Post # 1
Hello everyone, I am hoping to apply to a part-time MBA program in the next 8-10 months. I work full-time and don’t plan to stop. Here’s a little bit about me:
*I am 3 years out of college (graduated Dec of 2011- graduated two quarters early!) I was a Strategic Communication major at Ohio State.
*I worked in sales in the Food & Beverage industry for 2 years, and I’ve been working in marketing for the last 8 months. I love what I do now but I know I need an MBA to advance my marketing career.
*I live in Chicago but my role covers most of Illinois & Wisconsin.
*My plan is to take a GMAT course in the next 2 months and take the GMAT in early summer.
My parents have very generously offered to “invest in my future” by paying most of my tuition. My company also offers partial tuition reimbursment. So I am fortunate in that sense.
However, I’m a little nervous that I may be out of my league. I wasn’t a business school student in undergrad, and I never thought of myself as the most math-savvy person. I run a LOT of reporting for my current job, so I’m getting better, but I have this fear that I’m going to walk into a Finance or Accounting class and feel totally inadequate.
I would love to hear some other stories from Part-Time MBA bees. Did you have a “nontraditional” background when you applied? How many classes did you take per semester/quarter for your part-time program? What advice can you give an MBA novice? (I took a peek at some of the MBA/GMAT forums out there and it did NOT help my confidence!)
Post # 2
kitbuddy: I can’t speak to the part-time part, but I did a full-time MBA, and roughly a quarter of our class had liberal arts majors in undergrad (the rest were a mix of business and quantitative undergrad majors). A lot of what gets covered in classes is actually the same as what you would experience in undergrad business programs, this was actually a gripe from some of the people who had undergrad business degrees. So I wouldn’t worry about that – you’ll be fine!
Post # 3
- Wedding: June 2015 - Surrey, BC, Canada
You’ll be fine! I am HORRIBLE at math. Like, abysmal. Or so I thought. Turns out I am just horrible at algebra and stupid high school math. I do accounting stuff at work all the time and use Excel, formulas, etc. So it will be stuff like that. Go for the program – you can do it!
Post # 4
Keep in mind that forums (this one included) are for the slightly obsessed. Take comfort into the fact that if they admit you into the program — you can do the work.
I graduated with a Political Science degree and live in that state up north from Ohio and so I had decent writing skills and econ and that was it. I was also 3 years out of school. You’d be amazed how much having a professional background helps put you ahead of the people who go straight from undergrad to their MBA. I struggled to learn the finance side of things, in that it just took me longer to do homework, but I ended up doing better than a lot of people who DID have the background.
I took 2-3 classes a semester depending on my workload at work and the difficuluty of the classes. So I’m in my last semester. Just know that the foundation classes might be a little more difficult for you to master, but once you get into the strategy classes at the end — everyone is on the same playing field. Don’t get discouraged!
Post # 5
I was a music major in undergrad and then went and got my MBA in accounting (weird…I know). I survived just fine. Most of the finance, accounting, and econ stuff is not really math as much as it is learning rules. Once you pick up on the language it get’s pretty easy.
Post # 6
kitbuddy: You’ll be fine!
I’m currently in the second semester of my part-time MBA program and although it is tough in the sense of time commitment/balancing other priorities and learning new topics the curriculum shouldn’t be terribly math-intensive. MBA programs are teaching you to become a manager, not an engineer. Typically they should give you a ’40,000 ft. view of many subjects’ but don’t have time to do a deep dive into them (think breadth not depth.) The goal of this strategy is so you’ll know enough about the subject to have fluency and manage a project, but your subordinates will need to ‘get in the weeds’.<br />I would say to not let your aversion to math slow you down; there is math on the GMAT and GRE but most of the B-school assignments and classes should be done in excel (or other real-world tools you would have access to in the workplace.) <br />As a tip, some B-schools will accept both GMAT and GRE scores but they must report only GMAT scores for national rankings. Because of this, schools can accept a student with a lower math GRE score without it hurting their rankings.
Post # 7
My Fiance is currently doing an MBA alongside working full time and he is finding it tough but knows it will be worth it in the long run. It is definitely challenging factoring in time to complete assignments and attending the in-class sessions once a week (he is in class approx 8 hours per week). He is not very academic in his approach so has struggled in parts to get into this mind set (he is much more of a hands on, practical worker) but the tutors have been great assisting in areas in which he is struggling. I think the key when studying at any level is to make sure you ask for help from tutors/peers when you need it. FI’s MBA is structured whereby 2 modules are studied per semester, typically splitting the time spent on each module 50/50 which seems to work ok. There is a Finance and Accounting Module which Fiance has just started last week. Luckily I am an Accountant so have said I can help him with anything he finds tricky, I had a glance over the course material though and it doesn’t look technical, mainly understanding the role of Finance in organizations with a few relatively simple ratios.
Good luck if you decide to proceed with this, it definitely will open doors in your future career but will be intense.
Post # 8
- Wedding: June 2015 - UC Botanic Garden, Berkeley, CA
kitbuddy: I happen to work at one of the highly ranked business schools in the Chicago area, and I can confirm that many of our PT students do not come from quantative backgrounds. (Same is true for the FT students, although less so).
I believe that a large part of value you get from an MBA is the network you make while you’re there, so it makes sense to get an MBA if you go to a well-ranked school. If you’re considering a PT program, you would certainly gain valuable skills from a lesser ranked school, but I wouldn’t consider it to be the same ROI you’d get at Kellogg or Booth. Both schools offer preview weekends for PT students, and cohorts that begin at different times of year, so you can start whenever you’d like. Both schools are on the quarter system, and students typcially take two classes per term, either in the evenings (1 class/evening) or on Saturdays (1 morning class, one afternoon class). Most Saturday students fly in from other cities or are consultants who travel during the week.
You will be required to take core courses, at least one of which will be finance and another which will be accounting, but you could take basically all your electives in subjects you like. There’s a large emphasis on groupwork, so you would not be alone and students try to create diverse groups of people with different backgrounds, so if you pair with someone from the finance industry, you would have help.
So: this would be a great investment in your future, but I would consider the caliber of the program and the brand name, especially in the field you intend to work in (marketing). Booth is better known for finance, so that may not be as great a fit for you if it’s less useful to have a network of people primarily from a field you don’t intend to work in.
Post # 9
Thanks everyone! This has been helpful.
alexandraf: My boyfriend was a Business major in college (double major in International Business and Finance), so I know he would be able to help me with some of the initial coursework.
CaitlinAthena: Thanks for the “insider” perspective! I earned my undergrad while on the quarter system (Ohio State is on semesters now though) and I think it helped me to graduate early. I’d love to go to Kellogg, but I think DePaul is probably a better fit for me. Ideally, I’d like to stay in my current industry (CPG/Food & Beverage) but aquire skills to take on a Brand Management or a Director role.
What is the average age or work experience history of most of the participants in your program? I feel like I am relatively young (about 3 years out of college) compared to some PT MBA applicants.
Post # 10
If it makes you feel better I have a BFA in theatre design (costuming and scenic specifially) earned in 2003 and am working on MS in hotel administration. My career took a weird turn and I am running with it. Not quite an MBA but it is a drastic difference from my original degree. It’s tough, my finance management class today kicked my butt. It is doable. For areas that I am behind in, like accounting and statistics, I am taking an undergrad course first to learn the basics before trying the grad version. As I have made friends in the program I am finding that I am not alone. You can do this, it just takes a little extra work.