It’s a vague question but one that I get all of the time. One of the big reasons why people like you and I go ahead and do the CFA program is to get better, more interesting, and higher paid jobs.That is not always the case but it’s safe to say that it generally is. But what are those jobs exactly?
First, take a look at what type of jobs current CFA charterholders are working at according to the CFA institute:
5%-Relationships managers, sales & marketing
5%-Corporate Financial analyst
4%-Investment Banking analyst
It’s not a big surprise to see these jobs on top and with the CFA title you could certainly expect the “opportunity” to do one of those jobs. I say opportunity because the CFA, like any other title or school certificate, will generally do one thing — open the door. It will get you an interview that you would not have gotten otherwise. Why? Because passing the CFA backs the fact that a candidate is bright, sharp, disciplined, focused, performs well under pressure, is dedicated to doing their best, etc. That being said, you do not get the job automatically… you get the opportunity to get the job. From there on though, it’s all about you and how you perform.
Another huge thing about the CFA is that it is known and recognized globally, which is something that is very rare. CFA charts are given all around the world and no matter where you are, future employers will know what kind of work is required. That is something that can probably only be matched by degrees at the top schools like Harvard, LSE, etc.
Obviously, depending on your experience, your expectations and your location, different possibilities will be open. In some cities or countries, having passed the CFA exams is not only impressive but also rare which will help you get better opportunities. However in other cities, the CFA is more common (whatever the reason) and charterholders will likely see less benefits.
CFA vs. MBA
I’m always surprised when I’m asked which one is better because they are so drastically different. The truth is that MBA is a very broad program and will generally help you gain management positions and expertise. On the other hand, the CFA will generally help you land very specialized jobs in finance, and sometimes in accounting. You can either help in fund management (trading, portfolio management, etc) or help with clients (either through research, management, etc).