MBA right after undergrad?

Im a second semester freshman (sophomore standing, I will be graduating a year early) and Im interested in pursuing my MBA I know usually people wait a couple of years and then go back but I want to do it now. Ive heard a lot of people say to wait because I need the real world knowledge to apply the concepts. I understand the logic behind waiting but my reason for pursuing my MBA is because I want to start my own business and think that the higher level concepts and resources I would option from a highly ranked school would help me be more successful. I’m currently working on a business that I think will be a good start for me and that I can slowly grow over the next couple of years. Im asking now bc the timeline Im on would require me to start taking the GRE/ GMat next year. I am looking into more fresh out of college programs like NYU Stern and Yale SOM. So what do you guys think? Am I being dumb or do you think this is a good idea? People do +1 programs in undergrad all the time so am I just overthinking?

One idea would be starting the business without the degree, read books on entrepreneurship, find mentors with similar businesses.

Another idea is a MS in Management instead of an MBA.


I was considering the MS as well bc the programs can sometimes be only a year. I still have a lot of thinking to do

I had one year of corporate experience before starting an MBA and it was a mistake. Not a fatal mistake- I’ve had a terrific career-- but I did not get as much out of the program as I would have if I’d stayed at my job for a second year.

It’s not just being able to apply what you are learning although that’s a big part of it. But the other piece of an MBA program is the networking and the “meet and greets”. Corporate CEO’s come to give talks, VC’s come to campus to talk about “what every entrepreneur needs to know to get funded”, Private Equity honchos show up to do a Q&A on “what’s the difference between a great company which is experiencing temporary softness in their results, vs. a formerly great company which is heading down the drain”. You get chosen to work on a cool project for one of the visiting CEO’s- great-- then what?

You’ll be what- 20? With zero work experience? Half of what they talk about will go in one ear and out the other. If you get accepted there’s no question you can do the academic work- but are you going to get as much out of these informal learning experiences as you could with two years of work experience under your belt?

Launch your business if that’s what you think you want to do. Or get a job at an actual company. B school will still be there!!! I was on a fantastic group assignment for a class on entrepreneurship and thank goodness the other students on the team were 4-10 years older than I was…I was book smart, but not street smart.


Just for context I got my MBA from the Anderson School at UCLA.

My advice is to wait a few years to get your MBA for several reasons. First, top MBA programs prefer a fews experience (note this may have changed since I my MBA because enrollment has been dropping). There is direct correlation between post MBA starting salary and salary trajectory and school rank. Finally, most people use an MBA as a springboard to change careers or industries. This change more often than not includes a big jump in salary as well, pre vs post MBA. If you get your MBA right after undergrad you wont realize its full potential financially for all the reasons I just pointed out. Also, most of the top schools use the case study method of teaching so without any real world experience it is hard to relate to the case studies.

You are better off either doing a minor in business and finance or just taking some related courses while you are still in school.

Happy to help if you need it.


Terrible idea. Do a 1 year masters instead. Work a few years - either on your own business or at a company. And in 2 or more years, apply for a top MBA program. You will be wasting your one shot at an MBA by going straight out of undergrad. And I doubt you can get in to Yale or NYU this soon. They want high quality experience as do all the best schools. What you can also do, however, is apply for deferred admission. They usually admit you now and give you 2-4 years to work before starting business school.


Lots of questions and thoughts-

  • Where do you currently go to school and what is your degree/major?
  • MBA will teach you the basics of business, and allow you to possibly use your business idea in a project or 2, but not sure it will give you the tools needed to successfully start and run a business. The MBA is a cold degree for a reason IMO.
  • MBA without experience is like learning to play tennis from a book, without actually playing.
  • If you decide to get a job, I think an early 20 something with an MBA is less employable and not more.
  • If you have your heart set on an MBA, choose Babson. At least you will have faculty, peers and innovation opportunities that will get you closer to your goal.

If it were me, I would get a job in the field you want to be in for some period of time, at least 2 years. I would take bootcamp and online classes in entrepreneurship while working - How to write a business plan. How to raise business funding. Disclosure-I am a serial entrepreneur with a part-time MBA that I started at 23 and finished at 28.


My D is eventually planning on getting her MBA but most of the programs she’s interested in require 4-7 years work experience.

My H, who got his MBA on a 5year plan with his IE undergrad degree, told her to definitely wait. As noted above, having the work experience first is critical.


I was in the last class at my grad school at which straight-from-undergrad students were accepted into the MBA. To a person, the straight-through students regret having done it that way, and most have gone back & done some sort of Exec Ed type course later b/c so much of what they ‘learned’ (even if they did well in the class) didn’t stick.

