4+1 programs are becoming more popular, as they allow students to earn their graduate degree in less time. This is done by taking classes as an upperclassman that count toward both your undergraduate and graduate degree. During my first year on campus, I was surprised to learn LSBE has a program for a Masters of Business Administration (MBA) and started to consider it more seriously.
Let me say from the outset, to work towards my MBA or not was a decision I went back and forth on MANY times. It is a serious decision, and I spent a lot of time thinking about my own educational journey, my hopes for my career, and talking to professors, professionals, and trusted people in my network about their perspectives.
It’s a difficult decision to make when you’re 19 years old, as I was. You’ll hear from others that it’s more standard to work for a while first to gain experience and discern if grad school is something valuable for you to pursue. This is a valid consideration, as grad school takes time, money, and a lot of work on your part. You don’t want to put a bunch of resources into something that may not be essential down the road. But, it’s also important to realize that part of the reason the tradition of working before grad school exists is opportunities like 4+1 programs weren’t nearly as common in the past.
It’s no secret that more people are pursuing masters degrees; it’s part of the reality of the job market we live in. Many people I know in the field, ranging from 3 to 30+ years of experience, said they have, wish they had, or are thinking about earning an MBA. Looking more into the 4+1 program at LSBE, it became clear to me this would be the best opportunity to earn my masters. Here are some of the key benefits:
- Not having to take or pay for standard graduate school entrance exams, such as the GMAT or GRE
- Continuing on with excellent professors I already know and am comfortable with
- A greatly reduced cost, as you pay undergraduate tuition for the classes you take your senior year, which is much cheaper than graduate-level tuition
- High quality education through an AACSB-accredited university
- A shorter time commitment, as the masters would only take me 12 months after finishing my undergraduate degree
I also needed to evaluate personal factors, such as the value I place on education, the likelihood I would return to school later in life even if my company would reimburse some of my tuition, and career options I could see myself pursuing. It’s hard to predict what the future will bring when you’re young, but knowing myself, working towards my MBA seemed like the right path for me. I applied in the spring and started started taking electives this fall. So far, I have been really liking it. A couple reflections I have so far:
- The workload is slightly more intense, but manageable for me. I’ve been enjoying being challenged a bit more deeply in classes I’m interested in.
- Taking initiative, being your own advocate, and working with staff and faculty is necessary to being successful in this program. There are many wonderful people here who want to help you succeed, you just have to reach out and, sometimes, be a little persistent.
- The program is fairly flexible and customizable to your needs. Again, working with the MBA Director and Director of Advising has been crucial to getting the most out of my studies.
There’s so much more I could say on my experience so far, and I’m sure there will be plenty more to say as I continue through the program. For now, I leave you with the encouragement to consider what path will best take you where you want to go. Maybe for you, it’s the 4+1 MBA program within LSBE. Whatever it may be, it will probably require an understanding of yourself, a bit of work, some outside perspective, and a step of courage.
Photo Source: Unsplash | Nathan Dumlao