Combined degrees

<p>What are these all about? How can you get a MBA in 5 years?</p>

<p>Are your referring to attending a school as an undergraduate and graduating in 5 years w/ a bachelors degree and an MBA?</p>

<p>I know that at the University of Virginia, you can graduate in 5 years from the McIntire School of Commerce w/ a bachelors degree and a Masters in Accounting or Information Technology. (This is not to be confused w/ UVa's other business school, the Darden School, which offers MBA's only through the traditional 2 year graduate route.)</p>

<p>Yes, that was exactly what I was talking about. Are there any other programs such as the one at UVA?</p>

<p>I would not recommend such a path. The whole point of an MBA is to network and to put real-life experience to the academic test. Most MBA students are in the 28-32 age group and will not really connect with a 22 year old fresh college graduate. So the networking will suffer. And since undergrads have no real-life work experience, they cannot really fully capitlize on the program's offerings.</p>

<p>Well, I wouldn't go quite that far as to not recommend that path. </p>

<p>Now let me be clear. It is obviously true that the elite MBA programs at places like HBS, Wharton, Sloan, or Chicago cater to students with strong work experience and that their strongest selling points are their crucibles of networking. It is also clearly true that these MBA programs are far far better regarded, and justifiably so, than those programs that do offer 5-year combined bachelors+MBA or a combined bachelor's + a master's degree in business.</p>

<p>But first of all, not everybody can get into the elite B-school programs. It's not like everybody who wants to attend a stud MBA program gets to go. Sometimes you gotta take what you can get. </p>

<p>Secondly, it's a bit of non-sequitur that just because you're not going to be a social fit with the students you are with, you shouldn't consider a particular program. Let me put it to you this way. If you were 22 years of age, fresh out of college with zero work experience, and Wharton offered you admission to its MBA program, would you turn it down on the grounds that you won't be a social fit with the other Wharton students or that you won't be able to fully capitalize on the program's offerings? I am well aware that it's practically impossible to get into the Wharton MBA program without work experience, but let's say that you magically got in, would you turn it down? Right, neither would I. In fact, I'd find it rare to find any 22-year-olds who'd turn such a thing down for any reason. Sure, you won't be a complete social fit. Sure, you won't get the full benefit of the networking. Sure, you won't be able to fully capitalize on the program's offerings. But so what? It's still a whole lot better than any other opportunity that most 22-year-olds without work experience have available to them. It's certainly a whole lot better than anything I had going for me when I was 22.</p>

<p>Again, that's not to say that a Wharton MBA is equivalent to one of those 5-year programs. Indeed, the Wharton MBA is worlds-away better. But the point is that just because you may be a social misfit or that you can't fully capitalize on a program because you don't have the proper work experience are not reasons by themselves that should prevent you from going, if you can get in. It's a nonsequitur to bring up such a point.</p>

<p>And besides, if we're talking about special 5-year programs, then clearly there are going to be many other students there in the same boat - young guys with zero experience. So I don't know if being a social misfit is really an issue anyway.</p>

<p>I think the REAL reason not to consider these programs is not that you won't fit in socially or that you won't be able to fully capitalize on a program's offerings, but rather, like I said before, they aren't as good as the elite MBA programs. The elite MBA programs are the cream of the crop. None of the elite programs offers a 5-year combined degree. And it is often times difficult to get into an elite MBA program if you already hold an MBA. So by taking a 5-year combined degree, you could say that you are hurting your chances of getting admitted to one of the elite MBA programs later in life. But it gets down to what I've been saying before. Some people don't feel that they will ever have a reasonable shot at getting into places like HBS or Wharton. So for these people, a combined 5-year MBA program might be right up their alley.</p>

<p>Perhaps the optimal situation is to get a 5-year combined program that gives you a master's degree in something related to business (like accounting or finance), but not an MBA per se. That way, you preserve your chances of getting into an elite MBA program later in life, should you want it. You won't have to answer awkward questions like why do you want a 2nd MBA degree.</p>

<p>I think you have to ask yourself what you want from your education. Getting a Masters in Accounting or Information Technology is very different from getting a Masters in Business Administration. Information Technology (which is basically computer science for the business world) and Accounting are very specialized while an MBA is more generalized. That's why UVa has two business schools that offer different types of masters degrees. I think both programs are great depending on your business focus.</p>

<p>I think real-world experience is a must, and I think it takes away from the experience when you don't get that experience before your mba. This is true of a lot of grad schools. Med school is one of the few where you want to go straight from undergrad, which is why accelerated programs like PLME, HPME and many others are so popular, while mba ones are not.</p>

<p>I think from the point of view from the B-school itself, real-world experience should be considered a 'must' for the purposes of admission.</p>

<p>However, from the point of view of the student, you should always take the best opportunity you can get. So if Stanford foolishly admits you into its MBA program even though you're 22 and you don't have any real-world experience, then you should probably go. I know if Stanford offered me admission to the MBA program when I was 22 without experience, I would have to think about it - think about it for about a microsecond. Sure, I'd probably not be learning as much as the other students in the Stanford MBA program because I don't have work experience. But so what? It's still far better than anything else I could have been doing when I was 22. </p>

<p>So you're right in the sense that the Stanford Graduate School of Business should not have admitted me. But if they stupidly do so, then I would be a fool not to take it. If somebody on the street gives you $1000 that you don't deserve, no strings attached., you would be a fool to turn it down.</p>