How is CIMA Course different from MBA Finance Course?

For those who are planning to make a career in finance often look to take up MBA finance course. Master’s degree in Business Administration offers comprehensive knowledge in financial markets, accounting, management, and entrepreneurship.

Similarly, there’s also CIMA (Chartered Institute of Management Accounting) that prepares you for handling accounts at managerial level. Let’s understand the vital differences between MBA finance course and CIMA with the help of an example.

Priya was aspiring for a successful career in the finance sector. Most of her acquaintances suggested her to take up an MBA Finance course, however, she wished to explore other options too and was keen on making the most of her time and effort. Like every other person from the internet-savvy generation, she searched for different courses in the finance field.

The CIMA course struck her interest as it was a chartered course that gave a global accreditation on management accounting.

As luck would have it, her college professor introduced her to a veteran in the finance field, Mr Ashok Gupta, who was a CIMA holder. Many doubts were hovering in Priya’s mind and she intended to get satisfactory answers from Mr.Gupta. Here are few excerpts from their conversation

Priya:Can you tell me what is Management Accounting and the role of Management Accountants?”

Management accounting combines accounting, finance and management with the leading edge techniques needed to drive successful businesses. The management accounting skill set include Analysis, Strategy, Risk, Planning and communication

Chartered Management Accountants

Advise managers about the financial implications of projects.

  • Explain the financial consequences of business decisions.
  • Formulate business strategy.
  • Monitor spending and financial control.
  • Conduct internal business audits.
  • Explain the impact of the competitive landscape.
  • Bring a high level of professionalism and integrity to business.

Priya: “Can you tell me about the CIMA course and how useful it will be in making a finance career?”

CIMA is a chartered course in management accounting by the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, UK. It has more than 227,000 members and students in 179 countries.

  • Also, on successful completion, candidates are awarded the CGMA designation – a joint qualification by CIMA, UK and AICPA, US.
  • CIMA syllabus is based on The CGMA Competency Framework – jointly innovated by CIMA and AICPA. The framework aims at building skills for work alongside knowledge.
  1. Technical Skills: A strong technical foundation is laid down in terms of Financial Accounting, Cost Accounting, Management Accounting & Reporting, Business Planning, Corporate finance & Treasury Management, Risk Management & Internal control, Tax strategy, Planning and Compliance.
  2. Business Skills: It imparts you necessary skills covering crucial areas of business such as Business Strategy, Market & regulatory environment, Process Management, Business Relations, Project Management and Macroeconomic Analysis.
  3. People Skills: Business managers require strong people management skills of Effective Communication, Negotiation & Decision making alongside collaboration & partnering and Influence people to create a positive impact on the brand of the organization.
  4. Leadership Skills: the framework recognises the need for scalable skills and hence leadership skills is a crucial part of the framework. Leadership skills encompass qualities of Team building, Driving performance through Motivation & Inspiration with focus on Change Management.

This CGMA framework helps you to develop a balanced and well-rounded knowledge and skills preparing you for a business manager’s role with relevant skills. Other than that, your positioning in the market will be such that you get huge recognition in the global market.

Priya: “So how different is it better than an MBA Finance course?”

Most students are unaware of courses in Finance and follow the herd mentality thereby ending up taking traditional courses. However, students have to note that with growing number of opportunities in the finance sector and MNCs setting up their businesses in India, the need for finance professionals having global accreditations is on the rise.

So, how different is MBA finance course than the CIMA course? Let’s explore –

  • Recognition
    MBA is a highly revered course, and getting an admission in a Top B school is certainly worth your while as you end up having a lucrative career. However, an MBA from a lower rung institute does not give you an attractive career option. As against it, CIMA gives you a professional qualification and also has a global accreditation.
  • Fees
    Fees for MBA start from around 3- 4 lakhs and increase as per the institute’s brand name. As against that, CIMA qualification costs you around 1 to 1.8 lakhs, which is much lesser than the MBA course.
  • Competition
    Since there is the higher number of MBA graduates churning out this year, there is stiff competition for jobs. Moreover, there is the lesser number of CIMA qualified professionals and the passing percentage is around 60%, which is lesser than that of MBA graduates, wherein 85 % of students pass out. While the students of top B schools do get a highly lucrative career, CIMA certificate holders get to carve their own niche in the market, as adept finance professionals capable of decision making. Many Fortune 500 companies consider CIMA qualified candidates due to their global accreditation, which makes it easy to manage the client’s overseas branches.
  • Syllabus
    The syllabus of CIMA a perfect blend of CA, MBA and CWA courses. As a CIMA member, your role is not limited to finance only. You get knowledge of strategic management, project management, organizational behaviour which is typically taught in an MBA course. Also, you learn cost accounting, budgeting, etc., which forms the basis of the CWA course. Also, you get finance, accounting and taxation skills which are the core element of the CA course.
  • Earn While You Learn
    Unlike the MBA course, wherein you’ve to dedicate your time completely in pursuing the course, you can work professionally while undergoing the CIMA course. Resultantly, you come out as an experienced candidate, and can also recover the investment amount in CIMA.

CIMA members get highly paid with salaries averaging to around 12 lakhs per annum. With so many exciting opportunities offered on a platter, many finance professionals are getting themselves certified from CIMA.
If you’re confused just like Priya, the above points may help you clear the air about the differences in these two courses. More information on the course is available on the official website: