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Top courses to do after completing your MBA

Your MBA degree did what it was rightfully meant to do – it gave you new perspectives about careers you’d never have thought about, your electives gave you insights into each of these new areas.

But a general management degree may not be able to do justice as it may fail to delve deeper into a specific area.

So, even with an MBA, you may end up with the feeling that you lack the required expertise and knowledge needed to pursue a career in this newfound area of interest. What do you do in that situation?

[Edit: Article updated in May 2018]

7 Popular courses to consider after completing your MBA

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps”.
– Confucius

If you believe in that quote, you may be thinking, “Now that I’ve completed my MBA, what are my action steps to get closer to my goals?

In this post, we’ve covered a few courses that can be completed without interfering with your professional life. These certifications can improve your career trajectory and also boost your earning potential without taking a break from work.

1. Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA)

The CFA program is a good option for those interested in a career in the Finance area. It has three levels (Level I, Level II and Level III). You’d need a lot of dedication as several hours of self-study would be needed to clear these tough levels. You can continue with your work-life while studying. The CFA website reports candidates dedicating over 300 hours of preparation for each of these levels. To complete all the levels, an average of four years is required. A CFA certification would surely give your finance career a boost if you’re able to complete it.

CFA in India

CFA in India could earlier be awarded by ICFAI University or by the CFA Institute, USA. However, there was a dispute between the two over awarding CFA degree in India. Finally, a settlement was arrived at, in 2012, according to which ICFAI would stop issuing any further CFA certification except for those already registered with them. Those who’ve obtained their CFA through ICFAI would be required to use CFA (ICFAI).

So, in this post, we’d limit our discussions to the international CFA degree offered by the CFA Institute, USA.

Pre-requisites for CFA

To be eligible for the first exam, you’ve to either have a bachelor’s degree or you may also attempt it while you’re in the final year of your graduation. However, for moving on to level two, you should have completed your graduation and updated your education information.

The CFA fees include a one-time enrolment fee of $450 and an exam registration fee that varies on the time of registration, from $650 for early bird (March), $950 standard (August) and $1,380 for late registration (September), for each of the levels. The CFA level I is held twice a year in June and December, level II and level III are held once a year in June.

CFA career prospects

The career scope includes the various finance-related jobs in corporate finance, investment banking, portfolio management, equity research. This internationally-acclaimed degree can open doors of opportunities in finance and bring you a lot of credibility in the job market. The success rate is not too high (usually varying between 40%-45% for the first two levels and slightly over 50% for level 3) and the those who manage to get through have put in a whole lot of time and effort studying for it.

2. Financial Risk Manager (FRM) Exam

As the name suggests, this exam is for those professionals interested in a career in risk management. There are two levels involved: part I and part II. This is an internationally recognised certification exam offered by the Global Association of Risk Professionals (GARP). It is a multiple-choice exam held twice a year in November and May. The preparation time would depend a lot on your background-mainly your academic qualification and experience. The GARP website reports an average of 275 hours of preparation for part I exam.

The exam fee includes a one-time enrolment fee of $400 and an exam fee of $350 for early registration and $475 for standard registration for each of the exams.

Pre-requisites for FRM

Candidates who clear the Part I exam need to pass the FRM Part II within four years. They also need to have two years of relevant work experience. There is no educational/professional prerequisite while registering for the exam. However, you need to submit your resume with the required work experience within a period of five years after passing FRM Part II.

Career scope

Unlike the CFA that offers a wide array of careers in Finance, the FRM provides expertise in a specialised area (financial risk management). These professionals are expected to have expertise in the area of taking calculated risk as required in the finance sector mainly in investment banks, corporations or asset management firms.

3 Certified Information Systems Auditor (CISA)

The CISA certification is an internationally recognised one awarded by Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA). The IT infrastructure for bigger organisations is a rapidly-growing area with almost every industry dependent on it. There is a growing demand for professionals who are expected to monitor the information technology and the business systems and processes of any organisation. This certification helps provides you the required skill and knowledge in this area.


After clearing the CISA exam, you need to fulfil the work experience eligibility inorder to qualify for the certification. This includes five years IT audit experience or you may avail waivers on the basis of some alternate work experience. You have a five years time after the passing date to meet this work experience criteria.

The CISA certification exam is held in three windows, each year – February to May, June to September, and October to January. It’s a four hour exam with 150 multiple choice questions.

Career Scope

The scope of work of an IT auditor includes a variety of tasks including performing thorough audits of the company’s information technology, managing information security, keeping systems updated and also keeping a tab on whether the IT operations are in compliance with the various regulatory standards.

4. Certification in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA)

This course is meant for internal auditors and risk management professionals. This certification is offered by the institute of internal auditors (IIA). This exam requires self- study by means of reference to various resources and does not have a fixed curriculum.


To be eligible for the exam, you must either be a graduate OR have two years post-secondary education with five years of internal audit experience OR seven years of internal audit experience. A duly signed character reference form also needs to be submitted.

The exams are held throughout the year at several locations globally at the various IIA-authorized Pearson VUE testing centers. The CRMA exams comprises of two sections – part I has 125 questions witha duration of 2.5 hours. There’s also the core exam with 100 multiple-choice questions with a completion time of two hours. Cost of the CRMA core exam is $380 for members and $495 for non-members. There’s also an application fee which varies as per your geography or institute.

Career scope

As per the IIA website, if your career objective is to become a trusted advisor to the audit committee and handle management in the critical areas of risk assurance, governance processes, quality assurance, or control self-assessment, the CRMA designation is for you.

5. Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM)

The APICS CPIM (Certified in Production and Inventory Management) is also a globally recognised certification. The exam preparation can be done at your convenience as the coursework is available online.

