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Science Major Wanting to go to Business School

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Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 30 Oct 2012, 20:40
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Hey all,

I just wanted some advice on my situation since I'm in a very interesting one.

I was a science major in college specifically Chemistry. Initially, I wanted to go to med school or pharmacy school, but now I've decided that I want to go to business school instead. Helping to manage companies and projects really fascinates me. I want to go into consulting after business school.

My gpa in undergrad was a 2.8. I know it's terrible! How can I mitigate this? I'm planning on taking some courses at the local community college in accounting, finance and stats. Is there anything else I can do? Should I get a masters?

Also, I'm not sure what business-related jobs I could get with my degree. I've been trying for a few months and haven't had much luck. So there's another reason for getting a masters. But I'm not sure what I would get it in..maybe like biotech/business, accounting or engineering.

I know I have to take the GMAT sometime. I took the GRE and got a 1360 on the old scale which is around a 670 GMAT.

Is there anything else I can do to help my chances? I'm aiming at the Top 20-35 schools.

Thanks all!
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2012, 08:17
A good GMAT can help to compensate for a low GPA. Another big part of MBA admissions is work experience and the only advice that I could give is don't limit yourself to the pharmaceutics/healthcare industry. Simply search for the job that will provide the best experience. It would also be wise to get involved in extra-curricular activities or community service if you have time.
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 01 Nov 2012, 08:49
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Greetings cavalier2012,

A very interesting situation indeed. I am actually traveling the same path. I graduated in 2008 with a B.S. in Chemistry. I always figured I would go back to school for a Masters or PhD in the sciences, but after working in industry for a few years I found that business and management really interested me.

First off, make sure that you really want to get an MBA. Don't just do it because you don't like where you currently are with your Chemistry degree. Pursuing an MBA poses some significant costs. You really have to be sure it will pay off for you. If you're coming from a non-traditional background the pay off is much less certain than for a traditional MBA candidate.

It sounds like you have a vague idea of what you want to do:

"initially, I wanted to go to med school or pharmacy school, but now I've decided that I want to go to business school instead. Helping to manage companies and projects really fascinates me. I want to go into consulting after business school."

So what changed? Did you just sour on the idea of pharmacy school or did you get some management experience that made you want to pursue an MBA. Admissions people are going to be interested in this. If you're not getting real work experience and you're just kinda flip-flopping back and forth between what graduate degree you're gonna get, they will notice and it will probably hurt you.

If you really want to go into project management and/or consulting eventually, I would strongly urge you to try and seek out some type of work experience related to this BEFORE you get an MBA. Make sure that's actually what you want to do.

Further, it's sometimes hard for us science types to really understand that an MBA doesn't change you like a graduate program in Chemistry or Physics will. Grad programs in Science actually put you into the upper tier of the Scientist hierarchy. You learn lots of hard, applicable skills. I think, and someone correct me if I'm wrong, that an MBA is much more about soft skills and networking. If you come out of a program with an MBA degree and no work experience in the field you're trying to get into, I imagine you will find that there are some significant barriers to entry.

I really sympathize with your position because I was where you are about a year ago. I was frustrated with my job and I knew I wanted to go back to school but I didn't know for what. I had soured on grad school for science, and looked at a business degree but didn't know if it was right. What really helped me was seeking out scientists that had gone back for an MBA and were working. In talking to them I really got a feeling for what pursing an MBA would mean and where it would lead me. You should do the same, seek some people out and make sure it's a fit. And I'll stress the work experience thing one more time to drive the point home: try to get business/management experience at your job or find a job with such experience. Doing this will really help clarify whether or not business and management is right for you.

Once you've got some experience under your belt and you know an MBA degree is right for you, the admissions stuff will fall into place. You'll have an admissions story about why an MBA is right for you because you actually had to investigate it. Then just study hard for your GMAT and get a good score and write some really thoughtful essays and you should be good. Your GPA isn't the best but you have a bit of a cushion because you were in the sciences. But you can always take some courses or explain it away. Having the awesome GMAT score would really help you there as well.

I hope I haven't been too repetitive and have helped answer some of your questions. Feel free to ask more if you have any.

Last edited by chemba on 02 Nov 2012, 08:15, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 02 Nov 2012, 03:41
For me it's interesting that you've switched from science to business :) it's kind of refreshing!
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 08 Dec 2012, 19:18
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cavalier2012 wrote:
Hey all,

I just wanted some advice on my situation since I'm in a very interesting one.

