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Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns

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Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 11:31
Hello everyone! I'm relatively new to the forum and have a few questions regarding applying to the schools mentioned above. First of all a little introduction, I'm a non-native speaker, came to the U.S. about 10 years ago, went to a public high school and settled for decent public college(baruch college in NYC) since my English skills were relatively lacking back then. Through hard work and dedication I have improved my English skills tremendously, and about to graduate with a BBA in accounting in the fall with a GPA of around 3.5.

I have recently taken the GMAT after studying for 2 months and got 770 (49quant, 46 verbal). Prior to taking the GMAT I have been accepted into the MSA program at my current school but after getting my GMAT score I decided to entertain the possibility of applying to either Columbia or Stern MBA program before completion of my MSA program, I do not really want to get stuck being an accountant rest of my life even though it is extremely useful imo in the business world.

So my question is that since I have relatively weak work experience(about a year on a off in the insurance industry and worked part-time for couple private companies), should I just finish my MSA program while getting more work experience then apply? Or should I apply for Early Decision to either school as soon as possible? And if I were to get rejected by either schools the first time, would it hurt my chances for future reapplications? And I'm confident I can get excellent recommendation from my professors and prior employer.
Thanks ahead for whoever decides to read this post and give me advise on how I shall proceed. Any advise is welcome! I can take criticisms too!
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 11:41
I am not clear on whether you've already started the MSA program, or simply been admitted. If the latter is the case, and considering that you said you don't want to be an accountant forever, are you sure you want to do the MSA?

You definitely don't need it to get experience in accounting. I worked for a year in accounting coming out of a liberal arts college with absolutely no preparation or relevant experience whatsoever, so I don't imagine it would preclude you from being hired in the industry in the meantime (though maybe an MSA would make recruiting easier?).
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 11:45
lb2015 wrote:
I am not clear on whether you've already started the MSA program, or simply been admitted. If the latter is the case, and considering that you said you don't want to be an accountant forever, are you sure you want to do the MSA?

You definitely don't need it to get experience in accounting. I worked for a year in accounting coming out of a liberal arts college with absolutely no preparation or relevant experience whatsoever, so I don't imagine it would preclude you from being hired in the industry in the meantime (though maybe an MSA would make recruiting easier?).


Hi! Thanks for the quick response, I have been admitted to the MSA and will start in the spring if I don't apply to another school prior to that. When I said I don't want to be an accountant forever, what I meant is that I think having an MSA and MBA would make me more attractive for management positions in the future, but If I get accepted to Columbia or Stern I would rather get the MBA over MSA. My main concern is that if I were to get rejected this year would it hurt my chances when I reapply for either schools in the future? Thanks alot!
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 11:51
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With no full time work experience your chances of getting into Stern and CBS now are basically zero. Imo, both of these schools aren't super friendly to younger applicants.

If you're set on those schools, get some work experience and apply in a few years. Why do you want an MSA? If you don't want to be an accountant, that's going to be a painful program to complete. Sure people go into accounting for awhile and switch careers, but most of those people started out thinking they'd actually like it (or at least were ok with it due to job security, etc)
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 11:58
aerien wrote:
With no full time work experience your chances of getting into Stern and CBS now are basically zero. Imo, both of these schools aren't super friendly to younger applicants.

If you're set on those schools, get some work experience and apply in a few years. Why do you want an MSA? If you don't want to be an accountant, that's going to be a painful program to complete. Sure people go into accounting for awhile and switch careers, but most of those people started out thinking they'd actually like it (or at least were ok with it due to job security, etc)


Thanks for your honest opinion, the reason I chose the MSA was due to the job security like you mentioned and I'm for the most part interested in taxes and accounting in general. But as I started taking management courses I find them more interesting in general and suit me better as I do not really fit the normal stereotype for accounting people(not trying to sound pejorative). It will probably not take me too long to complete the courses required for MSA degree anyway because I have almost the maximum course waivers for it. I'm leaning toward finishing my MSA first then apply to MBA but I asked myself if it's not going to hurt me why not try apply now you know? Thanks again!
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 12:40
A couple of points. What do you mean by you will start in the Spring? Spring semester is almost over and Spring quarters have begun at all schools that offer quarters. You also mention that you will "finish up" the MSA. So again, have you actually enrolled in your MSA or not yet? If you haven't, turn down your acceptance into the MSA and go get a full-time job. I can't speak for Stern but last year Columbia only admitted 1 student with no full-time experience and from my understanding they have not admitted anybody for this coming year without full-time employment. So if you work part-time and get a Master's Degree and then apply you will not get in. It just won't happen. The only people getting accepted with no experience have somehow managed to save the world in their spare time while in school. An on-again/off-again job in the insurance industry won't do the trick. Honestly I don't see many, if any, jobs where the MBA and MSA will make you a stronger candidate than an MBA with accounting work experience.

