Monday, August 21, 2006


During my last chat on rediff, someone asked the following question :

vic asked: what do u think of chartered accountant career in terms of rewards it carry? kindly suggest

This is what I answered:CA is a good and rewarding career although like in medicine, building a practice from scratch takes time. Of course there is the option of working for someone else -- CAs are in demand in the industry like never before.

KPOs, equity analysis and accounting firms employ a lot of CAs at very good salaries. But remember it can be a very boring profession if you don't like working with numbers. So don't make a choice based only on the job potential!

Half a dozen readers sent in angry emails saying that Chartered Accountancy was a great profession – and that I was projecting a wrong picture. That no profession can be termed as ‘boring’.

Well, I’m afraid I can’t be politically correct and will go out on a limb to say that CA – despite being a respectable profession with great career prospects – has lost out to the MBA. And like it or not, this trend will only grow stronger.

The ABCD of CA
Ask most engineers, why did you do a B.E. and they’ll tell you: "That’s what all bright students who opt for science do.. unless they want to do medicine."

The situation is something similar with CA. ‘That’s what all bright commerce students do.. unless they want to do MBA. ” Of course the situation is a bit different. Even those doing the CA may eventually top it off with an MBA.

The difference between the CA and MBA is a bit like the difference between a 5 day test match and 1 day cricket. Acquiring a CA takes a lot of plodding and perseverance and at the end of the day, a result may prove inconclusive.

The MBA, like one day cricket, is quick, glamorous and performers get faster recognition as stars.

OK, let’s not stretch it. One day or five day – in both cases the players hold a bat and throw a ball. In case of CA and MBA, there is a difference. Both may join the same companies but their job profiles would be completely distinct.

This is not to say that one’s job is ‘superior’ to the other but the fact is that starting as a CA, you can expect to climb up the ladder upto the CFO position. While an MBA’s career path could - in theory – lead upto CEO.

The reason for this is simple : being CEO is about vision and leadership. This would require you – at times – to take a leap of faith, even when the numbers are against you. For example, you diversify into a new area of business. This may mean investing a lot of money, literally burning cash in the initial phase. It may look very bad on the balance sheet for a while, but there is a gameplan and eventually it pays off.

MBAs are exposed to all aspects of the business – their role is to take a birds-eye view of the organisation. On the other hand, CAs, are trained to look at the eye of the fish. And they do a damn good job of it. But should a CA decide to throw down his accounting and auditing arrow and don a different hat, it is not easy.

The mobility into general management and consulting that comes with an MBA from a premier institute is missing for CAs. Even though the CA has battled equally hard – and a rank holder in particular would be one among several thousand aspirants.

So, how do you decide?
Reasons to do a CA include :
1. Dad owns a CA firm, it makes sense to join the business
2. Professional qualification chahiye. CA is a good one – nothing stops you from doing an MBA later.
3. “I genuinely like accounting. It’s what I’ve always dreamt of doing in life.”

As few 17 or 18 year olds know what they want in life, reason 3 is rare. But reasons 1 and 2 are perfectly valid. If lucky, you may find you enjoy the subjects and become an excellent CA. If not so lucky but smart, you may not like what you study but still become a competent CA.

If neither smart nor lucky, you will probably remain a frustrated ‘trying to clear my CA’. The perception is that the CA success story is ‘all or nothing’. Either you clear the exam - rather 3 different exams – or you remain left behind. Whereas in case of MBA, while only a few make it to the top 10 institutes, there is always the hope of the next 10 and then the next 10.

However, things are changing on that front. In a recent interview, Mr T.N. Manoharan, President of ICAI, stated that the pass percentage has risen dramatically in recent years. "Gone are the days when the pass rates were 2-3 per cent. Now, if you consider both groups at the final level, these are at 15-20 per cent. In a single group, it is often as high as 30 per cent"

What’s more, 83 per cent of the 7,445 candidates who passed out in 2005 were absorbed by industries. Out of a total number of 1.3 lakh CA professionals, 10,000 are settled abroad. Of the rest, 55,000 were employed in industries, and the rest were practitioners. ICAI believes there is a requirement of 40,000 more CA professionals in the country.

In fact it does appear that ICAI has woken up and taken the challenge posed by the ‘lure of the MBA’ seriously. A new syllabus will be launched this year and the duration of the course condensed to 4 years. That's still 2 years more than an MBA though!

ICAI is also undertaking marketing itself aggressively. For example, by screening films at schools ‘to sensitise teachers, students and parents to the importance of the profession’.

Most importantly, ICAI has started offering ‘campus placements’. Not only is this great for newly certified students, it’s a good revenue earner for the institute. Like premier MBA institutes, ICAI charges recruiting companies - Rs 1.2 lakhs is the going rate for ‘Day 1’ at the Mumbai and New Delhi centers.

