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Undergrad Senior Honors Thesis?

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Undergrad Senior Honors Thesis? [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2010, 00:54
I am currently a Senior at a top 10 undergraduate university, and starting next year will be working as an analyst at a bulge bracket investment bank. After working at the bank for two years (as most analysts do), I will most likely either go straight to business school or work in another industry (private equity, etc.) for a year or two and then go to business school. Obviously I have no idea what else will come up, and there is a decent chance that I do not end up going to business school at all. I have a good GPA (approx. 3.7 - probably Cum Laude) and have not yet taken the GMAT (I'm taking it in April) but I did comparatively well on the SAT etc. so hopefully if I study enough I will score well.

I have a very specific question - I am considering writing a senior honors thesis, which would allow me to graduate with distinction (same thing as honors) in Economics. I am wondering if the benefits outweigh the costs as far as B-school admissions are concerned.

It would certainly mean a great deal of added stress and work (especially considering I already have a job) which I would prefer to avoid. However, if business schools view this kind of thing as a possible "difference-maker" in choosing candidates, I would certainly consider putting in the time. Do you think that top business schools will see a senior thesis as extra proof that I am hard-working and intellectually motivated, or will it really not make much of a difference in 2-5 years from now? Other than the the recognition of receiving "distinction" I don't think I would get a whole lot of personal satisfaction out of the process, so MBA admissions' view of senior theses in general is a critical factor in my decision. Any comments are welcome.

Thanks!
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Re: Undergrad Senior Honors Thesis? [#permalink] New post 20 Dec 2010, 10:25
Graduating with distinction in Econ will definitely get you noticed as an MBA applicant. However, you must weigh the added stress against the small advantage it may provide. If your work experience is strong, your GPA is in the cum laude range, and your GMAT score is competitive then you will be a strong applicant anyway. I wish I could give you a black or white answer but it really boils down to the price of the thesis on the rest of your life. Will writing it cause your work or your GPA to suffer? If so, then it's probably not worth it.
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