Graduate School Options For Business Students


So, you want to go to grad school? Keep reading.

For most business graduates, the natural choice after graduation is working for a few years and then heading off to business school (B-school) to complete an MBA.

Recently, I was talking to a professor and she mentioned that a lot of the MBA curriculum is similar to material learned during my BBA, which is probably why most B-schools offer an accelerated MBA option for business undergraduates.

There are many options available for business graduates interested completing a master’s degree. An MBA isn’t always the best option.

Typically, the full-length MBA programs are for businesspeople who don’t have an academic background in business and might not know, for example, introductory economics.

But, the fact that she mentioned this made me decide that choosing a graduate or professional program would need a lot more effort. Following the well-known route would be silly especially when many other options exist that could meet my needs.

Masters of Business Administration (MBA or accelerated MBA)

This is a degree that is standard among most managers in the business world. MBA programs are designed for people with no academic background in business, which is why most universities offer an Accelerated MBA option (usually one year long) for students who have studied business as an undergraduate. The Accelerated MBA is a good option to consider if you qualify because you get an MBA in less time.

Applying is pretty much the same as your standard grad school application. You’ll also need reference letters and in some cases, an interview, if you make it past the first round of screening.

Usually these programs require work experience at a managerial level. Research is key when selecting which programs to apply to because some programs consider co-op and internship experience, while others have a special admission process for students looking to enter straight out of their undergraduate degree.

Though, a word of caution, entering an MBA straight out of your undergrad might not be a good idea. I’ve heard stories of people who did this and struggled to find a job after their MBA because they were considered too inexperienced.

But that’s all hearsay. You should talk to your professors, career counsellors, or people who’ve actually done an MBA to find out what they have to say. Talk to lots of people because everyone has a different opinion.

Joint MBA (e.g., MBA and JD)

For most joint programs, you will need to meet the requirements of both programs. The point of joint programs is to learn about two areas that are interrelated. For example, some areas of business require a knowledge of law and regulations, making a JD/MBA perfect.

Joint programs typically take longer than doing just one program.

MSc in Management

A Masters of Science in Management has been described to me as being the same as an MBA except that you do more research. Basically, these programs teach you about management while giving you the opportunity to complete a masters thesis.

There are MSc in Management programs offered around the world including in Canada and parts of Europe. In Canada, the MSc in Management programs tend to be smaller (and also more affordable) than the options in Europe.

Schools in Canada that offer MSc in Management programs include the University of Western Ontario, Concordia University, and the University of Ottawa. Many of these programs offer consulting opportunities, paid internships, as well as exchanges with other universities.

For example, at HEC Paris, you can complete a French certificate as well as a specialized certificate in energy and finance, real estate, social business, and luxury strategies. Queen’s University allows students to complete part of their degree at partner institutions located around the world.

Many universities also offer specialization in a specific stream (marketing, finance, accounting, economics, etc.) as a part of the MSc in Management. Other school offer MSc in Finance, MSc in Financial Economics, MSc in Sustainable Development, Masters in Management, or MSc in International Business to fit your needs and career goals. All of these variations give you business knowledge, research skills, as well as experience opportunities.

Bottom line?

There are many options available for business graduates interested completing a master’s degree. An MBA isn’t always the best option. Consider your academic and career goals and aim to find a program that will give you what you need.

Research is also super important when figuring out what school is best for you and what programs are out there.

Some tips before you start your search:

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