Top recruiters during the February/March interviews were Progeon (which offered 163 jobs), Gecis (160), Tata Sons (68) and Reliance Industries (63). The average salary would be Rs 4 lakhs while the highest salary offered was Rs 12 lakh per annum.

But it didn’t make headline news, unlike IIM salaries...

The basic problem
ICAI can shout itself hoarse over the great new career opportunities the CA brings – and rightly so. But it is impossible to fight the MBA. At best it can hope to attract some of the very bright students who become CAs first and MBAs later.

The very nature of the profession – exacting, detailed and dealing with numbers will put off many students. And there is nothing that anyone can do about it.

That is all I meant when I made my original statement – that CA can be a boring profession. That does not imply that all those who become CAs are either bored – or boring.

But just like you can’t become a doctor if you faint at the sight of blood, you can’t become a C A if your head spins when you look at a balance sheet. Like mine does. Realising this simple truth would save many young people a lot of wasted time and effort.

Karan Johar believes that "shaadi ki buniyaad sirf beinteha mohabbat honi chahiye..." I believe the same applies to one’s career. The only difference is, if you love your profession as much as Abhishek loves Rani Mukerjee in the film – it will lovingly embrace you in return!


  1. hi rashmi
    there is one other really big difference.
    Half baked MBAs are dime a dozen. Half baked CA's are very rare.

    If i had to hire someone who is an MBA from a third tier school vis a vis CA, I would plump for the CA most times except if it is a purely sales role in which case an MBA is pretty irrelevant.

    Many MBA's lack attention to detail - not something can be said about CA's

    incidentally i am not a CA - am a CS - and I went to IIMB

    my 2 cents


  2. Hi Rashmi

    Just check the qualifications of many of the CEOs of Indian companies (Family owned or otherwise), you have lot of CEO who have a CA qualification.

    eg Deepak S Parekh - Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants (England & Wales) of HDFC

    Niranjan Hiranandani - CA Hirandani Group

    Some have both CA and and MBA. My experience with an MBA from a second tier institute in India is that most MBAs have superfical understanding but not indepth knowledge of the subject matter.

  3. I agree with you fully Rashmi. A very well written piece.

    An MBA Finance from a good institute has more to offer his employer than a CA. I recently attended a course on General Management & Communication skills (GMCS)which the ICAI has made mandatory before obtaining membership, and I have to tell you I was SHOCKED to see how poor my fellow CA's were in communication and overall general knowledge. Even technically many of them were below par - many could not explain properly what IRR was!

    CA is good if you are brilliant with figures and can pass in very few atempts. Otherwise one is better off preparing for the CAT and getting into an IIM/other good management college. Ironically the GMCS course was conducted by a IIM-A alumni, and I honestly have to tell you the 15 days I spent with him was more interesting than all the years I spent doing CA.

  4. Also I would like to reply to JoeyJenny's statememt where he said "Half baked CA's are very rare."

    I'm sorry Joey, but half-baked CA's are many. I personally have worked with DUMB CA's. So dumb I wanted to kick them!

    And teh problem lies with the Institutes examination system - they do not keep the level of difficulty consistent across attempts. In May 2006 the papers were easy, hence the high pass rate Manoharan is talking about. In Nov 2005 it was a different story. So a person who passed both groups in Nov 2005 has actually worked harder than a person who passed in May 2006. Do you see what I'm getting at? That is why you have many guys passing who are not upto the mark.

  5. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  6. Hi ! Everybody

    After a long time rashmi worte on something that interested me. Here is my two penny worth

    1. "Half baked CA's are very rare."
    No, surely not. Every profession worth its salt has its fair share of half baked professionals. As a percentage they might actually be more in CAs. All credit to ICAI howver, as they do not let everybody become a CA - where as anyone can become an MBA (simply anyone now a days)

    2. I was SHOCKED to see how poor my fellow CA's were in communication and overall general knowledge
    Thats the crux of the matter. The difference between a GOOD CA and a GOOD MBA is personal skills and in some cases even aptitude. And thats what ICAI is trying to address through its new curriculum. Even the entrance exam as proposed) is going to be objective type tests, although not apti tests.

    The problem however is that currently better apti people (or those generally considered the smarter type) aren't really choosing CA - even among those who are commerce graduates.

  7. It's an interesting debate.I am an MBA and have worked for 2 years in banking operations in a space dominated by CAs.When it comes to accounting concepts and arguments,I was always dumbfounded but I was able to relate to processes and customer issues in a much better manner.Somewhere, a good MBA scores over his CA peers especially when it comes to the communication and presentation skills.I also believe that we are able to relate to customer issues better.CAs are pretty good in logic and analytics but a bit more obsessed with the finance side.I believe that there are bad eggs in all professions but the good guys do well irrespective of the profile requirement.

