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Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA?

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Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 04 Apr 2013, 11:11
Hey everyone. Just a question to get some opinions.

I am finishing an Honors BA in a Liberal Arts field with a ~2.6-.7 ish gpa. I figure I would pursue an MBA in 4-5 years. However, in the meantime, I wonder if pursing a second degree part time would be beneficial. It would take ~2 years but I wonder if the second degree GPA is 3.5 (for example), would bschools look JUST at the second degree, combine the two, or factor the second marks into the first transcript?

Also, has anyone done a second Bachelors degree and do you think you found it helpful to the admissions?

Also, I figured that there may be some benefits. E.G. the second degree would be in Business and thus, may qualify me for an accelerated MBA and therefore saving me money and time when I actually DO go for the degree.

Any opinions would be HIGHLY appreciated!

Thanks guys!

Future Target Schools: Yale, INDEAD, Kellogg, Sloan, Johnson, Anderson,
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2013, 09:22
rj594 wrote:
Hey everyone. Just a question to get some opinions.

I am finishing an Honors BA in a Liberal Arts field with a ~2.6-.7 ish gpa. I figure I would pursue an MBA in 4-5 years. However, in the meantime, I wonder if pursing a second degree part time would be beneficial. It would take ~2 years but I wonder if the second degree GPA is 3.5 (for example), would bschools look JUST at the second degree, combine the two, or factor the second marks into the first transcript?

Also, has anyone done a second Bachelors degree and do you think you found it helpful to the admissions?

Also, I figured that there may be some benefits. E.G. the second degree would be in Business and thus, may qualify me for an accelerated MBA and therefore saving me money and time when I actually DO go for the degree.

Any opinions would be HIGHLY appreciated!

Thanks guys!

Future Target Schools: Yale, INDEAD, Kellogg, Sloan, Johnson, Anderson,


I'll take a stab at this. I'm not sure whether an MBA program would combine your GPAs or not if you got a second degree--probably something an admissions consultant might know. My question: do you really want to go back to school again for four years? (Or maybe it can be done in less?). It just seems like a lot of time and money, personally. What about a few classes at a local community college to get some business education under your belt? If you get As, this could help make your case.

If you do decide to do a second bachelors, it would be smart to do it part-time, so you have plenty of strong full-time work experience as a means to potentially mititgate your low GPA (work experience being one of the most important components of admission to top programs like the ones you mentioned).

Not to completely dash your hopes, but I also wanted to provide you the 80% GPA ranges for the schools you mentioned, in case you haven't seen 'em. You've got a bit of an uphill battle:

Yale 3.10-3.87
Kellogg 3.19-3.88
Sloan 3.10-3.86
Johnson 2.78-3.77
Anderson 3.20-3.86

Not sure about INSEAD since the GPA is formatted differently. Looks like Johnson might be willing to blink if you have a lot else going for you, the others look a lot less likely, but who knows? You'll definitely need to have a good reason for your grades, articulated clearly in the supplemental essay. Hopefully you're on an upward academic trajectory?

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but as I'm sure you are aware, the programs you mentioned are quite competitive. The good news is that once you get past the top 15 or so programs, you start to see a lot more 2-point-somethings in the lower end of the GPA range. If you cast a wide net (including schools in the 15-30 range), have a good explanation for your GPA/take additional classes, and have really solid work experience and essays, you might be all set.

A few resources for you:

low-gpa-what-you-can-do-144002.html
http://poetsandquants.com/2012/03/27/gp ... -get-in/2/

Good luck!
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2013, 11:10
rj594 wrote:
Hey everyone. Just a question to get some opinions.

I am finishing an Honors BA in a Liberal Arts field with a ~2.6-.7 ish gpa. I figure I would pursue an MBA in 4-5 years. However, in the meantime, I wonder if pursing a second degree part time would be beneficial. It would take ~2 years but I wonder if the second degree GPA is 3.5 (for example), would bschools look JUST at the second degree, combine the two, or factor the second marks into the first transcript?

Also, has anyone done a second Bachelors degree and do you think you found it helpful to the admissions?

Also, I figured that there may be some benefits. E.G. the second degree would be in Business and thus, may qualify me for an accelerated MBA and therefore saving me money and time when I actually DO go for the degree.

Any opinions would be HIGHLY appreciated!

Thanks guys!

