Should I get a 2nd MBA?

F500Guy's picture
Rank: Monkey | 64

Current Work and Education Situation

Currently work as a mid level manager in the finance/accounting department of a F500. A couple years out of undergrad, I wanted to get my MBA out of the way and the company offered to pick up the tab so I simply selected the best part time MBA program in that area (think U of South Carolina/Clemson/Georgia). Looking back now, I'm realizing that I really should have gone to a top ten program and having an undergrad and MBA from two non target schools could limit my career potential.

Long-term Career Goal

My long term goal is to get to the C-Suite of a F500, and I'm willing to do anything necessary to get there, including switching companies multiple times or spending more time in school.

Current Career Dilemma: 2nd MBA or Not?

My question is would it be a complete waste of time to go back and get a top ranked MBA? Would a part time MBA from Chicago or Wharton do enough to set me apart, or would full time be a better route?

Is It Possible to Earn a 2nd MBA?

Many schools do not allow individuals who have already earned an Master in Business Administration to pursue another MBA. There are some exceptions, but admissions will require a strong case for why you need to repeat the degree. A common situation is foreign students who have earned MBAs in their home countries who want to pursue a T10 MBA in the US.

Pros and Cons of a 2nd MBA

If you do find a program that will let you apply, here are some important things to consider about business school:

Pros

  • Add better name to your resume
  • Expand network
  • Chance to expand your business knowledge
  • Cons

    • Time commitment
    • Cost
    • It's not a guarantee that you'll get a C-suite job at a F500 just because of the degree

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    Comments (42)

    Dec 1, 2013

    If you already have one, I do not see a top program letting you in. They tend to have a 'no do-overs' mentality when it comes to admissions.

    If you want a top tier degree on your resume, maybe look at an MPA?

    If you are in finance/accounting, maybe go for a CPA or CFA in your spare time? If you get that CPA on your resume, nobody is going to care where you went to take the relevant coursework. Just passing that exam is something to be respected.

    Dec 1, 2013

    I agree with FormerHornetDriver, I'm not aware of any top programs that permit people to do a "2nd MBA." If they do, it will be on a very particular basis. I recommend that you leave formal education in the rear-view mirror and forge ahead by excelling in the workplace. There is no surefire way to make it into the c-suite at a F500 company. It is going to take a career of hard work, intellect, and luck.

    Dec 1, 2013

    I agree with those above. I don't think it is even an option for you. Generally, schools wont even accept your app if you already have an MBA, it won't even make it to the adcom. I'd just focus on networking/building resume/being impressive. Maybe trying to get on a non-profit board of a cause you care about?

    Please don't quote Patrick Bateman.

    Dec 1, 2013

    Appreciate the feedback everyone. I didn't even think about the possibility of not having the option to apply, and it is a bit surprising to hear that already holding a MBA would be held against me. Wouldn't that fact only remove risk in the eyes of admissions since I've already taken most of the MBA courses?

    Also, not suggesting I would do this, but would admissions even know that I already hold an MBA if I choose not to explicitly share that on the application?

    I do see your points through, and maybe my efforts will be best spent on work performance, networking, and certifications like the CPA/CFA.

    Dec 1, 2013

    Top MBA programs generally do not accept candidates that already have an MBA. Yes, you probably could lie about having an MBA on your application (EDIT: I'm not recommending that you lie).

    Dec 1, 2013

    If you prefer classroom setting/another degree, have you checked out whether any top schools offer online MAcc programs?

    Dec 1, 2013

    Here's an idea - Executive MBA programs, once you're at the Sr.Mgr/Director level.

    Dec 1, 2013
    BlueShirt:

    Here's an idea - Executive MBA programs, once you're at the Sr.Mgr/Director level.

    Good point and I will consider this option, but wouldn't this also technically be considered a "2nd MBA"? Would I be accepted into the application process for the EMBA program at Wharton or Chicago of I already have a traditional part time MBA?

    Dec 1, 2013

    Don't lie or omit information. It will definitely come up in your background check and you will be kicked out of the program the summer before it starts. This will make life even harder for you if you had already left your job or given your notice.

    Dec 1, 2013

    Not to mention there will be background checks for any jobs you apply to in future. Don't be a Scott Thompson trying to be a CEO. In some cases, it seems like international students can make a case for 2nd MBA. Official admissions stance is that you have to be able to have a very strong explanation on why you need a 2nd MBA.

    Dec 7, 2013

    Harvard, Stanford, and Penn all allow "second MBAers." So does Columbia and some others.

    Dec 8, 2013

    They also say that that already having an MBA carries no negative weight whatsoever. You can verify this by checking their website and asking their admissions offices.

    Dec 8, 2013

    u can go to a top mba if u dont report ur previous mba noone would know

    Dec 8, 2013

    The only way to make it to the C-suite of a F500 is by working hard and proving yourself. No one will give two shits if you have a Harvard MBA if you're not decent at your job (and on the flip side, you're much more likely to move up quickly if you kick ass at your job with a UGA/Clemson/South Carolina MBA). All a top MBA does is get you your first job out of school; after that, it's up to you to prove yourself. Waste of time and money to get a 2nd MBA.