  8. Good comparison.
    I am an MBA working in Banking and my 2 cents are as follows:

    - The CA degree is a specialized degree and as such commands a much greater market value / premium compared to generalists (MBAs). Plus as Rashmi points out the demand nowadays is very high for this profession as firms all over world have a strong focus on internal controls / corp. governance given tigher regulatory scrutiny.

    - MBAs may be associated with words like 'big picture' / strategic / integrative thinking / vision etc. Let me emphasize that MBA's (atleast in the initial 3-5yrs) require a lot of attention to detail / working with numbers / producing actionable analysis across all industries before they take on a hands-off / big picture role. No-one becomes a 'manager' just like that.

  9. I am an MBA myself.

    But I do not believe MBA's are god's gift to mankind. They are as good or as bad as any one else. But I think, the MBA curricullum is much broader, as Rashmi pointed out and if the ICAI is indeed redesigning the course and more importantly, should it tune its selection procedure to take in students with better communication skills, rather than only those with number crunching ability, then I think CA's will do as well, or even better.

    There are many companies which still lay a premium on CA's. The Aditya Birla group for example, is well known to tilt towards CA's or is at least an equal opportunity employer! YES- CA's are falling so far behind that firmer affirmative action (reservations?) would be needed to prop them up : )
    Although Aditya Birla ensured that his son (kumar mangalam Birla) also did an M.B.A after finishing his C.A.! Many Marwadi companies (who incidentally follows the Partha system of accounting) and are famously aware of their daily cash flow, are firmly in the C.A. camp, although that too is changing as the old patriarchs have given way to new blood.

  10. Hi Rashmi,

    A nice post indeed. I would sum up the whole debate as: The more you risk (by being creative), the more you stand chance of gaining. This is true for every profession. The difference is that not all professions allow creativity flexibily equally. While CA allows very little scope, management does a lot. Even management is nowhere near to other "pure" creativity professions like being a painter, or an novelist. The world rewards those who stand out from the crowd. But standing out requires risk taking, for if you can't start a line from where you stand, you run the risk of losing your position in the queue.

    BTW, any thoughts on switching to Blogger Beta?

  11. Hi Rashmi,

    A nice post indeed. I would sum up the whole debate as: The more you risk (by being creative), the more you stand chance of gaining. This is true for every profession. The difference is that not all professions allow creative flexibily equally. While CA allows very little scope, management does a lot. Even management is nowhere near to other "pure" creativity professions like being a painter, or an novelist. The world rewards those who stand out from the crowd. But standing out requires risk taking, for if you can't start a line from where you stand, you run the risk of losing your position in the queue.

    BTW, any thoughts on switching to Blogger Beta?

  12. Rashmi,

    I have been reading your blog for a while; this is the first time with the comments. I qualified as a Chartered Accountant, went to IIMA and now am working in an investment bank’s M&A division. To what extent did my IIMA qualifications actually add to what I am doing right now? Technically, for the purpose of my immediate job: pretty much nothing. If anything, being a CA only provided the detail oriented approach, a strong commercial grounding and a real world feel for things. The MBA did open my mind to various other functionalities that go with an organization; however would I not have picked this up anyways as I went through the hoops in my organization? I am guessing I would!

    I think simply put, the issue in the short term is one of opportunity, as certain kinds of finance jobs are still open to MBAs only and this, in my view, is a branding related issue rather than skill related. Despite ICAI speak, the perception of “lack of communication skills” or the “structured/ in a box thinking” has not changed much, and most organizations continue to view CAs as such. Really, there is only so much that a few odd presentations in front of a classroom can add to one’s “communication skills”. A lot of it has to come the tough way, through dirtying one’s fingers on the job. In the long term, assuming equal opportunity, I don't think it makes much of a difference as to whether one’s background is a CA or an MBA.

    Having said that, do I regret doing an MBA course?? Not in a million years. And most of it is not related to the job or the opportunity related aspects of it. It added to me in several indefinable ways, gave me very different perspectives on several aspects of life, time to reflect on what I wanted to do, an amazing network of friends (which beats the CA network any day)…and yet, so much, so much more….
    …as they say, in IIMA 2 cents :-)

    Ps: D1106. A friend Deepa (Rajalakshmi) used to work for Jam during our Podar days...

  13. thnx 4 the info.. nd nice analogy in the end!!!

  14. Hi Rashmi,

    Can't expect lesser from you. The most honest opinion in the face and more accurate than half a dozen other edu-consultants.

