MBA courses are post-graduate degree programs which prepare students in both overall managerial acumen as well as in particular tracks. On the other hand, the CA Course in India is a professional qualification consisting of three levels, namely, CPT, CA Foundation [IPCC] and CA Final. It is offered by the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India [ICAI] and only a handful of candidates each year after passing all three levels are successfully granted the title of ‘Chartered Accountant’. In this article we make things clearer about the MBA vs CA dilemma.

So, let’s dive a little bit deeper!

What is a CA or Chartered Accountancy Course?

Chartered Accountancy is an international and professionally recognized course. In India, the CA course is conducted by ICAI i.e Institute of Chartered Accountants of India. A person who qualifies Chartered Accountancy is known as CA. To be recognized as CA, candidates need to appear for CPT (Common Proficiency Test) after clearing 10 + 2. 

What is an MBA or Master in Business Administration? 

Master’s in Business Administration commonly called an MBA is a postgraduate degree that is widely recognized all over the world. Candidates having an MBA degree are open to vast opportunities. A Bachelor’s degree from any background like Science/Humanities/Commerce etc is acceptable to pursue an MBA course. 

MBA vs CA: Difficulty Level

As there are multiple MBA colleges around the globe, individuals have innumerable options to explore. Furthermore, other than scoring high on the entrance examinations, passing the course examinations are fairly less demanding. In this MBA vs CA dilemma, it is important to take a note for the exams for both these. CA exams are conducted by a single nation-wide authority and scores of applicants appear for it every year. Additionally, its three levels are incrementally tougher and demand a lot from candidates. All in all, it can be safely said that CA’s difficulty level is higher than MBA exams which are mainly conducted for the admission process while the latter one is for the certification.

But, if you want to pursue an MBA from a foreign university, it might be much tougher than getting a CA back home. However, with the right prep and relevant work experience you too can definitely make it to one of the top international B-schools!

MBA vs CA: Eligibility

To begin with the MBA vs CA showdown, the eligibility criteria points out key differences. As for eligibility for MBA, holding a bachelor’s degree in any discipline along with a few years of industry experience, as applicable, is required. Similarly, CA exams can be undertaken by candidates hailing from all disciplines, however, commerce students are granted some relaxation on minimum percentage of marks. Furthermore, a mandatory articleship of 3 years is required before one can sit for the CA Final examination.

Course Structure

A pivotal feature of discussion under the differences between MBA vs CA lies in the course structure. While an MBA follows the structure of a general postgraduate degree program, CA spans across different levels beginning with CA Foundation, CA IPCC and CA Final. The curriculum of MBA focuses on more different aspects of management and its related specializations while the CA course focuses on imparting a student with the knowledge of account-keeping as well as advanced expertise of laws and accounting practices. The CA syllabus can be considered as vast and extensive than an MBA and this is why its duration is around 3-5 years while a Master of Business Administration mainly encompasses 1-2 years.

Knowledge Acquisition

Adding to the MBA vs CA debate, a crucial point of discussion is assessing the difference of knowledge one gains through an MBA degree when compared to Chartered Accountancy. While one can always opt for a similar specialisation like an MBA in Finance or Accounting, CA course definitely imparts students with an expertise into financial accounting, finance ethics and regulations, audit, cost accounting, taxation etc. while an MBA inclines more towards grooming students for professional environments. 

With an extensive expertise in Accounting, a CA professional can begin their own practice after gaining this qualification when compared to MBA graduates who usually explore varied profiles in the corporate sector though the chance of opening up one’s own consultancy is always there. At the same time, the starting salary of an MBA graduate is likely to be much higher than that of a beginner CA. 

Career Scope

An MBA degree equips candidates with the necessary tools and techniques on the mechanics of successful running of a business concern. Related industries include banking and wealth management, stock markets, insurance, consulting, healthcare management, media, sustainability, supply chain and logistics, amongst others. Whereas, a Chartered Accountant can work for multinational companies and firms across sectors and can even start his own firm. If you find yourself stuck between the choice of MBA vs CA, you can opt for an MBA in Accounting is also becoming a staple part of course offerings. Salary brackets in senior executive roles tend to be similar for both qualifications.

Fees & Costs

The expensive tuition fees charged by business schools worldwide is no secret. This can go even exorbitantly high to INR 50,00,000 to INR 70,00,000 per annum for some of the first-rate business programs in management-related fields. In addition to the MBA vs CA dilemma, the costs of studying abroad are also quite high. Distinctively, pursuing the CA course in the country is fairly cheaper, hovering on overall fees of INR 60,000 to 70,000.

But, MBA courses abroad also come with heavy scholarship opportunities! With the right application you can get financial help from the institutions and majorly cut down on the cost of getting a top-tier MBA degree! Take a look at this table below to understand the scope of international MBA scholarships – 

School Total Scholarships Average Grant % of MBAs on Scholarship
Harvard Business School $31.5 million $32,000 50%
Wharton $16.9 million $30,500 33%
Chicago (Booth) $16.3 million $30,000 60%
Stanford GSB $15.7 million $35,830 52%
Michigan (Ross) $15.4 million $22,360 48%
New York (Stern) $12.8 million $26,400 62%
UCLA (Anderson) $12.1 million $25,860 65%
Northwestern (Kellogg) $11.8 million $22,800 35%
Columbia Business School $10.1 million $20,500 46%
Virginia (Darden) $8.4 million $30,800 43%
MIT (Sloan) $8.1 million $28,220 35%
Duke (Fuqua) $7.1 million $20,950 33%
Rice (Jones) $6.7 million $33,320 94%
Yale School of Management $6.2 million $23,028 31%
UC-Berkeley (Haas) $5.8 million $29,060 50%
Cornell (Johnson) $5.7 million $12,000 33%
Dartmouth (Tuck) $5.4 million $27,550 35%

 

Salary

While the remuneration for MBA vs CA professionals will vary depending upon a wide range of factors, these two courses offer some of the top high salary jobs for commerce students. Calculating on an average, a Chartered Accountant can expect around 7-10 lakh package while an MBA graduate from a renowned and leading business school can aim for 18-22 LPA though the packages will highly differ as per the employer.

MBA vs CA – Which is better?

To decide – which is a better option? CA or MBA, we need to understand that both of these courses can lead you to a successful career in their unique ways. It might be easier to get an MBA from a Tier II or Tier III institute, but to get an MBA from an Ivy League college is as difficult as a CA certification. The best of either of these professional courses is one of the highest-paid professionals in the country. So, the right answer is, whichever suits your career aspirations. 

There is no doubt that a considerable number of students enroll for such programs without giving proper consideration to how it matches with their interests and abilities. If you are stuck in the MBA vs CA dilemma too, try to look at your short term and long term career goals, and the answer should lie there!

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