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Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA?

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Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 16 Feb 2012, 13:02
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I am currently a senior in college at a large US state university. I am starting a full time job at the HQ of a large retailer right after graduation, and I am thinking about doing an online MSF at the same time. The schools that I am considering at this point are Penn State (World Campus) and University of Michigan (Dearborn). This is how I see it so far, can anyone let me know if there's anything I missed?

Pros:
-Will probably help with my career trajectory.
-Low cost to me due to employer tuition reimbursement.
-Not having to give up work experience to get another degree.

Cons:
-Company is really big on after work social events, which I might have to miss due to school work. However, the company also values education so it would only really hurt me by giving me fewer networking opportunities.
-MBA admissions might question why I need a second masters degree.

My basic plan for explaining this on my MBA applications down the road is to say something along lines of:
I finished 5 years of undergraduate educations (2 Bachelor Degrees) in 3 years. At that point I was tempted to stay in college for a fourth year and get a master's degree, but the opportunity to work at [retail company] was too good to pass up. Therefore, I compromised and decided to get my degree while working full time. This enabled me to gain valuable skills that I could immediately apply in the workplace.
^^Would this description of my reasoning be able to mitigate any downside of having an MSF?

Thanks Everyone!
(I posted in MBA admissions instead of MSF, because this is about my future MBA applications more than my MSF plans).
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2012, 07:06
From going to info sessions for business schools, the Masters in finance/IT/Accounting, etc. is a specialized degree. The MBA is a general management degree. So, it won't hurt you in other words.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2012, 10:05
I was at Booth's admit event last weekend. It seemed like 20-30% of the admitted students already had a graduate degree in another discipline. The admissions director actually mentioned this fact up during his speech.

So no, I don't think it's a bad thing.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2012, 10:19
Focus primarily on being a SUPERSTAR at work, do a lot of community service, read a lot of books. Learn a new language, and live a little. Leave the master's ambition for your MBA at the school of your interest.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2012, 10:26
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You seem to be pretty articulate in your plans.Your reasoning for doing Masters at this stage is also convincing .So I don't see any reason why you shouldn't go in for a Masters in Finance before your MBA.You are only adding to your skills by doing so.

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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 17 Feb 2012, 16:27
Thanks for the input everyone! I really appreciate it.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 08:57
It shouldn't be a problem at all as long as you approach it correctly in your essays. For example, an applicant may say in their Why MBA essay "I have a masters in engineering, which enables me to understand highly technical concepts, but I need an MBA to learn finance & marketing skills to attain my goal of being a senior manager in XYZ industry."

bartthecartoon wrote:
Thanks for the input everyone! I really appreciate it.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 11:05
The extra degree won't hurt you. I have a friend with a MPP from U of C and is at Booth now (and did not do a joint program). As long as you can explain why you need an MBA above the MSF you're fine. Just make sure that taking classes while working does not negatively impact your work performance, which will harm you application through poor recommendations.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 11:10
Don't make education plans based on how you think an MBA program would view it X years down the road. Focus on doing well at work, and if you find that you need the extra education and have the time, consider it later on. I'm not sure how valuable an online MSF would look anyway...
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 12:31
chromium73 wrote:
Don't make education plans based on how you think an MBA program would view it X years down the road. Focus on doing well at work, and if you find that you need the extra education and have the time, consider it later on. I'm not sure how valuable an online MSF would look anyway...


I appreciate your insight.

I'm not too concerned about the value being lessened by the fact that it's an online degree. Mostly because the programs I'm considering are both at good schools (Penn State and Michigan), and also because neither school makes any indication on transcript/diploma that it was completed online.

Also I find it difficult to not think about what adcoms will think years down the road. While I wouldn't pick a job based on pleasing them I might not do an MSF if it would preclude me. In my informal cost-benefit analysis, the cost of being precluded from being able to attend a top program would simply be too high to be justified by the benefits that an MSF would bring.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 18 Feb 2012, 13:25
bartthecartoon wrote:
chromium73 wrote:
Don't make education plans based on how you think an MBA program would view it X years down the road. Focus on doing well at work, and if you find that you need the extra education and have the time, consider it later on. I'm not sure how valuable an online MSF would look anyway...


I appreciate your insight.

I'm not too concerned about the value being lessened by the fact that it's an online degree. Mostly because the programs I'm considering are both at good schools (Penn State and Michigan), and also because neither school makes any indication on transcript/diploma that it was completed online.

Also I find it difficult to not think about what adcoms will think years down the road. While I wouldn't pick a job based on pleasing them I might not do an MSF if it would preclude me. In my informal cost-benefit analysis, the cost of being precluded from being able to attend a top program would simply be too high to be justified by the benefits that an MSF would bring.


My understanding of the MSF degree is that it helps position you for analyst-level positions in finance. If you already have a good job and plan on doing an MBA down the road, what is the value of the MSF degree? Has your employer requested you take additional courses?
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 19 Feb 2012, 18:43
chromium73 wrote:
bartthecartoon wrote:
chromium73 wrote:
Don't make education plans based on how you think an MBA program would view it X years down the road. Focus on doing well at work, and if you find that you need the extra education and have the time, consider it later on. I'm not sure how valuable an online MSF would look anyway...


I appreciate your insight.

I'm not too concerned about the value being lessened by the fact that it's an online degree. Mostly because the programs I'm considering are both at good schools (Penn State and Michigan), and also because neither school makes any indication on transcript/diploma that it was completed online.

Also I find it difficult to not think about what adcoms will think years down the road. While I wouldn't pick a job based on pleasing them I might not do an MSF if it would preclude me. In my informal cost-benefit analysis, the cost of being precluded from being able to attend a top program would simply be too high to be justified by the benefits that an MSF would bring.


My understanding of the MSF degree is that it helps position you for analyst-level positions in finance. If you already have a good job and plan on doing an MBA down the road, what is the value of the MSF degree? Has your employer requested you take additional courses?


There are a couple of reasons that I'd like to get it. I've been thinking about moving into a corporate finance position at the same company a few years down the road, and I think the MSF would help me make my case for that. Additionally, I've been taking a lot of accounting electives throughout my time and college and think I could pass the CPA exam fairly easily. I'd like to do this while the knowledge is still fresh in my head, but to become certified (in this state) requires a year of audit experience or a graduate business degree. If I get the degree now, I can get the CPA designation in case I ever decide I want to use it.
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Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA? [#permalink] New post 24 Feb 2012, 06:53
I misunderstood your concern... I thought you were going to do an MSF degree simply to look good to adcom. In fact you are worried that it will look back to adcom. Your argument for getting the MSF makes a lot of sense to me and I can't imagine you would ever be faulted for making informed decisions made to further your career.
Re: Does it make sense for me to have a master's before my MBA?   [#permalink] 24 Feb 2012, 06:53
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