Second Bachelor's VS MBA for Liberal Arts Major

Discussion in 'Business and MBA degrees' started by cventton13, Aug 31, 2016.

  1. cventton13

    cventton13 New Member

    Hello everyone,

    I'm planning on going back to college but am torn about obtaining a second BA or MBA. I want to get either a BA in Finance, or some college advisors advised me to perhaps shoot for an MBA. My original major was in Korean Language, but the job that I got after graduation was a teaching position with almost no relevant experience in the financial field.

    I've read conflicting options of this online when I searched around google, but none specific to my case. My end goal is to eventually get a job in Risk Management or a Financial Analyst. I do plan on getting an MBA eventually, but because of my lack of experience my current, tentative plan is to get a second BA in Finance, get internship, graduate again, get a job (to get experience), work for some years and save, and finally get MBA.

    I would appreciate any advice that anybody might have.
  2. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The jobs you are shooting for are going to have people with an MBA applying for them. Five year MBA programs (BS + MBA) have cropped up everywhere. And there are still a handful of elite schools that don't require work experience to get into the program.

    In order to get into an MBA program you're going to need to do some foundation coursework before jumping into the actual program. On the one hand, I can see the temptation of wanting to just knock out a second bachelors and using that coursework to qualify for both a job and later admission to an MBAmprogram.

    But you're talking about spending a lot more money and time for a marginal return on both investments. There are plenty of high quality MBAmprograms that would consider you with your current degree and work experience. My best friend earned an MBA in Finance and his undergrad degree, and all of his work experience up to entering his MBA program, was centered around life sciences. No finance experience whatsoever until he hit his first MBA course.

    The other thing is that having a degree in Korean might actually be an asset at some firms. At others it will still be an interesting conversation starter. Getting a second bachelor's is likely to bury that little gem more than stacking an MBA on top of it. Undergrad in Korean and an MBA in Finance? That begins painting a very nice picture.

    It begins to look like this was all your plan the whole time. And that's frankly much "sexier" to a hiring manager than someone who, a few years into life, wanted a do-over.

    Could your way work? Sure. But you have a potentially very strong interview narrative if you just jump to a good MBA program and hit the ground running. My company takes on MBA interns regularly. Other companies do as well. And they are considered for full time employment far more often than undergrad interns. And if you focus that search on firms that have a global focus I think you might be surprised at how well your undergrad education is received.
  3. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I think the path you're wanting to take is akin to circling the pond instead of jumping in. There are plenty MBA programs with concentrations, and that would be a better bet than getting a second undergrad degree.

    I would go after an MBA in Finance and also consider becoming a Certified Financial Planner. You'll have all the training you'll need after that to be competitive in the field not taking into account the reputation of the school you choose which is a whole other discussion.
  4. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    I agree with these guys. Just do the MBA and move forward.
  5. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    There is nothing about the CFP that would align with the OP's stated goals. CFP is for people who want to become financial planners (that's the "F" and the "P"). Risk Management is a completely different ballgame.

    CFP will help you land a job working at an Edward Jones in a strip mall. If you are looking for a job in portfolio Risk Management then the two qualifications to consider are the Professional Risk Manager (PRM) and the Certified Financial Analyst (CFA).

    Other credentials, like a CPA, can compete well in that space. But the CFP, from a hiring standpoint, appears to be more retail focused (i.e. individual client facing) while a Risk Management professional (used here in the portfolio management sense not the guy who tells me I'm not allowed to bring in a dunk tank for the company picnic without a waiver sense) isn't focused on winning over individual clients.

    CFP is fine for that specific career path. But if RM is your game then the CFP is more likely to hold you back than help you.
  6. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I disagree. For one, the OP stated "My end goal is to eventually get a job in Risk Management or a Financial Analyst." So, he never stated that being an RM was his singular focus.

    Secondly, it's not unheard of for CFA's (and CPA's) to have first earned a CFP, and often times many earn the CFP and never bother with the CFA.

    Third, lots of CFP's do very well salary-wise and certainly aren't all working at strip malls. LinkedIn proves that quite well.

    Fourth, this article makes a strong case for the CFP:
  7. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    Actually it is exceptionally uncommon for an analyst to have a CFP. There are many financial planners who are throwing the title analyst into their titles to make themselves sound less like salespeople.

