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  1. #1
    fingerfehler is offline Registered User
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    Question looking for a respected B.S. in Finance, online

    I have about 46 sem-hrs I've accumulated in brick & mortar colleges, 4.0 gpa. Now I'd like to take this and use it as the start to earn a B.S. in Finance online or mostly online. But the trick is I'd like to also go to a brick & mortar college to earn a M.S. after an online B.S. I'm in a career right now where the need to have employers respect the degree is less important, but I do need to have respected grad schools respect the degree to carry off my plans!

    So I need to find a college whose degrees are well respected by brick & mortar grad schools. Any taint of "substandard" would scuttle my future plans.

    For the reason of needing a degree with some legs when considering grad school, I've been focusing on brick & mortar state colleges/universities and well-known brick & mortar private colleges/and universities that just happen to offer a finance bachelor's program or bachelor's completion program online. For example, the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay offers a BBA with a concentration in Finance (not quite what I'm looking for, I'd prefer a BS in Finance, rather than a BBA with a concentration in Finance). Because I just don't see how I could get into grad school with a degree from a for-profit online school, I am for the moment not considering schools like UoP .

    Does anyone have any advice for me on what I should consider? For example, should I consider Western Governors University even though they have no brick & mortar aspect? Would a I be good-to-go from a grad school perspective with a degree for WGU ? I'd love to attend the Harvard University Extension, but their Bachelor's in Extension Studies is not quite a B.S. in Finance. What other colleges should I be looking at that will give me a degree well-regarded by brick & mortar grad schools? For various reasons, I'm not going to consider University of Maryland University College, although it's not far from me.

    Cost is not a primary factor.

  2. #2
    retake is offline Registered User
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    How about Northeastern University in Boston?

    http://www.cps.neu.edu/bs_fin_acct/

    It's a BS in Finance and Accounting Management, not just finance. I'm pretty sure that Northeastern is well respected by employers though.

    From Wikipedia, "Nationally, Northeastern is ranked 1st in Internships and 27th in Academics by Business Week in its 2009 Best Undergraduate Business Edition. In 2007, the Princeton Review rated Northeastern as one of the top colleges in the Northeast.[6] Northeastern ranked No. 4 in Forbes Magazine as one of "America's Most Entrepreneurial Campuses."[7] The School of Architecture was ranked #12 by the Key Institute National Rankings.[8]"

  3. #3
    guitarmark2000 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerfehler View Post
    I have about 46 sem-hrs I've accumulated in brick & mortar colleges, 4.0 gpa. Now I'd like to take this and use it as the start to earn a B.S. in Finance online or mostly online. But the trick is I'd like to also go to a brick & mortar college to earn a M.S. after an online B.S. I'm in a career right now where the need to have employers respect the degree is less important, but I do need to have respected grad schools respect the degree to carry off my plans!

    So I need to find a college whose degrees are well respected by brick & mortar grad schools. Any taint of "substandard" would scuttle my future plans.

    For the reason of needing a degree with some legs when considering grad school, I've been focusing on brick & mortar state colleges/universities and well-known brick & mortar private colleges/and universities that just happen to offer a finance bachelor's program or bachelor's completion program online. For example, the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay offers a BBA with a concentration in Finance (not quite what I'm looking for, I'd prefer a BS in Finance, rather than a BBA with a concentration in Finance). Because I just don't see how I could get into grad school with a degree from a for-profit online school, I am for the moment not considering schools like UoP .

    Does anyone have any advice for me on what I should consider? For example, should I consider Western Governors University even though they have no brick & mortar aspect? Would a I be good-to-go from a grad school perspective with a degree for WGU ? I'd love to attend the Harvard University Extension, but their Bachelor's in Extension Studies is not quite a B.S. in Finance. What other colleges should I be looking at that will give me a degree well-regarded by brick & mortar grad schools? For various reasons, I'm not going to consider University of Maryland University College, although it's not far from me.

    Cost is not a primary factor.
    You mention two things which I'm not sure are necessarily linked:

    - you want to pursue a MS after completing a BS
    - you need a "respected" BS in order to be able to be accepted into a MS program

    If you want to take the time, you can certainly pursue an online BS and then take time out to pursue a B&M masters. No issue there.

