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  1. #1
    bellelavie is offline Registered User
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    Exclamation I need help! -Very Specific Situation

    Hello Everyone.

    I'm not new to this forum. I lurk alot. But I've run into a situation that needs to be sorted, otherwise I will be kind of stuck.

    I want to have a career in investment banking. I currently do not have a degree. I am looking to get a degree at COSC or any of the big 3 's in business. My goal from there is to get a high score on the GMAT and apply to the top tier MBA schools. I've read on this forum that some have gone on to get into law school and other top tier schools with their CLEP degrees. But I'm wondering, in my situation, will I be able to get into Columbia, Harvard, NYU and of those top tier MBA programs with a CLEP degree?

    I plan to take the important courses, macroeconomics, economics , accounting ...etc in a formal classroom setting. I am going to shoot for a 4.0 GPA to improve my chances of getting into such a high caliber of an MBA program. It would save me so many years if I could use a CLEP degree to get into a top tier MBA program. I guess I am looking at the accreditations of COSC and the big 3 . I'm wondering in such a high competition field, if I will be able to get a valuable MBA .

    If not, I will have to go the traditional route and do 4 years of college in order to get into these top tier schools. Please help. I'm a bit confused. Right now I'm 26 and I know the further I get away from these top tier MBA program's "Target ages" the harder it is for me to get in. So that's why time is such a huge concern to me. Also with getting internships and getting in to bulge bracket banks, age is a factor also. ANY ANY help will help me and my life and I am grateful that I have such a great place like this to ask for help! :)

  2. #2
    cookderosa is offline Resident Chef
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    there is no such thing as a CLEP degree, so take a deep breath.

    CLEP is a type of credit, like a class, that would transfer into (or not transfer into) a college. Since the big 3 accept CLEP, that's one way to earn a degree, but you should always look at your goal and then decide what type of undergraduate degree would work best for you. (this is a classic case of trying to make the degree fit the career instead of choosing wisely).

    I have no idea if you could get into a top tier school with a big 3 undergrad degree, competitive is competitive is competitive. With an acceptance rate of nearly single digits, you need to consider the possibility that you won't get into one of those schools no matter what you do.

    So, that said, since you know from the gate that you're going to grad school, I can tell you schools offer "alternative" degrees that may or may not appeal to you. Harvard, for instance, has a master's degree you can get into as long as you pass the first 3 classes. There are lots of top tier (and expensive) business school discussion threads here, so I'll leave you to browse.

    If it were me, and I was in my late 20's, I'd look at getting through this with as little debt as possible so I could increase my ROI and minimize my opportunity costs. What would I do? Well....you should know that almost EVERY community college in the country accepts CLEP too. Check yours- it probably accepts more than you think. In some cases, 45 out of 60 credits can be tested out of. Community college classes don't always transfer perfectly, but degrees do. Your local state university has agreements in place that will accept a complete AA or AS degree (with all the CLEP inside of it) even when that specific university doesn't "accept CLEP" exams. It's "credit laundering" of sorts. I'd test out of my AA/AS degree to the tune of 75% as fast as possible. While doing so, I'd be enrolled in 15 credits and earn A's - that whole process could take 6 months +/-.

    I'd transfer into a program in my state that offered distance options or a hybrid, and I'd do the last 2 years as cheaply and as fast as possible. I'd apply for scholarships and start looking for networking / intern options asap. I'd have no life, and I'd do those 2 years in 1 (which I believe is possible when you use distance learning because you cut out the crap associated with BEING on campus and you can BE in class anytime you have a wireless signal..which would be all the time). I'd be working/schooling 18 hours a day if necessary, and I'd do this whole 4 year degree in 1.5 years.

    If I were poor, I'd pay for this with Pell Grants, and I'd work my arse off to pay cash for the rest. I'd be debt free by graduation because I know that grad school is $$$$ and will probably require loans.

    That's what I'd do, but I know lots of others here will have suggestions, especially related to your career goal.
    Last edited by cookderosa; 04-20-2015 at 06:53 AM.
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  3. #3
    Neuhaus is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellelavie View Post
    Hello Everyone.

    I'm not new to this forum. I lurk alot. But I've run into a situation that needs to be sorted, otherwise I will be kind of stuck.

    I want to have a career in investment banking. I currently do not have a degree. I am looking to get a degree at COSC or any of the big 3's in business. My goal from there is to get a high score on the GMAT and apply to the top tier MBA schools. I've read on this forum that some have gone on to get into law school and other top tier schools with their CLEP degrees. But I'm wondering, in my situation, will I be able to get into Columbia, Harvard, NYU and of those top tier MBA programs with a CLEP degree?
    From an accreditation standpoint, there is no difference between COSC and a top tier school. As cookderosa notes, there is no such thing as a "CLEP degree."

    That aside, it is important to keep in mind that "top tier" means different things in different circles. Many IB firms recruit from only a small number of schools. There are exceptions to that rule, however, but if you aren't graduating from a choice school the odds on you breaking through the front door as anything with a future in IB (there are obviously many professionals who break through with other degrees if they want to work in IT, HR etc) is drastically reduced.

    That said, if this is your goal and you are serious about pursuing it, you need to be prepared to move.

    COSC may get you a bachelors degree. And there are some highly ranked MBA programs that allow DL. But if you really want to expand your options, you should really consider being willing to move for a residential program as well. Then, post-graduation, you should be willing to move wherever the job market might take you. You want to be an investment banker in NYC? Get in line. It might happen, it might not. But you might be able to break into that world via a smaller firm (or a smaller subsidiary of a larger firm) in Boston, Chicago or San Francisco.

