MBA vs. CFA for private equity? It depends what you mean by private equity. The private equity biosphere today is comprised of many species and each prospers based on different attributes. Residents include direct investors of all flavors and strategies (i.e., general partners managing investment pools and investing in operating companies); funds-of-funds; secondary funds; public and private pension funds; endowments and foundations; sovereign funds; bankers/intermediaries, etc.
You’re likely asking about direct investing and in that environment, where a combination of operating skills, deep financial knowledge, and network are necessary ingredients, bring your MBA or stay home. The only common non-MBAs in this environment are grey-haired operating executives who have proven they can add value to portfolio companies.
CFAs are a common expectation in the endowment and foundation world. An MBA isn’t necessarily a liability in that context but it doesn’t grant boasting rights. As Noa Slup suggests, the CFA is helpful in an environment where economic value is generated primarily from asset allocation and manager selection.
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