Clients often ask about getting additional Masters Degrees before applying to business school for an MBA. Here’s the low-down on filling in your academic pedigree.
For the hopelessly addicted to education, it can be tempting to fetch a Master’s degree while you gather the real world experience required to go back for your MBA. As most MBA hopefuls know, a solid 4-6 years of post-undergrad work experience is becoming the norm for most top schools, since bringing something to the table for your classmates is just as important as the actual curriculum content itself.
A Master’s degree, while beneficial, is not a great substitute for time in the “real world.”
This is not to say that obtaining a Master’s degree in a relevant area for your career is not useful—it can be tremendously useful. Just know that a Master’s degree alone will likely not impress the admissions committees enough to give up a seat for you. The best way to leverage your Master’s degree in an MBA application is to first leverage it on the job. If you follow a Master’s degree with a couple of year’s work experience afterwards, you might have a winning combination, and maybe even a real differentiator in the application process.
What Master’s degrees are most valuable?
This is a tricky question, and the answer is an evasive, “it depends.” One area that can really differentiate yourself to an MBA program is hot areas such as Analytics. A Master’s degree in Analytics can be a real asset not only for your classmates in quantitative classes, but also for impressing recruiters who are increasingly looking for MBA graduates with real applicable skills. The bonus for a degree such as this, is that it will likely also accelerate your career and thereby add something special to your work experience.
Other degrees you might find beneficial are specialty degrees in finance, for example, or even degrees in areas that are specific to your specialized line of work. This is particularly useful if you plan to remain in your line of work post MBA. The key is to undertake something that is in line with your passion. So one thing to avoid, however, is spending the time and money on a graduate degree that seems out of placed based on the vision and plan you cast in your MBA application. While most sins can be forgiven, when you spend time and money on a degree you don’t want to use, MBA programs can sometimes view you as immature, not wanting what you want out of life, or both.