Is it redundant/hard to get an MBA after Wharton undergrad?

I was admitted to Wharton and Columbia undergrad, and I have to make my decision soon. I definitely want to pursue an MBA regardless of where I go, but I'm wondering: coming out of Wharton and having spent time on the Street, would MBA programs (like HBS) give me a hard time since they'd think I'm just a money-grubby person?

Also, would it be dumb to pursue an MBA out of Wharton given that it's "business and more"/an MBA-level undergrad education already?

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Comments (12)

Apr 9, 2016 - 11:16am

You're pretty young. Have you asked yourself why you want an MBA? Not trying to dissuade you form pursuing one as I will probably get one myself in a few years. Think it through thoroughly. Make sure that it lines up with your career goals. There is no point in going to school and loading yourself up with debt if you don't need to. Also think about the opportunity cost of not working for those years you're in school. The numbers start to add up quickly. I don't think top MBA programs would give you shit for working on the street. They take plenty of people who work on the street and I don't think it makes you look like a money grubbing person as you stated. Just make sure that you have a cohesive story as to why you're doing what you're doing and why you want to go to business school. It might not be 'dumb' to pursue an MBA out of Wharton, but I might ask you why? Other programs are just as good with job placements. Wouldn't you rather live somewhere new for a few years and build up your network in other places? Just something to think about.

Apr 9, 2016 - 5:36pm

I think you would be in ridiculously good company if you went Wharton - Wall Street - HBS (or the like). Look at the upper management of large financial institutions, you'll find a swath of people with that exact career path.

Best Response
Apr 11, 2016 - 11:51pm

I would say if you see yourself going into finance jobs I would go with Wharton. Afterwards you will have all opportunities to pursue a MBA at any business school if you want to. I have at least 3 friends who even did Wharton undergraduate and Wharton MBA. They just liked the Wharton experience and during their MBA they focused on classes they did not have access to during their undergraduate time. Also, when you check LinkedIn you will find a lot of people who did Wharton undergraduate and then HBS MBA. Nothing is impossible and it comes down to your personal story and admissions case. Another friend did Harvard undergraduate and HBS MBA. In general, if I would have to decide I would probably go with two different institutions for undergraduate and graduate. You will get exposed to a broader network, you will be an alumni of two institutions and you "hedge" your bet (you will never regret to not have seen an other institution).

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Apr 12, 2016 - 2:46pm

All else being equal in the schools (location, experience, price, etc.) I'd say that Wharton provides greater downside protection from a purely a finance prospective. Things change and you may not in fact want to get an MBA / need to get an MBA. Wharton will provide a superior undergrad education for finance so choose that because it makes the most sense now.

Apr 12, 2016 - 10:37pm

Unless you're gunning for the top buyside gigs out of undergrad, Columbia will do you just fine from the perspective of recruiting. If you are smart, motivated, and go to a target, getting a job in IB isn't too difficult. You definitely have to work for it, but coming from Columbia won't put you at a material disadvantage for most opportunities.

UPenn and Columbia are very different schools, and you should pick the one you feel is the better fit. Unless you already have your mind set on a PE / HF job (and if you're interested in PE, I would recommend the IB route first anyway) at one of the top funds out of undergrad, I wouldn't focus too much on the job aspect with regards to this decision.

Apr 13, 2016 - 11:50am

First question: No, MBA programs would not hold it against you for attending Wharton and working on the Street. In fact, pre-MBA finance related jobs (Consulting, Financial Services and VC/PE) comprise ~45% of the incoming class at HBS. One could argue that attending a school like Wharton (or Columbia for that matter) would give you a better chance of landing one of these jobs, which would in effect increase the probability of you being a more competitive applicant when considering your MBA (note, I am not saying you need to do finance to go to a top MBA program).

Second question: I have many friends who did Wharton undergrad and then the typical IB to PE route. A majority of those friends will be getting their MBA soon given the nature of 2-3 years and out at a majority of PE shops and many of them are considering Wharton MBA. In general, they would argue that receiving an MBA is somewhat redundant in terms of content they will learn given their undergrad experience, but they also cite that it's important for a) networking opportunities and b) job flexibility with respect to a change in career and/or rise within PE. As some have previously said, Wharton undergrad to Wharton MBA is not uncommon and wouldn't be considered a dumb move if you were getting your MBA for the right reasons.

Apr 13, 2016 - 12:15pm

You'd be completely fine at both. If I had to pick between the two, and I knew I was planning on going back for an MBA, I'd probably go to Colombia just to have a more diverse experience. From the friends I have that went to Wharton undergrad, it's clearly a great program, but it's pretty intense as everyone is basically gunning for the same jobs. You'd also be learning many of the things you'd end up learning in B-School. Colombia will be a little more diverse and because Wharton is better than CBS for an MBA, in a few years when you're gunning for an MBA it would be nice to be able to end up at Wharton and have that be a different branding on your resume rather than Wharton Wharton.

As someone said above though, the biggest thing is to visit both and decide which school feels better. Both will get you to pretty much any career you could want out of undergrad so pick where you'll have the best experience.

Apr 14, 2016 - 4:36pm

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