Future Target Schools: Yale, INDEAD, Kellogg, Sloan, Johnson, Anderson,


Work experience would be far more useful in your applications than an additional bachelors. It also has the added bonus of allowing you to earn money on the job rather than spending money on a secondary bachelors.

Do you have any motivation for the second bachelors other than as an attempt to increase your chances towards an MBA?
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2013, 11:33
I don't think getting a second degree is going to completely erase your undergrad GPA. Not sure what a second bachelor's is, but I think even in the case of a master's program schools are still going to look at the undergrad GPA because that is what they report and what they can use to compare across different candidates. Also don't know how that would factor into accelerated mba qualification, but I believe getting an accelerated MBA is more a function of fit with your career goals based on your past work experience (like you plan to stay in same field or with same company).

I think you would be much better off getting the best job you can, being stellar at work (promotions, show leadership), and then trying to ace the GMAT. Taking classes, as mentioned above, and getting A's helps as well. I waited a few extra years before applying in hopes that my great work experience would make my sub 3.0 undergrad gpa less relevant. You definitely are going to have an uphill battle with that GPA, but if the rest of your application is stellar (something that you actually can control at this point), then schools are going to be able to look beyond your GPA. It's great that you're thinking about this so early. Don't wait until the year or two before you apply to start really getting involved in extracurriculars and special projects at work, if you start doing that stuff now you will have some great stories to tell come application time and make the adcom forget all about that GPA!
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2013, 12:31
Unless you're thinking of doing one of those 1-1.5 year accelerated 2nd degree programmes, you'd probably be better off using the tried-and-tested alternate transcript technique by taking some evening/weekend/online courses at your local college/university (particularly calculus, econ, etc.) and get B+ or better on the courses to offset your low GPA.
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 05 Apr 2013, 15:08
Hi rj594 - Your question is thought provoking and an interesting one to consider. It's good that you are thinking ahead to the MBA application, and being proactive to take the steps you can take now.

My advice may sting a little, but it comes with good intent and solid recommendations. MBA programs want to be certain that you can handle the work academically before they admit you. In particular, they want evidence of your ability to perform in quantitative courses as an MBA is heavily quantitative in nature.

My biggest concern for your future application is your transcript. You said that you are completing a BA in a liberal arts field and have a 2.6-2.7 GPA. This is weak. Liberal arts majors (I know, I was an English major myself!) typically don't have a lot of quantitative courses in them.

To your question - will schools look at the first bachelors, the second bachelors, etc., the school will look at your entire college-level academic career. So, completing a second bachelors degree will not erase the weaker performance on your current transcript.

A second bachelors degree is not as important as taking quantitative courses and achieving outstanding grades in those courses. You can take these courses at a community college, but in my view, it would be better if you were to take them at a highly regarded undergraduate institution (allow the reputation of that school help your case).

Give the profile you've shared, here is my advice to you:

- Work at least two years before applying to an MBA program. Possibly three to gain more experience and have more opportunity to gain managerial experience (managing people, project, budgets). Try not to job hop during this time frame and do all you can to have a strong professional profile. Volunteer for extra assignments. Perform at an exceptional professional level at a well-regarded organization. Always be thinking of what experiences will add value to your profile as an MBA applicant in the future. Actively seek out quantitatively-based professional duties. If you can, pursue international assignments. Seek out mentors to help advise you.

- Take additional coursework in quantitative courses to demonstrate to the future admissions committee that you can perform in the classroom.

- Prepare extremely well for your GMAT so that your performance is strong there - especially on the GMAT side. GMAC has a study on their web site that shows that strong preparation (ie - lots of hours studied) correlated to strong GMAT performance. You've got a fair amount of time before you need to take the GMAT, so consider this in your plan.

- Because you have a liberal arts background, I'm not certain that an accelerated MBA is in your best interest. Don't think of the MBA as something to get out of the way, rather consider it a transformational opportunity to improve your professional and personal life.

If I can help further, let me know. Good luck!
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2013, 22:09
Hey guys, thanks so much for all your input! I appreciate all the feedback.. I probably should have prefaced that my GPA is held down significantly by a horrendous 1st year (1.5 GPA). Although, it should be noted that I worked two jobs during my first year, and was a Key Holder during my second year. I quit work all together after 2nd year (saved enough for school), and my GPA has greatly improved since. Minus the first year, I would have ~3.1. That is why I was considering a part time 2 year BSc in Finance or Economics or something.