    But for an actual analyst there is little course content that would be useful in the CFP program. A financial analyst is doing high level modeling. CFP doesn't cover that.

    There is no top or mid tier firm considering the CFP to be in any way comparable to a CFA or considering the former to be a necessary, or even useful, qualification for an actual analyst.

    I keep highlighting "actual analyst" because a simple LinkedIn search shows that there are tons of people claiming to be "financial planner and analyst." That's just not how that role works. If you are a retail financial planner you are not an analyst and vice versa. What's happening here is that salespeople, eager to make themselves look like financial experts, are just throwing the title into the mix. Since they help you pick stocks for your retirement plan they figure that qualifies them to be analysts as well. After all, they are giving you analysis.

    But someone who sets out to be a financial analyst is in a different camp. Again, financial modeling and likely a healthy dose of calculus level math.

    Consider that compared to the CFP experience requirements:

    You'll notice a recurring word in there being "client" because the credential is focused on retail financial planners, literally people who do financial planning for clients. Financial analysts typically work at the institutional level.

    Now look at the CFA learning areas:

    Notice that the words "analysis" and "valuation" are used here. The word "planning" is used but not in a retail context. Not a single mention of clients in their exam work, prep work or anywhere on the website.

    They are very different credentials. They have very different focus areas. They are intended for different career paths. Some financial planners have the CFA. Some also have CPAs, JDs and doctorates. Others have nothing but securities licenses and don't even have college degrees. Many embark on the CFA path but drop out because it involves a level of analysis that they don't do for retail customers.

    The problem is that you don't know what you're talking about and are dispensing potentially dangerous advice. I have recruited financial analysts. I also once worked a contract for a major retail wealth management firm looking for financial planners (new and experienced). But you read an article. Oh, and you tinkered on LinkedIn and somehow used that to extrapolate salary information. I never said that all CFPs end up in a strip mall or that they don't make good money. I'm certain that my financial advisor (Edward Jones) makes at least six figures despite, or perhaps in part because, his office is located next to a Starbucks in a very busy shopping center. But he's no analyst. We're he an analyst he'd likely be working at a firm picking stocks for a mutual or hedge fund. He would also likely have a CFA or PRM after his name.

    Ultimately the OP will decide the path for him/herself. But this thread will be around for a while and others will read it. I have no desire to change your mind or convince you of anything. I just want the record, that is this thread, to reflect correct information alongside what you've presented so that people can make an informed decision.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2016
  8. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    I went to LinkedIn, typed "CFP CFA" into the search box, and brought up nearly 5,000 profiles of people carrying both a CFA and a CFP, or having one and pursuing the other. So for that reason, your claim that "it is exceptionally uncommon for an analyst to have a CFP" is questionable to say the least.

    But CFP covers a lot more than just handling a portfolio. From the TA article:

    "Now I’m not saying that the CFA course work isn’t rigorous. Or that many CFAs aren’t probably better stock pickers, I mean financial analysts, than many CFPs (there are always exceptions). But Ms. Lappin seems to have overlooked the fact that CFPs have to know more about personal finance than just portfolio management. They have to show proficiency (and get continuing education) in insurance, taxes, retirement planning, estate planning, college planning and budgeting, to name a few disciplines."

    I don't recall saying or even implying that the positions were interchangeable.

    Well, that wasn't a good search. I specifically stayed away from those search terms and looked for lettered titles instead. That's what showed me the huge amount of people carrying both credentials or directly pursuing both or one after the other.

    You're making an argument there where no argument was made. This was never about these credentials being the same or not, obviously they involve some different modalities. The question regards value. The search I made showing thousands of people holding a CFA and holding or pursuing a CFP (many of whom are in very key positions in the industry) would be a strong statement to show the inaccuracy of your claim.

    That's rather rude and also a bit amusing given the information I just posted above which demonstrates that you're completely wrong. The rhetoric of "danger" is rather ridiculous. There is no danger or harm at all in pursuing a CFP, and I think if a LinkedIn search can show nearly 5,000 people holding/pursuing both a CFA and a CFP, many holding a CFA (and even a CPA) and then pursuing a CFP, your argument is invalid. Clearly, those many people see it as a viable pursuit and I would tend to think that money-minded professionals wouldn't do it just for kicks and giggles but because they see a monetary payoff at the end.

    You're assuming incorrectly. I didn't use LinkedIn for salary information, I wasn't even aware that was available there. I simply looked through respected investment sites that analyze this field. One such site broke it down by state. The salaries were quite good.