    A few things that I feel are important IMHO:
    1. There is no generalisation that CAs are of a certain stereotype (poor in communication) and MBAs are better. For certain, likes of Subhash Ghai, Shekhar Kapur and thousands of others are CAs are good at communications and are part of media indutry. Ofcourse, they have switched professions but an MBA is not the only degree that gives inherent right to switch careers later.

    2. Having said that, MBAs do have an edge since they dont really specialise in learning a defined set of things. As I would say, what you learn at B-school is 'how to learn and how to do it quicker and faster' The quality of quick adaptation to situations, processes and people makes MBA a very formidable degree. Again, this is more of a personal trait resulting in a miniscule percentage of MBAs graduating every year, who are desirable by every company. So, what companies actually hire is not an MBA but a person who has been judged better than peers. CA institute unfortunately, does not make fellow students compete directly and blurs the line between good CAs and great ones. So what companies hire and recruit is CA. Not a person, but someone who has the technical skill and knowledge. Personal competence takes a little backseat.

    4. Again, a CA or an MBA becoming a CEO / CFO is just a matter of fact. The Corporate World is too ruthless to make people rise to the helm coz of a certain degree you possess and acquired decades ago, be it MBA or CA. Its only business and money. No one cares what degree you have once you're an employee. You are just a brick in the wall and performance is the only thing that matters to your rise. I doubt if companies which are professionally managed promote employees on the basis of past degrees. Moreover, in the past year, many CFOs have become CEOs in various companies across the world as the owners (shareholders) felt that CFOs understood more about value creation than other probables. But nevertheless, that does not even mean that CFOs have been CAs or MBAs. Thats an entirely different story.

    5. Technically, atleast in the areas CAs are experts in, most MBAs would have difficulty in gaining the technical knowledge and prowess. The simple fact is what CAs learn vigorously over the years cannot be learnt by MBAs in few days. However, since MBAs are jack-of-all (some of them Master-of-all), they are more perceived to be suitable for managerial roles as they have practised considerable amount of human-interface roles (project papers, presentations, case studies etc) which CAs dont do. So MBAs certainly have an edge with perceptions. Again, however, the edge is only when you are seeking a job and vanishes when you are seeking promotions.

    6. MBAs have the advantage of being hyped up by the media for hi-profile careers and hi-fliers. CAs typically are bound by no-advertising rule and cannot try to grow even if they want to. Also, MBAs are more in number compared to CAs in the country. Even if 5% of both population makes news, MBAs would make more news and thus create more hype.

    7. A not-so-good MBA is just as bad as not-so-good CA. I have personally worked with both the breeds and both were equally disappointing. What companies look for are very standard things in a candidate.. fire and initiative. Technical knowledge can take a person a bit ahead but beyond a point, it does not make any difference. Shahjahan commissioned the Taj Mahal; he did not do it himself. But he got it done. So beyond a point, its the art of getting things done. As we joke in the workplace,"Your boss gets paid more not because he is smarter than you but because he can get you to work under him(boss)"

    8. Frankly CA Vs MBA debate is something which is actually oranges and apples. There is no better choice. Its all about aptitude. Rashmi has put the most realistic account of it.

    9. It does not matter to anyone if exams were difficult in one year and easier later. No one cares. Also, CAs or MBAs dont get paid for general knowledge. Though it may look academically cool to know stuff, everything that is not important to job is trivia and trivial.

    10. I agree with mustang a little bit that initial years are easier for CAs than MBAs. But I also agree that MBAs could be high flying. And inkognito puts it better.. "it is a branding related issue rather than skill related"

    11. Toppers in CAs are always sought after and so are gold-medalists in B-schools. A topper in most B-schools are generally better off than the last 10 in Top B schools. So whatever you do, stay at the top. That would help.

    I would write more.. You take care and all the best. I'll visit this again.

  15. Wrote a detailed comment on my blog, relevant excerpt
    Midway into the post Bansal makes an astounding statement "but the fact is that starting as a CA, you can expect to climb up the ladder upto the CFO position. While an MBA’s career path could - in theory – lead upto CEO." Interesting, so here is trivia quiz who was the first MBA to become the chairman of HLL; yes that very company which right from the time B-schools were born in India to the mid-90s was the place all starry eyed B-school blokes wanted to be in... But dreams of more than two generations of MBAs failed to bear fruit... it was not till a new millenium dawned that MS Banga became the first MBA to head the MBA's paradise. More pertinently most (if not all; my TQ is not that strong) of his illustrous predecessors ranging from the legendary Prakash Tandon to equally legendary DadiSeth were CAs. And it is not just in HLL but across a host of illustrous Indian companies CAs are the top and bottom of the management ladder and cadre. Infact one senior executive in the Aditya Birla Group had once said that the group preferred CAs to MBAs for their management cadre because CAs were more connected with the realities of Indian business scenario than MBAs (and are more humble). Anybody who has studied in even the best of Indian B-schools would know that this is true

    "But then why do these companies let Engineers do our job?"