    Dec 8, 2013

    Just wondering - if youre already a mid level manager, what position would you expect to come in at post mba? It seems the higher up you go, the less structured the recruting process. So you could very well not find a position/company that offers you a role higher than where you are right now and justifies going back to school full time for 2 yrs, opp costs, etc.

    I mean the equivalent of a mid level manager at my firm pays over 6 figures, and average salaries from a top mba is what - around 120k? I just dont see the how its worth the risk.

    Dec 10, 2013
    td12:

    Just wondering - if youre already a mid level manager, what position would you expect to come in at post mba? It seems the higher up you go, the less structured the recruting process. So you could very well not find a position/company that offers you a role higher than where you are right now and justifies going back to school full time for 2 yrs, opp costs, etc.

    I mean the equivalent of a mid level manager at my firm pays over 6 figures, and average salaries from a top mba is what - around 120k? I just dont see the how its worth the risk.

    I would more than likely do a part time MBA at Wharton or Chicago (EMBA) while working, so I could continue to progress in my career during the program.

    My concern is when I apply for the few C level jobs that exist, I could be competing against Harvard or other top MBA's, making it difficult to stand out even with a solid track record at work.

    Dec 8, 2013

    If I understood you correctly, you did a part time program, which means you worked meanwhile? Just leave it off the cv. I know plenty if guys who have PhDs in business related subjects or economics and left that off their cv as they did them parallel to working (systems different in Europe). No one cared.

    Dec 10, 2013

    Would you think it possible to get into the c suite at your current employer?

    Dec 11, 2013
    electriclighto:

    Would you think it possible to get into the c suite at your current employer?

    Possible, but I would more than likely need to switch companies a few times to get to that level.

    Dec 11, 2013

    I currently go to Chicago Booth and it doesn't accept people with MBAs into the program. While I can't say for the executive program, I doubt it does either. Not to sound mean, but by going to a second tier school and not recruiting for banking straight out of the program, you severely limited your ability for an associate spot (at least at a BB). Most of the associate hiring is done straight out of b-school. If you're specialized in a field (say oil and gas) you might be able to work your way into a spot with a regional firm in Houston (same with tech in San Fran/Menlo).

    Dec 11, 2013
    ChicagoBooth:

    I currently go to Chicago Booth and it doesn't accept people with MBAs into the program. While I can't say for the executive program, I doubt it does either. Not to sound mean, but by going to a second tier school and not recruiting for banking straight out of the program, you severely limited your ability for an associate spot (at least at a BB). Most of the associate hiring is done straight out of b-school. If you're specialized in a field (say oil and gas) you might be able to work your way into a spot with a regional firm in Houston (same with tech in San Fran/Menlo).

    I'm not interested in working in banking. I'm looking to stay at a F500 and progres to the C-Suite level. And I wouldn't say I made a bad decision by getting a free MBA while I continued to get a pay check. Now I'm just wondering if getting a 2nd MBA from a top tier school would be worth my time.

    Dec 11, 2013

    I know this has been kicked around on other threads but what will be / is the perception of one getting Whartons eMBA. Is it as respected as its full time counter part. Checking linkedin seems former e mba alumni are quite distinguished (PhDs, MDs, etc) and bring a lot to the table and groups. It would hurt to drop 180k and be insecure about your mba's sub brand.

    Dec 11, 2013
    Jaime_Lannister:

    I know this has been kicked around on other threads but what will be / is the perception of one getting Whartons eMBA. Is it as respected as its full time counter part. Checking linkedin seems former e mba alumni are quite distinguished (PhDs, MDs, etc) and bring a lot to the table and groups. It would hurt to drop 180k and be insecure about your mba's sub brand.

    From my experience at my company, most people went part time for their MBA's anyway, so it would just be about getting that brand name and top school recognition on my resume to set me apart. I don't think anyone will ask whether I went full time or part time to be honest - they would just see "MBA, Wharton" on my resume and move on to reviewing my work experience.

    Dec 12, 2013

    Seems like Wharton (assuming you get in) with your company subsidizing the bill ($175k tuition, with them possibly raising that tuition 5-10% soon, is no small amount of debt // ~$1750 per month over 10 years at least) would be a win-win provided you can take off 2 Fridays each month and can handle the extra 30+ hours min of work each week.

    Jul 9, 2015

    Some executive MBA programs do accept people with prior MBA degrees - if it's like from 20 years ago.

    Jul 9, 2015

    I agree with those above. This is definitely not an option for you. You already have undergone a top program. Ever considered a CFA? You're already settled in a good job so why waste your time in schools? & since you said you won't like wasting time sitting on the couch you can remain engaged to something educational. Start undertaking online courses. This is better from you. There's khan academy, Coursera & Bluebook Academy.

