Getting An MBA Without A Bachelor s Degree
Is it possible to get into an MBA program without a bachelor’s degree? While many schools have strict admission policies, some, including the prestigious University of Chicago, will consider MBA candidates without a bachelor’s degree.
A mid-career IT professional is looking to get into management, but without a bachelor’s degree, an MBA seems out of reach. What he doesn’t know is that today some MBA programs will consider and accept candidates who can demonstrate the right skills and experience (along with high GMAT scores). If MBA isn’t an option, our correspondent has plenty of senior-level certifications to choose from in the project management, IT governance and information security arena. In either case, both paths prove to be a better option than going back to finish a long-lapsed bachelor’s degree.
You have enough experience and certifications under your belt that I’m pretty sure that going back to finish your bachelor’s is neither an attractive nor a sufficiently valuable option at your stage of career to be worth undertaking. Given that you’re looking for a transition to information security and management, however, you may want to consider going after an MBA. Some programs will accept hours toward a bachelor’s combined with on-the-job experience and professional certifications in lieu of a bachelor’s degree, so that option may not be as far-fetched as it sounds upon first audition.
For example, University of Chicago will consider candidates for their MBA program without a bachelor’s degree who work full-time and have an impressive professional track record (along with a completed GMAT). Other universities will consider candidates without a bachelor’s who have substantial management experience, professional certifications, or other worthy credentials, all on a case by case basis. Make sure that you’re looking at MBA programs that are accredited by the AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business). AACSB does allow some MBA programs to make exceptions, including accepting students who don’t have a bachelor’s degree, under certain circumstances, so this might be an option for you.
An MBA from an accredited institution could be a big boost into management, if you’re willing to put in two to three years of concerted part-time effort to earn such a degree.
On the other hand, if you’re not interested in returning to school, you can also chase the management track through a series of senior-level certifications, including the Project Management Professional (PMP). and any of a variety of governance and business process related credentials. Some certifications to consider include the ITIL and CGEIT, or other IT governance related credentials that can help you advance your prospects of landing a management job. Take a look at our list of the Best IT Governance Certifications to learn more.
InfoSec credentials can also offer excellent career prospects, especially if combined with the preceding items from the governance and project management arena. Here again, you can check out our list of the Best Information Security Certifications for pointers to some good credentials. Given that you’ve already earned the Security+ and the old MCSA/MCSE Security elements, you may be ready to jump right onto CISSP or CISM, either or both of which I’d urge you to consider and possibly pursue.
Given a plan to up your visible skills and knowledge, and the time and effort necessary to train up for some new certifications, I’m confident that you’ll be able to steer your career in the management direction. And don’t discount the MBA as an option just because you don’t have your bachelor’s degree. Whether now or in the future, an MBA degree might be the right ticket to get you to the position you want to be in.
Best wishes for your continued career development plans and activities. Thanks again for submitting your questionnaire information; hopefully, the answers will help guide you toward some important decisions.