    The auditors have taken an inventory of thermometers held in a warehouse, in summer. The thermometers will be exported out of the country in January, and are kept under lock and key. In December, auditors ask management to redo the inventory count. The management is surprised "Why? Nothing has changed." Auditors tell them "The inventory is overstated, in summer there is more mercury in the thermometers."

    CAs often complain companies prefer engineers with MBAs in finance to CAs leaving them with nothing more than auditing and factory accounts type jobs. The reality here is that the roles for which a eng-MBA is hired is often very different from what a CA is hired for. Some finance domains like project finance are completely engineer+MBA dominated, you just cannot have CA appraising a complex refining project. Some fields like fixed-income trading room can hire both but is engineer heavy because of the complex mathematical skills needed. Some places need both for-eg corporate finance where you need MBAs especially engineer MBAs to know the business needs and CAs to look at the accounting and regulatory aspects. Then there are pure CA jobs like financial control/auditing, consulting where it is really impossible for a MBA (non-CA) to compete. So it is only for a handful of places where engineers and MBAs really bay for each other's blood largely in the capital markets and investment banking type jobs

    The Big Bad ICAI
    Accountant's Life:He was a very cautious man, who never romped or played.He never smoked, he never drank, nor even kissed a maid.And when up and passed and away, insurance was denied.For since he hadn't ever lived, they claimed he never died.

    If there is onething that runs through every CA I know of, it is this, they all hate ICAI. First of all it makes life incredibly difficult for them lets face it three years internship during your college days is no joke. Then there are the exams which historically hardly anybody would pass in the first attempt. Enough pain to make you into a complete zombie, screws up your college life and butt of stupid jokes like the one above. It seems the only intention of the institute was to produce as few CAs as possible so as to make them valuable. Great strategy in the bad old days of Nehruvian socialism when the jobs were far and few between and the only ways of getting a job were either to be an engineer or a CA. But then it seems the institute was caught completely napping. Meanwhile job scenario exploded around the country and though the rigor of the CA program means that most first attempt CAs are miles ahead of second and third rung B-schools, the fact that there are so few of them compared to the number of jobs means that companies are forced to patronise likes of Amity and IIPM ;)

    The joy of being a Chartered Accountant
    What is two plus to two? If you are a CA, the answer is howmuch do you want it to be

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  17. Rashmi/All,

    First of all there is limited comparison between the two, one being a profession and the other one being a job oriented qualification.

    I disagree with the funda on personality/chutzpah etc being driven off a degree/qualification, it is very individual dependant. Most people I know CA/engineers/Grads remained as polished viz peers as they were prior to entering IIM A (incidentally from where I did my MBA last year).

    As regards jobs, I know of enough CA's who have MBA's reporting to them and almost as much vice versa and this is both in India and abroad. And in my current organisation there is no significant difference in MBA/CA brigade after a year or two, indeed we have a mix of both kinds working together in tandem. Most major deal makers in India have historically been CA's though a large part of junior bankers are now MBAs....still does not provide much bite to your argument.

    Rubbishing a profession in the manner it has been done is more sensationalising rather than accurate. A stand has been taken for the sake of it, I think.

    Also, a CA with the right personality has as much a chance of doing welll as a MBA with the right personality; it is as simple as that. I work as an investment banker and I have seen enough CA's/CPA's working in the same roles and possibly on as fast career paths. More about getting the right break and breaking the mould.

    Ravi Ranveer Singhvi

  18. Inclination for numbers apart, if CA really comes out with a 30% reult, it is really creditable and therefore desirable. Once upon a time with only 2-3% result, only a person who belived in the Bhagvad Gita could do CA- do your duty and do not expect results.

    What you have written in the last para is exactly what I have covered in a whole post on Make your passion your profession

  19. The fact remains that any MBA has to go to a Chartered Accountant for filing tax returns. MBAs are useful only for the contacts you develop

  20. Hey Rashmi

    I interned in 1996 with JAM (the same Deepa Inkkognito mentions) and remember writing this article in JAM about whether one should do the CA Foundation (now I guess thats been done away with)or not. The article concluded that enjoy your college life and do CA later on if you need to....clearly that article reflected my bias against CAs.

    However, as fate would have it, I dint get into the IIMs when I was in TY and dint want to do an MBA from a second rung insti the next best option was CA. Yes, I never thought of myself as the'CA' kind of a person...fitting in the description of the kind of person whom you recommend should take up the career. Andersen recruited a bunch of us off campus and that was flattering enough for me to take up CA (Wrong reasons maybe but right choice in hindsight)....

