How Does the CFA® Charter Compare to the MBA?


Both the CFA Charter and an MBA Program Offer Benefits That Can Advance Your Career

Consider your career goals as you review how these programs differ.

CFA Program

For Investment Analysis and Portfolio Management


For Business Management


300–900 hours of self study

18 volumes of curriculum across 10 topic areas

4 years of qualified work experience

2–4 years depending on program

Class attendance and participation

No practice requirements


US$ 2,400–4,590 depending on fee deadline US$ 80,000–125,000 depending on program


Deep knowledge of investment analysis, management, and ethics Broad knowledge of core business concepts with some opportunity to specialize


Low barrier for entry High attrition rate High barrier for entry Low attrition rate


Charter: professional designation Degree certificate


140,000+ CFA Institute members Depends on specific MBA program


Benchmarking by NARIC, which equates CFA charter to Master's Degree

Waivers from licensing exams in 27 countries

Accredited MBA programs are widely recognized by employers
Julie Yu, CFA

Why the CFA Program?

Achieve the highest distinction in the investment management profession.

Learn more about the CFA Program
Clifford Mpare, CFA

Compare Our Programs

Compare the three CFA Institute programs.

Learn more about our programs
Maria Kahane, CFA

CFA Charterholder Profiles

Hear from charterholders around the world about their experiences.

Learn more about charterholders
Ashley Khoo, CFA

CFA Program Curriculum Overview

Find out which topics are covered in the CFA Program.

Learn more about the curriculum