I was a science major in college specifically Chemistry. Initially, I wanted to go to med school or pharmacy school, but now I've decided that I want to go to business school instead. Helping to manage companies and projects really fascinates me. I want to go into consulting after business school.

My gpa in undergrad was a 2.8. I know it's terrible! How can I mitigate this? I'm planning on taking some courses at the local community college in accounting, finance and stats. Is there anything else I can do? Should I get a masters?

Also, I'm not sure what business-related jobs I could get with my degree. I've been trying for a few months and haven't had much luck. So there's another reason for getting a masters. But I'm not sure what I would get it in..maybe like biotech/business, accounting or engineering.

I know I have to take the GMAT sometime. I took the GRE and got a 1360 on the old scale which is around a 670 GMAT.

Is there anything else I can do to help my chances? I'm aiming at the Top 20-35 schools.

Thanks all!



Your situation definitely isn't unique. In addition to the others who replied to this post, I was also in your same situation. I was in a top 15 PhD program for the biological sciences and decided I didn't want to be doing lab work for the next 10+ years of my life (and after that do nothing but grant writing. Here is what I did. After leaving the program I took a job in sales... worked hard, applied myself, and rose quickly in responsibility and salary. Now I feel very confident in my chances of making it into a top B School. It is about having a coherent set of goals and so provided that you can show how your past experiences are providing a valuable scaffold that, combined with an MBA, will help you get to the next level you should be able to do well.

As others have suggested crushing the GMAT would help make up for a GPA deficiency. You are also on the right track by creating an alternative transcript and showing that you have the intellect for graduate level coursework. With regards to the master's degree, I wouldn't pursue that unless you can somehow tie it in to your ultimate goal. You don't want the AdComs thinking you just went around willy nilly doing whatever happened to catch your attention at any given moment.

I hope this helps.
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 24 Jul 2013, 23:06
Another science major thinking of going into business here.

For me, I want to get out of the lab setting because I'm tired of the chemicals. But like the original poster mentioned, I don't know how to even begin accumulating experience. I guess I should just jump into sales like lahai1dj mentioned and start developing that experience. I imagine sales is the easiest way of getting business related experience without the business degree.
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2013, 07:34
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animanga008 wrote:
Another science major thinking of going into business here.

For me, I want to get out of the lab setting because I'm tired of the chemicals. But like the original poster mentioned, I don't know how to even begin accumulating experience. I guess I should just jump into sales like lahai1dj mentioned and start developing that experience. I imagine sales is the easiest way of getting business related experience without the business degree.


I believe you are right about sales being the easiest way into a business setting. For one, traditional sales people are too impatient and non-technical to learn the material required for a highly technical field like chemicals and biotechnology. And, traditional scientists are too poor at communications to do any sort of sales or deal with the pressure of making a quota. Therefore if you work at doing both, you are the needle in a haystack, and with a little experience you can earn >$100,000/ year even without an MBA (it took me 1.5 years of experience).

There are two other positions that require lots of technical knowledge you may consider (and that may be an easier first step): Service Engineer and Application Scientist/Engineer (aka Product Specialists).

Service Engineers visit customer sites to repair damaged instruments and get users back into production. Application Scientists/ Engineers do this too and are often also involved in pre-sales and marketing work with the Sales Representative.

All three of these are customer facing positions and therefore good for building your network and preparing you for business school (and other customer facing positions you'll be applying for after B School). I hope this helps!
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2013, 16:43
Do you know personally if those engineer positions are usually reserved for people with phds?
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School [#permalink] New post 25 Jul 2013, 18:42
animanga008 wrote:
Do you know personally if those engineer positions are usually reserved for people with phds?



With the economy being so poor many places can be picky enough to hire only PhDs, but I'd say only half of them (i.e. Application Engineers/Scientists) actually are filled by PhDs. I'm speaking for biotech only. Also, Field Service Engineers are more junior and rarely are filled by PhDs.

You should subscribe to Ed's Job List. It is focused on the Life Sciences, but it has many chemical positions too. At the least you'll be able to read the job descriptions and get a better idea of what employers are looking for.

http://www.edsjoblist.com/
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Re: Science Major Wanting to go to Business School   [#permalink] 25 Jul 2013, 18:42
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