MBA Direct out of Undergrad

I know that it is generally not a smart move to pursue an MBA out of undergraduate since you need work experience to stand out and often won't even be admitted without it. However, it seems that a lot of successful individuals in the past (Tony James, Henry Kravis, etc) decided to do this anyways. Is it simply because the environment surrounding pursuing an MBA has simply changed over the decades? 

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Comments (18)

Jun 14, 2021 - 4:37pm

Ok so you get your MiM as a North American, in Europe, then what? Do you try to recruit overseas, or do you come back? If so how much value does your Euro really have? Folks have a hard enough time recruiting with non-target schools - what about across the pond. 

Jun 7, 2021 - 4:58pm

Its like the argument when people want to drop out of college and look at Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg.  Lets assume you are not them, because statistically you are not.  Most people will not do well going from undergrad to MBA.  Hell I have even seen people struggle with only one or two years of work experience 

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Jun 7, 2021 - 1:51pm

Not recommended. Have a few colleagues that did this thinking they would be paid more than their counterparts that have work experience. They're in fact paid less due to lack of real work experience. Work experience is paramount. Would advise getting a few years under your belt.

Jun 7, 2021 - 4:00pm

You're giving examples of people from decades ago. I know a handful of people that did this and I'll give you their situations:

Person 1: Nontarget undergrad that immediately went to the same nontarget for his MBA - is now in a medium quality F500 finance role but will never have the opprotunity to get another MBA if he wants to pivot.

Persons 2 and 3: These cases are the important ones you should pay attention to. I'm close friends with two people who went to a semi-target and a non-target school and then got into a semi-target (think UT Austin where they place in IB, but not everyone gets it) and an M7 B-school. Both were pursuing IB. They both interviewed at dozens of banks, at different locations (NY, SF, TO, etc). Neither of them ended up in banking. Despite getting interviews, and getting into schools that placed well, they ended up in AM and an MO role at a bank. Both of them were told  they were too experienced for an analyst role because of their MBA, but not experienced enough for the associate position because they had no prior work experience.

If you're good enough to get into an M7 school at 22, then you can get into the MSF program at Vandy or MIT which places well into banking. Do that instead because an MBA right now will just screw you over

  • Intern in IB - Gen
Jun 7, 2021 - 4:18pm

What changed to make it no longer feasible to pursue an MBA straight out of undergrad?

Jun 8, 2021 - 1:00pm

Nothing has changed.
MBA right after undergrad is actually still very common in the US, but only at non-target schools (Anything past top 30-40). 
MBA is a post-experience degree - so you have to have work-experience to pursue it and benefit from it. But due to the demand, only top 30 colleges in the US are really able to enforce this. Anything outside of t30/40 don't have much of demand, so they accept candidates without it. 

Like others have said - MBA after undergrad will put you in the same bucket as those with a normal master's/undergrad degree. Don't assume that going to B-school for an MBA right after undergrad will get you into MBB as an associate or even in IB

  • Consultant in Consulting
Jun 7, 2021 - 11:35pm

That was normal decades ago. MBA admissions have gotten more competitive so the top schools can wait a bit longer to see your career trajectory now before they admit you. 

If you want to get in while in college though, you can try applying to programs like HBS 2+2 or deferred admissions at Stanford but they (especially Stanford) are stupidly selective. 

Jun 8, 2021 - 7:15am

1. The world was a different place in the 70s, 80s and even early 90s

2. Reputable MBA programs and MBA employers both expect to see 3-5+ years of experience from aspirants / students. You will be doing nothing but shooting yourself in the foot if you don't hit this threshold. If you really want a degree to give you another shot at recruiting for post-UG jobs do a pre-experience MSc program. 

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