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Switching from Architecture to Business (Finance/Accounting) at 23?

gaust024gaust024 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
Hey guys, I'm a 23 year old architectural intern who just recently graduated early this spring with a Bachelor's of Design in Architecture. After working in a large firm for a few months, I've realized that I'm not really that happy at my job, and cannot see myself doing this for my whole life. I enjoyed architecture school as an undergrad, I had the chance to be creative and design some cool things, but I just don't envision myself working in this field. I didn't apply to a M.Arch program because I wasn't sure I wanted to do this for my entire life. In the most recent years I've felt pressured to pursue a creative career, but there were countless times in architecture school where I thought to myself, "Am I doing the right thing? Will I be happy doing this for the rest of my life?" I've had doubts about architecture from the very beginning, I guess. It's been really stressful for me for the past few weeks, but I'm really glad that I'm figuring this stuff out right now when I'm still young.

Recently I've been doing some research on financial careers (both of my parents work in finance, and I have always been interested in it). My father is a financial advisor and I've always found his job to be interesting. Helping people manage their money and helping them save for retirement interests me, as well as investment strategies, risk management, stocks, portfolios, etc.

In regards to my undergraduate classes, I took short calc, intro microeconomics, intro macroeconomics, intro psychology, and intro stats my freshman and sophomore year. The rest of my classes were other general requirements and architecture classes.

Right now I would love some feedback on what you guys think my next steps should be in order to pursue a career in finance. I'm currently living at home right now with my parents, and I'm making decent money at my job, so I'll be able to save up some good money this year.

Will I be able to return to school and pursue a bachelor's degree in finance less than 4 years? Will my general credits transfer so I can really just focus on finance/accounting? Would I be able to still work at my job and go to school (night classes)?

I would appreciate any information/advice that you guys have!!

Replies to: Switching from Architecture to Business (Finance/Accounting) at 23?

  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,428 Forum Champion
    First, I might try to give architecture a bit more time. Often entry level jobs at any career are pretty dull.

    And I'd probably look into MBA programs rather than getting a second bachelor's degree.

    The choice of if you want to work and go to night school or stop work and go to a full time program is your decision.
  • gaust024gaust024 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    My mom also told me to just get my MBA if I want to pursue finance. I'm hesitant to go that route because I feel like I wouldn't be at the same education level as other students-I haven't taken any accounting or finance classes. The only classes I took in my undergrad that would be applicable to this area is calc, microeconomics, macroeconomics, intro psychology, and intro stats. I'm not familiar with MBA programs, do they typically accept students from vastly different areas of study?

    I'm not making any quick decisions right now, I plan on working in the architecture field for maybe a year, but I also plan on reading up and researching finance, economics, accounting, investing in my free time.

    I'm just trying to figure out what makes the most sense (time-wise and financially). Also, I've heard that having some work experience before applying to a MBA program is often more worthwhile, as students get more out of the classes... But I'm weighing both options: MBA or bachelors degree.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,428 Forum Champion
    edited October 2015
    You don't need a business degree or any background in business to pursue a MBA -- people come with all type of undergraduate degrees and job histories (ex. engineers, English majors etc.). You should be able to take all of the introductory business coursework you need as part of a MBA program. Look online at the admission requirements and the curriculum at schools you may consider down the road to confirm this is true. I'd strongly suggest the MBA route as getting two BS degrees won't look nearly a good as a BS and MBA when you look for jobs.
  • gaust024gaust024 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    I'll do some research on some MBA programs around my area. I was under the impression that all MBA students have bachelors degrees in business related fields... But this must not be the case!

    Thanks so much for your responses, I appreciate it.
  • GoingConcernGoingConcern Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    Just keep in mind that graduate level courses assume a solid background in that field. You're going to be working a *lot* harder to even be middle-of-the-pack than anyone with an accounting/finance background. You'll need to be teaching yourself stuff you're supposed to already know, while simultaneously keeping up with everything else.

    I think you'd absolutely have to leave work and go full-time to school. Playing catch-up while working just seems almost impossible.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,428 Forum Champion
    edited October 2015
    ^^^^I disagree. Master's degrees in some disciplines (ex. engineering, nursing) do require prior knowledge in the field. However, graduate school courses in a MBA program do not assume prior business knowledge. I have worked in the business world for 30 years and know many people who have gone into very good MBA programs with no business background and had no issues (ex. an engineer, an IT programmer, a liberal arts major). If a person enters a MBA program with a business background he/she may be able to waive out of some classes, but introductory classes are available. And there are definitely part time evening MBA programs -- it will just take longer to complete the degree if a person goes part time.
  • GoingConcernGoingConcern Registered User Posts: 19 Junior Member
    I assumed you meant an MBA with a focus in finance. Not sure how a general MBA from some local university is going to yield any headway into working in finance whatsoever.
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,428 Forum Champion
    edited October 2015
    I have friends and co-workers who got MBAs in finance at top schools including Wharton and Harvard with no undergrad business background (including engineers, liberal arts major, and a flyer in Air Force) and they were all just fine. My brother got his MBA in finance at UChicago with an engineering background (not one undergrad class in business or even economics and his work experience was 100% engineering) and he had no problems. Look at the curriculum for any MBA program and it includes introductory coursework. MBA programs are interested in getting people from other disciplines who want to add business to their core of knowledge.

    As one example scroll to the bottom of this Wharton (where my H and I went) class profile. As you can see the majority of students do not have business backgrounds.
    http://mba.wharton.upenn.edu/admissions/class-profile/

    Anyway at this point we are beyond the scope of the question asked by the OP. The OP should check into programs he/she is interested in and see what the requirements for admission are and what the curriculum is like.
  • gaust024gaust024 Registered User Posts: 9 New Member
    Thanks for all the info. I've been looking at various MBA programs around the Twin Cities. Carlson School of Management, in particular. I had a lot of friends in college that studied accounting, marketing, and supply chain operations, and they all loved Carlson's programs.

    I'm thinking of finding some finance/accounting community night classes that I can attend after work. I feel like this will give me the basic knowledge I need for a finance career. My parents have also been very supportive in my switch. My dad has been a financial advisor for many years and I really respect what he does for people, and I always love talking to him about his job. My mom works for Fidelity and has had a pretty successful financial career. Right now my plans are to learn as much as I can from them, and to start connecting with their contacts to learn more about the field. Once I've saved up some money I'll apply to a good MBA program (probably in 2 years or so).

    Thanks again for your feedback. It is very much appreciated!
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 23,428 Forum Champion
    Sounds like you have a good plan. It is not a bad idea to take a couple of night classes in business locally before you commit to going back to school just to be sure you are interested in the field.
    Best of luck.
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