    Well, you did in fact mention the job and working in strip malls. I'm just responding to what you actually wrote.

    I have nothing to be convinced of. I simply look at the facts, and this time Neuhaus, you're on the wrong side of them. Believe it or not, you don't know everything.
  9. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    I'm not arguing with you. I've laid out why you are wrong and your point by point refutation does nothing to challenge any of it. CFP is a retail credential. Period.

    It is not a required or preferred credential. CFA is about financial modeling. CFP is about financial planning. Two very, very different things.

    Your incorrect advice is dangerous because someone might actually listen to you and waste time and money pursuing credentials that don't help them.

    I call it "guidance counselor syndrome." Guidance counselors have been doing it for years. Sure, some of them are good at telling you about admissions standards and how to map out certain careers. But a good number of them overreach and give bad advice.

    You haven't provided anything that proves that I am wrong. You have one article which really tries to sell the CFP and even that reinforces the fact that the CFP is for retail financial planners. Financial analysts don't need to know about "college planning" or "estate planning."

    So it's very clear that you don't actually know what financial analysts do or how they are different from financial planners.

    As for being rude my first priority is to convey accurate information and dispel inaccurate information. Beyond that I am admittedly a bit frustrated, and also embarassed on your behalf, as you continue to insist that the Earth is flat.
  10. Steve Levicoff

    Steve Levicoff Well-Known Member

    I love how everything on this forum eventually turns into a pissing contest. (That’s hardly unique to DI; it occurs on many Internet fora.) It’s great for entertainment.

    So, what do we have here? We have an anonymous poster with less than 800 posts versus a known poster with well over 2,000 posts. The anonymous poster gives no indication of his or her degrees or credentials, while the known poster uses his own name (which has been discussed in other threads) and lists both his degrees and credentials. We do not know the anonymous poster’s line of work, but we do know that the known poster is actively involved in human resource development and management at the corporate level and that he is involved with hiring professionals outside the HRD field.

    Gee, whom to believe? I think I’ll go with the known poster.
  11. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

    That depends on how many people out there are actually analysts. Without knowing that, we don't know whether 5,000 of them doing/being something is compelling evidence that thing is important, or whether it's irrelevant.
  12. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    You're not really listening because you simply want to be right, and that's proven by the fact you keep making this differentiation between a CFA and CFP when I've said several times now that the difference is known and obvious and an argument was never made about that. It's also completely beside the point. You mention it not being "required", another argument I haven't made. At this point, I don't think you know why you're arguing at all other than to just be right.

    The other problem is that your arguments center on calling the CFP something of little value as if pursuing it is pointless when there are many people in key positions in the industry with a CFA holding and/or pursuing the CFP. Clearly, those thousands upon thousands of people see a value in it.

    You made the claim that it's exceptionally uncommon for someone to hold both a CFA and CFP, Neuhaus, you were proven wrong by actual data from the very source you used to make the claim, lol.

    You can attempt to save face by saying what I pointed out doesn't refute your claim, that's fine, I expect that. But you've only made a claim with no data to support it, I posted something that speaks to actual data. There is nothing more to discuss on the matter. It's okay not to know everything and be right all the time. It's human. Embrace it.
  13. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    The problem with your latest needless instigation is, in reality, you don't actually know Neuhaus at all. I'm not saying the credentials aren't real, but the point is online anything can be said, any name can be used, any expertise can be claimed.

    Having said that, I think disregarding a poster on the internet due to anonymity is as ridiculous as going to a masquerade ball and complaining that everyone is in costume.
  14. LearningAddict

    LearningAddict Well-Known Member

    Given that most actual surveys use even smaller sample sizes, I think it's more than safe to say that if 5,000 people in just one group (in this case roughly 11% of all people listing those credentials in that field on LinkedIN) are doing something a person claims is "exceptionally uncommon", it more than likely isn't exceptionally uncommon.
  15. rebel100

    rebel100 New Member

    I like how we have nearly a full page on CFP/CFA which may be relevant, yet fails to actually answer the OP's actual question.

