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Would an MBA be feasible and useful for a paralegal?

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Joined: 23 Jan 2011
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Would an MBA be feasible and useful for a paralegal? [#permalink]

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New post 23 Jan 2011, 23:46
I'm 27 and a current corporate paralegal at a small law firm. 3.4 GPA from Ivy (starts with a B), haven't taken the GMAT yet. Have 3.5 years of work experience and could get good recommendations highlighting my project and office management experience (albeit as a paralegal). I had been planning on attending law school since graduating college, but after working in a law firm I'm realizing that I need something more, with both income and responsibility growth potential, and the paralegal track doesn't really provide this. Secondly, being an attorney doesn't appeal to me as much as being a consultant or manager (operations or HR are my interests); perhaps for a law firm, given my experience, but also perhaps for a smaller "green" business. Thirdly, recent data have shown that being an attorney simply doesn't provide satisfactory ROI unless you go to a top-14 law school, and even then, most hate the profession and burn out after 5-10 years. My GPA simply isn't good enough to let me get into a top-14.

So, all that in mind, my two questions are as follows:

(a) would getting an MBA (it would have to be through a part-time program as I don't want to accrue any more debt; I already have enough from undergrad) would prove beneficial to me as a current paralegal looking to change careers? I'm admittedly a non-traditional applicant; I don't work as a manager for a successful local company, like many getting MBA. I'm wondering if an MBA would in any way open doors for me.

(b) would I be competitive for a local part-time MBA program (University of WA or Seattle U)?

The bigger question is (a), but if the responses to (a) are favorable (i.e., yes, it would open doors), then I'd obviously be interested in answers to (b), particularly what I could do to enhance my candidature.

If the answer to (a) is that an MBA wouldn't prove worthwhile, then I'd be interested in what alternatives I might pursue at this point.

Thanks, all.
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Re: Would an MBA be feasible and useful for a paralegal? [#permalink]

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New post 24 Jan 2011, 20:29
If you're looking to change careers, then an MBA is a great professional degree to earn. There are several questions you'll have to answer going into an MBA, both for yourself and for the admissions committees.

1. Why an MBA and why now? I'm a career changer too, and answering that question well (i.e. have well articulated career goals) is key to making AdComs understand that you'll make a positive contribution both as a student and by furthering their brand as a professional.

2. That you have a significant contribution to make as a student. I don't know much about paralegal work, but my, likely ignorant, assumption is that you don't have actual the managerial or leadership experience since graduation. Highlighting the project and office management experience you mentioned will be important.

To answer your questions:

a. An MBA from a name brand school will definitely help you switch careers. You'll have access to your school's alumni network and recruiting infrastructure, which will help you find a place to work. Schools want you to be successful. Undergraduate schools, perhaps especially Ivies, aren't as concerned with your career placement and advancement. There, you're one of many students and the Ivy brand is already well established.

b. I can't speak too much about UW or Seattle U, but in general, admissions standards at part-time programs are more lenient than at full-time programs. As an example, per Business Week's MBA rankings, there are 217 full-time MBA students at Washington and 290 part-time students (link below). The average GMAT was 645 for the part-time program and 681 for the full-time program. In other words, there are more students, with somewhat lower standards, and a smaller potential pool of applicants (local professionals vice worldwide). Part-time programs are a cash cow for schools, because they don't need to add much to create a program while charging the same rate as a full-time program. If you can answer the leadership and career vision questions successfully (and score well on the GMAT), you should definitely be competitive. ... ngton.html
Re: Would an MBA be feasible and useful for a paralegal?   [#permalink] 24 Jan 2011, 20:29
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Would an MBA be feasible and useful for a paralegal?

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