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Applying to MBA Programs After Humanities Undergrad

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Posted

The gist of things is that I'm having second thoughts about pursuing a masters and later a phd in religious studies, with money being my primary cause for concern.

Stats: I flunked out of college five years ago, but I went back again two years ago and have maintained a 3.85 GPA since then. I'm now in my senior year thanks to a combination of transfer credits from my initial stint in college, summer classes, and large course loads during the normal semesters.

I expect to have fairly strong recommendations, but they're from within my major of Religious Studies.

Also, while I haven't taken the GMATs, I did take the GREs and was given estimated scores of 750-800 on both major sections.

Lastly, I have no experience with business, either academically or professionally, whatsoever.

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The overarching question is whether or not it would be a good idea to go to business school, and I suppose the answer to that question emerges from two separate lines of inquiry.

First of all, I'm wondering how attractive I'd be as an applicant and, accordingly, what calibre of school might accept me. I have several marks in my favor, but they're offset by my earlier performance as well as the gulf between my present field of study and the material that would be covered in an MBA program.

Second of all, I'm wondering how difficult it would be for me to acclimate myself to a different academic environment after spending the past few years studying something else entirely. Do some programs presume a certain degree of familiarity with core curriculum, and how hobbled would I be by my lack of familiarity?

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Finally, it would be lovely if you could perhaps give me a list of schools that might suit me, given my background. Obviously I'd restrict myself to schools that accept GREs, and beyond that I'd prefer schools near urban areas with a special preference for Boston and Chicago.

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Posted

not to be a debbie downer, but i would HIGHLY recommend you get some work experience before even considering any "practical" graduate degree, especially a MBA. What value would you bring to an organization with no experience and high salary expectations due to your degree?

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Posted (edited)

That's a good point, but one of the major motivations I have for seeking additional education after undergrad is the poor shape of the job market right now. I've had a lot of difficulty finding work beyond temporary positions and semester-long faculty aide jobs. Given a choice between getting a degree before I need it or sitting around unemployed for months on end, I'll choose the former.

At the very least, I'd want to go to school part-time while working whatever menial job I can find.

Edited by Robosagogo

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Posted

I completely understand your thinking, and I don't think that it is faulty at all. However, you might actually make employment harder for yourself in the long run for a few reasons. First, it will be hard to get into a top tier school with little to no experience, but will be most likely paying tuition just the same. After you graduate, if you take on loans, you now have to take those loan payments into consideration when applying for jobs.

The best thing I ever did was take on a sales role in an advertising start up. Hard, frustrating work, but I got experience from the ground up. Went from employee number 20 to a 200+ person organization that was sold to a multinational media corporation. Even better, especially for a SOP for a MBA program, might also be to experience a start-up that failed. Unless you want to focus on finance, a lot of MBA programs are looking for future entrepreneurs.

Finally, I would recommend looking overseas for work/volunteer experience. A lot of places will pay your room/board and you will get an experience like no other. Which candidate is a school going to pick, a person with 2 years of standard boring experience, or someone that helped run an orphanage/school/ngo in some far-flung corner of the globe?

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Posted

1) No work experience => no admissions to a credible b-school.

2) You don't really learn anything useful in b-school. The reason you pay tuition is to have access to alumni networks and recruiting events. I'd only tell people to go to a non-name brand school if their employer was covering the cost of tuition.

3) You're shooting yourself in the foot if you're going to b-school for the sake of avoiding the job market. A mediocre MBA won't get you any worthwhile jobs and you'll be 100k+ in debt, given you don't work while you're in school.

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Posted

There are some MBA programs that don't require extensive work experience. Bentley University has an Emerging Leaders MBA that's designed to lay the groundwork for management positions. If you're certain you want to pursue an MBA, a program like this is probably your best bet.

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Posted

There are some MBA programs that don't require extensive work experience. Bentley University has an Emerging Leaders MBA that's designed to lay the groundwork for management positions. If you're certain you want to pursue an MBA, a program like this is probably your best bet.

This might come off as rude, but I'd consider going to an MBA program outside the typical Top 25 (except some programs with niches, like Thunderbird's International Business program, etc.) a waste of time and money. MBAs aren't so much about what you'll learn (the AACSB keep curricula more or less the same between accredited schools), but rather the networking and socialization you get at your program. MBAs going to Harvard, Stanford, etc. aren't necessarily getting the best jobs because they're getting a superior education -- it's because the top recruiters primarily recruit only at top schools; if you check the % salary increase pre-/post-MBA charts on websites like Financial Times, you'll see that the fall-off in return-on-investment is dramatic once you go to regional schools.

It's a different matter if you go get your MBA on your employer's dime, but even then, the opportunity/option cost of doing that may make it not worth it; i.e., your job offers you free tuition to a regional school and you're actually a candidate who could have gotten into a top b-school; attending and getting your MBA closes a lot of doors since many b-schools will not take in applicants with prior MBAs.

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Posted

I agree with Behavioral. Recently there have even been articles written about the ROI on a MBA from Wharton. School name is everything. If your MBA is outside the T25 you are going to find yourself having a difficult time paying the $1k/mo loan payment from the $100k degree. I obtained my MBA from NYU Stern, and the organizations that recruited at NYU (which I think was T11 last year, depending on which ranking you "trust") are amongst those that recruit from the T10, though Stern may get 2 or 3 less placement seats than a T5 school. One of my good friends earned his MBA from BU and it took him over a year to find a FT position; schools in the T25 for the most part place all their students, though all the students may not have received an offer from their personal top company. Also, good schools will really assist you in obtaining a strong position post graduation because it's vital to their statistics and ultimately their ranking.

The vast majority of b-schools now accept the GRE so you should not have a problem in that regard.

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Posted

Like others have said, without that critical work experience you won't be of much use to places like HBS or Wharton. What may be possible is pursuing an MSF or MAcc at a one year program.

Either of those degrees would broaden your knowledge base in their sectors while allowing you to connect with an alumni network or have OCR opportunities. There are a host of schools with MSF degrees that are becoming more and more comparable to MBA programs, only they are condensed into one year. In the T10 range, they all have excellent placement results, and you may use the MSF as a stepping stone to get to the MBA

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