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I have a bachelor's degree in computer science, also a minor in business management. And I have been working as a software engineer for about 6 years for a small company. I always thought of going back to school for a MBA but I was unsure what to do after that. Working in the corporate world didn't really motivate me. I postponed my decision and now I am close to mid-30's. But recently I felt the need to change my career and I realized that I have been always interested in organizational behavior, especially in leadership, organization change, motivation, multi-culture challenges. And now I am considering a MBA-PhD path and join the academia world to research, teach and/or work as a consultant.
As I researched about PhD, I have learned that there are several things I am lacking. And for these reasons, I am thinking a MBA will help me prepare to be a better PhD applicant.
- Good GPA (undergraduate gpa is low 3.0's) => Get a good gpa in MBA program - Research Experience => Find research opportunities with faculties - Writing Papers (undergraduate as much as possbile avoided class with writing assignments) What can I do??? English is not my native language. - Knowledge in Economics and Statistics (undergraduate took basic economics and statistics) Take upper classes??? - Faculty who can write a LOR => network to build relationship with faculties
While in MBA, I would read academic journals and contact faculties in other universities who has the same interest in research as I do. Earlier the better???
One thing I no control over is my age. By the time I begin my MBA I will be somewhere between 35-36 of age. And if I can get into a PhD program, I will be done around 40-41 of age.
I would appreciate if anyone, especially someone in the same situation, give me any advice on how I can prepare for a PhD program, whether MBA is a good path to prepare for it, and any concern with my age perusing a PhD program.
An MBA is generally considered a terminal degree, in that you don't pursue any more education after you get it. The more common route would be to get an MS in Management or Organizational Behaviour simultaneously with a PhD (many PhD programs will require you either have a Masters or get a Masters in concert with the PhD). The reason the MS will prepare you better is because the MBA is not a research degree and requires you to write exactly ZERO papers. You will not be winning any points with a PhD program with the MBA vs. the Masters and it could potentially even hurt you since you may be perceived as someone who didn't know what they were doing (because if you were serious about an academic career, you'd take a more academic, vs. practical or tactical approach to education. The MBA is designed to give you these practical skills that can be put to good use in the "real world." So in short, I would highly recommend you apply to a MS/PhD program that interests you. You will have a much better approach to a career in academia if you do.
I believe it was University of Michigan, the Business PhD program requires student to take some MBA classes if you don't have a MBA. I got an impression that some Business PhD programs will still see MBA as a step towards PhD program. So I was thinking of doing MBA with emphasis in OB to get background in management and organizational Behavior. But as you pointed out, unless I find opportunities to work with the faculty I might not get enough research experience...
Is there any MBA program that also have PhD prep track?
bryantmichaels' advice is generally good, but I do have to point out that there are many many faculty with MBA's on their resume. Hopefully this will be of some use. It is related to finance, but is very representative.
You could apply to some of the better M.S. programs. If you are admitted to a good M.S. program and you still like the idea of a Ph.D., express interest in their Ph.D. program after the first semester.