Thanks beforehand for the time and effort you will put into reading, reflecting upon, and answering this post.
I have been working abroad in Europe for several months and have gained some great work experience. It is a start-up company that is just getting off the ground. My role has largely dealt with the firm’s plans for the American market, so my lack of French skills hasn’t been an issue career-wise. That is now changing, however, as we leave the preliminary changes of the company’s life cycle and the firm becomes a true going-concern. This means that I will have to learn French to continue my advancement. As much as they can, the owners have indicated I will have a new salaried position upon my return to Europe provided I am fluent. In the meantime, I will continue to work for this firm essentially on a consulting basis, as there are still some minor issues that will arise from time to time for which they will need my assistance. I cannot support myself over there on intermittent consulting earnings and so have returned to the United States to learn French for the several months it will likely take until I am fluent.
How do adcoms view post-baccalaureate degrees? I realize everything is in context, but, all things equal, would it be best to a) formally matriculate at a university to earn a BA in French or b) learn French autodidactically? In either case, I will continue to work for the European firm and plan to list the same my CV, although I will make clear my new role. My concern is that if I earn the BA, it will appear as if I am not working too hard for the European company (which, in all honesty, will probably be the case for --- per the above --- without French there is not much more I can do for them, maybe 5-10 hours/week).
At the same time, however, could this work to my advantage? You see, I am a 2005 grad and very aware that some of the top schools (yes, I am a "top school or bust" kinda guy) are trending downward in desired WE. Would a year off from working reduce my WE in turn or, when we speak of WE, do we basically mean “time since bachelor graduation?” The amount of consulting work I will be doing during this period is insignificant enough not to list on my CV if it means I will have 4 years of WE instead of 5 when I apply this fall. If I pursue the BA, I will be a full-time student and my CV will reflect that accordingly, with or without the consulting entry*. If I do not pursue the BA, I will surely keep the consulting on my CV (don’t want to make it look like I am eating cheetos all day
) and just learn French on my own. Is this problematic?
Would the BA be a beneficial counter to the BS I have already earned? To reinforce my right brain strengths and differentiate my candidacy from that of the majority of b-school applicants? How would the post-bac grades impact the GPA of the original bachelor degree? Would adcoms take a cumulative on all my bachelor work (both the BS and BA) or will they disregard the post-bac grades (even though it will be a bachelor degree and not graduate study which, as you have pointed out elsewhere in this forum, is known for easier grading).
Appreciate your help.
*If I avoid the consulting entry will it look like I am going back to school to avoid work? I think it would be clear enough the post-bac is career-related; it's not like I am going back for English Lit.