Some applicants have the mistaken notion that an advanced degree will preclude admission to an MBA program in the top clusters. It is important that applicants with advanced education understand how their education will be perceived in the application process.
Make no mistake- students with advanced degrees constitute a large percentage of the student body at many MBA programs (in many cases the percentage of advanced degree holders equals or exceeds the percentage of female students). At least 18% of the FT Class of 2007 at UC Berkeley holds an advanced degree (16% masters, 2% PhD). Part time programs often have higher percentages of advanced degree holders. For instance 20% of the students at the Univesity of Chicago's Evening MBA program hold advanced degrees as well as 28% of the students in the Weekend MBA program.For UCLA's FEMBA Class of 2008 and UNC's Weekend MBA class of 2005 advanced degree holders represented 33% of the class. For UC Berkeley's PT Class of 2006 "Of the enrolling students 40% already hold an advanced degree, including a master's in public health, JDs, MDs, and several Ph.D.s." Executive MBAs often have even higher percentages of advanced degree holders (47% for Penn/Wharton's Executive MBA).
Two important points:
1) You will be expected to provide some convincing reason why you are pursuing an MBA instead of following the "normal" course for someone with your academic background (especially if you have a PhD/professional degree)
2) Schools will generally not consider academic experience a substitute for work experience
In many cases it is not the advanced degree per se that complicates admisison but the opportunities forgone in order to obtain that degree. An example might help. Many students enter PhD programs directly out of college. They then commit several years to the taught portion, research, and then the dissertation. Thus, they emerge from the PhD program with little work experience. This lack of work experience will be sufficient cause for rejection at many business schools.
Another important issue is degree preclusion. If a student already possesses a graduate degree that duplicates the content of an MBA, some MBA programs will refuse admission. Others will consider the application, but the student has the burden of justifying why a "second MBA" is necessary.
A third important issue is the perception that a student with several advanced degrees lacks the maturity and/or commitment that is necessary to complete the MBA and find gainful employment (i.e. employment that will make the MBA program look good). These "degree collectors" are viewed with suspiscion not because they have high levels of eduation but because they seem to lack focus (and they often have relatively low levels of work experience).
In some ways, the issue of advanced degrees has been blown out of porportion. After all virtually every major MBA program has at least one concurrent degree program (e.g. MBA/MIS, JD/MBA, MD/MBA etc.). If these schools endorse the concurrent combination of these degree programs with an MBA, it is likely that you can convince them of the value of a serial combination.
Finally, some MBA programs are designed for students who already hold advanced degrees. Thus, 100% of students at Cornell's Twelve Month Option (TMO) program hold an advanced degree.
http://www.johnson.cornell.edu/academic ... _chart.htm