There is actually a student in Harvard’s MBA cohort this year who (technically) came straight through, but they are actually 6 or 7 years our from first year of college, due to some seriously impressive work experience in the middle. Their CV is jaw-droppingly impressive-right the way back to HS. Both on paper and in person you can see why this person is going someplace.

Fwiw, an MBA doesn’t necessarily teach you that much about the nuts and bolts of starting and building a business. Look for entrepreneurial programs that will be shorter & faster & more functionally oriented. Go back for your MBA when you have some experience and have a clear reason to go.


Ok so I graduated hs in spring 2020 and I was in an early college hs program so thats why Im a year ahead. I decided to finish my associates in entrepreneurship at the CC the ECHS was run through because they paid for my tuition and also the pandemic made it a better option. In the fall I will be transferring to a 4 year ( probably a state school like UAlbany or Binghamton bc they’re cheap and would allow me to afford to go to grad school) and I’ll be a Marketing major. My capstone for my associates is a 35 page business plan for my future business and its something I will have and can workshop and add too over the next 2 years.

Sounds like an interesting track.

With an undergraduate business degree from a solid state school and the associates you have already completed with a focus in entrepreneurship, an MBA with no experience seems super silly to me. It will be the same thing you learned in UG.


Babson College in Massachusetts would have been the perfect undergraduate school for you.

Do not enter an MBA program with less than 2 or 3 years of full time, post-undergraduate degree work experience as much of the material covered will not resonate with an inexperienced individual.

Northwestern University & Duke University have 10 month masters degree programs in business fundamentals for recent college grads with minimal work experience. (Unfortunately, Northwestern’s program is open to only recent graduates of Northwestern University.) Duke’s program is open to all.

Georgetown University just introduced a 10 month MIM (Masters in Management) degree program for recent college graduates.

I think that it was Yogi Berra who said: “In theory there is no difference between theory and practice - in practice there is”

The point of an MBA is to learn how to manage and run a business. I do not think that you can fully grasp what they are teaching you unless you have actually seen a business operate up close and personal. What you learn in a classroom is great, but it is no substitute for seeing a business operate and seeing what people actually do on a day to day basis.

To me studying for an MBA without having ever worked at a job is sort of like learning how to cook a steak with every having eaten any meat. You can sort of learn it but you will not really get it.

You are doing really well. I do not think that you need to rush this. There really is a lot about the world that you still need to learn.

I also think that an MBA is an area where the ranking of the university matters.

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But there’s a big difference between managing and running someone else’s big business, where you can apply these strategies, and setting up and running your own small business, where short term tactics are much more important than strategy. Like how month to month cash flow is way more important than P&L in a small business but the reverse is often the case in a big business.

Few competitive business schools will admit MBA students without at least a few years of experience. There’s a good reason for this, as you’ve mentioned.

(I realize this is “do what I say, not what I do”, but the Tepper program I started 11 months after undergrad was part/flex-time, so I could both learn and experience at the same time. This actually worked out quite well, especially with the company paying for it.)


This is a weak argument for getting an MBA-- whether right after undergrad or 5-10 years later. The philosophy behind cash flow- what it does, why it’s important, how to manage it- is very different from actually working in a business and having to deal with the fluctuations.

And none of the top B-school programs are vocationally oriented, i.e. “Here are the tools you need to launch your startup”. There are accelerators and business incubators who do that. OP is going to be taking macroeconomics and operations research… these are important disciplines to learn, regardless of whether they have a hands-on, immediate application to the business he intends to launch.

You want to learn enough accounting to manage your cash flow as a small business owner? You can get a free mentor from various non-profit groups, you can take an online class for a few hundred dollars, you can hire an accountant for a few hours a week.

Spending 6 figures for an MBA to learn cash flow management for small business? THAT’S a dumb business decision!


Just saying. You don’t need an MBA to start a business. Many people start businesses without one. Develop and workshop your ideas. The entrepreneurship track is great. Finish school and take electives you enjoy. The MBA track will be there waiting for you once you get some job experience. Don’t jobs help defray the costs of an MBA? To me that’s a win /win. Making money and gaining experience and having someone else pay the bill. That’s a solid business decision.

babson deadline to apply has passed sadly :frowning:

how did you get your company to pay for it? did you just say " hey I want my MBA" or did they want you to get it?

I know i don’t need it. I just wanted to consider all my options. And while I would love to run my own business I Know there is a chance I will fail. I want to do this i the smartest way possible. If start my business after I graduate and work on it till it ultimately fails, and then Im 26 with 2 internships and 4 years of a failed project. i feel like finding a job might be easier with a graduate degree. and what if I change my mind in 2 years? what if I chicken out and say its not worth the risk? I feel like I have no idea what Im doing …I know Im being pessimistic. Im a chronic overthinker.