    The whole CA experience ....I would include my 3 year articleship as a part of it was completely life changing. I acquired a lot of skills along the way (attention to detail, tax and accounting knowledge) and also the nuances of working with teams, people etc – something an MBA without any work experience will not learn.

    After a successful career, I decided to do an MBA to shift careers...I was interested in I Banking/ Consulting ...and yes, the "CA" was not recognised by recruiters as a qualification fit enough to get me an entry into those fields. Also I wanted to move abroad for personal reasons. So I moved to London and did my MBA at London Business School.

    The MBA helped me get a summer and a final job in I Banking & consulting.....but as I it because of the extra learning from the MBA?...ofcourse not! Its just the branding I got out of the school - my communication skill or any of the skills a CA supposedly doesnot have were neither absent before the MBA nor were they acquired during my MBA.

    Also, just to give a take on how it is here in the UK...CAs are highly respected and infact in CEO positions. The concept of the MBA is relatively new...and I Banks or consulting firms dont just rely on MBAs to fill up their positions. You could join these places as an analyst after graduating or even as an associate after your CA. Infact, my CA degree was often something that distinguished me from my peers and helped me get more shortlists for placements.

    I dont regret the CA or the me the two are complementary and completing....and the MBA builds on what I learnt as a CA and afterwards. And yes, it is impossible for someone to do an international B school without any work experience….and a CA is a good way to get that experience!

  21. gr8 debate, just like coke vs pepsi, gsm vs cdma , hdfc vs icici.

    Just a few points

    - Why do we need to compare the two. Do we compare Engineers with Doctors CA's MBA's etc. We dont because they are supposed to have their respective specialisations. This debate was born because CA's who have traditionally been accountants are evolving to be competent for other areas. MBA's who have traditionally been in Marketing / general management areas are beginning to do finance .... and both these creatures are ending up in the same workplace unlike an engineer / doctor / statistian. And also becuase the CFO (earlier the domain of CA's only) has had his position elavated over the years.

    - ICAI has taught people to specialise in Accounting / Tax/ Law.... not managers. MBA'a have learnt bits and pieces of everything including Accounting, Tax etc.

    - Have you heard of doing an MBA in Hindi language. (you would enlighten me if you have). You can and have every right to pursue CA in Hindi and many do. Remember ICAI is quite politicised still under the direct governance of the Parliament unlike most MBA schools incl the IIM's, which are more independent (credit to financial independence).

    - Now lets go back in time. Till a couple of decades back, most professionals in the indian corporate sector were CA's..... MBA is a relatively recent development in India. (thanks to the massive influence of US and europe. As we align more to the west so does the economy and the requirements and the trends.

    Now that we are face to face with this question, let me attempt to answer this.

    Accountants are specialists.... whether or not they have the ability to manage / lead a company is purely on thier inborn personality traits and the opportunities that have come thier way. MBA'a are generalists and will be natually good at any general management roles..including that of a CEO.

    btw, i am a CA and have been in an MBA's role.....corporate insurance sales, corporate banking.

  22. Hi friends.
    Please could someone tell the names of good C.A. firms in Mumbai having company level work. Is outstation audit compulsory? Should I personally go to the firm to check vacancy or can it be done over the phone?

  23. Anonymous12:14 PM

    Hi Rashmi,
    I Think this Discussion is really biased Towards MBA'S.
    I think CA'S dont require to show their superiority but MBA'S do require.
    CA Is a specialised Profession its not for the narrow minded persons who are interested only in jobs and not enterpreneurship.
    It is for business minded people.
    go ahead mem you are doing wonders by misguiding the bright students.

  24. HI RASHMI,

  25. hi,
    With every thing going against CA , the only thing thats going against MBA in a big way is the huge number of aspirants.
    Doesn't the course loose its novelty.
    Anyone you ask today in colleges they'll say , they are going to do MBA.
    And the big packages the MBA's get is true only as far top - 10 B-schools is concerned , which is barely 5% or may be even less.
    Given the fact everyone's doing MBA , how many truly stand to become CEO's.
    On the contrary many more CA's stand the chance to become CFO's.

  26. Guys,

    Gone thru the debate.

    Its just a faltu waste of your precious time. Let Ms. Rashmi enjoy her beautiful MBA state and the same shall fetch every thing to her or so called every body claiming him or her to be MBA. My cool advice is enjoy what ever you are and try the best to core of your heart and you shall ever succeed...

    If still any doubts about yourself, can contact me person for advice

    Cell: 09868272909(NewDelhi)

  27. Dear freinds,

    It appears our learned freind Ms.Rashmi is too obsessed with her being MBA and let me really jsut point out skill sets/management skills are no exclusive domains of a MBA or any person. It depends upon the person to person. Eg. Dhir Bhai ambani was no MBA, Amitabh Bacchan was no MBA or even Modis/ Sighanias/ Tatas never did MBA to be successful.