    What exactly are your plans?

    However, if you feel that you need to have a "respected" BS in order to get into a good B&M masters program I think you're incorrect. The general formula of any graduate entry is:

    GPA + entry exam (if any) + work experience

    Many MBA programs use GPA * GMAT = admit/deny

    You say that you have 46 hours at 4.0, so if you're able to complete your BS with a very high GPA that's a great start.

    I don't know your work experience, so that may/may not be an issue. If you're 2 years out of high school that's one thing, but if you have 10 years in your field that's quite another.

    I disagree with your statements like "I just don't see how I could get into grad school with a degree from a for-profit online school". Unless you are applying to a very selective grad program with borderline grades this shouldn't be an issue. If you were looking to become a tenured professor this may be an issue.

    As stated above, grad schools look at the entire package. I doubt very much there is some sort of magic list that grad schools consult to see who is "respected" and who isn't.

    Case in point - me. I did what could be considered the absolutely least "respected" approach to get my undergrad. I completed a degree at Excelsior solely via testing. However, with a 4.0 GPA and a 700 GMAT I had no issue being accepted to Indiana's Kelley School of Business. Although I'm pursuing the degree online, in speaking with the administration there had I wanted to pursue the full time B&M program I would have been admitted given my grades and work background. Kelley is #15 in the country for their MBA and has a solid reputation anywhere.

    In my case, I wanted to complete my undergrad as soon as possible (i.e. get the piece of paper) and then challenge myself with a great MBA program that would carry the brand cachet.

    If your goal is to get a well-known undergrad with a positive brand image that's fine. You could also easily go and complete your degree with a decent school near to you. To think, though, that Harvard Extension carries the same weight as "mainstream" Harvard is probably incorrect. I doubt it would also make no difference in your grad school application.

    I think you might be overestimating what you need to get into a solid masters program.
    BS General Business, Excelsior
    MBA, Indiana University
    MS MIS, University of Illinois at Springfield (25% complete)

  4. #4
    fingerfehler is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarmark2000 View Post
    You mention two things which I'm not sure are necessarily linked:

    - you want to pursue a MS after completing a BS
    - you need a "respected" BS in order to be able to be accepted into a MS program

    ...

    What exactly are your plans?

    ...

    You say that you have 46 hours at 4.0, so if you're able to complete your BS with a very high GPA that's a great start.

    I don't know your work experience, so that may/may not be an issue. If you're 2 years out of high school that's one thing, but if you have 10 years in your field that's quite another.
    Some really good comments and questions!

    I'll answer the last implied question first about my work experience. 40+ yo, I have a lot of executive-level experience - Sr. VP in a major Wall Street investment bank, Chief Information Officer of another large investment bank, etc. I now own my own management consulting boutique and have a number of clients, most in the Federal Government. But I've done this without the benefit of a college degree. Now I'd like to get an MBA . But to do that, I should finish my Bachelor's first.

    I think I can probably pull out a 4.0 on my Bachelor's or close to it with some effort. I'm not worried at all about my GMATs, I scored over 1500 on my SAT the second time I took them back in 11th grade. I've always been a take-no-prisoners sort of person. But I do work 50+ hrs/wk and so finishing a Bachelor's should be something I can attack at 2am in the morning when I'm not working my day job, which is why I'd prefer a mostly online program.

    My plans are to apply to the following four B-schools in three years or so: Harvard, Wharton, UChicago and Columbia. I think that if I can pull the near 4.0 off, rock the GMATs, write some decent essays, AND get a diploma from a decent college, I'll have a decent shot at this, as I certainly have the real-world experience sought after for candidates to any of these four B-school programs.

    I haven't thought far enough ahead to know whether I would pursue an Executive MBA or a traditional one. I figure I need to focus on the first step of this which is to finish my Bachelor's.

  5. #5
    guitarmark2000 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerfehler View Post
    Some really good comments and questions!

