The Tuesday Q&A: Master’s Before an MBA?

QUESTION:

I’m 23 years old with one year of work experience. I really want to get an MBA, but I know that my lack of work experience will be a problem for my applications. Would it help for me to get a Master’s in Finance now and apply for b-school in 2013? Is that going to be appealing to the admissions committee?

ANSWER:

Thanks for the question, man. And this is one we see quite often around here, so I’m happy to clear it aaaall up.

And the answer to this question is no.

Nope, getting another Master’s degree before you apply for an MBA is not going to help your chances. In fact, it may only make things more difficult for ya. Because now you not only have to impress the adcoms with your essays and background and all that other stuff that goes into a b-school application, but you also have to prove why you need a second Master’s degree.  And that’s not the easiest case to make.

Plus, business schools want people who they know are going to be successful. And how do they predict that? By looking at your previous experience. If you don’t have anything to show them besides a few degrees, how could they know that you’re capable of being a good manager who is going to do big and awesome things in the future?

Answer: they don’t.

Instead of spending another year or two (not to mention all the money) in school, why not put your energy into getting more work experience? Take on (and crush) new projects, lead teams, develop your management skills… That’s the sort of thing that’s going to help you get into business school (and, for the record, also help you succeed after business school).

I know you really want to go back to school, but give yourself some time. You’re young, dude, you’ve got plenty of it! Use this time wisely now to gain experience and build your profile. That’ll make your application process go a whole lot smoother, and also make business school more meaningful for ya down the road.

Good luck at work.

— Jon Frank

Do Not Pass Go. Do Not Apply in Round 3.