I am Canadian btw...dont know whether they will view this positively or negatively? I attended a top 5 school (In Canada). I am also the first in my household to attend university. Raised by a single parent with a disabled brother..does this qualify as a "story"...I am sorry for the questions, I am obviously new at this application process
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2013, 22:22
jxcho wrote:
Unless you're thinking of doing one of those 1-1.5 year accelerated 2nd degree programmes, you'd probably be better off using the tried-and-tested alternate transcript technique by taking some evening/weekend/online courses at your local college/university (particularly calculus, econ, etc.) and get B+ or better on the courses to offset your low GPA.



jxcho,
I am interested in your profile. I forgot to mention Kelley as one of the choices, but outside of the ones mentioned, UCLA and Kelley would be next. I am wondering why you chose to opt for only Canadian options. Do you plan on staying in the US post-grad? I considered Ivey and Queens etc as they seem good however, somewhat limits to working in Canada. (I also think they only take last 2 years which would be great for me!)
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 06 Apr 2013, 23:20
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rj594 wrote:
jxcho,
I am interested in your profile. I forgot to mention Kelley as one of the choices, but outside of the ones mentioned, UCLA and Kelley would be next. I am wondering why you chose to opt for only Canadian options. Do you plan on staying in the US post-grad? I considered Ivey and Queens etc as they seem good however, somewhat limits to working in Canada. (I also think they only take last 2 years which would be great for me!)

I've sent you a PM with a bit more input which isn't here in this reply.

Ivey and Queens are certainly good schools but you are right that they largely limit you to working in Canada, but the same thing could be said about Rotman or Schulich as well. If that is your ultimate goal though and you like the schools, you won't regret going to either. I already have some US experience and I'd ultimately like to end up working in Honolulu, Guam or an Asian city within the US sphere of influence (e.g. Taipei) so I only ever seriously considered American schools. I debated for months whether to apply to Anderson or Marshall for their Pacific connection but I decided I just hate LA too much and wouldn't be happy spending two years there, no matter how much In-N-Out I ate. If you're interested in working State-side at all, it's pretty much a no-brainer to attend a US school, and it's simple (compared to other countries) for Canadians to study/live/work in the US. Other than the fact that Kelley was my only admit, I chose them because I'm interested in marketing and social entrepreneurship, both areas which they excel in, and their curriculum, which I felt was well-suited to a younger student like me.
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Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA? [#permalink] New post 07 Apr 2013, 00:09
jxcho wrote:
rj594 wrote:
jxcho,
I am interested in your profile. I forgot to mention Kelley as one of the choices, but outside of the ones mentioned, UCLA and Kelley would be next. I am wondering why you chose to opt for only Canadian options. Do you plan on staying in the US post-grad? I considered Ivey and Queens etc as they seem good however, somewhat limits to working in Canada. (I also think they only take last 2 years which would be great for me!)

I've sent you a PM with a bit more input which isn't here in this reply.

Ivey and Queens are certainly good schools but you are right that they largely limit you to working in Canada, but the same thing could be said about Rotman or Schulich as well. If that is your ultimate goal though and you like the schools, you won't regret going to either. I already have some US experience and I'd ultimately like to end up working in Honolulu, Guam or an Asian city within the US sphere of influence (e.g. Taipei) so I only ever seriously considered American schools. I debated for months whether to apply to Anderson or Marshall for their Pacific connection but I decided I just hate LA too much and wouldn't be happy spending two years there, no matter how much In-N-Out I ate. If you're interested in working State-side at all, it's pretty much a no-brainer to attend a US school, and it's simple (compared to other countries) for Canadians to study/live/work in the US. Other than the fact that Kelley was my only admit, I chose them because I'm interested in marketing and social entrepreneurship, both areas which they excel in, and their curriculum, which I felt was well-suited to a younger student like me.


Thank you so so much! All very good points! I should also consider the different admission metrics for Ivey/Queens and US Schools. They typically take last 60 units which would highly favour my transcript. However, pursuing the additional degree part time would essentially gamble that I can perform better (or just as well) on that degree as I have done over the past 2 years.
Re: Dilemma: 2nd Bachelors degree or MBA?   [#permalink] 07 Apr 2013, 00:09
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