    I'll answer the last implied question first about my work experience. 40+ yo, I have a lot of executive-level experience - Sr. VP in a major Wall Street investment bank, Chief Information Officer of another large investment bank, etc. I now own my own management consulting boutique and have a number of clients, most in the Federal Government. But I've done this without the benefit of a college degree. Now I'd like to get an MBA . But to do that, I should finish my Bachelor's first.

    I think I can probably pull out a 4.0 on my Bachelor's or close to it with some effort. I'm not worried at all about my GMATs, I scored over 1500 on my SAT the second time I took them back in 11th grade. I've always been a take-no-prisoners sort of person. But I do work 50+ hrs/wk and so finishing a Bachelor's should be something I can attack at 2am in the morning when I'm not working my day job, which is why I'd prefer a mostly online program.

    My plans are to apply to the following four B-schools in three years or so: Harvard, Wharton, UChicago and Columbia. I think that if I can pull the near 4.0 off, rock the GMATs, write some decent essays, AND get a diploma from a decent college, I'll have a decent shot at this, as I certainly have the real-world experience sought after for candidates to any of these four B-school programs.

    I haven't thought far enough ahead to know whether I would pursue an Executive MBA or a traditional one. I figure I need to focus on the first step of this which is to finish my Bachelor's.
    Thanks for the additional information - this sets the stage nicely. I'm assuming that you'll have no problem paying the freight for any of these programs - you may also want to add NYU to your list.

    I'd argue that you should probably talk to admissions (and/or the dean) of Harvard, Wharton, U Chicago and Columbia even before you pick a school and tell them your story. If you want to add some swagger to your step consider doing the GMAT first, so if you have a great score (say above 700) you can talk with them and ask if there are any preferred ways of getting accepted - should you dedicate yourself to a particular undergrad school or degree, etc. With a high undergrad GPA, high GMAT and huge work experience you're the dream MBA student as you help them raise their rankings which weight these factors. If you have the funds and desire to pursue an Executive MBA you're also a great fit given your work experience.

    As to the undergrad, unless you hear otherwise from admissions, I'd recommend something from a "safe" larger state school - University of xxxx or xxxx State University. It doesn't have any cachet but has a solid reputation and a good foundation for your Harvard or Wharton MBA . I see a lot of executives out there with this type of profile.
    BS General Business, Excelsior
    MBA, Indiana University
    MS MIS, University of Illinois at Springfield (25% complete)

  6. #6
    fingerfehler is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarmark2000 View Post
    As to the undergrad, unless you hear otherwise from admissions, I'd recommend something from a "safe" larger state school - University of xxxx or xxxx State University.
    Do you have any suggestions for the "xxxx"s?

    (I know next to nothing about the online degree world. I had always previously thought that if I was going to finish my degree, I'd be retired and able to attend a brick & mortar school somewhere. But I'm wanting to do it now, and I'm not retired, so I guess I should learn as much as I can and choose the best online option available to me.)

  7. #7
    ewillmon is offline Registered User
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    One of the members here, Fortunato, received an undergrad degree from the University of Wyoming and then completed an MBA at Duke. Fortunato may wish to provide more details.

    You could find some good programs at Jonnie's DL MBA page. I would go with a program recognized by the AACSB.

    Best Wishes.

    Scott
    Scott
    B.A. [URL="http://www.sfasu.edu"]Stephen F Austin State Univ[/URL].

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  9. #8
    bazonkers is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by guitarmark2000 View Post
    You mention two things which I'm not sure are necessarily linked:

    - you want to pursue a MS after completing a BS
    - you need a "respected" BS in order to be able to be accepted into a MS program

    However, if you feel that you need to have a "respected" BS in order to get into a good B&M masters program I think you're incorrect. The general formula of any graduate entry is:

    GPA + entry exam (if any) + work experience

    Many MBA programs use GPA * GMAT = admit/deny

    ...

    I disagree with your statements like "I just don't see how I could get into grad school with a degree from a for-profit online school".

    ...

