I am a graduate of the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi, and have been working in an IT services company since July 2007. I am pursuing my CFA, sitting for the Level 2 exam in June, and plan to start my MBA in 2011. However, I want to plan to do either the Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM) or Certified Associate Business Manager (CABM). Could you advise me on which one would be better?
Judging by what you’re saying, in my opinion, it sounds like the CABM would better suit your overall plan at this moment in time. The CABM is a professional qualification based on pre-MBA material, so it will assist you by giving you a good base when you do start the MBA. Plus, if you actually continue on the CABM and MBA path, you may be eligible for the Certified Business Manager (CBM) credential, which is a master’s-level professional certification.
This is not to say you should forget about the CAPM or any project management certification. However, the question you have to ask yourself is how much project management will you actually be doing at this moment in time? And how much will it be useful to you for the MBA and CFA? Concentrate on your core goal before branching out. There are a range of other project management certifications out there; from the entry-level certification from CompTIA to PRINCE2, which is a de facto standard created by the U.K. government used extensively in both the public and private sector internationally.
I would like to point out that both certifications need renewing. The CAPM needs to be renewed every five years with an exam, while the CABM holders need to be recertified every year by completing 20 credit hours of continuing education per year.
Furthermore, both the PMI, or Project Management Institute, and the APBM, or Association of Professionals in Business Management, offer professional associations you can join to network with other people who are either studying for the exam or who have passed the exam and are going for the next level.
For more information, please see here: http://www.apbm.org/cabm-certification/ and here: http://www.pmi.org/PDF/pdc_capmhandbook.pdf.
Editor’s Note: This response is from Rich Maley, MCT, MCSE, MCSD, a solution architect and the global director of technical training for Avanade:
You’re making a wise choice in complementing your CFA with a nontechnical accompaniment. Both certifications are from credible organizations. The question you need to ask yourself is: “Am I interested in demonstrating my overall knowledge of business, or do I want to demonstrate my capability as a project manager or project lead?” Based on the information I can gather from your question, you work in an IT services organization and are interested in investment portfolio management or research (pursuing CFA). Based on this assumption, I would have to recommend the CABM. The CAPM is an excellent certification for someone looking to move into the project management field. From an IT standpoint, this may include people management, task dissemination and understanding capability, whereas the CABM certification is going to give you a more rounded understanding of business as a whole. With the CABM, you will cover areas such as human resources management, accounting, international business and marketing management. In my opinion, having a rounded understanding of business and insight into your customers’ operations gives you more credibility as an investment portfolio manager or CFA practitioner.