    I plan to take the important courses, macroeconomics, economics, accounting...etc in a formal classroom setting. I am going to shoot for a 4.0 GPA to improve my chances of getting into such a high caliber of an MBA program. It would save me so many years if I could use a CLEP degree to get into a top tier MBA program. I guess I am looking at the accreditations of COSC and the big 3. I'm wondering in such a high competition field, if I will be able to get a valuable MBA.
    It depends on you. Are you likely to get into Harvard Business? Eh, it's possible, but I wouldn't put money on it. However, you might be able to work your way in to Baruch College or NYU. Both of which are highly ranked.

    Also, there is a fairly growing trend for the top tier MBA to be a second graduate degree. I was speaking with an MBA student at a job fair recently. His undergrad degree was earned overseas. He completed a Masters in Mathematics before he applied to the MBA program at Cornell 's Johnson School. The IB world seems to be constantly on the lookout for quants (people with incredibly strong mathematical and finance backgrounds).

    If not, I will have to go the traditional route and do 4 years of college in order to get into these top tier schools. Please help. I'm a bit confused. Right now I'm 26 and I know the further I get away from these top tier MBA program's "Target ages" the harder it is for me to get in. So that's why time is such a huge concern to me. Also with getting internships and getting in to bulge bracket banks, age is a factor also. ANY ANY help will help me and my life and I am grateful that I have such a great place like this to ask for help! :)
    Age is going to be a consideration. But it doesn't need to be the only consideration. My company lost an engineer to GoldmanSachs last year. They hired him because he had 1) a solid mathematical background and 2) he had years of experience in working with Asian tech markets. He was over 40. But, he had a very desirable skillset in an incredibly specific area and the type of experience that cannot be had through a series of internships. I would consider him more the exception than the rule. But he is also proof that exceptions do exist for people who are exceptional.

    If you hit the job market at say, 34-35 with an MBA in hand and only some internships under your belt, it may very well be an uphill battle. Then again, you may also find a smaller firm who feels they will get you at a bargain (and still provide you with a good career). If you hit that job market with some impressive quantitative credentials, maybe the story is a little bit different.

  4. #4
    bellelavie is offline Registered User
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    Thanks for both of your replies. You guys have been a big help. I've been doing a lot of googling since I posted this topic and I felt more and more that I just needed some opinions. I'm completely open to traveling wherever I need to travel to work/intern and work my way up. I just want to have some kind of realistic idea of the path that I'm going to take.

    However your responses have given me some ideas of where to look next. I also plan to do personal study on value investing and broaden my personal knowledge, and start some portfolios so I can develop my own personal skill set that will come in handy during interviews and when I am working. I'm at the point where if I need to live in Taiwan to develop a career in IB then I'll do it.

    I'm single, no children, and all the time to fully pursue what I want. I didn't know what I wanted before, but now that I know what I want, I'm willing to work to get there.

  5. #5
    bellelavie is offline Registered User
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    I understand about the CLEP degree. I'm not sure where I picked that term up from. Maybe from googling it to get the right kind of results. Sorry! :P

  6. #6
    Lerner is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by Neuhaus View Post
    From an accreditation standpoint, there is no difference between COSC and a top tier school. As cookderosa notes, there is no such thing as a "CLEP degree."

    That aside, it is important to keep in mind that "top tier" means different things in different circles. Many IB firms recruit from only a small number of schools. There are exceptions to that rule, however, but if you aren't graduating from a choice school the odds on you breaking through the front door as anything with a future in IB (there are obviously many professionals who break through with other degrees if they want to work in IT, HR etc) is drastically reduced.

    That said, if this is your goal and you are serious about pursuing it, you need to be prepared to move.

    COSC may get you a bachelors degree. And there are some highly ranked MBA programs that allow DL. But if you really want to expand your options, you should really consider being willing to move for a residential program as well. Then, post-graduation, you should be willing to move wherever the job market might take you. You want to be an investment banker in NYC? Get in line. It might happen, it might not. But you might be able to break into that world via a smaller firm (or a smaller subsidiary of a larger firm) in Boston, Chicago or San Francisco.



    It depends on you. Are you likely to get into Harvard Business? Eh, it's possible, but I wouldn't put money on it. However, you might be able to work your way in to Baruch College or NYU. Both of which are highly ranked.

    Also, there is a fairly growing trend for the top tier MBA to be a second graduate degree. I was speaking with an MBA student at a job fair recently. His undergrad degree was earned overseas. He completed a Masters in Mathematics before he applied to the MBA program at Cornell 's Johnson School. The IB world seems to be constantly on the lookout for quants (people with incredibly strong mathematical and finance backgrounds).



    Age is going to be a consideration. But it doesn't need to be the only consideration. My company lost an engineer to GoldmanSachs last year. They hired him because he had 1) a solid mathematical background and 2) he had years of experience in working with Asian tech markets. He was over 40. But, he had a very desirable skillset in an incredibly specific area and the type of experience that cannot be had through a series of internships. I would consider him more the exception than the rule. But he is also proof that exceptions do exist for people who are exceptional.

    If you hit the job market at say, 34-35 with an MBA in hand and only some internships under your belt, it may very well be an uphill battle. Then again, you may also find a smaller firm who feels they will get you at a bargain (and still provide you with a good career). If you hit that job market with some impressive quantitative credentials, maybe the story is a little bit different.
    Accreditation usually means that the school meets minimum requirements to get accredited.

    Universities meet minimum requirements.
    Professional Accreditation of a degree program is highly desirable.

    A stigma is a stigma and it may change some day but some for profit private universities degrees are not treated equally as non for profit, public or prestige private universities.

    I think increasing # of leading name recognized universities offer combination of on line and on campus degrees.

    You will increase you chances to getting in to top Business School if you graduate form a leading University also extra curricular activities like volunteering can help.

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