    As stated above, grad schools look at the entire package. I doubt very much there is some sort of magic list that grad schools consult to see who is "respected" and who isn't.
    I sort of agree with you. Some graduate programs (especially the very competitive ones) do use the formulas you mentioned but they also do weight where the undergrad is from a bit as well. Someone with a University of Phoenix degree, where there has been allegations of grade inflation etc., might have a harder time getting into one of the top schools the OP has mentioned. A 4.0 from somewhere like UoP might not be the same as a 4.0 from somewhere more respected and could possibly be viewed as not rigorous enough of a preparation to be successful in their program.

    That said, I think most undergrad programs will work, however. I agree that you don't need a top undergrad program to get into a well respected MBA program.
    Last edited by bazonkers; 04-06-2009 at 10:28 AM.
    MA History, AMU, 99%, 2012
    BS Business, Excelsior College, 2003
    AA Letters, Arts and Sciences, Penn State, 2009

  10. #9
    Bruce is offline Moderator
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    I also agree that if you're going on for a M.B.A., the source of your undergrad degree isn't of paramount importance. There are several top-flight M.B.A. programs available online (Duke, Indiana, U of Florida, UMass) where your undergrad degree probably won't matter as much as your position and experience.
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    B.A. (Criminal Justice) Curry College
    M.A. (Criminal Justice) University of Massachusetts-Lowell
    M.A. (Forensic Psychology) Massachusetts School of Professional Psychology



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  11. #10
    Woho is offline Registered User
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    Just as a side-note: Quite a few top executive MBAs don't require a GMAT so you might waste time in preparing for this. Also your co-students would be probably in a quite similar life situation than yourself and make a good networking match. As guitarmark2000 pointed out before, you should really contact the grad schools you are aiming for and ask them how to handle your situation best.

  12. #11
    Fortunato is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerfehler View Post
    I'll answer the last implied question first about my work experience. 40+ yo, I have a lot of executive-level experience - Sr. VP in a major Wall Street investment bank, Chief Information Officer of another large investment bank, etc. I now own my own management consulting boutique and have a number of clients, most in the Federal Government. But I've done this without the benefit of a college degree. Now I'd like to get an MBA. But to do that, I should finish my Bachelor's first.
    Probably. But if I were in your shoes, I'd at least consider calling around to the admissions folks at a few programs to see if they'd at least consider admitting you without a Bachelor's. Especially if you're convinced you can kill it on the GMAT. If you have a 700+ GMAT in hand, undergrad degree or no, your experience and insight would be welcome at a lot of different schools.

    If you decide you absolutely must finish the Bachelor's, don't sweat it too much - just pick a solid state school that offers the major you want (or one close to it) online and go for it. Some people get hung on the precieved prestige of a school when trying to choose a degree program, but the painful truth is that it's a little silly to be worried about prestige when you're selecting among open-admissions online undergrad programs. Your resume is going to stand out a lot more than your transcripts on your MBA application, anyway. One thing you can do while earning your bachelor's to enhance your b-school app is to get involved with community activities, in a leadership or organzing role if possible.

    Quote Originally Posted by fingerfehler View Post
    My plans are to apply to the following four B-schools in three years or so: Harvard, Wharton, UChicago and Columbia. I think that if I can pull the near 4.0 off, rock the GMATs, write some decent essays, AND get a diploma from a decent college, I'll have a decent shot at this, as I certainly have the real-world experience sought after for candidates to any of these four B-school programs.

    I haven't thought far enough ahead to know whether I would pursue an Executive MBA or a traditional one. I figure I need to focus on the first step of this which is to finish my Bachelor's.
    Your profile is more like an Executive MBA student's than a full-timer's. In fact, you might find that your age and experience works against you when applying to full-time programs - the adcom is going to look at your application and ask "what can adding an MBA actually do for this guy career-wise?", while EMBA programs are explicitly designed for the more experienced students. I'm not trying to convince you not to try to go full-time if that's what you want to do, but I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that there is some unspoken ageism in the admissions process.

    One program you might consider is Duke's Global Executive MBA , or GEMBA. GEMBA is aimed at senior managers with ten years or more of experience and combines intensive on-site classroom instruction with distance learning. It consists of 15 classes offered over 5 terms with 3 international residencies and 2 residencies at Duke's Durham, NC campus. Like all of Duke's executive MBA programs, GEMBA Graduates recieve the same MBA degree as Fuqua's full-time students. For more information, click here.

