MBA Finance vs 5 Best Global Certifications in 2024 : Course Guide


An MBA in Finance is one of the most sought-after courses. Most students look at it as a career-pivoting move. Students believe that an MBA provides them the necessary skills to enter the workforce with gusto. However, in today’s time, an MBA can prove to be more of a liability in terms of time invested and risk of returns. The education sector has been rapidly evolving and has opened up various opportunities for all individuals. There are various avenues that you can explore in professional finance certifications that open doors of opportunity to Finance and Accounting.

Why a professional finance course?

The workforce that top recruiters and hiring managers today look for are adaptable to change, qualified, and industry-relevant skills and experience in the domain.
By opting for an MBA, you almost lose touch with the industry as it is impossible to obtain a full-time MBA while doing a job.
From professional certifications, one can always take short sabbaticals. However, most of the preparation can usually be balanced with full-time jobs, saving the individual a lot of money and time.
Certifications also come with a major boost in one’s professional credibility and standing out in their career. To gain knowledge and pursue a high-paying career in finance, the following professional courses could be preferred over an MBA in Finance. If you are interested in learning more about future career prospects or your learning journey, then you can contact our expert counselors at NorthStar Academy (NSA). We have listed some of the in-demand courses below that recruiters prioritize while hiring Corporate Finance professionals these days. These professional courses are preferred over an MBA (Master of Business Administration) these days by most students.

Choose your Professional Course

  • Certified Management Accountants (CMA USA)

Becoming a CMA USA is the best decision that you make in your life. To gain this certification, you need to clear both parts of the CMA USA exam -
  •  Financial Planning & Analysis 
  •  Financial Decision Making.  
CMA USA has the highest Management Accounting and Finance certifications. It allows the student to gain knowledge at the intersection of Accounting and Business. You will gain expertise in Business, Accounting concepts, and corporate governance.
In terms of your career, a CMA certification will not only guarantee you better entry-level jobs but also help improve your chances of getting better, more challenging work in your company.

According to payscale(dot)(com), a CMA USA certificate holder earns an average of around 6-8 lakhs, which is significantly 50% more than the average salary for people of a Non-CMA with a Bachelor's degree in Business.

In addition, the certification is that of global recognition. If one has the ambition to work abroad, a CMA certification can surely bolster the process and make your applications stand out at global firms. Most MNCs and Big 4 firms are on the lookout for such qualifications to improve their financial strategy and align it with their organizational goals.  It also has a very good pass rate. It is recommended to refer to CMA USA study material from the best mentor to pass the exam on the first attempt.

CMA USA candidates are preferred for very dynamic positions at firms domestically and internationally like financial planning, risk management, and investment decision making. 

  • Certified Public Accountant

Being a Certified Public Accountant is a matter of great respect and prestige. It shows your resilience to hard work and the skill and aptitude required to obtain such a dynamic license.

As per the National Association of State Boards of Accountancy (NASBA), one may generally make 10-15 percent more as a licensed CPA than an unlicensed accountant. Holding a CPA also gives you flexibility in choosing your job role. As a CPA, you may opt to work with private firms, NGOs, or even government agencies like the Tax & Customs Department and Law Enforcement bodies.

Unlike an MBA in Finance, which limits your understanding of finance to industry standards, the CPA test allows and qualifies you to comprehend accounting from a variety of perspectives, including private businesses, tax collectors, and government agencies. As a CPA, you can even practice independently and have clients of your own whom you advise and counsel on matters of accounting.

  • Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

    The ACCA Qualification helps you acquire skills in business management. It covers theoretical aspects like motivational theories along with more technical aspects such as cost accounting and bookkeeping. 
    Obtaining an ACCA is a flexible process. While its subject matter might be slightly difficult, the time, material, and format of the exams are such that one can manage study time while working full-time. It is always a good idea to take an ACCA review course to pass the exam in the first go. The syllabus is based on international accounting and management standards. It is a truly global network to be a part of, having members from close to 170+ countries. 
    Upon completing your certification, the pool of hiring partners looks at you with special preference, which aids international career prospects for the certificate holders.

    • Chartered Financial Analyst

    One of the most prominent programs to hold if you are interested in building a career in finance is the CFA. It is one of the highest distinctions you can earn in investment management.
    The CFA Institute has a global network of over 167,000 investment professionals and numerous societies around the world. The CFA Charter is recognized by more than 30 countries, with universities and firms giving it a very high level of importance.

    Earning the CFA Charter prepares and positions an individual for a variety of career paths in the investment industry. The CFA Charter can be obtained while working or studying. In fact, on attaining the very first level, employers and clients will begin giving the candidates preference.

    CFA equips you with some very exciting and dynamic positions like risk management, investment consulting, financial research, and financial data analysis. Additionally, the CFA Institute provides charter holders with comprehensive career guides, career tools and resources, and career-switching tools.

    • Enrolled Agent

    An Enrolled Agent (EA) is a tax counselor who is authorized by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) in the US. EA specializes only in taxation. Enrolled Agents are set to present audits, appeals, and collections. They also work with individuals, corporation estates, trusts, and other entities. EAs give more importance to tax planning. To pursue EA you need to pass IRS. EAs comprehend professionals in competing tax rules and regulations.

    • Chartered Accountancy

    Without any doubt, being a CA in India is one of the most prestigious, high-paying, and satisfying jobs that an individual interested in accountancy can take up. It is also one of the most difficult examinations to get past. However, each year, more and more students opt to devote their time, energy, and money to prepare for the CA examinations.
    This happens because of the enormous returns that come when candidates obtain the charter. A CA has a variety of major firms at its disposal in terms of taking up jobs. Their roles are concentrated on core accountancy, financial advisory, and authorization of accounting documents. Additionally, CAs are equipped with an understanding of the overall financials of businesses. They can take up very important roles outside the accounting domain, based on their expertise in assessing and making many key business decisions for their firms.CAs also take up important positions in the Government and academia, holding respect and demanding very high salaries. CAs get anything around INR 12 to 15 lakhs annually on an entry-level basis. Those with decent enough experience can get close to INR 40-50 lakhs annually, and with international postings, CAs can get up to 75 lakhs per annum. 


    In conclusion, an MBA in Finance is not the only or the most efficient or reliable path for individuals to begin a career in finance. But thinking about where to take up these professional courses? Join NorthStar Academy (NSA). Rather, to further your growth, you should take up professional courses such as CMA USA, CPA, ACCA, FRM, or CFA that provide you with flexibility, assured career growth, and a large network of professionals to be among. 
    This can prove to be the smartest choice for individuals who want to make it big in the world of finance. By taking professional certifications you will get the industry-relevant skills and work experience that makes you job-ready!
    If you are an individual who is highly motivated to make a career in the financial world, before taking a step towards opting for an MBA in Finance. In that case, you must give serious thought to these professional courses with a structured study plan.


    1. Which is the globally recognized short-term finance course?
      CMA USA is the highest level of certification in Finance and Accounting with a short-term duration.
    2. What are the certifications available in finance?
      Some of the in-demand certifications in Finance that add value to your career are CMA USA, FRM, CPA, ACCA, CFA, etc.
    3. How can I prepare for CMA USA?
      Enroll in the best CMA USA Course which provides a Comprehensive CMA program to learn from the basics, access a global cohort, and experienced faculty, and pass the exam on your first attempt.
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