Business heir pursuing MBA

Hi. I am undergrad business major at ranked 50-60 college (US News).
I am also potential heir of my father’s company.
I am currently taking a leave and working for the company, and I have gained much enlightenment during my time here.
One of them is that I am far from being qualified to be a chief or a manager, and that’s when I realized, I need MBA.
I wish to get into top programs that can provide, not just desk theory, but hands-on experiences based learnings.
My stance is at where, in about ten years, I will fully inherit not only the shares but also the management power.
And, by that time, I will have to be able to not only manage the company but also expand it further into more industries.

With such purposes,
so my question is that, regarding the work experience requirements for MBA,
should I try to gain some experience outside my firm as pre-MBA experience
or should I just stay in the firm?
Which would result in better chance at getting into the top programs?
And by ‘experience outside the firm,’ I’m thinking consulting or VC, as I think those line of work align with what I will probably be doing.
Any advise you can give?

p.s. to give you the brief backdrop,
the company is soon to be IPO’d. profit about 500 mil annually. hopefully aiming to get into billion’s club.
We are currently implementing new business, and I am part of the team, building it from the ground up.

If you are part of the new business team building it from the ground up, then there is no reason for you to leave your family’s thriving business.

I 100% agree with this.

It sounds like the business is at a critical juncture, and likely needs you there. Plus, the start-up experience, IPO’ing, learning on the job from your dad cannot be replicated sitting in a classroom.

Good luck.

A few comments:

– I hope you take a moment to appreciate what a wonderful position you are in as a result of your successful family business. It sounds like you are getting wonderful work expereince and are on a pathway towards a successful future – learn from those who are at the company. You may want to work during this important juncture with an IPO coming.

–You do not “need” a top ranked MBA to successfully lead a company. In fact the best/smartest CEO my husband worked for (he has been a CFO at a few large companies) never finished college and simply worked his way up from an entry level job.

–Some level of education might help to establish yourself among other executives there and fend off whispers of nepotism. Finishing your BS degree must come before even considering a MBA. I would recommend finishing your BS at some point – if you want to keep working you may want to finish it up part-time at a school closer to home.

–To get into any top MBA program you will need the following: 1) completion of a bachelors degree with an excellent undergraduate GPA 2) very high GMAT scores (some programs now take GRE scores as well) 3) outstanding recommendations 4) strong essays 5) typically 2-5 years of meaningful work expereince with increasing responsibility. In and of itself, being “heir” to a successful business won’t get you into a top program.

–In lieu of full time MBA some top business colleges (ex. Harvard extension, Wharton executive education) offer professional development courses. And depending where you live, there are some excellent Executive MBA programs structured to allow people to work full time and attend class over the weekend/summer (Wharton, Columbia, and Yale have such programs to name but a few).

I doubt that OP would qualify for any reputable EMBA (Executive MBA) Program without substantial (typically 10 years including at least 5 years of management experience) work experience. However, much is changing in the MBA field so these guidelines may change.

Currently, several MBA programs are not requiring standardized test scores–even though the GMAT is readily available on demand during regular testing center hours.

Some programs are investigating whether or not the GMAT / GRE should be a requirement for all applicants. For example, those who have earned CPA licenses, law degrees (JD), or have in excess of 5 years of work experience may be able to apply without a standardized test score at some MBA programs.

OP: If you deal directly with the IPO folks (investment bankers, lawyers, & accountants) , you should earn an informal mini-MBA.

P.S. Another option is to enroll in an online or hybrid MBA program which should not disrupt your full-time work after completing your undergraduate degree.

@Publisher I agree with your comment. To clarify, I definitely didn’t mean now for a EMBA…I was thinking years down the road it may be a good way to mix work and getting a MBA. The OP has not even finished his/her bachelors degree, hasn’t gained nearly enough work experience, hasn’t taken the GRE/GMAT etc. Just trying to present some long-term options to try and expand his/her thinking.

I’ll offer a contrarian point of view.

The practical MBA curriculum may or may not be helpful to the OP if he’s getting hands on learning in operations, supply chain, managerial accounting, etc. BUT-- back in the dark ages (and with no business owners in my family) I found the theoretical work REALLY helpful. Monetary policy, labor economics, advanced techniques in market research-- none of which I’ve had to DO in my career, but all of which are really additive when you have to deal with relevant issues. Your raw materials come from China or Peru… how do you think about currency risk? There’s legislation in your state to mandate a $15/hour minimum wage- is this a good thing or a bad thing for your company (a lot of times it’s good even if you initially think it’s bad). Someone shows you focus group results which show your product is believed to be inferior to the competition… and yet your market share remains constant- why?

There are a lot of obvious tools you learn in business school and a lot of things which aren’t tools per se but are powerful ways of answering questions and dealing with ambiguity.

And the network… your classmates turned into colleagues who will end up in banking, the airline industry, ad agency, insurance, consumer products, retail, credit card, transportation… if someone is at a strong undergrad business program they may already have that…but it’s nice to know you can get a quick (and free) answer to a question from a buddy when you are stuck.

Some top tier MBA schools have part time MBA programs, i.e., Wharton, Haas, etc. Admissions requirements are still high but a little less stringent than the full time programs.

Chicago-Booth & Northwestern-Kellogg offer part-time MBA programs with admit rates above 50%.

For one in OP’s situation, an online MBA might be the best option.