    (Full disclosure: I attended Duke's similar 16-class, eight-term CCMBA program for younger managers and was very impressed with the quality of both my classmates and of the instruction I received.)

    However you decide to proceed, best of luck to you! No matter what success I experienced in life before earning my degrees, I felt incomplete without them. Finishing my education filled that hole in my life. Let us know what you decide, and keep us updated on your progress!
    University of Wyoming, BS, Business Administration, December 2004
    Duke University, Cross Continent MBA, May 2007
    East Carolina University, Graduate Certificate, Finance, July 2010

  13. #12
    AUTiger00 is offline Registered User
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    Quote Originally Posted by fingerfehler View Post
    Some really good comments and questions!

    I'll answer the last implied question first about my work experience. 40+ yo, I have a lot of executive-level experience - Sr. VP in a major Wall Street investment bank, Chief Information Officer of another large investment bank, etc. I now own my own management consulting boutique and have a number of clients, most in the Federal Government. But I've done this without the benefit of a college degree. Now I'd like to get an MBA . But to do that, I should finish my Bachelor's first.

    I think I can probably pull out a 4.0 on my Bachelor's or close to it with some effort. I'm not worried at all about my GMATs, I scored over 1500 on my SAT the second time I took them back in 11th grade. I've always been a take-no-prisoners sort of person. But I do work 50+ hrs/wk and so finishing a Bachelor's should be something I can attack at 2am in the morning when I'm not working my day job, which is why I'd prefer a mostly online program.

    My plans are to apply to the following four B-schools in three years or so: Harvard, Wharton, UChicago and Columbia. I think that if I can pull the near 4.0 off, rock the GMATs, write some decent essays, AND get a diploma from a decent college, I'll have a decent shot at this, as I certainly have the real-world experience sought after for candidates to any of these four B-school programs.

    I haven't thought far enough ahead to know whether I would pursue an Executive MBA or a traditional one. I figure I need to focus on the first step of this which is to finish my Bachelor's.
    Sounds like really impressive work experience. I noticed you're in DC, have you looked at George Mason? I'm not sure if they offer much online in the way of finance but it might be worth a look. They really cater to non-traditional students, have campus all over the metro-area and have been an up and coming university (US News named them one of 10 best up and coming schools in the country).

    If your goal is to get an MBA I don't think you need to worry about what you get your BA/BS in, as long as you get it. I completed my MBA full-time, in residence at Vanderbilt and you get all kinds of people with degrees from history to communications to art history , etc.

    On a side note, the MBA programs you've mentioned are all great. You may want to consider that those schools have all made a move to limit the number of new students over 30 into their full-time programs (read the book ahead of curve, written by a 2006 HBS graduate, and he discusses this in the book). I think with your qualifications you would be ideal for any of the executive MBA programs, but keep in mind that those top 10 MBA programs do consider the rigor of your undergraduate institution. For example, someone graduating from Duke with a 3.0 in economics will probably pull more weight with the AdComm than someone graduating from the University of North Alabama with a GPA of 3.4 in business administration .

    Also, something to consider after completing your undergrad: Harvard's MBA program is really focused on general management, if you're looking to do finance you would be far better looking at Wharton or Tuck at Dartmouth (recruiters constantly rank Wharton and Tuck student's analytical abilities higher than the HBS graduates they hire). Harvard's entire program is case based (no text books) and as such, the finance courses don't go nearly as in-depth as they do at other programs that use text books. Harvard's fiance courses are very theoretical (a good friend from high school completed his MBA at Harvard and told me this while I was suffering through my finance course work at Vandy).

    * I should have read the post above mine. I basically spouted off the same info, though not as eloquently.
    ** Fortunato, your boys at Fuqua need to focus more on their course work and a little less on making videos mocking Owen. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ngKKnmDFbug
    Last edited by AUTiger00; 06-18-2009 at 01:37 AM.

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