MBA/CMA/Six Sigma/CPA?

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by Nathan Gillespie, Jul 12, 2019.

  1. Nathan Gillespie

    Nathan Gillespie New Member

    Hey everyone,

    First and foremost, I do want to thank everyone for taking some time to review this post and give their personal input. As I am relatively young (26), I could use some input from experienced individuals with regards to how certain additional degrees and certifications may have made them more marketable OR improved their career.

    Some back ground on myself, I have two bachelor's degrees (one in Sociology and one in Accounting) with a 3.9 cumulative GPA. I currently work in the Finance sector as a Business Analyst and have about 2 -3 years of experience working for a Fortune 500. My long term goal is to move more towards a director role/controller in upper management. I know these takes an extreme amount of time and effort. However, I like to start planning early so that I am prepared when that moment comes. I do have experience with project management with respect to process improvement, efficiency and quality control. Below are a few degrees and certifications I am contemplating on pursuing, and would appreciate anyone's input as to their value - whether it is something that is actually useful or just a "stamp" that you need to say you have by the time you get to upper management. Also, in pursuing these, I would like to mention I have no debt other than the mortgage on my house so cost isn't a huge discerning factor.

    MBA: I feel this one goes without saying and the benefits are quite clear. It is "the new bachelor's degree". However, would it be in my best interest to start an MBA at this point in time or, wait further into my career until it is actually needed (or the company will pay full price). Right now I have partial tuition reimbursement.

    CMA: The golden standard of management account. I would like to keep my career, if possible, within the financial sector, but I believe that a CMA would definitely aid in moving into upper management down the line, such as obtaining a controller position. But I am curious as to which holds more leverage compared to a...

    CPA: Highly beneficial and necessary if you want to work as a public accounting, especially in auditing, but I have no real desire to work as an accountant. I can do, and have done the work, just not my thing in the end game. However, would absolutely pursue a CPA if it would make me more marketable for career progression.

    Lean Six Sigma Black Belt: I have heard mixed reviews about this, but have heard that it can hone your process management skills/project development to an unheard of level (albeit, the individual has the saavy to put the tools into application appropriately) and is seen as a major plus by upper management when dealing with those just a few years out of high school.

    I am horribly driven, and am not looking for any easy fix, just a bit of guidance as far as post secondary education goes to further my career. Be as harsh as you want - all criticism and advice is appreciated.

  2. Nathan Gillespie

    Nathan Gillespie New Member

    Also, I apologize if this thread has been posted a thousand times or more already. I have little ones at home, so my free research time outside of my studies can be limited!
  3. Phdtobe

    Phdtobe Well-Known Member

    Do them all if you can. CPA first if you can, or an mba in accounting so you can get the necessary prerequisites to write the cpa.
  4. AsianStew

    AsianStew Member

    Ah yes, the old age question of "which one to do first"... I see you have a Bachelors degree already, I usually recommend the following.
    1) Degree - Get the Masters degree first as it's the building block of your educational credentials and yes, it's like the new "Bachelors".
    2) Experience - I see you've got 2-3 years experience in various roles, great, usually people like to see more in director or higher roles.
    3) Certification - I would work on this while you're getting the experience under your belt, use up the "partial tuition" on this as well!
  5. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    Of the bunch I'd say the Six Sigma Cert is the least valuable. I don't know anyone who really uses that anymore, even in a manufacturing environment.
  6. Jahaza

    Jahaza Member

    Six Sigma is definitely still a thing in health care, frequently in combination with Lean Process Improvement. I just saw this job posting today from a pharmacy start-up with "bonus points" for a Lean Six Sigma Greenbelt.
  7. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  8. GregWatts

    GregWatts Member

    Graduate degree, rather agnostic whether an MBA or MSc in Accounting or Finance.

    Then get CPA or CFA depending on preference.

    Then try to get experience with some blue chip companies.
  9. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

  10. Kizmet

    Kizmet Moderator Staff Member

    SteveFoerster likes this.
  11. Vonnegut

    Vonnegut Member

    We still see it utilized or desired, fairly often, albeit not like in the past. Most have transitioned to a Lean-Six Sigma model that is far more heavily weighted towards lean. My team still annually facilitates multiple yellow and green belt classes and coaching sessions. We’re doing a black belt class, maybe once a year at this pount. It’s certainly no longer the magic pass it once was. The greatest challenge is that so many people use it as a career springboard, and never fully master the material. Which quickly leads to questionable applications, analysis paralysis, and even creative selected metrics for self-validation. I’ve always culturally embraced lean and adore working in that realm, properly and productively utilizing six sigma is more much more limited for proper application.

    As for the OP, you should be eligible or soon be eligible to sit for the CPA exam. I’d certainly obtain that credential, especially since you’re not that far out of school. As for the grad school, between partial tuition reimbursement, possible scholarships, and tax planning; you may be able to take it slowly with minimal debt. I certainly believe you’ll need more experience, credentials, and likely the masters to increase your odds of fulfilling your career goals. I’d also be keeping an eye on the possibility of obtaining some supervisory/managerial experience in the field, as soon as possible. Good luck, it sounds as if you’re off to a great start.
    SteveFoerster likes this.

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