What type of undergrad degree should you have before getting an MBA?

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It was not really all that long ago that I completed my studies for my MBA. I remember being pretty excited at the accomplishment and thinking that it meant great and wonderful things for my career.

At the time, I was working as a cost accountant at a Fortune 500 company. How did I land that job? Good question because my undergrad is not in Accounting. Or Finance. Or even Business. It is in English and Journalism, with a minor in PoliSci.

I thought that by getting an MBA I would actually be more qualified for jobs like the one that I had as well as opening up a field of opportunities that were a bit more, well, increasing in responsibility. I was hoping to snag an Financial Analyst job somewhere, but would take an accountant job.

Along the way, I have learned something that I wish someone had told me before I got my MBA.

It doesn’t matter. Employers want to see some type of business related undergrad degree, regardless of the MBA. I have had countless interviews where I have been told “If you only had a bachelor’s in accounting…”

The kicker here is that clearly I had to go back and take all of those undergrad accounting classes as prereqs for the MBA. And even if I didn’t, wouldn’t you as an employer want someone with no accounting background that could pass graduate level accounting classes?

Now sure, there are people who can get around this because they are networking to get a job. And honestly, networking is not so much about your job qualifications as it is about your social skills.

If I had to do it all over, I would have gotten a second bachelor’s in accounting, finance or business instead of the MBA.  So, if you are thinking of getting an MBA and don’t have a business background, you may want to think over your decision carefully.

In retrospect, I see that it is a good idea to really evaluate your motivations for getting the MBA. For me, it was mostly about increasing my salary. Not the best reason to get an MBA. And I knew that accounting and finance were not my passion, yet I went ahead and got the MBA anyways.

I learned a lot of valuable things though in my MBA studies. So, am I glad I got it? In a sense, yes. I just wish it had not been so costly because everything I learned I could have gotten from a $30 paperback from Barnes & Noble.

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