Dear Mentor:

As an English major, should I get a CFA before the MBA?

I am a graduate, and now I am at such a road of my life that I am not able to decide that what should I do to enhance my career prospects. Actually the thing is that I want to do an MBA from a B-school of a very high repute, but the thing is that I don't have any background because I am a simple English Graduate. I am planning for a career in Management with specialization in Finance. I am intending to do CFA [Chartered Financial Analyst] from ICFAI. Would this be the best bet for me, or rather I should be doing something else for having myself specialised in the finance sector, such that when I am in my MBA, I have got some good professional course at my disposal? I would be eagerly waiting for your reply, as this is the question of my future.

CFA before MBA?, Delhi, India

Dear CFA before MBA?:

Generally speaking, it is extremely difficult for us to tell what is best for someone. It depends on your skills and abilities and on your ambitions, interests, and goals. There is no universally "best" course of action for everyone.

A simple graduate in English, as you put it, is equally well qualified to pursue an MBA as someone from another specialization. Being an English major may initially be a drawback for quantitative courses in the MBA, but it is a strength in numerous non-quantitative courses. Most students in MBA programs lack good writing skills, in which you can at least theoretically excel.

A CFA program would train you to be a financial analyst, whereas an MBA would offer you systematic and structured training in management skills. You do not need the CFA qualification to enter an MBA program. You can in fact specialize in finance within an MBA program. Whether you should do a CFA before the MBA, the choice is yours.

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