There are five modules with two APICS CPIM exams, Part 1 and Part 2. You get 3.5 hours to complete each module. The fees for APICS PLUS members is $495 per exam and for CORE member/non-members, it is $690 per exam.

Career Scope

This certification is for those keen to continue a career in supply chain. It provides a thorough understanding and knowledge of the production planning and inventory management of a company in the global operations.

6. Project Management Professional (PMP)

Project Management Institute (PMI) is a non-profit organisation in the area of project management. It offers various certifications, one of which is the PMP.


To be eligible, you need to have 4500 hours leading and directing projects in addition to your four year bachelor’s degree and 35 hours of project management education. Instead of a four year degree, if you have a high school diploma or equivalent, you’ll need to have additional hours leading and directing projects (7500 hours).

This is a four hour exam with 200 multiple choice questions. The cost involved would be US$405 for members and US$555 for non-members.

Career scope

The PMP certification is a globally recognised one and it puts you ahead in the race to be recruited for the position of a project manager. It gives employers a reason to believe that you are competent enough for the job and shows your commitment in the project management field since you’ve put in so much time, money and effort to get this not-so-easy certification. You can expect a higher salary compared to others in this field.

7. Second MBA from an international business school

This is an interesting new trend that we’re seeing over the last few years. Many MBA graduates from India realise that they went into a management degree too early in their career and the course has not lived up to their expectations. In spite of having gone through the rigmarole of preparing for and cracking the competitive MBA entrance exams (like CAT) and getting into good colleges like IIM A/B/C, they end up in roles that they don’t enjoy.

So, rather than going for short, part-time courses that may not have a significant impact on their careers, they choose to go for a bigger, better MBA from a globally recognised international business school.

On our site you’ll find stories like these:
Michigan Ross MBA admit for second MBA applicant
Second MBA from Switzerland for HR consultant after 30
Full and partial scholarship for second MBA in USA
How I got into Amazon (Germany) after my second MBA

However, along with the rewards (international jobs, high salaries, good scope for growth), the second MBA option also comes with its set of risks.

Read this article to learn more about the whether a second MBA is worth it.

Most of these courses require considerable investment of time and finances, so you need to have clarity if the course you choose is aligned with your long-term career goals. You also need to be able to put in a concentrated effort over a period of time to fulfil the various requirements as the course demands.

The other fundamental thing to start thinking about is whether you really need another course or certification to improve your career. Or have you missed some basic, crucial and not-so-obvious root cause of your worries, that can be identified with some personalised guidance. Drop us an email (info at mbacrystalball dot com) if you think our career guidance service can help.

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About Swati
After working for over a decade in technical and managerial roles in the corporate world, Swati now works as a freelancer and writes on a variety of topics including education, career guidance and self-improvement.

10 thoughts on “Top courses to do after completing your MBA”

  1. Hello Swati.

    Can you please explain in some more detail about the “pre requisites” of PMP? It appears very vague to me.

  2. Hello Sameer,

    I am pursuing company secretary(CS) course and I am going to give my CS final this December. I am in second year of my graduation. I have heard about ICSA program of UK i.e company secretary of uk and after getting degree of CS in India I can easily give exams for that degree in UK.

    My concern is whether I should do that degree and have a good work experience in a company for 2 years or should jump to MBA. I want to do MBA from US or UK from a very good university which will require work ex.
    And whether doing ICSA is worth or not.

    Reply awaited.
    Thank you

  3. I’m completed my +2 in 2015 with 90% with PCB.currently I’m preparing for medical exam.but I’m interested in research oriented job like epidemiologist etc.can you please help me how can i become a sciencetist or epidemiologist. and also suggest some universities whic offer such delhi university are right choice for above courses.

  4. Hello sameer,

    I am rakesh and i have completed diploma in mechanical and have total 7yrs of experience in manufacturing industry. i would like to switch to an IT industry as i have more job opportunities with better package, but i dont know which are the short courses i have to do to get into IT indutry or do i need to do Btech itself? kindly help

  5. Hi everybody.

    I want to share my career life. I have almost 4.5year exp in IT operations but nothing related with technical so what I did I quit job(bad thought) and did some software courses. I kept trying and doing software courses but couldn’t crack interviews as the interviewers needs hands on exp guys.. So now I have almost 4yrs gap.
    .now I got a opportunity in marketing field selling software products…. I don’t know whether I’m on right track but decided not to quit job anymore.. Please guide me whether marketing can be a good career.. And please do let me know what are other options which I can take…

  6. Hi Swati/Sameer,

    I already am an MBA-HR with around 7 years of relevant work exp. I am curiously hunting for some information regarding further courses I may pursue in order to enhance my learning in the similar field and which may also help change my perspective towards different work-related scenarios/ events. my objective is also to gain a prestigious degree that adds value to my curriculum and helps me fetch a better position.

    just need some guidance about how to go for it…

    Thank you

  7. @Vishakha: If your main goal is to go for an MBA, then spending time and money on other ‘side courses’ isn’t worth it. Focus on getting some good experience, crack the GMAT and then apply to MBA programs.

    @Mohit: We don’t know much about those areas, Our friend Tanmoy may be able to help. Post here:

    @Satish: If you’ve tried your hand at technical software courses and failed, then it’s time to move on. Marketing can be a very rewarding field for those with the aptitude and potential.

    @Sarita: You could look at a second MBA or another more focussed Masters (MS) degree. It comes with its own set of risks though. Ensure you’ve evaluated the pros and cons of leaving a stable job to pursue another qualification.


    i have completed my MBA IN MARKETING and i am seaching for job , which should be in IT how to make potentail for that.


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