    I must tell you Basis objective of intorducing MBA or dimploma was if a person is doing some business and he is somewaht informed, he can definitely do better and if not atleast plan his survival better, and that was whole concept behind this course.

    In fact I really fail to understand why people call it a profession. In fact if you are doing business and you are taught some skill so that can do a business in a better manner, it still remains that you are doing the business. then where is the consept of profession.

    If my advice goes well with you, please dont waste your energy on this wasteful dialogue and use it for planning your success in your respective feild.

    Best Wishes


  28. Hi,

    Interesting post! I receive my Canadian CA in 12 months (I've passed all my tests and am waiting to meet my 30 month experience requirement).

    I'm now planning my career beyond auditing and am very excited about possibly completing my MBA.

    My long-standing issue with an MBA is the fact that they are not standardized. In Canada, all CA's pass the same exams and sharefore share a minimum level of competency. As well, all Canadian CA's have 30 months minimum of Public Accounting experience - this is in my mind the most critical component.

    The problem with an MBA is that you have 25 year olds with no work experience and MBA's from 4th tier schools and Grad's with 20 years experience coming out of Wharton - ie an MBA is not an MBA is not an MBA.

    I'm not sure if an MBA would be as valuable as a CBV (Chartered Business Valuator designation) or IFA (internal forensic auditor designation). I guess at the end of the day it comes down to what I want to do...

    In relation to CA's being simply # crunchers this is simply not true. Sure, you start out as an auditor and then usually shift to a controller level position, but CA's rarely stay controllers forever! Most CA's are CFOs CEOs or Partners in firms. Each of these positions require a great deal of personality and communication skills. You won't meet a better salesman than a CA firm partner!

    Anyways, good posts. If anyone has any advice for a CA making the next move please post. :)


  29. Freinds,

    I would like to share a small story with each of you and please decide for yourself.

    An enterprenuer wanted to start a business and as usual wanted to have a good business consultant who can advice for whatever be it.

    He called for a few of them from a different professions as per the market availability.

    He called a Mathematician and asked a simple ques. how would you treat 1+1. Answer was simple for Mathematician = 2

    Next was a Economist. The same query and answer was varied. His answer was depends upon the type of economy capitalistic or communist. Can be done differently.

    Now an MBA, same ques. MBA waited for a while and came back with an answer "11". As usual big, whether or not relevant.

    Last was a Chartered Accountant. The same query was posed. The CA simply and plainly replied with the answer: Whichever way you want sir, I can produce it that way.

    The enterpreneur immediately decided for the Last candidate i.e. CA.

    Now freinds it is for you to decide, which way you want, irrelevant or straight on the Dart.

    Best Wishes for your decision.


    N.C. Mittal

  30. hi sir/madam,

    i have yet to decide my professional career.
    A bit confused between ca and MBA
    so can u please guide me which has a good future in terms of income and carrier growth because i would like to enlarge my family business so any of u who can help me as if telling his/her own ward please guide about this.
    this article sometimes divert me to MBA n the response sometime towards ca so plz tell me wat do u prefer so that i can have an expert knowledge from various fields which will haelp me decide my future.

    please comment for this on my id
    < >

    i m eagerly waiting!

    so its a request from me to whoever reads this!

    i hope to c a reply.

    with regards

  31. Kristo
    Well pointless to discuss which profession or qualification is superior. It all amounts to how passionate you are about your profession. The much maligned profession of lawyers in India ( because of the lax standards of bar exams even there you find so many great achievers. Rashmi's last point was correct ; You should be devoted to your work and the rest will follow.
    Thanks Rashmi

  32. hey rashmi:)....
    nice debate here.. i am pursuing CA... currently doing articleship....and had already started wondering whether i should top it up with an MBA...maybe too early too think of!!,(as said by many of my peers, but i feel its an advantage:),since i'll be quite clear from the beginning what i want to be doing 10 years from now......was confused:(, though i was told by a cousin ( an MBA himself) that earning an MBA degree after CA would be perfect!!!...though there are comments here inclined towards MBA mostly and few towards CA ( not so pleased with the debate as expected;)).... i could relate to Deeplydeep the most here and am just looking for something similar ahead for myself.... finally it is upon one to decide whether he wants to be a Manager or an Auditor... or just be a qualified CA and do something a qualified MBA could work on just the same way,now that would depend on one's job profile...and i also agree with inkognito here...on whether doing an MBA would be a regretful decision...never could it be...atleast if you could surely have a better network of friends.., see i also ought to do MBA after becoming a CA... that is not again easy as obvious here... wishing myself good luck...

  33. m a plus two pass out student wit science as my subject...m very confusd wat to me which is d best...
    BBA wit MBA or
    CA wit or
    ne degree wit MBA or wit MBA

  34. hii
    I am nitish . I had just passed 12th class wid 88% marks. I want to know whether C.A. with M.B.A. is having greater scope these days OR ECO.HONs. wid M.B.A. is having more scope .I am good in economics as well as accounts and too in maths .Which of the above fields is giving more buks these days

  35. i wanted to know is ca + mba combination a worth or just mba wud be better

  36. Anonymous9:08 AM

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  37. for all those people who are from science background,plz stay away from ca.gaining a ca's knowledge is advisable but icai locks the fun out of your life.and thats what this cpt system has done.i myself quit engg in first yr to pursue ca and nw am dying to attend a class in collg(and bunk some too).
    both degrees are worth pursuing,so there is no point in arguing which one is better.but if you want to enjoy life then it's better to follow either of them after college.
    and yes,the problem is not with the degree or work,it's with the instituitions.icai cud have matched iim's levels but it's top management is busy developing new courses to make more money rather than involving with its students.
    for e.g. there was no convocation ceremony held for the passouts till last year!
    they don't even care what we have achieved.
    am in my secnd yr of articleship already gettin bored of it.

  38. Anonymous8:50 AM

    ^^ nice blog!! ^@^

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  40. Dear RASHMI,
    i=I don't konw who are you? But I surely can guess you are an IIM MBA. I dont know why you have ANTI-CA mindset but remember one thing that it is a CA who empowers this financial world. Our country needs more and more brilliant CAs not MBAs. A CA is of expert nature and surely king of something. Rashmi I aagree with you that CAs are not good in communication, Do you know why? Because a average student becomes a CA in INdia ( after struggling hard and spending 8-10 years ). Hardly anybody talented enters the field. But the case of IIms is much different.
    Another promblem is with the way students are influenced by the society. CAs have become a machine, just a sign and astamp on the paper to meet I-T formalities and earn fees. Ca's jobs include financial predictions and investment decisions etc. a lot more than just wrestling with numbers. You have surely missed that point.
    Your post is so absurd in nature that atleast half the Ca aspirants will loose interest in it. Being an MBA from IIMA (I guess) you are surely cheating your country by making the contry lose valuable financial professionals.
    CAs can build a company or even destroy it (remember SATYAM). The govt has an authority oa CAs like CONTROLLER AND AUDITOR GENERAL OF INDIA (CAG), do you have anything such for MBAs. This clearly tops CAs over MBAs.
    When you talk of MBAs, you talk of IIMs. What about others? Today we have B- schools at streets. With 2-3 lakhs in pocket, anybody can be a MBA. Are they worth it?
    It's indian mentality that has made CA job an only money erning one and nothing else. But it's something more and much more. A CA can do lightstriking change in taxation and curb corporate frauds and change the face of our country to make it a superpower.
    This will happen only if brilliant guys enter the stream and change the face of it.
    finally, I am not an ANTI-MBA guy but it's an answer to an ANTI-CA person.

  41. Hi Rashmi,

    First of all, this is a never ending discussion..I've had this many many times with many of my friends'. Would strongly say that a CA who has articulation skills is always preferred over an MBA.

    Its a myth that CAs are only involved into hrd core accounting, tax or audit roles. Today, CAs are working with top companies at high managerial positions. Finance in Business positions & strategy roles beckon CAs big time. If you would notice, most of the CFOs in top MNCs are CAs and not MBA (finance). As one of my fiends' here just wrote, MBAs have low attention to detail and superficial analytics.

    But at the same time I would agree to the fact that most of the CAs do not have good communication skills. This is because the CA intitute has not been giving due importance to this. The GMCS classes, again refered to by one of our friends' here is the only platform that they get for this kind of an exposure. CAs mature much earlier in terms of hard work. They start working (articleship) from the time they are doing their college. They can work under emence pressure.

    Last words would be , any CA who gets a hang of smart work alongwith the hard work that he already is into gets to grow much faster & is flooded with oppurtunities, than any MBA for that matter.

  42. Ka ho MBA wale bhai log? Kahe COMMUNICATION SKILL chillate rahte ho hamra desh to waise hi BHASAN dene wale neta log se pidit hai.
    Sirf communication skill se hi company chalta to aaj MBA post pr v neta log hi rahte. Today is practical age.
    Har chiz ko practicaly kiye bina kuchh v possible nahi n CA in master in PRACTICAL.

  43. don't read this idiotic article. just believe that you see. CAs r much much ahead than MBAs. go out in the real market n find it out yourself. don't believe this just coz some alumni of IIM-A has written this. she had not only degraded the name of a very prestigious qualification but also degraded the name of IIM-A. if ppl frm IIM r like this then i feel proud to be not a part of such institution n feel more proud to be a CA student.


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