    OP....skip the second BS/BA if you can and go to the best MBA program you can get into that won't break the bank. A second BS/BA isn't likely to move the needle for you. The sort of Risk Management you are thinking about will dictate what sort of credential you might need to break into that filed. Hospital Risk Manger Certification (as an example)

    Be fun to see who attacks me now. :) Maybe I'll be accused of racism since the OP studied Korean.
  16. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I notice too that he is arguing points you didn't make. From what I can tell, all you did was suggest the CFP as an option, there is nothing wrong with that. You never said anything disparaging about the CFA or said not to go after one either, so that makes his argument even more strange.

    Neuhaus is very knowledgeable, but sometimes that causes him to see issues that aren't there in actuality. This is one of those times.

    I can understand having a strong opinion however. If he feels the CFP isn't worth it, that's his view. I see some information found in quick order that would suggest a CFP is very worthwhile, like for example, on Indeed the first CFP job result that came up was paying $140K + bonuses/incentives. According to the search, CFA's are more in demand, but CFP's are within roughly 70% of that demand, so that's nothing to sneeze at. The job scopes aren't the same for both, as you mentioned, I'm not sure what you wrote that has him thinking you believe they are the same. I don't know...
  17. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I wouldn't be surprised around here. I was accused of the same because of a hyphen, smh.

    This can be a bizarre place at times...
  18. SteveFoerster

    SteveFoerster Resident Gadfly Staff Member

  19. Neuhaus

    Neuhaus Well-Known Member

    The OP never Indicated a desire to become a financial planner. The stated goals were risk management or financial analyst. So presenting a CFP, a credential for financial planners, is irrelevant to those goals regardless of how much a CFP can make.

    If I say "I want to be a nurse anesthetist" and someone says "oh hey, if that's your goal you should get s Master of Physician Assistant Studies" then that is bad advice given the presented goal.

    Now, if you want to say "hey, listen, nurse anesthetist is fine but you should consider being a physician assistant" well then, OK, fine. You're presenting an alternative career path.

    LearningAddict didn't indicate a desire to present an alternative career path. Just recommended to the OP to get a CFP despite having career goals that would not be aided by a CFP.

    I get it, the argument seems to be "well what's the harm?" The harm comes in because certain jobs, financial analysts among them, attract A LOT of applicants. Tons of people want the job because it sounds very Wall Streety. Among those many applications are typically people from other similar sounding, but vastly different, career paths.

    CFP serves the "financial services" sector. CFA serves the "financial" sector. Those are two different things. They are somewhat related but they are different animals entirely.

    The second an HR person, or their software/intern, sees a CFP it's probably going to get tossed if they are looking for an actual financial analyst. The reason is that there are at least 1/3 of those applications from people who went into financial services after they graduated only to realize that their Gordon Gecko dreams weren't coming to fruition. So now they are trying to do what they've always done; sell. Try to weave a BS narrative about how their analysis of an orthodontist's portfolio prepared them to engage in high level financial modeling and analysis. It doesn't fly.

    Let me also add that there are various incarnations of the job "financial analyst." As the OP is describing it, it sounds a lot like wanting that Wall Street/financial modeling gig. But the job also exists in non-financial corporations. There the role is very different. It typically involves a heavy dose of corporate finance, preparing monthly and quarterly P&Ls and a lot of other financial reporting.

    Reporting. Planning. Analysis. Three different focuses for three different careers (even though two of them share a common title). The first one tends to value a CPA. The second the CFP. The third a CFA.

    Even if the OP was after THAT gig the CFP still wouldn't help. And you know what? The CFPs try. Oh Lord do they try to convince me and my colleagues that they can do that job.

    CFP is a credential for people who have a sales role. They try to diminish that because people dislike salespeople. But it's sales at least to start out until you climb the ranks to oversee people who sell for a living. It is not an analyst job. It is not a risk management job.

    I also answered the OPs question in the first response. And that would have been the end had LearningAddict not decided to throw out a credential that was irrelevant to the topic at hand as a "good idea." I suppose if the goal is wasting time and money and not actually progressing toward your goal then CFP would be a stellar option in this situation.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 1, 2016
  20. Maxwell_Smart

    Maxwell_Smart Active Member

    I understand your view. LA wasn't saying you're wrong about that part, I think LA was getting at the idea of having a broader reach or perhaps a fallback? I could see one just wanting to increase their knowledge by having training in a different area of the field.

    I took a quick at LinkedIn just now, saw quite a few people with CFA's with a CFP or going after one, some of them were really higher-ups in that field. I have no opinion of it. My question is, why are they doing it?

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