Path to Your Wall Street Desire: MBA, Finance MS, or CFA? - Blog

Splintered. The word captures the hyper-fragmented world of business education. Normally this focus can provide a structured path for professionals with predetermined career aspirations—particularly in the finance and accounting industries. But with a multitude narrow paths, your indecision may naturally mount. With a few years of professional work experience under your belt, your choice of higher education could be the deciding factor in accessing your Wall Street career.

As we explore a few of the more popular degree options facing finance and accounting professionals today, we will highlight that preparation for the GMAT and MBA-level courses, which is essential to not only for admission, but also for your academic success. Crimson Oak’s GMAT and MBA Prep courses recognize the need for a strong foundation and are designed to help you achieve success throughout every step of your academic future. Determining which post-grad academic path will lead you to an optimal career in finance or accounting is difficult.  Your choice today could be the difference between you becoming a KPMG auditor or JPMorgan treasury analyst in the future. Or you becoming a Carlyle private equity fund managing director or Blackstone hedge fund manager.  This note helps you with your choice.

Graduate-level programs are often difficult to gain admission. Choosing the one program that is right for you is critical so you don’t waste your efforts with the notoriously strenuous graduate school application process. But in this post-2008 financial collapse world, which program should you choose? Are the salaries and bonuses at all comparable to five years ago? Is an MBA worth the cost of investment? Can a Master of Science in Finance help your path to financial independence? Or is the CFA—well known for the intense time and work required to pass each level—your most valuable path? The answer depends on what you want your future career and potential income to look like.


Top MBA programs have become more bifurcated: top 10 MBA programs such as Stanford Graduate School of Business with a 6% acceptance rate and mid-tier programs such as the Thunderbird program have seen the metrics and size of their incoming class slide. MBA graduates still find their professional opportunities upon graduation are plentiful and wide-ranging. Although many MBA programs allow you to specialize in a specific area of business, you can also choose a general management MBA, which typically covers the gamut of business topics. This broad coursework can help you land a job in finance, marketing, operations, or management. Of course, certain programs are more renowned within finance such





The CFAoffers a tempting short path but one steeped by three Herculean hurdles or “levels” of proficiency assessed by grueling examinations. Awarded by the CFA Institute, this designation is looked upon highly by finance professionals around the globe. Credentials for acceptance into the CFA program are high. In fact, CFA program candidates must have four years of professional experience under their belt before an application will be considered. Once admitted, CFA students complete strenuous courses in portfolio management, investment analysis, and financial modeling. The emphasis on these subjects remains constant throughout the program, preparing students for three six-hour exams upon completion of the program. New York University and London Business School. Nonetheless, an MBA program offers the most utility of the degrees





The MSF offers a stricter focus on the principles of finance and investment analysis, and less focus on management, general operation, or marketing. Students must have a solid background and understanding of advance mathematics, as well as a desire to study the quantitative aspects of finance. Singapore Management Universityand Florida International University are top MSF programs according to the latest Financial Times rankings. Qualitative concepts such strategy and ethics are not a main focus of MSF programs. Unlike many of the more competitive MBA programs, MSF programs do not generally require students to hold any professional financial work experience. For the cost-conscious student, an MSF is also typically one year as opposed to the two-year MBA program.Although not all, some students complete their MSF and continue on to a PhD program with the intention of a career in academics.


Post-Financial Crisis, Wall Street’s executive and managerial salaries and bonuses has become much scrutinized. The financial industry is still an attractive option for high total compensation. If you choose to work at a large financial institution, you will likely find that the firm’s compensation plans may have recently been restructured, with salaries more closely aligned to industry averages and bonuses focused on long-term success, rather than short-term gains. An entrepreneurial path as a financial planner, whereby you acquire clients on your own, offers total compensation limited by the number of wealthy clients you want in your portfolio. The Financial Crisis and historically low yield environment may have changed the financial products demanded to more recession resistant products and defensive investment strategies. The composition and their training requirements may have changed; the need for financial professionals, however, remains constant.The need for agile future certified financial professionals provides solid ground to grow your business and your career.