Earn an MBA Without a Bachelor’s Degree or with a Non-Business Degree
Reasons vary for people in the business world for why they desire an MBA. Those reasons, for the most part, are pretty simple and straightforward. Most people want a boost in salary, a promotion from their current job or a different job altogether, a position as a manager or executive, an increase in their business knowledge so they can do their job better, or they may even wish to start their own business.
Whatever the reasons might be, the good news is that many masters programs, even MBA programs, are open to accepting students without an undergraduate degree as well as those with a non-business degree. While this might seem like an overly daunting prospect for potential MBA students, the possibility of getting on track to earn one is not as hard or unreachable as it seems.
MBA Program Admittance
In most cases, admittance to an MBA program requires an applicant to have a bachelor’s degree, in addition to a good score on the GMAT. However, a lot of people out in the working world may only have a high school diploma. Those candidates may have not had the finances nor the luxury to continue with their education.
There are also those who earned a degree in another discipline while in college, but they would like a better understanding of business principles and core concepts so they can change their career focus. For them, the decision to pursue an MBA is an excellent idea as they bring an abundance of knowledge from diverse areas other business students do not have.
In today’s world, though, access to a master’s degree, even an MBA, is feasible for all of these different kinds of students. So, if you still want an MBA and thought your academic or work background would never allow you to gain an advanced degree, it’s time to rethink that viewpoint— because it is more possible than ever.
Looser Criteria for MBA Students
Although a lot of universities that offer an MBA would prefer an incoming student have a bachelor’s degree and an excellent GMAT score, they realize these strict limitations keep promising professionals from applying for admittance to their programs. That’s why, in a lot of cases, admittance is based on other factors.
Sometimes students gain entrance into an MBA program based on strong GMAT or GRE scores, their personal application essays, a resume of unique work experience, or even just an associate’s degree. If the candidate does have either an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree, though, the degree doesn’t necessarily need to be in a business discipline. Other areas given consideration for acceptance are as follows:
- A candidate’s professional work experience or time spent working as a manager – usually this is a period between three to four years.
- Coursework towards an incomplete bachelor’s degree.
An Important Consideration for MBA Students
Potential MBA students should keep in mind that the program they choose is accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). Employers do tend to weigh this point when offering promotions to management positions or other roles to recent MBA graduates.
Accreditation is also important for professionals considering doing an MBA online as part-time or full-time students as the coursework is virtually the same but more self-paced. It’s perfect for those who wish to continue working their professional jobs while working toward this advanced degree.
MBA Without Bachelor’s Degree Programs
Business professionals who don’t have a bachelor’s degree but still wish to earn an MBA may be seen as being at a disadvantage compared to those who already have this credential. That is why graduate schools usually require potential graduate students to take standardized tests like the GMAT or GRE as part of their application process. It’s also how graduate school admissions officers determine if students are prepared for the academic rigors of pursuing an advanced degree.
The truth is that today, students without a bachelor’s degree have more options for earning an MBA. While it is true that students who want to enter a master’s program may need to take some prerequisite or remedial courses in accounting, finance, or statistics, they can do that while also earning a combination bachelor’s and master’s degree in a specific field. Several schools offer these kinds of programs and they have various names.
- Bachelor/Master Combined
- Integrated Bachelor/MBA
- BA/BS/GMAT – 5th Year Master’s Degree
- Accelerated Degree Programs
- Dual Bachelor’s/Master’s Degree
Benefits of Pursuing a Dual Degree
Graduate school is a lengthy time and financial commitment. Why spend more time taking remedial courses when you could do that and take other courses toward earning undergraduate and graduate credits for both degrees? Plus, there are benefits for working toward a combination degree. Other than taking master’s degree level courses that can be applied toward that degree and a bachelor’s degree, students who choose this path have additional incentives:
- Credits that count double and may apply to both degrees.
- Saving money by taking courses that apply to both degrees, which will allow a student to obtain both degrees in less time.
- May speed-up the time to graduation – a bachelor’s degree can take anywhere from three to four years to complete, and its usually around the same to earn a master’s degree. An accelerated program can help to decrease that time.
- Pursuing a combination degree may make applying for school easier – sometimes schools waive the fees for the GRE or GMAT, although recommendation letters from faculty may be required depending on the school.
- Scholarship support for students in their fifth year of school.
- The ability for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in another field and an MBA or other graduate degree simultaneously.
MBA for Non-Business Bachelor’s Degree Students
The major reason more students choose to pursue an MBA is the versatility it offers over other graduate degrees. An MBA degree can apply to almost any industry and prepares graduates for careers in management, accounting, finance, marketing, international business, and other technical or professional fields.
This statement is true even for those students who might have a bachelor’s degree in other areas, such as the humanities. In fact, more than half of the students enrolled in MBA programs have undergraduate degrees in areas other than business.
An MBA program tends to include an array of general business courses, and it is considered to be enough of an interdisciplinary degree to attract students with undergraduate degrees in engineering, social science, the hard sciences (biology, chemistry, etc.), and the humanities.
The only downside for these students is they would need to do coursework in accounting, finance, statistics, and in other areas before focusing on classes specific to the MBA degree. Otherwise, these students may struggle with understanding management principles.
The background and skills, though, that non-business degree students bring to their studies for the MBA degree are a positive versus a negative. Students learn from each other’s strengths or weaknesses, which enhances the ideas, strategies, and plans they have to put toward differing business activities. In fact, students with non-business degrees tend to excel in MBA programs, and they are also the graduates who get the most attention from employers and recruiters.
An MBA degree can be financially and academically demanding, but for those students who choose to pursue it, the rewards can be significant. And the fact that students can be accepted into an MBA program at many schools without a bachelor’s degree or a non-business degree also makes it a highly desirable degree.
Are you thinking an MBA is a degree that would improve your career trajectory, even though you believe you might not have what is needed to be accepted? Check out some schools that offer degrees to students without a bachelor’s degree or non-business degree undergraduates like CityU’s Masters in Business Administration and see if their programs might be the right decision for you.
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