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kobeee

MIA and MBA - How to go about it

8 posts in this topic

Yo everyone - hope you're all well,

So I'm looking into getting a dual MIA-MBA degree. I basically want to get involved in international business strategy - Evaluating foreign markets, expansion, best approaches, etc. And I'm thinking that a dual MIA-MBA would be perfect. Despite the massive debt, I'd be a unique candidate - the MBA would give me solid business acumen while the MIA would help me hone my language skills and solidify my theoretical knowledge of the world economy. Now I've only got a couple years of work experience, which is a little on the low side for bschool , but given the 3 year timeline I feel like I should go for it sooner than later. I've looked at a bunch of MBA programs and I've been looking at a lot of the top MIA programs (Gtown, SAIS, HKS, Princeton, SIPA, etc.). 

Anyway, there is some flexibility in my plan and I'm basically wondering the following:

Should I apply to both MBA and MIA programs (At Colombia, Gtown, SAIS/Tuck, Texas, etc) now or,

Should I apply to MIA now (less competitive admissions process), then when I'm one year in, apply to the bschool. Anyone know if this has worked for people? Would you have a better shot of getting in given that you're already enrolled at the university? 

I like the idea of breaking up the application process, plus even if I didn't get in to the MBA program, it would always be an option to do the two-year MIA and then a one-year MBA afterwards too. 

 

I'm also happy to hear any thoughts/insights on my plan,the MIA in general,  the MBA,or the schools I mentioned. 

Thanks!

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I'm doing dual MBA/MPP at HKS and one of H/S/W.

Do you have good work experience? MBA admissions is much more difficult and if you don't have the WE they are looking for, you have no chance. It's not about the number of years but more the type of work you did.

Also there is absolutely no comparative advantage if you apply from a different masters program. In fact, it's quite common for people to only get into HKS but rejected from HBS, GSB, Wharton, Tuck.

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Despite the massive debt, I'd be a unique candidate - the MBA would give me solid business acumen while the MIA would help me hone my language skills and solidify my theoretical knowledge of the world economy.

So, tbh, all of these sound like buzzwords. Let's dispense promptly with the notion that 3 years in North America, in which you hope to complete 2 academic programs, will allow you to hone your language skills to anything close to usable in a real-life business environment. Secondly, if you don't already have "solid business acumen", you won't have the work experience to get in. I'm not sure why you need theoretical knowledge of the world economy. 

I suggest you look at the alumni profiles of your target programs. Do the alumni of your MBA programs go on to work for international companies? If you're looking at top programs, I'll go ahead and answer that for you - yes they do. That implies that that given program might be sufficient to get a job in an MNC. If alumni of regional programs don't, that's because the programs are regional, not because they're insufficiently specialized in international business (which isn't even a real thing, dude). In general, that you want to build your such-and-such skills is something you'll put in your SOP, but in reality, that's not what the MBA is for. You're there to build your resume and your network. I suspect it may be detrimental to do 2 programs at once for that purpose, but it certainly wouldn't help. 

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As someone who did a dual degree (MPA and MA in IR), I recommend extreme caution.  Having an extra degree did not, in and of itself, help me in the job market.  Mostly it meant I graduated later and with more debt.  Remember that the classroom is not the only place you can learn and it's a fairly expensive one.  Don't discount the fact that the extra year(s) you'll spend in school means you'll forgo time learning (and earning) on the job.  Unless there is a specific, marketable skill you'll get from the extra time in school, I would not recommend it.

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1 hour ago, MaxwellAlum said:

As someone who did a dual degree (MPA and MA in IR), I recommend extreme caution.  Having an extra degree did not, in and of itself, help me in the job market.  Mostly it meant I graduated later and with more debt.  Remember that the classroom is not the only place you can learn and it's a fairly expensive one.  Don't discount the fact that the extra year(s) you'll spend in school means you'll forgo time learning (and earning) on the job.  Unless there is a specific, marketable skill you'll get from the extra time in school, I would not recommend it.

Ehh if you attend an elite business school, it is worth it. Median starting salary is around $150,000 for the top-15 or so schools. You don't attend business school to really learn content - you're paying for the access to job opportunities (great for career switchers) & access to extended network. It's the most versatile degree out there.

If you're in the truly elite category, you will get lot of $$$ to pay for tuition. HBS has around $34 million for scholarships and the average fellowship award (for 2 years) is $69,000. Roughly half of HBS students receive fellowships. Stanford GSB is similar.

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44 minutes ago, Nonprofitguy said:

Ehh if you attend an elite business school, it is worth it. Median starting salary is around $150,000 for the top-15 or so schools. You don't attend business school to really learn content - you're paying for the access to job opportunities (great for career switchers) & access to extended network. It's the most versatile degree out there.

If you're in the truly elite category, you will get lot of $$$ to pay for tuition. HBS has around $34 million for scholarships and the average fellowship award (for 2 years) is $69,000. Roughly half of HBS students receive fellowships. Stanford GSB is similar.

I totally agree that an individual degree can be worth it.  My post was referring specifically to dual degrees.  Are you saying that doing a degree in IR and an MBA is better than doing an MBA alone? 

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54 minutes ago, MaxwellAlum said:

I totally agree that an individual degree can be worth it.  My post was referring specifically to dual degrees.  Are you saying that doing a degree in IR and an MBA is better than doing an MBA alone? 

If we're just talking MBA vs MBA & IR, then no, you should probably just pursue the MBA. Especially if it's from a top notch MBA program.

But if we're talking IR vs IR & MBA, then you should pursue the latter. Especially if it's from a top notch MBA program.

As stated by me and others, there are not many jobs (if any) that will require an MPA/MPP/IR degree. Someone even pointed out recently that nonprofits prefer MBAs for management roles. The reverse is not true as there are many fields where you can't progress with your career unless you have an MBA. 

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I agree 100% with all the other posters. Tacking on an MA in IR will do ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to enhance you chances of getting into an elite MBA program, and will most likely be entirely superfluous to your job opportunities upon graduation. If you don't have the profile now to get into a good MBA, you won't have it after your first year at SAIS/SIPA/Fletcher/Gtown either. Another thing - MA programs in IR are not set up to help you with language skills; I'm not sure where you got that idea.

Spend some quality time (like 80-100 hours) of perusing the Poets and Quants website to get a feel for what you need to get into a top MBA program and what it can do for you. 

If you want the glamorous, high-powered career in international business you're going to have to be good enough to get into at least a top 20 school or so (think UNC Kennan Flagler or UW Foster as minimally acceptable for 'international strategy' - http://poetsandquants.com/2016/11/21/2016-poetsquants-mba-ranking/3/ ). Obviously, YMMV and every case is different. Some people manage to get this sort of career through Harvard Kennedy or Princeton Wilson alone, but you need to have a strong profile period to be able to land these private sector offers.  

If you do really want to scratch the IR itch, you could check out Wharton's dual MA/MBA program. They'll let you do both in 2 yearsish, so it shouldn't tack on too much extra time or debt. https://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/lauder-program/ A friend of mine is currently doing that program and seems pretty happy with it. But of course - you'll have to have the right profile to get in in the first place.

 

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