      • 1
    Jul 9, 2015

    Not sure why this is posting without paragraph spacing - Don't think I'll get too much advice with it looking like that so if anyone knows the fix, that would be a helpful start...

    Apparently worth adding that it shows up with spaces in the preview and when you select edit after the fact. I've also added additional spaces between paragraphs with no change.

    Jul 9, 2015

    Someone will provide better advice but it is my understanding that 1 year MBAs are for non career switchers and that the recruiting out of these programs is far inferior to more traditional 2 year programs.

    Jul 9, 2015

    What type of consulting do you want to do? If its operations or IT, I doubt you'd need the MBA recruiting channels - you could probably network your way in as an experienced hire. If its strategy at one of the name brand firms, it will be tough without a top MBA, and even with it, you'll be competing against people with 3.7+ undergrad GPAs, 730+ GMATs, and several years of consulting/finance/F500 work experience.

    I don't know what your personal situation is, but if I were in your shoes, I'd probably spend the next few years getting work experience in a business setting and an income instead of going back to school.

    Jul 9, 2015

    I'm actually interested in taking my shot at the MBB circuit and to make matters worse (ie more difficult) I really have one in particular in mind that seems like a great fit. I know the odds aren't great, but I'm trying to position and market myself to create the best chance. With that said, I've read through each firm's strong areas and I will say there is much more than just 'strategy' that interests me.

    I'm also considering full time recruiting as well, but with my military benefits on the table and me being 28 the MBA might be a good plan. Whether it should be Plan A or B is the question.

    Jul 9, 2015

    Would top business schools ever consider an applicant that already has an MBA?

    Jul 9, 2015

    I've come a long way on this idea since I asked the question. Top MBAs (ie top ten) will largely accept second MBA applicants, but not all of them. Some place restrictions - one example being Kellogg which only allows applicants to the 1Y; some others only allow if it was a non-accredited program. Of course you need to have a strong reason and a good story. I've spoken to various MBA counselors and it seems my story would make this possible. However, one also needs to understand that there are also consequences to getting the second MBA meaning by doing it you completely devalue the first one. With me, my first MBA was a valuable and unique experience that I just happened to do during a time when I wasn't trying to network into a professional role. It provided me with global opportunities that few people experience.

    With all that said, I'm not ready to devalue it completely by getting another even if within the top ten. Instead, I'm looking at programs that would supplement it and provide a fresh transition. This means looking at masters programs related to my intended field of consulting. Many top universities have programs in Strategy or related fields if you look hard enough. For me, this gets me back in the mindset, provides access to a more powerful network, and strengthens skill-sets lost since my MBA (or never there...). For me the fact that these programs would be almost free also adds an extra dimension.

    Jul 9, 2015

    Someone has to say it... with your scores and GPA it is very unlikely that you will get into strategy or ops consulting. Even if they were magically higher, your performance in them is a strong predictor of how you will do in case interviews and on the job.

    Consulting requires a certain type of bookish analytical capabilities - smarts - that most people don't have. Play to your strengths in your career, not your weaknesses.

    Jul 9, 2015

    Nothing wrong with offering reality checks...shouldn't be posting in forums like these if not ready for them. I will add, though, that I have already been able to receive informal 'interview offers' from project leaders or above at 2 out of 3 MBB and one of the Big 4 (the only one I've spoken with). And before anyone jumps on that, I fully understand how far the idea of "I've written HR with a recommendation to interview you" is from passing round 3 - I'm just saying I have aired these limitations to all parties and they don't seem to be immediate show stoppers.

    I also understand these firms interview well oiled machines in terms of case performance. That's one reason I'm looking at LSE, HEC Paris, and Sloan (and a few others) for one year Masters programs. After all, I don't just want to network my way into an interview, I want to pass the interviews and be successful at the job itself. A lot of progress can be made with the right preparation when engulfed fully in cases for a year plus. I've also secured a F500 internship for the period between when I get out of the Army and when classes start the following September. Hopefully this combination creates a strong trajectory for me.

    The best part of this plan is that I can't really fail (at least not in the grand scheme of things). The worst that could happen is I get out of the Army, complete my internship and knock out a nearly free masters at a top school and then fail to secure or pass MBB/Big 4 interviews. What then? Well, I'll look at other options such as boutiques or I'll explore what else is out there for me. I'll probably be able to land something other than fast food with such a background. Also, the knowledge I'll gain preparing for the process and experiences on my resume will surely be valuable in any career options I pursue down the line. A lot of people have the outlook that if MBB turns them down it's time to start looking for a tall bridge, but luckily my outlook is a bit more reasonable than that.

    Anyway, I get what you're saying and we'll see how things go over the next 18 months or so.

    Jul 9, 2015

    Most top schools will not admit a student with another MBA unless they have some incredible reason- So I think this is kind of moot. I agree that a mfe/CFA route would be better at this point.

    Jul 9, 2015
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    Jul 9, 2015