation alone is not enough to result in a financial benefit. Remember that there are some other factors that also play part in your financial wellbeing. These factors include dedication, hard work and luck.
If you are wondering about the career paths, apparently, it is not limited to investment management. According to Investopedia, the professions other than investment management include buy-side trader, sell-side analyst, business school professor, economist and financial advisor.
Please take note that earning the CFA designation is not easy. Besides, it also takes time. One of the most difficult things could be the time it takes to complete the program. Plus, there is no guarantee that you will earn it even after doing your best. Aside from that, you will also have to study alone. By studying alone, it means you will need to be disciplined. However, it is not always the case as there are networking events that are usually organized by CFA societies, making it possible for you to meet with the other ones.
Which Is the Best, Masters or CFA or Both?
In order to decide which is best for you between a Master’s in Finance and the CFA, the first thing that you have to do is to find out what you want to achieve. Both of them are the same, which help you to prepare for work in the financial industry. While it is true that they are similar, they have some differences. What are the things that make them different?
The Masters program has a more general approach compared to the CFA program. It prepares graduates for careers in corporate finance, capital markets and asset management. As for the CFA program, it is best for those who need more specialized knowledge and expertise in the field of investment.
Due to the fact that the Masters in finance is not a substitute for the CFA, a lot of people choose to get both designations. An associate professor of finance from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology-NYU Stern Masters in Global Finance or MSGF program named Kasper Meisner Nielsen said that investment professionals, including the professional ones, are drawn to the Masters in Finance, either as a replacement for or as a complement to the CFA. He said that the CFA is a good certification to have on your resume if you are going to have a career in this industry. However, it does not necessarily imply you understand all the aspects of finance. An analyst recommended people to get Masters in finance if they are trying to land a first finance job. This one is better than a CFA pass. As for the CFA, it is only useful once they are already in the industry.