Clark U: Help deciding which accelerated BA/MA program to apply to

I’m applying to transfer to Clark U and I’m interested in their fifth year free BA/MA program. Out of their undergraduate programs I would pick from:
Management (The most practical one)
Economics (Keeping on the table because could be paired well with one of the other ones, being somewhere between mgmt and polysci)
Political Science (The most interesting sounding one)

Out of the accelerated grad programs, these are the ones I’m interested in.
MS in Finance
MA in Public Administration
MA in International Development and Social Change.

I haven’t been admitted yet, but I’ve been admitted to similarly competitive schools already so I’m looking to get a headstart on brain-storming. I’m not 100% sure what kind of career I want to be in, but I could be interested in going into Investment Banking of some sort, or perhaps working for something like the Federal Reserve, SEC, or perhaps even getting into campaign mgmt/lobbying.

A few misc comments:

  • I feel like I’ve read time and time again that if you’re at a non-target school, you should go for a MSF>MBA because it makes you stand out more. MSF would probably more marketable than a MPA or MIDSC as well.
  • At the same time, I question the value of the accelerated masters period. Will having a masters make me ineligible for applying to top executive MBA programs if a job wants me to have it or if I want a bit more on my resume than a degree from a non-target school?

Anyways guys, input is appreciated. Whether it’s on Clark, or Accelerated Masters, or which of these combinations would you pick?

I’m leaning towards:

Economics may be the best overall hedge for your particular career aspirations. I would prefer the odds of getting into politics with a BA Econ, over getting into IB/finance with a BA Political Science. Econ won’t eliminate entry into campaign management or lobbying. Economic issues are usually front and center in most campaigns, plus fundraising is a huge necessity in campaign man’t. Many lobbyists, too, have a particular area of expertise within business/industry, so an econ background can be beneficial. Clark also has a PhD program in econ which may channel some quality to the BA. And I believe Clark has a Washington program, for internships, so you probably wouldn’t need to be a poli sci major to take advantage of that (through econ policy, etc).

Investment banks do hire grads from a wide variety of majors, but you’d probably want to tack on a quantitative minor (econ/math/stats) to keep your finance career options alive, if you went with poli sci. Note that econ minors often require most of the quantitative courses that you’d take in a major.

A management program in undergrad is questionable to me, as is an MBA in your 20’s. Jumping the cue a bit. There’s a reason why top MBA programs require years of work experience. I’m not sure why students want to learn how to manage during their undergrad years, without first gaining more technical, specialized expertise that will allow them to ascend into those management positions more easily, and be more effective once there. Just my take.

The MSF won’t nullify an MBA, later on. Not sure about the other master’s programs. Probably not. As long as the master’s is more or less specialized. Anyway, you might want to hold off on planning a master’s route until your career interests come into focus a bit more. Note that the MSF would require significant quant skills.

History is also a good option for careers in politics/policy/law. Clark offers relatively few doctoral programs, with history being one, so (like econ) you might find some spillover for research opportunities, course offerings, faculty expertise, etc. The History Dep’t seems to offer quite a few courses. I prefer history over political science for the analytical capabilities it brings, organizing information, being faithful to source material, etc.

How is your math?

First of all, thanks for responding to the long post! I’ll try to respond in bulletpoint to make it more clear.

  • My algebra/arithmetic is fine, but I'm suffering because my lack of trigonometric skills make life difficult in calculus. Fortunately, I've read that you're fine as long as you understand derivatives/instantaneous rate of change.

-The Accelerated MSF at Clark curriculum is here:

I’ve already taken accounting (at most other schools I applied to their finance major). Economics or Mgmt would probably prepare me best for the subject matter in the Accelerated MSF. Without it, I’m not really interested in attending clark to be honest.

Econ is probably better than mgmt for the MSF unless you added some math electives. Anyway, if a career in politics/policy is on the table, I’d question whether the MSF would be ideal. It seems overly quantitative and might narrow your options. If that’s true, the PS+MSF could be risky in that the econ/finance skill set you’re getting is limiting. Econ+MPA might give you the breadth and direction that you need. Having said that, you have to consider whether econ is for you. Many students that prefer the practical side of things find economics overly abstract. A minor in econ is better for some students, while some even prefer to minor in math/stats to keep their banking/finance options open.

What other schools have you applied to/been accepted?

I’ve applied to a lot of schools, too many probably, but I’ve been accepted to URI and Drexel so far. No rejections or waitlists. Both as a finance major.

Aside from Clark, I was figuring I’d get an undergraduate degree in finance, go into the workforce for a few years (as one should) and then make a decision from there about which graduate degree to get. If I’m working in banking or something like that, I could get a MSF or MBA, and if I get into politics I could go for a polysci/govt/public administration degree, or maybe even economics, but I don’t know if economics gets too theoretical at the graduate level. I was trying not to worry about it too much just yet.

For Clark, I was mostly drawn by the 5th yr free masters program. I wanted to have that on the table as a sort of financial safety.

I think you’re right about PS+MSF. An accelerated MSF from a non-target is probably not going to be enough to break into a finance career, but would leave me with just specific enough of a skillset for it to be inapplicable to other things.

Yes, working for a few years to narrow your interests is a great plan. The 5th year free at Clark can be a bonus, but it can nudge you in the wrong direction if you haven’t pinned down your goals. Under the circumstances, I’d wait to see all of your school options (and costs) before favoring a Clark academic program.

Definitely. I mean I got into drexel with some pretty decent aid, and they have the co op program which would be a good way of getting my foot in the door anyways.

Is the fifth year really free? If so then I think any free degree is worthwhile getting. A MSF or one in Econ would never be a waste in my opinion if it is free.

My son who is considering accounting needs the fifth year just to site for the CPA exam. Business schools typically offer a 4+1 program where you can begin to take some grad level courses your senior year and then continue during the summer to finish up that following year.

I take it Clark offers that last +1 year free? That is a huge bonus. My son is looking at a $70K+ bill for that last year. That would be close to the full $80K undergrad scholarship many receive.

I say take the free masters degree.

It’ll depend on how much fin aid I get for the other years. I’ve been centering my courses towards a business-finance degree so I’m sure Clark would be 2.5 more years for undergraduate so I’ll have to take that into consideration.

That’s the full list of options for the accelerated masters degrees.

I got rejected from Clark so I don’t need to worry about this anymore lol.