In short, I think that getting the MSA will waste valuable time you cannot recover and will not further your long-term goals while costing money. This sounds like a losing proposition all around. You can easily get a job in accounting without the MSA. Spend 3-4 years working full time in accounting then apply. Full-time work, a 770 GMAT, just add in some decent extra-curriculars and you will be a very strong shot at CBS and NYU. If you get another degree, don't work full-time and then apply you honestly have maybe a 5% chance at best.
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 12:51
mappleby wrote:
A couple of points. What do you mean by you will start in the Spring? Spring semester is almost over and Spring quarters have begun at all schools that offer quarters. You also mention that you will "finish up" the MSA. So again, have you actually enrolled in your MSA or not yet? If you haven't, turn down your acceptance into the MSA and go get a full-time job. I can't speak for Stern but last year Columbia only admitted 1 student with no full-time experience and from my understanding they have not admitted anybody for this coming year without full-time employment. So if you work part-time and get a Master's Degree and then apply you will not get in. It just won't happen. The only people getting accepted with no experience have somehow managed to save the world in their spare time while in school. An on-again/off-again job in the insurance industry won't do the trick. Honestly I don't see many, if any, jobs where the MBA and MSA will make you a stronger candidate than an MBA with accounting work experience.

In short, I think that getting the MSA will waste valuable time you cannot recover and will not further your long-term goals while costing money. This sounds like a losing proposition all around. You can easily get a job in accounting without the MSA. Spend 3-4 years working full time in accounting then apply. Full-time work, a 770 GMAT, just add in some decent extra-curriculars and you will be a very strong shot at CBS and NYU. If you get another degree, don't work full-time and then apply you honestly have maybe a 5% chance at best.


:( Thanks for your honesty, you made me reconsider my options now lol, can anyone substantiate this so I can decide what to do next? Oh and when I said Spring semester I meant next spring, I'm graduating this Fall. And I haven't actually enrolled in the MSA, my school has a pre-admission thing where one can get admitted to the program during undergraduate years given that everything else is in order such as GPA. If full-time experience is really that important I'm confident I can get one while doing the master's program.
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 14:10
Full-time work really is that important. For an MBA program, unlike frankly any other graduate program, this is typically the most important piece of your candidacy. Please go get a full-time job.

If you needed an MSA to get an entry-level accounting job I would be more understanding, but you simply don't. Not only do entry level jobs in the field not require higher degrees, but neither do most higher level posts.The only person I know from my old accounting group who has an MSA got it after years in the industry as a way to build upon experience and sharpen her skills. The key is that she wanted to further build her career in accounting, which she really enjoys.

Whether or not you decide to apply to an MBA program in a few years, your work experience will help chart your path for what you want to do with your life.

I almost applied to law school my senior year, largely because I didn't know what else I wanted to do and because I thought it would be a good professional stepping stone. In hindsight, I'm so glad I saved my time and money and went straight into the workforce. It sounds like you might be in a similar mental place. While graduate education is great, please don't go without a plan in place that connects to your interests. As others have said, full-time work experience will make you a much more attractive candidate for a top MBA program than will an MSA. But regardless of that, it's not a wise idea to get a graduate degree in something you already know isn't your passion. You'll likely come to regret it.

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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 12 Apr 2013, 15:41
Hi! Thanks for the reply, it is very insightful. Just to address some of your concerns, the main reason for me to pursue MSA first is according to my school adviser it is the best way to obtain the 150 credit to sit for the CPA and I believe CPA/MBA combo is pretty attractive for potential employers. Please know if you think otherwise and why. Thank you!

Another reason I wanted to start MBA asap is because since I had to take a couple years off school due to health reasons I'm already graduating later than most people. Another question is should I aim for full-time work experience in the accounting field or just finance field in general? Would a full-time work experience in accounting be frowned upon compares to a finance one? Thanks again
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 13 Apr 2013, 13:11
Klaudnine wrote:
Hi! Thanks for the reply, it is very insightful. Just to address some of your concerns, the main reason for me to pursue MSA first is according to my school adviser it is the best way to obtain the 150 credit to sit for the CPA and I believe CPA/MBA combo is pretty attractive for potential employers. Please know if you think otherwise and why. Thank you!

Another reason I wanted to start MBA asap is because since I had to take a couple years off school due to health reasons I'm already graduating later than most people. Another question is should I aim for full-time work experience in the accounting field or just finance field in general? Would a full-time work experience in accounting be frowned upon compares to a finance one? Thanks again



Personally, I think that getting the MSA (which would give you the hours needed to become a CPA) would definitely be worthwhile. The work that you would be doing as a CPA would almost certainly be more attractive to an MBA program than just working in a company as a (non-CPA) accountant. You could just stay as an undergrad to get the extra 30 credits, but I think that the MSA would add something of value to your resume above an extra year as an undergrad.
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 13 Apr 2013, 14:12
Hi, thanks for all the imput guys, I have decided to work full-time while getting my MSA since my school offer night classes, it's going to be rough but I can do it lol. Then I'm going to apply for the MBA program.
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Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns [#permalink] New post 15 Apr 2013, 05:37
Klaudnine wrote:
Hi, thanks for all the imput guys, I have decided to work full-time while getting my MSA since my school offer night classes, it's going to be rough but I can do it lol. Then I'm going to apply for the MBA program.


Klaudnine - I support what you're doing. I passed the CPA exam in 2010 (However, I've only recently applied for licensure with NYS) and know that you need 5 years of school to become an accountant. Like you said, to become a New York State CPA you need 150 credit hours, rather than the 120 hours you might normally get from a 4 year college if you were pursuing a different career/degree. This is the recommended accounting curriculum for most students and not considered "above and beyond". I may be wrong, but without that extra year you can't graduate with 150 credits and therefore you can't sit for the CPA exam so you don't even have a choice.

Likewise, I'm hoping the CPA/MBA combo looks attractive in the internship/job chase...
Re: Columbia MBA and Stern MBA concerns   [#permalink] 15 Apr 2013, 05:37
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