Resume Leveling Up For MBAs – Certifications To Boost Your Profile

For Finance Professionals:

CFA: Granted by the CFA institute, the Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) is one of the most popular generic certification. Requiring at least 1.5 years of commitment to clear a 3-stage examination, and costing a minimum of $2400, it is highly advised that one is serious about it before enrolling.

FRM: Almost as popular as CFA, the FRM (Financial Risk Manager) certification from GARP (Global Association of Risk Professionals) costs around $1000 (provided you register early enough to be eligible for the lower fee and is spread over 2 tests that can be taken either together or at an interval of 6 months.

While CFA is more generic in nature, covering financial statement analysis, corporate finance, economics, wealth management, and derivatives, the FRM is more focused on risk and derivatives.

Anti-Money Laundering Certification | ACAMS: Continuing on the path of greater specialisation, we have the CAMS (Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialist) certification for professionals working in the domain of Anti-Money Laundering and FCC (Financial Crime Compliance). Only 1 examinations (with prerequisites to be eligible) that costs close to $1500.

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners: Become a CFE (Certified Fraud Examiner). Fees: $350.

NCFM Modules (NSE – National Stock Exchange of India Limited): The 40+ NCFM modules spread over foundation (beginner), intermediate, and advanced cover a wide range of financial topics from the basics of financial markets and the OTC derivatives market, to mutual funds, venture capital, algorithmic trading and other advanced concepts. Each certification costs around $100.

Vskills Govt. Certification: Vskills is a special, low-cost certification program run by the Govt of India. Most (>90%) certifications are priced in the range of ₹ 3000–5000. Although it has certifications for a wide variety of industries (Design, IT, Legal, Marketing etc), the below are relevant for finance professionals:

Accounting, Banking, and Finance: (40+ certifications for Equity analysis, FI analysis, AML/KYC, Portfolio management, M&A, Credit risk, Basel III, IFRS etc).

IIBF: The Indian Institute of Banking and Finance offers a host of certificates (Quantitative Finance, Trade Finance, AML/KYC etc) at a very reasonable cost of ₹ 1500–5000. The websites a little confusing. Just select the course from the drop-down to see the schedule and exam centres.



Project Management

Project Management Professional (PMP): Awarded by the PMI (Project Management Institute), this is the default one for anyone aspiring to build a career as a project manager. Cost: $555

Agile Certified Practitioner | PMI-ACP: Again from the PMI, this certification is increasingly gaining importance as the adoption of agile project management gains momentum versus the traditional waterfall approach. Cost: $495



Six Sigma: The BSI group offers 4 different certifications – The Six-Sigma yellow best (customised price), green belt (₹ 28,000), black belt (₹ 107,000), and the lean practitioner (₹ 28,000). These certifications are a must for people in operations, process management, and quality control.

APICS: APICS provides 4 different certifications aimed primarily at people in Operations and Supply chain management.

  1. Certified in Production and Inventory Management (CPIM) (Fee: $410)
  2. APICS Certified Supply Chain Professional (CSCP) (Fee: $1300)
  3. APICS Certified in Logistics, Transportation and Distribution (CLTD) (Fee: $525)
  4. APICS Supply Chain Operations Reference Professional (SCOR-P) (Fee: $350)



SMstudy: SMstudy offers globally recognised marketing certifications across Marketing Strategy, Marketing Research, Digital Marketing, and Corporate Sales. All of these categories have multiple certifications depending on the individual’s relevant work experience – freshers, professional (0–3 years), specialist (3–5), and expert (5+). Obviously, for someone who is still doing their MBA, only the fresher certification applies. And the best part is that all of them are free (with the other 3 being paid – $300, $450, and $600 respectively).

Google AdWords: Across fundamentals, search advertising, display advertising, mobile advertising, video advertising, and shopping advertising. The certifications are from Google, and like most of their products, are free of cost. However, you need to retake the exam every 12 months to maintain the certification.

Hubspot Marketing and Sales Certifications: If you are not a Hubspot partner or user, you are eligible for 6 of their free certifications. The classes and prep material for these 6 courses is also free. Everything is online, including the actual examination. Alas, the certifications are only valid for a period of 13 months, post which you need to renew them.



Human Resources (HR)

SHRM: The CFA of HR professionals, SHRM is almost a must-have for an HR professional, especially if you want to advance to the highest echelons in the human resources hierarchy. (Fee:₹ 52,000)



Cisco Certifications: Cisco offers a whole host of IT-related certifications, with a focus on network management. Some of them have prerequisites, and some not. Also, they might be more relevant for IT professionals rather than MBAs, but if you are enthusiastic about it, you can still give it a go.




About the Author:

Deepak Mehta is 27, highly eccentric. He can be found at most party venues. Deepak loves to read (And occasionally write). Originated in the hills (Nainital) but lost his heart somewhere on a beach in Goa. If found, kindly return to the owner.

A Computer Science graduate from BITS – Goa and an MBA from IIM – Ahmedabad. Currently resides in Mumbai. Also, he is one of the top writers on Quora!